Ex CFMU Deejay-Turned-Lawyer Opens New Recording Studio
Brings Lifelong Love of Music To Fruition, Opens Studio in James North Neighbourhood
|Mario “Rockin’ Rio” Pietrangeli plays
Open Streets Hamilton
When Mario “Rockin’ Rio” Pietrangeli flicks on the power switch in his new Downtown Sound Recording Studios this spring, it won’t be without a considerable amount of industry awareness and experience. It was 1979 when Pietrangeli left Hamilton for Toronto to start his career in the legal profession. While he was working in Toronto he continued to play with several bands, develop his own sound and style, but more importantly he developed his ears. Pietrangeli never never really left his love for music, and now, 32 years later he gets to see his dream come true of having his own recording studio.
Downtown Sound Recording Studios is located on Barton Street just steps east of James Street.
“I had started recording bands in my basement. I ended up doing demos on a four track recorder, and then got CuBase EST for my computer. I remember the days when we were paying $60 to get a CD master burned. You couldn’t just do it at home. And to record five songs ended up costing about ten grand.”
“At a certain point it was time to do something else with my life. I was talking with friends who are in different aspects of the business: bar owners, musicians, former recording studio operators. I asked people, “Is it worth the effort to go to school?” One of them said, “You can mess around all your life, or go to school and make sure you’ve got the basics covered.”
Pietrangeli attended the Sound and Recording Arts program at Recording Arts Canada.
2011 was “a turnstile year,” according to his wife Alicia. She is a glass artist who will share the storefront on the property, with the recording studio being located in the back. “He went in as a lawyer and came out as an audio engineer.” Pietrangeli knows it’s not that simple.
|Downtown Sound Recording Studios Tracking Room
“I was a senior partner in my law firm. Our financial situation, although fairly comfortable in Toronto, was enhanced by moving to Hamilton. It allowed us to have some flexibility. Early in 2012 we saw this place, signed in May, closed in October. “It’s a decent space. The studio has two rooms built within a cinder block construction rear addition. It’s a 27 by 14 foot tracking room. The control room is about half that size. We have office space on the second floor. Parking on the street is available.”
Pietrangeli is happy to be located in the James North area. This Ain’t Hollywood is just a few steps away, and Lou Molinaro is an acquaintance from years back when Pietrangeli’s various Toronto bands were playing around. Pietrangeli is still active as a guitarist for the High Tides, and he recorded, mixed and mastered their recent collection of surf music entitled “Desert Sands.”
|Some of the available gear at Downtown Sound|
What kind of approach does Pietrangeli take when recording? “Vintage style recording isn’t necessarily better. To me, it’s not whether it’s old or new. It’s what does the final product sound like? I prefer multi-tracking, where you do a rough take with the whole band, and then go back and record separate tracks more carefully. The goal of my studio is to reach people that otherwise might not have the opportunity to record with this type of equipment, without costing an arm and a leg.
Here’s some of what the Downtown Sound Recording Studios will offer.
- direct-to-digital recording using and SSL MADI AX interface
- Cubase via PC or Protools10 via Mac
- optional 16 track ½” reel-to-reel tape or 4-track ¼” reel-to-reel
- 1980s vintage British-made Soundtracs CM4400 24 track console
- a variety of outboard gear
- a selection of vintage amplifiers by Fender, Vox and Marshall
Look for the official opening announcement in early February.