Hoping to attract artists, DDA develops incentive plan with music studio

For over 30 years, a small recording studio in Denison has hosted generations of musicians. From Vince Gill to the Dixie Chicks, the small, unassuming studio nestled above a main street storefront has brought well-known and up-and-coming artists to Denison. Now this studio can see new life under new ownership.

Representatives of Split Window Studios recently announced plans to purchase and invest $200,000 in new equipment for the studio. City officials and officials said they hope this investment and new venture will be music to the ears of Denison’s music community.

“It’s a small business in town. It has the potential to generate a lot of traffic with musicians and professionals involved in recording,” said William Myers, president of Denison Development Alliance, Vince. “We hope they will also work with local musicians and artists, like Shawnda Rains Studio. We hope they continue to grow the local industry.”

The upstairs studio was recently used by Bent Leaf Music Studio, but the site was recently purchased by Tony Giarraputo and Chris Romain of Split Window. The pair originally formed the studio around 2007, but careers and travel led the duo to go on hiatus until around 2018 and 2019.

Giarraputo once worked in the studio and produced videos in a building behind his house in Sherman. However, he jumped at the chance to buy the Denison studio when he learned it was for sale.

“It’s a studio that was designed in the 1980s by Russ Berger, who I would call a world-renowned acoustic designer,” Giarraputo said, describing the studio as one of Berger’s earliest designs. “So when the opportunity arose for us to get this space, we decided we’d like to do that.”

Denison’s site offers opportunities not only for audio production, but also for video work, he said. Plans for the site include a nearly 1,000 square foot video production stage, including a 12-14 foot LED wall that would function as a giant TV wall.

Other plans for the site include four tracking rooms, a podcast room, and equipment upgrades.

The studio’s reopening, which is expected to take place in April, coincides with the city’s efforts to foster the local music industry in Denison. The city was designated a Music Friendly Community by the State of Texas in late 2020. City officials at the time said they hoped to use this recognition to increase the visibility of local acts that attract music industry businesses from across the state.

“As you well know, Denison recently earned the Music Friendly Community designation from the State of Texas,” Giarraputo said. “Denison is focused on the community and on high street. They are focused on growing high street and growing business on high street and making it a place where people want to come. Promoting music and movies , it fits our culture and our plans.”

Beyond just recording music, Giarraputo said he would like to attract musicians to the city for public performances and other shows. Plans are underway to combine music and video interests this summer, as Split Window will film and host a pre-show for Music on Main each week.

The Denison Development Alliance expressed support by offering financial incentives for the project. The DDA proposes to finance 15% of the improvement project with an incentive package worth approximately $30,000. This is the DDA’s third micro-manufacturing incentive grant following two awarded in 2020 to CJ’s Coffee Cafe and Ironroot Republic for roasting and bottling equipment, respectively.

“Split Window Studios is the perfect fit for 400 W. Main and our vision of downtown Denison.” said Mayor Janet Gott. “Their choice of Denison and their willingness to make a long-term investment reflects the city’s commitment and investment in our historic downtown revitalization programs. We are delighted that they have chosen to be part of our very exciting future! »