By Laura McAlister
The outside of one of Vestavia Hills’ newest businesses is nothing out of the ordinary. But step inside and it’s clear that The Studio is different.
The Studio is home to a one-of-a-kind music studio, KJP, slated to officially open later this month. Ahmad A. Farzad is owner and, along with friend and business partner Steve Stanek, KJP’s head engineer.
The Studio is on Montgomery Highway in the former home of Frames and Fantasies. The space was completely gutted with three digital photography rooms added in the front for Ahmad’s sister Paris Farzad’s photography classes. KJP is housed in the back of the building.
Ahmad and Steve sought input from some of the music industry’s most respected producers to create a studio that would allow the best sound quality.
“Everything in here is mathematically and scientifically correct,” Ahmad said. “Everything was thought out. We weren’t just building a studio. This was designed with an artistic approach.”
Although music has always been Ahmad’s passion – he’s played in bands since he was 15 – it wasn’t always his career path.
After graduating from Vestavia Hills High School, he attended the University of Alabama for two years. During that time, four of his friends died.
“That’s when I realized I wasn’t doing what I wanted,” he said. “It seemed right that I pursue my passion. I applied to Berklee and got my degree in music business management.”
Ahmad graduated from the Berklee School of music with a degree in music business management. He worked in the music industry in New York City as a producer, learning from some of the best. He met Steve, who also was passionate about music but wasn’t in the business at the time.
Originally from Chicago, Steve wasn’t sure about moving to Alabama. But the idea of working with Ahmad and opening the recording studio quickly cast out any of his doubts.
“It’s a really special studio,” Steve said. “It took like three months and a couple Excel sheets just to get the wiring worked out, and I feel like we’ve really got a place that artists can pour their soul into.”
What they ended up with is a studio that allows for the best live sound, the business partners said.
The door leading into the recording studio is vacuum sealed and covered with Ceeulose fiber, as are the ceilings. The fiber, made from a mixture of newspaper and glue, is used to soundproof the space.
The studio has two major rooms: the live room, where performances take place, and the control room, where the recording and “critical audio decisions are made,” Ahmad said.
“We do the recording in one room, and then we have the control room,” Ahmad said. “We knew it had to be super honest. It’s got great sound. This is really art going on in here. Chances are, the room helps you sound better.”
The speakers in the recording studio are custom-built and enclosed in concrete weighing about 350 pounds.
Through Ahmad and Steve’s relationship with Black Lion Audio, a company that specializes in audio equipment and design for some of the industry’s top producers, they were able to have a specific set of converters custom-built that only KJP and three of the music industry top producers own.
“They sound wildly impressive and are incredibly rare,” Ahmad said. “Our set is extra specialized which makes it stand alone among its three other brother/sister units. Black Lion Audio are capturing the ears and hearts of users in every facet of the music industry.”
Steve and Ahmad wanted the studio not only to produce the best sound quality but also to be comfortable. The concrete floors are covered with Oriental rugs, and there’s even a couch and sitting area in the recording room.
Ahmad and Steve said they’re open to just about anybody recording in their studio, from serious performers to those who just want to have a little fun.
Although The Studio hasn’t officially opened, Ahmad said they are booking up fast, and he’s excited about what’s in store for them.
“This is just really one of the most exciting times in my life,” Ahmad said. “Every day is a blessing.”