Monday, September 28, 2009

Green Roof to Garner Platinum Points

The Lofts @ Cherokee Studios have been designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification from the USGBC, ensuring that the new structure (designed by Pugh + Scarpa) will be one of the most energy- and resource-efficient buildings of its kind on the West Coast. Some of those LEED points that will certainly make up the Lofts' winning USGBC report card will surely come from the building's gorgeous roof top garden designed by FormLA Landscaping.

The green roof will save energy and reduce the heat-island effect produced by the building. Rooftop greenery will absorb the unrelenting Los Angeles sunshine which means that residents and businesses in the building will need less air-conditioning to maintain pleasant indoor temperatures. The green roof will also produce a community benefit in mitigating the reflection and amplification of heat production by the building.

Irrigation and storm water runoff mitigation were also concerns when designing the roof. Storm water will be captured on the roof and routed through a drainage and filtration system beneath a landscaped parkway. There it will be cleaned, filtered, and directed back into the ground water table to reduce pollution and run-off.

The roof will be planted with native plants that require minimal irrigation. These natural grasses will softly frame 365 degree views of the urban landscape that is Los Angeles. With views from Malibu to downtown, from the Griffith Observatory and Hollywood Sign all the way out to the Pacific Ocean beyond, this rooftop deck and lounge is the perfect place to chill out after a long day of work in the studio.

As Form LA's Cassy Aoyagi explains, "This rooftop will be beautiful place to entertain with incredible views of the city and abundant greenery."

Check back for photographs, or better yet, join us for the Rock-n-Platinum Preview & Party or Public Tours, coming up in October. We'll be posting ticket information very, very soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Music History 101 with Cherokee Studios

The BeeGees recording at Cherokee Studios (from the Sgt. Pepper Scrapbook blog)

To really understand what the Rock-n-Platinum showcase at the Lofts @ Cherokee Studios is paying homage to, it's important to know what Cherokee Studios was all about. Before they closed their doors in 2007, Cherokee Studios was truly one of the most well-known and sought-after recording studios in the city. Luckily, for the non music history trivia buffs among us, Cherokee Studios is about to launch a comprehensive Scrap Book, that outlines all the amusing, interesting, and cool music moments that took place at 751 N. Cherokee back in the day. The scrap book will focus primarily on the hey day of the studio while it was managed by the Robb Brothers, from the 70s through till present. Check back later this month when the Scrap Book launches officially.

For now, here are a few quick and interesting factoids:

Close Encounters with the Fifth Beatle
Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees and the many other stars of the movie worked long hours with George Martin (aka the Fifth Beatle) in Los Angeles at Cherokee Studios and in New York at
The Record Plant. Out of these sessions of long hours spent recording and mixing came the finished soundtrack for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was released in July
More Beatle-tidbits
During the summer of 1979, several other Beatles spent s
ome time at Cherokee Studios. John and Yoko visited Ringo while he was recording "A Dose of Rock n Roll" and "Cookin'." Paul and Linda McCartney stopped by to record "Pure Gold" for Ringo's album. George also wrote a tune called "I'll Still Love You" for Starr's album.

Michael Jackson, from the J5 to Thriller
Cherokee Studios kind of was a part of the Michael Jackson story at different times. The Jackson 5's former manager Shelley Berger actually met the guys for the first time at Cherokee Studios, as quoted by a recent Rolling Stone article.

"I'll never forget when Berry called me up and said we just signed this new act, the Jackson 5, five brothers," recalls their former manager, Shelley Berger. "He said, 'I want you to manage them, so come down to the studio and meet them.' It was 10 or 11 o'clock at night. I went to Cherokee recording studio, on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, and I was introduced to these five young men. It was the first time I saw Michael Jackson and I thought, 'Oh my lord.' My favorite entertainer at the time was Sammy Davis Jr., and I thought, 'This is the new Sammy Davis.' " (from David Browne's tribute story on 6/25/09)

Later on, Michael Jackson recorded parts of The Thriller and Off the Wall albums at Cherokee Studios.

