December 22 — What are the elements of a successful production studio?
If you are Patrick Amunson, they include a wealth of musical skills, strong networking skills, and a great relationship with your apartment neighbors.
Amunson, from La Crosse, Wisconsin, moved to Rochester just two months ago and set up Amunson Audio in the second bedroom of his apartment.
In no time, he landed two contracts: a Jayden Williams single released on December 31, and the debut EP by rock band Funeral For My Youth, released on January 7.
“I have been very lucky here,” Amunson said. “There is a ton of arts in the area.”
This “luck” came from handing out cards to people in bars, posting information about studio availability on Facebook, and working with former Los Angeles contacts from his time at the Film & Recording School in LA.
Amunson affixed soundproofing foam to the interior of a closet, which serves as his studio (and can hold a full drum set, he says). This studio space is available for hire for recording artists.
His neighbors are cool with it, he said, as long as he tries to calm down around 6 p.m. or so.
Amunson, however, was much more interested in music production and publishing.
He hopes to be “a smaller version of Sony” and make his money from “the splits” – the music royalties that come in after a song is released into the world. He is therefore looking for artists to sign for the new year, or even people looking to produce covers using his HFA license to record covers.
A few songs online show a mix of genres that Amunson is ready to work in. And yes, it can add instrumentation to songs (guitar, bongos, piano, vocals, cello, strings, bassoon, clarinet, and saxophone – almost anything that doesn’t need a brass mouthpiece).
“It’s like a Prince thing,” he said. “He just kind of got stuck on his own, all by himself. That’s the way to do it.”
Outside of music, Amunson is working on sound mixing for commercials (a Korean translation app this week, who knows in the future). He cut his teeth at film and television company Larson Studios and hopes to break into the Rochester film scene in the future.
For now, however, the money is in music publishing.
Amunson’s 10-year plan is a bit further from the norm.
He has two degrees hanging in his studio – from the Los Angeles Film School and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Above these is his ministry certificate from the Universal Life Church, a non-denominational religious organization that offers legal ordination to people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs.
Although Amunson is not affiliated with any particular church, his musical education includes 10 years in the La Crosse BoyChoir, which toured Europe and focused on arranging religious songs.
During these tours, Amunson gained an appreciation for the sacred music that had developed between the Middle Ages and the Classical period. The passion of modern Christian musicians is laudable, he said, but he believes the church as a whole could go one step further and dedicate its religious orders to musical creation again. Think of the Gregorian chants developed in chapels or the orders of nuns devoted to musical writing.
“It’s all about making money now,” Amunson said. “I want to bring him back to what he was, to what the church was originally supposed to be.”