By Tony Maiella, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Until about a decade ago, finding a recording studio with world-class microphones and pre-amps was a challenge in Rio. Now that those critical pieces of equipment have found their way here, the city is a more appealing place for all types of audio productions. While most major commercial jobs still may go straight to São Paulo, the economy is booming, with the 2014 World Cup Media Center in Rio, as well as the 2016 Olympic Games, surely more will come to the Cidade Maravilhosa.
Estúdios Mega in Humaitá should capture a lot of the commercial business since it’s one of the most technologically adept studios for services such as animation, audio-visual, 5.1 surround mixing and post-production. In addition to these services, the studio also has music recording gear and an equally impressive sister studio in São Paulo. The occasional foreign engineer works here, so the studio is English speaking when needed.
On the creative side of the business, the attention Rio will receive is also bound to inspire artistic endeavors that draw from its musical tradition. The Internet has given any artist the ability to share their music and cultivate a following without the help of a major label. As a result, more artists are making music than ever before and Rio is no exception.
Francisco (Chico) Neves, owner and chief engineer at Estúdio 304 is proof of the independent, alternative scene in the city. A Latin Grammy winning producer-engineer who worked for EMI and Warner, Chico now prefers to work as a freelance engineer in his cozy Jardim Botânico studio.
Chico explains, “What I like is to be focused on the creative process. My clients are people that admire my work and wish to work with me.” Chico’s past clients include O Rappa, Lenine Los Hermanos, Do Amor, to name a few. In Studio 304, one can also find rare gadgets like an early wire recording device made by The Edison Company and a binaural microphone that simulates human hearing.
In 2006, Ale de Morais, Felipe Rodarte, Guilherme Vaz and Bruno Valansi formed a partnership to start Estúdio Soma, also in Jardim Botânico. Both Guilherme and Ale were educated at Boston’s Berklee College of Music in engineering, which makes their laid-back studio very easy to work with in English. The studio can do everything from indie music to post- production, jingles and mastering.
Overall business is already good according to Constança Scofield, owner of the legendary rock recording studio in the forest Toca do Bandido, tells “the studio has been filled 90 percent of the time this year, which showed us that we made the correct choices in the years of the crisis.”
In addition to being one of the best rooms to record drums and guitars in Rio, Toca do Bandido serves as a luxurious accommodation for artists, an urban art gallery and a home base for the record label, Toca Discos.
Constança continues, “Foreign groups don’t usually come here to record since it is more expensive to bring a production abroad, but there have been a few: Akkura (Italy), Magnus Lindgren (Switzerland) and Go (Chile).”
Surely more foreigners will be coming to record in the Marvelous City in the not so distant future and more studios are likely to open up anticipating the demand.