Meet Robert Frank of Minor Chord Studio
Well, music has been a huge part of my life since I was very young. My Grandmother and Great Grandfather were musicians, they lived down the street from us so my brother and I were always there, we were very much influenced by the environment. My Great Gramps was a virtuoso, just an unbelievably talented guy, this really made an impact on me for the first few years of my life. Of course, being little kids, me and my brother were into the heavier rock bands at the time. Grandpa Frank would want to teach us polkas and such but we were more interested in Kiss and Led Zeppelin, I wanted to be Peter Criss or John Bonham. We spent a whole lot of time there, being around all the different instruments, hangin out in Grandpas music room, it definitely laid the foundation for what has become my career in the music world. (Also my love of model trains, but that’s a different story…)
To this day, 40+ years later, I can see one of Gramps old tape recorders and remember playing Zeppelin on it back in the 70’s. The foundation of my formative years was strongly based upon music.
In my teens, my grandmother bought my first drum set, she also bought my brothers first Marshall stack. My dad was always very supportive about whatever we were into, he let us turn a portion of the garage into a jam room, basically. Also, being into metal and punk at the time, you can imagine the noise we were making, not just us, but friends coming over and making a racket as well. The jam room kept us home but out of the house, nice thinking Dad, those were great times.
It was around that time I really got interested in music production and/or engineering, my dad bought my first multi track recorder, (which I still display to this day in my studio) I bought a couple Shure SM57 mic’s and I was HOOKED.
I would spend hours upon hours in that room, (most of my teen years) recording, figuring out everything from mic techniques to room acoustics, being a multi instrumentalist I found myself writing song after song, recording, buying different mic’s, totally obsessed with making records. When I was 18, I bought my first Fostex reel to reel recorder and 16 channel mixer. That’s when I started recording bands, officially. I eventually kept up with technology to where I am today with Pro Tools.
Early on, I had so many questions, with no internet and nobody to ask, I learned the old fashion way, out of trial and error, and necessity. Today, we just jump on YouTube or Google to get answers, I didn’t have that luxury. There was a lot of wonder and frustration during those days for me, why didn’t my recordings sound good? This forced me to dive deep into learning sound, acoustics, rooms and such, microphones, totally nerding out. The only way to get better at what I was doing was by working with bands and artists on a regular basis, every session was a learning experience. (And still is to this day) The hard thing was, finding enough clients to stay busy wasn’t aways easy, lots of dry spells to go through. Luckily I played in a few bands throughout that time, I was very immersed in the East LA punk scene, this landed me some pretty cool sessions. The more I learned and got better, the more expensive my hobby/career was getting. I soon needed a larger space so my Dad let me take the rest of the garage, I started buying higher end gear, building patch bays, luckily the clientele kept coming to help pay for that stuff!
Eventually my parents sold the home and I was out of a studio, that was rough. I started putting together a couple mobile rigs I could lug around town, that pretty much sucked. Problem was, most of the recording environments weren’t ideal, I didn’t have a proper room to mix in either. I eventually stopped that because it was more trouble than anything. I always knew I’d get a proper spot again, I just hung in there and didn’t lose hope.
A few years later my wife and I bought our first home, but what I saw was the potential for another studio, which is where we are now.
Today I run Minor Chord Studio out of our home. Our home is basically a recording studio that we live in, it’s a pretty unique experience. We keep it looking like a home but there are some features unlike most homes, like XLR panel jacks in the closets that lead to a control room. We do multi track audio production, mixing, songwriting, vocal coaching, provide session musicians if needed. Coming from a rock background, I specialize in organic instrumentation, not too much electronic stuff. Our clients are at ease and comfortable in our space making for a pleasurable experience, very relaxed environment yet quick and productive, we enjoy being hospitable to our guests, worked out great so far!
To me, success is knowing our clients leave as friends with a product they love and can be proud of. Knowing their experience was positive is very important to us. I’m always on the lookout for talented songwriters/artists to work with, someone that can benefit from what we do. Finding people with not only talent, but the strong drive and work ethic to succeed is something we’re always looking out for. Sometimes I hear something in a band or artist that I know we can help shape into success, that still lights a fire in me.