WSDG’s Storyk (L) and PAD founder Dave Malekpour in the Timbaland Studios control room.
A series of coincidental collaborations have led Professional Audio Design founder Dave Malekpour and Walters-Storyk Design Group co-principal John Storyk to a new co-venture with interesting implications for the pro audio community.
“We’ve known each other for years, and frequently bumped into each other at various trade events, but working together on a series of recent projects inspired some interesting conversations,” Malekpour explains. “When PAD was retained by Platinum hip hop producer Tim Mosley and his engineer Jimmy Douglass to provide the gear for their new Virginia Beach-based Timbaland Studio, we found the facility was being designed and built by WSDG. Numerous meetings with John Storyk and other WSDG team members over the course of the installation proved illuminating on many levels.”
Not long after their unintentional Timbaland collaboration, PAD and WSDG found themselves working together on Studio Metronome, a showplace destination mixing studio on a mountaintop estate in Brookline, N.H. “Once again, our conversations about design, system integration and hardware not only aided the client’s decision-making process, they impacted on our thinking about many of the facility’s needs,” Storyk adds.
When called in to equip a private studio for Boston-based supergroup Aerosmith, Malekpour knew WSDG would relate to their needs. “People who build recording studios are generally smart, high-profile and opinionated,” he says. “They’re not walking into a haberdasher and buying a jacket off a rack. They’ve got legitimate creative and aesthetic issues that need serious consideration.”
Initial meetings with the group soon led to an acoustically and technologically outstanding room, which inspired Malekpour and Storyk to consider a more formal strategic alliance. “Time and again we’ve seen the value in brainstorming and sharing our insights with clients at the earliest stages of a project,” Storyk says. “Decisions about infrastructure, wiring, equipment packages, room design and acoustics are much easier when they are explored in an integrated fashion during design development. Since we were already working together in a casual way, we felt a more formal relationship would be to everyone’s advantage.”
The two firms have been working together on architectural, acoustic, equipment and systems development for several interesting projects for more than a year. These include: Talking House, a high-end, 9,000 square-foot music creation, development and production center in San Francisco which will feature multiple control rooms surrounding a common tracking room and a custom “hybrid” large format analogue mixing console. Design and equipment selection has also begun on a facility for New Orleans-based producer David Fortman of Evanescence fame, and a private studio on Long Island, NY for R&B singer/songwriter Alicia Keys.
“Our decision to share a booth at this year’s AES Convention was another example of natural evolution of our informal consultancy,” Malekpour concludes. “We’re not building a new company, we’re forming an alliance. We work and play well with each other and, as long as we don’t get too excited about our respective favorite baseball teams, we’re hopeful that our recommendations will continue to attract the same level of client we’ve been fortunate enough to serve this far into the game.”