From "The Man Who Fell to Earth"

The Many Faces of Bowie
According to one of the Brother Robb, Cherokee Studios connection with Bowie is one of the most interesting. The Thin White Duke himself just showed up one day, strolled into Studio One, struck a chord on the piano, and said "Cherokee, this will do nicely." Bowie went on to record several sessions for the Man Who Fell to Earth soundtrack.

David Bowie at Cherokee Studios (from CrackedActor)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Construction Update: Closer to Completion

It's stucco-time at the site, a messy but great indication that the Lofts at Cherokee Studios are one step closer to completion. Frankly, we'd rather not show you a photo of that, so let's talk about the next big milestone....paint!

Since the project is designed to attain LEED Platinum certification, REthink Development has selected AFM Safecoat zero-VOC paint, a company that was not too-long-ago rated the "safest eco paint" by future forward green design blog Inhabitat, to cover all the wall surfaces. AFM Safecoat has also generously agreed to be the paint sponsor for the Rock-n-Platinum Showcase, so our rock star cast of designers is busy this week selecting their hues. Next week, the painting begins.

Check back for the latest construction updates and more information about the Rock-n-Platinum Preview and Party. Tickets go on sale soon! And all we can say is that it's going to be epic.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Industry Interview: Phil Jaurigui, Owner & Founder of Swing House Studios

Stage 1 rehearsal/showcase room at Swing House

Ask anyone who has attempted a full-time music career it's not always as glamorous as it would seem. There are incredible highs and unimaginable lows, nevertheless, no matter how long your journey may last one thing is undeniable - The Biz is damn exciting. For Phil Jaurigui, Owner & President of Swing House Rehearsal and Recording Inc., maintaining a successful studio space is no easy task, but for the last 15 years Phil has managed to maintain and make a name for himself via Swing House. We had a chance to catch up with Phil to reminisce about the former Cherokee Studios, wrap about the new Lofts @ Cherokee and also touch on the importance of updating your business model, again and again...

The Biz

I first started
Swing House 15 years ago after losing my job at Capital Records. Soon thereafter, I started working for a guy named Dean Chamberlain at Domion Sound on Lilian Way in Hollywood. It was at Domion I learned how to record and run a PA system. Following the Northridge earthquake Dean decided to break his lease, sell his equipment and go out of business. With two credit cards and no
business experience whatsoever, I bought Dean's gear, which included Neil Diamond's old PA system and Swing House Studios was born.

Ali, the Swing House Mascot mixing on the API console.

When I first conceived of the studio I was also in a band, and thought it would be a perfect way for us to record and rehearse for free while also making a little bit of money on the side by renting it out other musicians. Little did I know how much the business would take over my life; the studio was flourising much more than my band and I quickly realized that I was better off being behind the scenes, still making the music just in a different capacity as a full-time studio owner. I dropped the band to focus on the business and have been just as involved in the music ever since. I went from one-room rehearsal space with a recording studio in the loft to eventually expanding to 3 rehearsal rooms, and offering equipment rentals.

Then one day the Red Hot Chili Peppers came into our lives and proceeded to take over the main studio for a year. Now although this was a good problem to have, it left me having to turn away all the other clients which left me completely torn because we're talking about big name bands like Jane's Addiction, Weezer, Goo Goo Dolls, and Green Day who all wanted to rent this popular room that the Chili
Peppers were using. It was then in 2001 that we picked up our small little one room studio on Cahuenga Boulevard a “sketchy & scary place" at the time with drug addicts and homeless people running rampant - very different from the hip, cool street that it is now - and moved into what once was Tim Burton's movie studio, and our current location on Willoughby & Formosa.

