Battle Creek Music Studio Amplifies Vocals as a Media Hub

battle stream – Exterior has signage for Kendall Electric Inc., some campaign signs, and a black mailbox that says “131 Studios.”

Inside the unassuming building, there are photo ops, podcasts are recorded, videos are shot, and music is produced and recorded.

“The most important thing here is that it’s a one-stop shop,” Trevon Tatum said. “It’s a media hub.”

Tatum, along with his older brother Trenel Tatum and their friend Derek Freeman, own 131 collective studios in Battle Creek. The group leases space at the site in the city’s light industrial district and operates at least eight separate commercial offerings under the umbrella of the 131 collective studios.

“Just a place where people can come together collectively and make music and art for the town of Battle Creek,” Freeman said. “It’s a place where they can go, they know they can be creative. Once they walk through those doors, they can be creative, they’re not with their mom, dad, and friends. They have a real place they can call home.

Octavius ​​Feaster and Stacy Rogers are among the musicians who have used the space since 131 Collective Studios officially opened on August 21. The couple also used the location as a way to connect with regional talent for their independent label, Farrocc Records, LLC. .

“Everything we do is basically for the development of artists,” Feaster said. “Every time they book a session, not only are they recording, but we provide insight into what they could do better, what potential they have, and how to distribute their music. You don’t have to to go through a major (label) to distribute your music, you can do it independently, just make sure that they develop.

Rain clouds roll over 131 Condominium Studios Monday, October 12, 2020 in Battle Creek, Mich. Travon Tatum, along with his older brother Trenel Tatum and their friend, Derek Freeman, own 131 Condominium Studios in Battle Creek.  The group leases space at the site in the city's light industrial district and operates at least eight separate commercial offerings under the umbrella of the 131 collective studios.

“Also make sure they get paid for their music,” Rogers added.

Battle Creek’s Calemore Greene is a hip-hop artist and said he loves coming to 131 Collective Studios, where “everything is brought to you.”

“It lets you focus on more than one aspect of the music without giving up on any part of that creative process,” he said. “I come with whatever beat I want to lay out, not having to worry about engineering or certain sounds or setups with how I like to hear my voice with myself when I’m.

“If I want to edit something and take a certain element or a certain sound out of some kind of song that I’m doing, they have a live studio here and also a drum set so you can change things up, so that’s a lot of different things that I have I’m not always going to have in my crib, so I can just come here and do whatever else,” Greene said.

Trevon Tatum originally launched 131 Collective Studios with Erik McCloud. The two studied communication at Olivet College, where Tatum is the official DJ for school events under his stage name “DJ Tate 5”.

131 Collective Studios co-owner Trevon Tatum sits for a portrait Monday, October 12, 2020 in Battle Creek, Mich.  Tatum, along with his older brother Trenel Tatum and their friend, Derek Freeman, own 131 collective studios in Battle Creek.  The group leases space at the site in the city's light industrial district and operates at least eight separate commercial offerings under the umbrella of the 131 collective studios.

The Tatum Brothers grew up in Battle Creek and were immersed in music from an early age through the church where their father served as chief pastor for over 20 years, First Salem Baptist Church. Freeman, a candidate for a city commissioner seat, moved to Battle Creek six years ago and met Trenel Tatum when they both worked as bus drivers for Dean Transportation.

Trenel Tatum works at the studio as a producer and artist while running his own independent label and production company. He tends to work more with gospel musicians, while Trevon works mostly with hip-hop artists, though they say the building is equipped to work with musicians in most genres.

“We also do AV installations outside here,” Trenel Tatum said. “We quote for a lot of different things. We do training. We’re not just looking to help on the music side, but to help businesses, especially churches right now that can’t have services that rely on donations, and a lot of churches aren’t plugged into the side electronics, so we help them set up streaming services, giving them options and staying within their budgets so they can do what they normally do every Sunday.

As diverse as its offering, the heart of 131 Collective Studios is music. And Trenton Tatum said the goal was to amplify the voices of local artists and give them a professional setting they might otherwise need to travel to Detroit or Lansing to find.

“When you walk in, you should feel like five stars. We want you to feel important. When you leave here feeling important, you’re inviting someone else in,” he said. biggest piece is networking. Whatever you need, we know someone who can help.

Freeman, who previously worked as a paraprofessional and family advocate in the Lakeview and Battle Creek school districts, added that he would like to open up more space for youth programs and internship opportunities.

“I work with kids in Battle Creek, teach them how to use a camera, start a YouTube channel and start a podcast. We have it all here at 131 Collective Studios,” Freeman said. “It’s a good place to be and a voice for people.”