When Ray Parker Jr. Needs A Cutting-Edge Studio, Who’s He Gonna Call?
When musical “key master” and producer Ray Parker Jr. envisioned a studio combining audio recording with live-streaming video in an environment that broke the traditional barriers of studio construction, he called Westlake Pro Design Group. With ergonomic efficiency and striking aesthetics crucial to the realization of Mr. Parker’s vision, Westlake Pro handled the chores of project management, system design, integration, and overseeing computer and software implementation, as well as crafting custom materials to accommodate the decorator’s interior design goals.
Technical challenges and unique features:
• Live-streaming video and studio systems required single-operator control to and from multiple locations
• Floor-to-ceiling glass wall between control room and live room, as well as sound locks and isolation booths
• Match the interior decorator’s design goals, from engraved “electric orange” wall plates to custom furniture
Since Westlake designs grow organically from the concepts and creative needs of the client, there are always unique challenges that must be met without compromise functionally, sonically, and aesthetically. In this case, Ray wanted a studio that eliminated the intimidating “under the microscope” sense of judgment musicians feel when being peered at through a control room window, as well as avoiding the mistake of putting singers in a closet and expecting them to emote. To accomplish this, Ray envisioned floor-to-ceiling glass to join the control room and live room into a single entity. This concept extended to sound locks and isolation booths. He also wanted a video rig that could live-stream or capture and edit any studio session with up to six cameras. Challenge accepted!
On the audio side, Westlake Pro created a warm acoustic environment that mitigated the highly reflective behavior of glass. On the video side, a camera and control system was designed to enable the use of the studio from another building on Ray’s property. Full USB, HDMI, camera, and audio lines were installed in his living room to provide an additional recording space with all the comforts of home. In order to create a system that would seamlessly tie it all together, Westlake Pro, had an idea: “Let’s cross the streams.” Not only can the studio route video signal to and from the living room, musicians in the house can see the musicians in the studio. This allows for single-operator control of the studio’s Pro Tools system from the house.
Additionally, at Ray’s behest, Westlake Pro provided custom-engraved “electric orange” wall plates, as well as custom-designed furniture for the studio racks and cable dressing systems. And, to paraphrase the iconic movie for which Ray composed the title theme, “When someone asks Westlake Pro if they can build the impossible, we say, ‘Yes!’”
About Ray Parker Jr.
Best known for composing the title theme of the movie, “Ghostbusters,” the multi-talented, Grammy award-winning Ray Parker Jr. has spent considerable time on both sides of the studio glass as a session guitarist for artists spanning several genres, including Marvin Gaye, Boz Scaggs, Joe Cocker, Rob Thomas, Cher, LeAnn Rimes, Freddie Hubbard, B.B. King, Herbie Hancock, Pattie LaBelle, and Bill Withers. Along with movie soundtracks, his work as a composer are found in the recordings of Erykah Badu, Sheena Easton, Barry White, Chaka Kahn, Smokey Robinson, Pat Boone, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Ray has also produced, engineered, and mixed for the band Raydio, Brick, and Deniece Williams.
Ray is currently a producer and composer for the new comedy series, Beauty and the Baller, which premiered on BET Centric, and also appears in the DVD music documentary, Hired Gun. Along with projects at home, Ray’s new studio should keep him pretty busy.
For in-depth information about this and other studio build projects, or to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific workflow and needs, contact Westlake Pro Design Group today.