We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Hill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The mindset behind opening up my own business was multi-faceted, and didn’t come without a great amount of planning and foresight. To start at the beginning, I have been a musician since the age of 7, but almost exclusively as a sideman, session player and/or band member. Being in the music industry in Atlanta was difficult for me, as well as for the majority of my musician friends. This was mainly because income was hard to come by and jobs generally weren’t too reliable. So there was a general attitude of flying by the seat of our pants most of the time. As I got older and more involved in different projects, I noticed a few other things about myself and the music industry. First, I noticed that I tended to voice my own ideas for song arrangements and ideas which, as a drummer and sideman, typically resulted in some butting of heads. I was “producing” but I didn’t identify it as such until later. Secondly, I noticed that recording studios were notoriously expensive, resulting in 1) either the project never recording or 2) the artists opting to record in a lower-quality studio. Most bands’ budgets are exactly what you’d expect them to be – practically nonexistent. This concerned me and I wondered if there could be a better option. Finally, I had a good amount of knowledge and experience engineering, and I’d also learned quite a bit from other engineers and producers during my time spent at various studios in my career. When I combined my knowledge and experience with what I had learned about the music industry, I realized there was a gap in the industry which hopefully I could fill. I could build a small, private high-end studio. And with my engineering and production skills I could record artists affordably, and realize both of our dreams – I could produce and create beautiful music and artists could make high-quality recordings relatively inexpensively. This has been the perfect union and I am pleased to be able to provide these services to my clients at Off The Record Studio.What should our readers know about your business?
A few years ago, I was simply a drummer. I was in multiple bands, I taught drum lessons, and I played sessions for studios. After a time, I eventually discovered there was a great need in the music industry. There were no inexpensive, high-quality recording studios. Combine that with the fact that most musicians are struggling financially, and things just didn’t seem fair to me. I was tired of seeing bands struggle. Tired of seeing artists not able to record because of their lack of budgets. Tired of seeing great talent go to waste. And I was in a position to do something about it. So, I stepped up. I decided to build a private studio. I hired and consulted with some of the best studio designers to guide the construction of my new recording studio. I practiced and honed my production and engineering skills. I sought advice and counsel from some of the most talented people in the industry. And, I did it. I completed construction of my studio, and opened it up for business in 2015. Since then, I have been proud to produce and engineer multiple artists and bands for much less than other studios. This has not come without risk and hardship. Running a studio is much like owning a home – something is always breaking or causing a problem. Two years ago, I had a sewer main break that flooded the studio and I had to rebuild sections of the wall. Luckily, with the help of some very good people, we avoided any damage and things were repaired. During one session with Grace Conley about a year and a half ago, my mixing console caught on fire while she was tracking guitar! Yeah, she was that good! But, as with most things, persistence and knowledge can overcome. Each day has its own set of challenges and I refuse to back down from them. And I am so proud to have offered my services to some of the most amazing and talented artists in the Atlanta area.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since I’ve lived in the Atlanta metro area almost my entire life, I can safely say that there are many fun and exciting things to do here. Downtown, there are amazing restaurants such as Bones and Aria. SkyView Atlanta is great for a date or even a family experience and gives such a gorgeous view of the city. There are legendary venues like The Tabernacle and Variety Playhouse. Little Five Points is one of my favorite places to hang out and just walk around, shop, eat and people watch. Lenox Mall deserves a mention because I love shopping and it is one of the best malls here. Six Flags is just so much fun, obviously, I love the adrenaline rush of a good coaster. I live near the Chattahoochee River, and I enjoy kayaking, swimming and tubing. There are so many great places to hike around here, too – Blood Mountain, Indian Seats, Kennesaw Mountain and Stone Mountain are all great choices.The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank my family first and foremost for supporting me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents’ love and acceptance. I am most thankful for my friends and colleagues in the music industry who have been in projects with me, and for the artists who have trusted me with their art. Specifically, thank you to the Atlanta chapter of the Recording Academy, ASCAP, NARIP, and Georgia Music Partners. And a special thank you to all of the artists who inspired me as a child and made me realize this is possible.