Spotlight On….Degraw Sound
Editor’s Note: This is the newest installment of our “Spotlight On” feature that focuses on Brooklyn music movers and shakers, with behind-the-scenes glimpses of some of the creative forces behind Brooklyn’s vibrant music scene.
Ben Rice is a Brooklyn based producer, mixer, engineer and songwriter working primarily out of his studio, Degraw Sound, which he opened in 2012. Rice tells Brooklyn Roads that, “When I was looking for a space to build my studio, I looked all over Brooklyn and I just kept coming back to the Park Slope / Gowanus area. I grew up not too far from here, so I already knew the neighborhood and saw how it was changing. It seemed like it would be a good place to set up shop.”
Rice has an impressive background. He’s worked with artists such as Aoife O’Donovan, The Candles, Daughter, Jack Penate, Silya & The Sailors, The Skins and producers Eddie Kramer, Gus Van Go & Werner F., Jon Levine, Michael Einziger and Tedd Hutt.
Brooklyn Roads was curious as to why someone would choose to open a recording studio in Brooklyn. Rice’s formative years help explain this: “I grew up listening to old rock ‘n’ roll and country music — The Beatles, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson… stuff like that,” he tells us. “I never really thought to become a producer…I just wanted to write and play songs in a band. I got a job working in a studio when I was 16 because I thought that I’d meet A&R people, give them my band’s demo and they’d sign us. What really happened was that I got pretty good at cleaning bathrooms and making coffee and started getting obsessed with studio life.”
He also wound up getting mentored “by some pretty incredible producers, he says, “So I started recording more of my own stuff and then people started asking me to produce records for them and I got really into it.”
Rice tells Brooklyn Roads about some of the artists who recorded at Degraw Sound. “I produced an EP for a singer named Kevin Daniel that’s due out in mid-March that I’m pretty stoked about — he’s got a great voice and we made this really cool, rootsy, Americana record and I got to play a little guitar on it. There’s a band called Queue that I’ve been working with and after about two years I’ve finally convinced them to make the move to Brooklyn. They’re a really special band — the singer (Olivia) and guitarist (Aida) have an amazing chemistry, like a modern day Morrissey and Johnny Marr. I think they’re making some profound and inspiring music.”
Some of Degraw’s music clientele could end up at 2018’s Degraw Fest, the first of which was held at Littlefield. Rice says that, “We haven’t announced it officially, but we’ve got some exciting things that we’re working on. Last year was the fifth anniversary of the studio, so I thought having a little music festival would be a cool way to bring everyone together and celebrate. I wasn’t necessarily thinking of having Degraw Fest become an annual thing, but everyone had such a good time that we had to do it again! Similar to last year, we’ll have some of the artists that we’ve produced here perform and we’ll team up with a local food vendor and brewery.”