My Dream Studio

Let me tell you about a big dream I had, and how I made it come true. When I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in ’86, I started working full-time for Austin Records, managing the recording studio—Austin’s Riverside Sound. That didn’t work out. I’ll save the details for another day, but the result was that by ’88 I was bartending at Baby Acapulco and making money. For a few years I kept bartending, saving money, then taking long travel vacations (following dreams) to Europe, Mexico, Central and South America. By ’92 I was depressed—-I didn’t like bartending, and I had discovered that travel was a short-term fix with no constructive advancement for my life. Then I got this dream, a crazy dream, really impossible for a man of my limited means. I wanted my own recording studio.
I thought about it a lot. I drew up numerous sketches of my dream studio. I even looked at some cheap real estate and tried to imagine how I could transform the dump into something. It was fun to think about. Then one day, Brian Hargiss offered me his 8-track recorder (not the cassette, the ¼ inch reels) and I started fooling around with it. I needed a patch-bay for all the connections, and decided to call Jim Gilbert, a professional carpenter I knew. I went to his shop, located in an industrial complex in South Austin, and my eyes went wide at the space. Suddenly I realized I could rent one of these spaces for the same amount I was paying to rent my apartment, and live there. There were already a couple of artists doing the same.
I did it. I fine-tuned my sketches, then went to Home Depot and bought all the supplies I needed to build my dream studio. All my friends got involved. It became a community project, and most of my clients came by word of mouth via these same friends. Thus was born Breakfast Surreal Studio. It was a blast. I made a lot of friends, helped a lot of musicians record for cheap, and eventually went bankrupt. I got so high from the experience that, when it all came down just three years later, I hit a rock-bottom depression. I was forced to re-invent myself, again. This dream made me who I am today, put me on the path to now. Dreams are serious stuff.

My Dream Studio

Lowell Smith

Victoria, United States

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How I made a crazy dream real, for the benefit of many.

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  • Lowell Smith
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