What do local feline celebrity Lil Bub and Bloomington music studio Russian Recording have in common?
They're both owned by Mike Bridavsky.
Bridavsky, 38, started Russian Recording in 2003, years before Lil Bub entered the picture. He said he knew for a long time that he wanted to record music, and Bloomington was the perfect place to do it.
“I decided I wanted to record music for a living when I was about 15 years old," Bridavsky said. "IU was recommended as one of the best recording programs in the country, so I went for it.”
Russian Recording has contributed to over 1,000 albums since Bridavsky started the studio.
“It is a fully analog and digital studio," he said. "We have two studio cats and close to 100 microphones, with one of, if not the, most comprehensive collection of vintage Soviet microphones in the world. We're also pretty close to that with vintage Japanese microphones.”
Ben Lumsdaine, a staff engineer at the studio, started working for RR in August of 2017 after using the studio to record his own music, he said.
"My very first band recorded our first album with Mike about 12 years ago," Lumsdaine, 27, said. "I've worked at RR on a lot of projects since then -- as a hired musician, with my own bands, and now as an engineer.”
Bridavsky said most of the musicians that he works with are relatively poor.
Many of these musicians coming through the studio are local, and RR gives them a chance to record in a professional environment, said Lumsdaine.
“I'm lucky to say that a lot of the bands I get to work with are my friends, and it's really fulfilling to help them make something they feel proud of,” Lumsdaine said.
Bridavsky agreed on this point. He said that some of the most enjoyable parts of his job are the relationships he has formed with the people that he works with.
”The most rewarding part of working with so many talented people is getting to know them and becoming friends through music,” Bridavsky said.
For those looking to record an album, Bridavsky said an important thing is ensuring a potential studio is the right fit for you. It is essential to have a good relationship with the engineer you plan on working with, he said.
“This is the guy/lady that you'll be pent up in a room with for quite a few long days, so you'll want to make sure you feel comfortable with them,” Bridavsky said in an email.
Lumsdaine agreed, but said there is one more critical factor to consider.
“Bring snacks to the studio," Lumsdaine said. "I'm serious. Having high quality snacks around keeps the vibe positive. It's crucial.”
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