When hip-hop producer Rsonist (Gregory Green) decided to open his own studio in Manhattan, he wanted to keep the focus on the creativity of musicians.
“There has to be a bridge between the artist and the owner,” he explained. “I think we kind of understand what the artist wants and needs, and can provide that without having to guess. I’m just trying to implement that here, and I think that will make all the difference at the end of the day.”
Located just a few blocks from the former sites of famous recording studios like The Hit Factory and Sony Music Studios in New York City, is the new Diamond District Studios, a 3,000 square-foot facility founded by Rsonist and his partners Robert Williams and Reginald Scales.
“I’ve always been (working) in music; I just needed home,” said the producer, who has worked with the likes of Beyoncé and Lil Wayne, as part of the duo The Heatmakerz with co-producer Thrilla (Sean Thomas), as well as an upcoming Kanye West release. Now that home—the studio—is on Broadway, overlooking the northern edge of Times Square. “One of my partners was looking to get into a business venture and I didn’t have my own commercial space, so it kind of made sense. It was perfect timing.”
Rsonist said his decision to build the studio in Manhattan was based on comfort—he wanted to bring artists to an area they would want to record in:“I could have put it in the Bronx, in Queens, but with Manhattan being a Mecca, I kind of want to direct traffic here to make people feel comfortable.”
Murals of famous musicians including John Lennon, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix—all done by artist Mark Lawrence—cover the olive green walls in the studio’s main lobby, with the smaller, soon-to-be finished production room to the right. To the left, you pass through a lounge area before entering the red-walled main studio.
A console comprised of four Avid Artist Mix modules sits in the center of the space, with Augspurger speakers in the walls supplemented by various monitors, including KRKs. The console is linked to Pro Tools 10, which Rsonist projects on his flat screen TV in front of the desk.
When asked what piece of equipment he was adamant about including in the studio design, Rsonist said it was the speakers. “To me, that’s essential for playback purposes. Sometimes if the music isn’t loud enough, that could kill the vibe of the recording,” Rsonist said. “I like to hear things loud, and I try to cater towards that.”
While Rsonist’s best known for his work in hip-hop, he envisions the facility catering to productions in all genres, making it as multi-faceted as, well, a diamond. “I started off by doing just hip-hop music, but over the years, I’ve become more musically inclined. I’ll do pop, I’ll do R&B, Reggae. If it’s music, I can do it,” he explained. “This whole studio was built by an artist for artists, and the things you would like, nine out of ten times we’ll have it. If we don’t have it, we’ll make it happen. I’ve been producing for the last 12 years and I’ve been to almost every studio you could name, and I know what I like and what I don’t like.”
Diamond District Studios