Pitbull producer brings music studio to Louisville

Hugo Diaz, a Miami-based music producer who helped Pitbull rise to fame, will open a multimillion-dollar recording studio at 520 Fourth Street in downtown Louisville.

Huge music recording studios will be state-of-the-art, Diaz said, filling a 5,000-square-foot space in the Marmaduke Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It will be designed for music, post-production films and potentially as a gathering place for music-related conferences.

Renovations began on Sunday and work is expected to continue throughout 2017. No opening date has been set.

“I’m trying to build probably the most amazing studio Louisville has ever seen in hopes that I can help the city come together musically, and use that as a springboard for all of these artists to have a chance in this music industry,” Diaz said. .

Diaz and his brother, Lu, contributed to Pitbull’s international fame by producing his 2004 debut album, “MIAMI,” which reached No. 14 on the Billboard 200 pop chart, No. 2 on the rap chart, and No. 7 on the ranking. R&B graphics. One or both also worked on four of Pitbull’s first five records as producers or engineers.

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Lu Diaz focused more on mixing and engineering, working on albums that won three Grammy Awards. Hugo Diaz has been producing and running another studio in Miami, also called Huge Music, since 2010.

Alison Brotzge-Elder, director of communications for Greater Louisville, Inc., said GLI’s recent trip to Austin, Texas to study that city’s growth made them realize the need for greater “density of downtown”. She said Huge Music would be a positive step towards that goal.

“Every time a business decides to start, relocate or open in our 15-county region, we are thrilled because it provides new opportunities, not only for business owners, but also for workers and people likely to use the services,” she said. .

Huge Music arrives in Louisville via Floyds Knobs, Ind., where Diaz lives for many months of the year with his wife, Louisville native Carla Humphries. Diaz and Humphries, who also have a home in Miami, have lived in Indiana since 2013 and Diaz said Louisville’s music scene impressed him.

“I got my feet wet in Kentucky and realized there was a lot of talent here,” Diaz, 44, said. “I was going to go back to Miami and rebuild my studio, and expand it, but I had a big opportunity open up (in Louisville).

“We’re walking on cloud nine because everything went so well,” Diaz said. “This year it’s about building the facility. It’s a huge undertaking.”

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Diaz plans to keep the original architectural elements wherever possible while converting the space into three rooms. He invests in high-end hardware, including a six-digit Solid State Logic Duality production board and a Genelec monitor system. Smaller rooms will be equipped with Pro-Tools and possibly Raven touch screen production boards. The main room will also have a cinema screen to mix the sound of films.

“It’s a long laundry list and it’s going to get longer,” he said. “Right now we’re just more interested in building the actual walls and soundproofing and detailing everything before moving any equipment there. It’s like the fifth studio I’ve built in my career and you always say, ‘Oh, I can do it in six months’, but studios are always an ongoing thing.”

Building owner James Reskin, studio owner Hugo Diaz and producer Ricky "Boom" Wiggington, Jr stands in the open space at 520 Fourth Street.  The trio converts the century-old building to house post-production and recording facilities.  01/29/17

Louisville has its share of recording studios, most of which are smaller than Diaz anticipated. Kevin Ratterman, owner of popular studio La La Land, was intrigued by Huge Music

“If they’re doing film post-production work, it can make a lot of money, but if he wants to tap into the local music market, there’s not a lot of money,” Ratterman said. “Louisville is mostly people doing weird stuff and they don’t have a lot of money. But it’s funny!

“Recording in the right studio is essential for any artist, especially artists who take their craft seriously and try to take it to the next level,” said Louisville hip-hop musician James Lindsey.

Diaz is attending a Coast 2 Coast LIVE Artist Showcase on April 26 at the Haymarket Whiskey Bar in Louisville, where aspiring artists will perform in front of industry veterans. He said connecting Louisville artists with the music industry through similar conferences is a priority.

“We’re going to do a lot more just to raise awareness in the city and allow everyone to network,” he said, “because the dream only works if the team works.”

Journalist Jeffrey Lee Puckett can be reached at (502) 582-4160 and [email protected]

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