Watertown Daily Times Article

We’re so thrilled to promote the story that the Watertown Daily Times did on us today. Couldn’t have hoped for a better piece. Thanks to Ted and Amanda for their reporting.

Peter Hopper Christopher Hopper Watertown Daily Times

Original source: watertowndailyties.com

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First-class recording studio at Watertown church opens doors to public (VIDEO)

By TED BOOKER
TIMES STAFF WRITER
Photos by AMANDA MORRISON
TIMES STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

PUBLISHED: SUNDAY, MAY 10, 2015 AT 6:50 PM
UPDATED: SUNDAY, MAY 10, 2015 AT 11:51 PM

WATERTOWN — Bands and artists with big dreams now can create their albums in a state-of-the-art recording studio at New Life Christian Church, which opened its doors to the public last month.

Launched at the church off Arsenal Street in the spring of 2014, Sprig Studios has all of the recording equipment artists and bands need to make professional albums to be sold online and at stores, said Christopher K. Hopper, president of the business, who also is the associate pastor of the church.

To celebrate opening to the public, the studio is offering a special rate for clients of $45 an hour through the end of this year, Mr. Hopper said. The cost includes supervision from a certified engineer and access to the studio’s tracking, editing, mixing and mastering equipment. The 2,000-square-foot space can also be used to record live concerts in the church’s 500-seat auditorium. He said the business reserves the right to deny the recording of music with explicit language that describes illegal activities, such as drug use and abusive behavior.

Built on multiple elevations and adjacent to the auditorium, the studio took nearly three years to design and build, Mr. Hopper, 36, said during a tour of the space Friday.

Mr. Hopper said he teamed up to design the studio with his father, Peter K., who serves as the chief studio engineer. He said the 68-year-old, who has more than 50 years of experience in the recording industry and owned a studio in Ithaca for three decades, was persuaded in 2011 to sell his business and move to Watertown to help launch the studio.

“Being a pastor at New Life, I wanted to champion the cause of the church being an epicenter for artists,” said Mr. Hopper, a singer and multi-instrumentalist who was recording a worship album at the studio Friday with his wife, Jennifer L., a singer.

The studio is in an area that was once used as a room to show films when the building operated as the Interstate theater at Stateway Plaza. The church opened in the fall of 2008.

To deflect sound, the space features a curved white wall and gravel-filled floor cavities, while American red cedar wood and bricks were used as design materials for other surfaces. Edison light bulbs affixed to black iron pipes lend the space a distinctive look with a “steam-punk aesthetic,” Mr. Hopper said. A space-saving 14-piece “Jefferson staircase” leads to the studio’s loft, where music also is recorded. The steep staircase, made with blue spruce wood, was inspired by a design from Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, who was a skilled architect; Jefferson County was created in his honor in 1805.

The Hoppers lead a Christian band in Watertown that has produced albums under Sprig Music, an independent record label for Christian artists. The band will be doing a worship tour this year, hosting live concerts across the country. Earlier this year, it finished legs of the tour in Europe and Latin America.

Mr. Hopper said other groups that also produce music under the label are Brothers McClurg, a Buffalo-based band led by brothers Anthony and Chris Hoisington, and singer/songwriter Meg Sutherland, whose executive producer, Douglas Gresham, is the stepson of the late author C.S. Lewis.

“One of her songs is going to be featured in the next ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ film,” Mr. Hopper said.

Church members are able to support artists financially under the recording label by making donations online and at a giving kiosk in the church, he said.

Mrs. Hopper, 31, said she and her husband plan in July to finish the band’s latest album, which will feature about a dozen worship songs. She said the couple will have a busy travel itinerary this summer.

“Our band will be touring in Massachusetts this month and next month in Connecticut,” she said, adding that they’ll perform in July at the annual Kingdom Bound Summer Festival in Buffalo.

Peter Hopper, meanwhile, said he hopes the studio will inspire Christian and secular musicians to produce quality recordings for years to come.

“We can record all kinds of music — rock, jazz, country and even rap,” said Mr. Hopper, who has recorded with hundreds of artists during his career. He said he continues to learn something new every day in the studio.

“Recording is like flying an airplane — you’re always learning something,” he said.

And he has top-flight equipment on which to learn. He said the studio, which has a mix of digital and analog recording equipment, features a custom-designed recording console built in Nottingham, England. The 72-input console has 3,196 different functions.

“Doing this is kind of like painting with sound and mixing colors with a paintbrush. Each microphone used for recording has a different sound quality and characteristic,” he said.

For more information about the studio or to schedule a tour, call 788-0825 or visit www.sprigmusic.com.
To see a video featuring the studio, go to http://wdt.me/recording-studio.

