Studio apartment or apartment studio?
Two-month-old studio Amunson Audio makes music in a small space.
What are the elements of a successful production studio?
If you’re Patrick Amunson, they include a multitude of musical proficiencies, strong networking skills, and a good relationship with your apartment neighbors.
Amunson, a La Crosse, Wis., native, moved to Rochester just two months ago and set up Amunson Audio in the second bedroom of his apartment.
In that short time, he’s secured two contracts – a Jayden Williams single dropping Dec. 31, and rock band Funeral For My Youth’s first EP, out Jan. 7.
“I’ve had a lot of luck here,” Amunson said. “There are a ton of arts in the area.”
That “luck” has come by passing out cards to people in bars, posting about studio availability on Facebook, and working with old Los Angeles contacts from his time at LA’s Film & Recording School on the side.
Amunson affixed soundproofing foam to the interior of a closet, which serves as his studio (and can fit an entire drum set, he says). That studio space is available for rent to recording artists.
His neighbors are cool with it, he said, as long as he tries to quiet down by 6 p.m. or so.
Amunson is far more interested in music production and publishing, though.
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 put out into the world. So he’s looking for artists to sign in the new year, or even people looking to produce cover songs using his HFA license to record cover songs.
A few songs online show off a mix of genres Amunson’s prepared to work in. And yes, he can add instrumentation to pieces (in guitar, bongos, piano, voice, cello, strings, bassoon, clarinet, and saxophone – almost anything that doesn’t require a brass embouchure).
“It’s like a Prince thing ,” he said. “He just kind of jammed by himself, to himself. That’s the way to do it.”
Outside of music, Amunson works on sound-mixing for commercials (a Korean translation app this week, who knows going forward). He cut his teeth at film and television company Larson Studios, and hopes to break into Rochester’s film scene in the future.
For now, though, music publishing is where the money is.
Amunson’s 10-year plan is a bit further from the norm.
He has two diplomas hanging in his studio – from the Los Angeles Film School and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Hanging above those is his certificate of ministry from the Universal Life Church , a non-denominational religious organization that offers legal ordination for people from a range of backgrounds and beliefs.
While Amunson isn’t affiliated with a particular church, his musical background includes 10 years in the La Crosse BoyChoir, which toured Europe and focused on arrangements of religious songs.
On those tours, Amunson gained an appreciation for the sacred music that had been developed between the Middle Ages and Classical Period. The passion of modern Christian music-makers is commendable, he said, but he thinks the church at large could go one step further, and dedicate its religious orders to music-making once again. Think Gregorian chants being developed in chapels, or orders of nuns dedicating themselves to writing music.
“Everything’s about making money now,” Amunson said. “I want to bring it back to what it was, what the church was originally intended to be.”