It’s an unassuming building set back off a Lenexa street, but musicians and voiceover talent from all over the area know it well.
Chapman Recording & Mastering has provided audio services since the 1970s in Lenexa and Kansas City to musicians of all genres as well as companies producing ads. The studio has worked with rapper Tech N9ne, as well as Dead Reckoning, Jewel and Bryan Adams on a variety of projects over the years.
For decades, the studio was a fixture of downtown Kansas City, but moved to Lenexa as the real estate landscape began to change. The business has been at 8805 Monrovia St. in Lenexa since 2009.
Q. How does your studio attract customers?
Much of the work comes through referrals or from musicians shopping around for a studio who see the website, said owner Chuck Chapman. The majority of the customers are within a 100-mile radius.
That said, though, the studio has sometimes been used by artists in town for a project or concert who needed to finish up some audio work. Jewel, for instance, stopped through to work on an audio book. And working with big names like Tech N9ne brings a certain amount of respect in the industry, he said.
It also helps to have the best high-end equipment like the Solid State Logic console, he said. The studio also has a top-notch grand piano, Hammond organ and drum kit on hand for bands.
Q. What types of work do you mainly do?
Chapman Recording handles two main types of audio services — album recording and mixing for bands and film and video productions for companies.
The corporate work is mostly post-production editing, mixing and sound effects for ad agencies and companies that produce such things as training videos, Chapman said.
Albums can be for bands hoping to sell them or for vanity projects, he said. The studio engineers like to work with all types of musicians and have made albums in just about every genre, Chapman said. “We like to do it all. What’s enjoyable for the audio engineers is the variety.”
Q. Why did you move out of downtown Kansas City?
The studio used to be located in the Warner Bros. building at 17th and Wyandotte Streets in the 1970s. But property values soared with development of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The building was sold, and Chapman moved out in January 2009.
The Lenexa location was already a recording studio, so there was no need to rebuild, Chapman said. “It was a great location and the price was right.”
Q. What is your biggest challenge?
Keeping up with changing technology is always a challenge, Chapman said. When he started as an engineer in 1972, the equipment was tapes and cassettes, but digital technology changes as a pace that makes it necessary for Chapman to spend a fair amount of time on the Internet, researching new developments. “You can never go to sleep on technology or you’ll be very behind very quickly,” he said.
Q. How did you get into this business?
Chapman was a drummer in high school and junior high and has loved the recording part of the business since the first time he heard playback in a studio, he said.
His parents sent him to a three-month recording workshop at Brigham Young University that featured some of the most respected record producers on the West Coast. He credited that training plus his familiarity with music as a professional drummer with giving him the knack for the recording studio. He started as an audio engineer in 1972.
Q. What do you look for in an employee?
Most aspiring engineers these days need some kind of recording school because the field is so competitive, Chapman said. But technical knowledge only goes so far.
“I’m looking for a good employee first and someone who knows audio second,” he said. “I look for someone with people skills and a passion.” That’s important for communicating with band members if things go wrong, he said. “I can teach our gear.”
Being a musician also has helped Chapman relate to the bands that come in to record, he said.
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In a nutshell
Company: Chapman Recording & Mastering
Address: 8805 Monrovia St., Lenexa KS 66215