Remembering Cherokee Studios

It was early in my career when I was introduced to Cherokee Studios. I had always heard rumors about Cherokee and the Robb Brothers, its classic studio vibe, and who used to record there. It seemed as though they saw every major band from the 1970s come through their doors, everyone from Linda Ronstadt, and Journey to The Eagles and The Beatles. A specific memory I had was from back in 1995 when I was asked to deliver some amps and other sound equipment over to Liz Phair who was recording there at the time. As a young studio owner, I was always really excited about meeting other studio owners and I had heard a lot of good things about the Robbs, so visiting this studio to see how they operated, check out how they did things was a cool opportunity for me. Cherokee was everything I imagined it would be. Dark wood paneling, oriental rugs in every room, incense burning and an undeniable rock-n-roll vibe.
I'm a huge advocate of preserving the integrity of landmarks, especially those that have made an impact on music, so I think its very cool how the Robbs have chosen to preserve Cherokee's legacy by partnering with a modern company like REthink and putting the space to re-use. I'd love to have an office at the new Lofts @ Cherokee Studios myself!

LA's Musical Spin Cycle

Back in the day we had iconic music venues like Scream at Park Plaza where bands like Jane's Addiction, Iggy Pop, Faster Pussycat, Guns n Roses and all the most popular bands from the early 90s were playing on a regular basis. Then there was The Coconut Teazer over on Sunset and Cresent Heights, a place I practically lived at for most of my early years in Los Angeles. Aside from the great live acts at CT's, what was equally memorable were the free beers and hot dogs they served. As a small business owner trying to stay afloat, you made sure to know where the free buffets and happy hours were in this city. As much as I miss places like the Starwood and Scream, I also know that everything runs in cycles, especially in the entertainment industry. Studio 54 was only in existence for a couple of years but that doesn't diminish its importance as a music landmark. Nowadays, I think venues like The Roxy, The Viper Room and The Echo are doing a great job of resurrecting the music scene and breathing new life into an industry that is rapidly shrinking. One of the best things about L.A. is that there will always be a place to be "discovered".

Swing House act, The Tender Box will be playing this weekend at the Sunset Strip Music Festival at the Key Club on Saturday, September 12 @ 2pm.

That'll Leave a Mark

Nowadays, my life as a studio owner consists of wearing several different hats, everything from producing music showcases, artist development, tour management, and of course, renting rehearsal space to some of the greatest bands (new and old) that have ever crept on the scene, like Secondhand Seranade, The Slits, Elbow, Mike Snow, Otep, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Maroon 5, Green Day, Mars Volta and She Wants Revenge. In addition to managing the day-to-day business of a rehearsal and recording studio, I manage two bands called Astra Heights and The Tender Box who's new EP came out earlier this Summer. We also do comprehensive outdoor event production for annual music festivals such as the Sunset Strip Music Festival happening this weekend on the World Famous, Sunset Strip. I recently co-produced a Love & Rockets tribute album called 'New Tales to Tell' that was released early this Summer featuring artists like Frank Black of the Pixies, Flaming Lips, and the Dandy Warhols.

I don't know if I will still be running a rehearsal space in another 15 years, so much like the Robbs, I intend on parlaying my business know-how and the Swing House name into a full-time career in artist management, and producing large scale event production in L.A. as well as on the road. There might not always be a need for a large rehearsal space, and Swing House "the building" might not always be here, but the legacy that we have created will carry on.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Designer Spotlight: Cisco Home to Design Model Unit

We are thrilled to announce that Cisco Home, one of our showcase sponsors and a well-known force in the sustainable furniture and upholstery industry, is joining our cast of rock-star design teams. Francisco (aka "Cisco") Pinedo and his team will bring to life one of the penthouse units as a modern living space, replete with music recording space outfitted by Cherokee Studios.

Embracing the beauty of construction through the use of natural, pure materials, Cisco Home has been creating elegant furniture that is environmentally friendly and built to last since 1990. Based in Los Angeles, Pinedo has been named one of L.A.'s top five designers by Tu Ciudad and has been profiled extensively by national publications - New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He has also received numerous civic awards and accolades for his commitment to improving the environment and the community while still maintaining a high level of aesthetics.

The stylish, sustainable, hi fi model loft will open for viewing by the end of the month, but here's a taste of their design mojo in the meantime! Check back for information on how to schedule an appointment to view the model unit and be one of the first to take a tour of the Lofts @ Cherokee Studios.