Prior to becoming the owner of Long Island, NY-based Strong Island Studio, Peter Kalafatis had been an active participant of the 1980's New York City punk hardcore scene—a life which he vividly recalls in his debut book out from All and None Press, A Rebel Life: Murder by the Rich. After his days as a punk rocker following bands like Warzone, Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front and many others, Kalafatis settled down to Long Island's north shore roughly a decade ago where he joined the family business as a restaurateur. Most recently, with expert assist from GC Pro, Kalafatis has opened Strong Island Studio, Long Island's high-end recording facility.
Strong Island Studio, a 2000-square-foot facility designed by Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro) Affiliate program member Malvicino Design Group, boasts state of the art acoustic design. Strong Island also boasts the same equipment that you might find in other commercial facilities such as gear from manufacturers like ADAM, API, Apogee, Avid, Neve and SSL. Since Kalafatis is a musician at heart, there are plenty of guitars and amps to choose from for the most discriminating guitarist.
Kalafatis' vision for Strong Island was to create a recording environment that would be truly collaborative, where his many friends could explore their musical ideas and work on their own independent projects: "My main purpose was really just to get my son and my friends into music and recording, and then think about the business aspect," says Kalafatis. From an equipment and integration perspective, engaging GC Pro turned out to be a pivitol decision in helping Kalafatis realize his vision. A longtime customer of Guitar Center's Carle Place retail location, Kalafatis worked closely with GC Pro account manager Michael Yorky, who guided him through the entire process of setting up Strong Island to make sure it got off on the right foot. "When I sat down with Mike, he told me that he could help me from A to Z. He helped me choose the right equipment for what I was doing. I wanted to do something new, and it had to be a digital studio," Kalafatis recalls.
The call to GC Pro's Michael Yorky proved to be invaluable on another important front as well, since Yorky also introduced Kalafatis to studio designer Horacio Malvicino. Malvicino not only handled studio design, but also oversaw the entire construction and installation processes.
Kalafatis, a relative newcomer to the studio business, had the fortune of being surrounded by professionals to guide him through all the foundational elements of getting the new venture off the ground: equipment choice, integration and of course studio design. Studio designer Malvicino recalls working with Kalafatis on site location and design: "Peter realized that it's a lot more complicated than he had first thought. We went to see a couple of different sites on Long Island and eventually found a place. His idea was to be able to record four or five guys at the same time, and also to have some support areas - a little lounge, and some storage. I did two or three different layouts and he picked one."
As the design, location and physical construction neared completion, the conversation turned towards equipment. Kalafatis had a generous budget to work with—one that would rival many commercial facilities. He ultimately chose to outfit Strong Island with a hybrid centerpiece for the studio, the Solid State Logic AWS 900 SuperAnalogue console and DAW controller. The digital heart of Strong Island is an Avid Pro Tools|HD Accel 3 system. The full studio gear list includes six Apogee converters, a pair of ADAM monitors, a selection of API 512 and Neve 1081 mic preamps and plenty of other high quality outboard gear and microphones.
The entire design, construction and integration of Strong Island was executed seamlessly, and occurred over just two months—a very short period of time by any measure. Malvicino and the GC Pro team also supported Strong Island with training on the operation of, and the multitude of options offered by, their newly acquired gear.
Strong Island is already very active and working on several album projects by Kalafatis' friends. The facility is also attracting many local musicians and bands. "We're starting to focus on tracking bands using the acoustics of the room and the great equipment," concludes Kalafatis. "Then they can take their tracks and maybe take them to someone to mix it and master it for them. Some of them work in Pro Tools at home and want to track drums in a pro studio, then work on the rest of the stuff at their house. So that's the business that I'm trying to build."
Strong Island Studio