Brothers McClurg Signs Record Deal With Sprig Music

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
JANUARY 5, 2015

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE PDF

__________________

Brothers McClurg Signs Record Deal With Sprig Music

By Victoria Peryer

WATERTOWN, NY – Henry Ford famously said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” And while Brothers McClurg and Sprig Music won’t be fabricating automobiles anytime soon, they will be making records together. Which, more than likely, will be played in plenty of automobiles.

Sprig Music is announcing its newest partnership with recording artists Brothers McClurg, signing a two-album record deal this month, as well as a comprehensive booking agreement.

“It feels like a very genuine and fresh approach to musical partnership,” says Brothers McClurg co-founder Chris Hoisington. “Partnering with Sprig is a natural next step for our season of ministry.”

The band, with four previous albums, is ramping up for the release of their newest LP (yes, it will be on vinyl too), entitled Home. The record was going to be independently released following the band’s amicable parting with Integrity Music, but now finds its home on the Sprig label.

Additionally, the band will be heading into Sprig Studios later this month to record a second release entitled Around The Mic. The project is anticipated to be a studio-capturing of their notable “around the mic” unplugged acoustic sets which fans of all ages have been requesting for years.

Producer and recording engineer Peter Hopper will be in the driver’s seat for Around The Mic—or at least calling shotgun to man the radio dials. With over 6,000 recording projects to his name, and a career spanning more than 50 years, his expertise is a perfect fit for the vintage sound the band is looking for. “We’re printing this to two-inch tape,” Peter says, speaking of Sprig’s two vintage Studer analog tape machines, which marry seamlessly with the studio’s Amek console and ProTools rig. “It doesn’t get any fatter or warmer than that. We’re just thrilled to be working with such wonderful guys to make wonderful music for Jesus.”

Paul Mitro, a fellow studio owner and live mixing engineer, will also be working alongside Peter on production for Around The Mic. Having worked closely with Brothers McClurg for years, his contributions will help maintain the sound and consistency the band has worked hard to achieve.

The deal takes the band/label partnership into 2016 complete with renewal options.

Anthony Hoisington, brother to Chris, expressed excitement over their new label affiliation. “Sprig Music is setting a precedent of how the music industry can function in the new age. It’s nice to have a grassroots approach and feel. Like making music on the front porch and drinking a nice sweet tea.”

Chris agrees, nodding with his iconic afro. “Our partnership works in a way that our handshake and friendship means more than the music that we’re making. It’s humbling to have people that believe in the power of music and the power of Christ.”

Both albums will release physically on Friday, March 27, hallmarked by an album release party in Buffalo, NY (venue TBA), while a digital release date of Tuesday, March 31 will be commemorated with a live streaming concert inside Sprig Studios.

“What we’re all involved with is a fresh and smart approach to ministry through the arts,” adds Jeremy Thompson, another of the band’s key members.

“Sprig is a liberating model of how a label, a Church and a band can come together and make Christ honoring music,” says Chris.

Subscribe to the band’s email list for news on the upcoming releases, and follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a look behind the scenes as they record at Sprig Studios later this month.

And if you frequent an automobile, we highly recommend you add these upcoming tunes to your road-trip playlist.

Media:
Victoria Peryer
victoria.newlifenny@gmail.com
+1 (210) 452-1385

Booking:
Clarissa Collins
clarissa.newlifenny@gmail.com
+1 (315) 788-0825

Left to right: Christopher Hopper, Chris Hoisington, Anthony Hoisington, Kevin Bish, Peter Hopper, Jeremy Thompson.

Left to right: Christopher Hopper, Chris Hoisington, Anthony Hoisington, Kevin Bish, Peter Hopper, Jeremy Thompson.

Left to right: Kevin Bish, Jeremy Thompson, Chris Hoisington during final negotiations.

Left to right: Kevin Bish, Jeremy Thompson, Chris Hoisington during final negotiations.

Left to right: Peter Hopper, Chris Hoisington, Christopher Hopper, Anthony Hoisington, Jeremy Thompson, reviewing demo recordings in Sprig Studios’ control room.

Left to right: Peter Hopper, Chris Hoisington, Christopher Hopper, Anthony Hoisington, Jeremy Thompson, reviewing demo recordings in Sprig Studios’ control room.

Left to right: Peter Hopper, Christopher Hopper during final negotiations.

Left to right: Peter Hopper, Christopher Hopper during final negotiations.

Left to right: Anthony Hoisington, Jeremy Thompson, Chris Hoisington in Studio A tracking a test demo.

Left to right: Anthony Hoisington, Jeremy Thompson, Chris Hoisington in Studio A tracking a test demo.