Are you a Stony Brook musician looking for free rehearsal space or a studio to record your latest song? If you are a student or faculty/staff member, Tabler Studios in the Tabler Center for Arts, Culture and Humanities has all you need and more — free of charge. The studio opened its doors last semester and has gained momentum by partnering with the Tabler Digital Arts Lab and DoIT’s Teaching, Learning and Technology (TLT) department to expand its accessibility.
AJ Kuri, a Stony Brook undergraduate studying interdisciplinary biology on a pre-med track with a double minor in digital art and music technology, co-founded Tabler Studios with the help of Daniel Weymouth, an associate professor of music and director of Stony Brook’s cDact, an interdepartmental consortium for digital arts, culture and technology. Kuri is an audio engineer and administrative director at the studio. He explained that the space used to be a drum room — a soundproof space with a drum set — which students could reserve for practice sessions. The cDACT program decided to temporarily close the space and turn it into a recording studio.
“As an incoming freshman, the drum room was a major selling point in my decision to attend Stony Brook University,” said Kuri. “I was an indecisive biology major on a pre-med track with a digital arts minor. Once I heard about the studio plans, I quickly took an interest in music technology because I knew I had to help expedite the process so I could get back in there.”
Kuri contacted Weymouth to get involved in the project and helped get the recording equipment installed, which was no easy task.
“I was part of the original group of testers who worked in the studio during Summer Session 2013, and I took the initiative to see the original vision through,” explained Kuri. “I found some equally passionate volunteers — Vincent Metas, Jasmine Rose and Joseph Kickbush — who have dedicated their time working as engineers. I designed the studio website and the reservation system.”
It’s easy to reserve rehearsal and recording time. Students, staff or faculty with a valid SBU ID can fill out a reservation form after checking the online calendar for availability. The studio staff will then schedule a time slot.
Tabler Studios has received funding as a specialized SINC site through a partnership between cDACT and TLT. The studio’s recording engineers work with Stony Brook students on recording projects. The room is equipped with an array of microphones, a keyboard donated by student Joseph Kickbush, a public address system for amplified vocals, a high-quality audio interface and a software control surface for recording sessions. The studio will expand its capabilities in the future.
Kuri not only works in the studio, he has used the space himself to rehearse and record as drummer for the pop punk band Nice Shot, Kid, made up of Stony Brook alumni. “We practice regularly at Tabler Studios, and it has no doubt been a pivotal location in our band’s history,” said Kuri. “We even recorded our EP Setbacks there last year, and we just released two new songs, which were recorded at the studio.
Kuri is director of Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Student Government A/V, which handles live sound for campus events, and he works for the Javits Center A/V. He has been a student assistant at the Tabler Center since his sophomore year and has been honored this year with an Undergraduate Achievement Award for Leadership. Kuri is also involved with RockYoFace, a club on campus that showcases local bands and holds events during the year such as open mic nights and the recent RockYoFest on April 25.
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— Lynne Roth