Back in 1995, Kenny Siegal was living in New York City, working out of a personal studio in DUMBO, long before that neighborhood had turned into the chichi business district it is today.
His studio at the time was a subterranean lair, deep in the basement of 68 Jay Street, part of a space that would eventually be revitalized and become part of the now ever-expanding Saltlands Studios. But then it was just one room in a vast and empty cellar. That is, until the metal heads moved in and started rehearsing next door. That made recording a challenge, to say the least.
By 2001, Siegal had bought a historic greek revival home in the Catskills, about 100 miles outside of the city, where he built a home studio. That studio grew and grew until at times, it seemed poised to take over the whole house.
In the beginning, Siegal didn’t think of it as a commercial enterprise, but as a place to work on his own music with his band, Johnny Society, and to produce close friends and favorite collaborators.
“I was hesitant to start treating it like a business at first,” he says. “I knew it was a great creative resource, but it was also our home. I slowly warmed up to the idea, and then at a certain point, the snowball started to roll, and it got so big that we just had to get out of our own way.”
The studio really began to reach its potential when artists like Ratatat, Beirut and A.C. Newman of The New Pornographers started to come to stay and record at the studio – sometimes for a month or more.
“It was hard to deny what was going on,” says Siegal. “It wasn’t easy at first, and I had a lot of attachment to this idea of having a studio at home. But in the end, it’s been so healthy to separate church and state, so to speak.”
Today, Siegal and his family live nearby, and have let Old Soul become a full-time residential recording studio that’s sprawled out over the entire house…