East End Arts attracts new studio manager

Local musicians, podcasters and all comers hoping to record their talents are now welcome to capture their best work at East End Arts.

Thanks to the efforts and equipment of Chris Jones, a longtime audio producer whose music North Forkers may have heard blasting through their television sets over the last two decades, the music and arts nonprofit has reopened their recording studio and is welcoming the public to lay down some tracks. The Jesse F. Sherman Recording Studio, named in honor of a former East End Arts student from Riverhead who died at a young age, first opened in 2017 thanks to a $10,000 grant from The Joel Foundation, founded by Billy Joel and his wife, Alexis, to fund musical endeavors. But in recent years, personnel changes, a pandemic and outdated technology closed its doors.

Mr. Jones, a multi-instrumentalist and graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, has made a career composing audio tracks that have backed trailers for AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” the intro to an episode of “American Idol” and countless other TV shows and commercials. In a type of artist-in-residence arrangement as EEA’s new studio manager, he moved much of his personal home recording equipment — monitors, speakers, a MIDI keyboard, pre-amplifiers, all the switched-on, lit-up and cranked-up gizmos one needs to make the bass go “boom” — into the studio on the second floor of the Carriage House at the back of East End Arts’ property. From behind the glass window, he can view musicians in the large recording space, complete with a piano, a drum set, a pair of basses, multiple amplifiers and more equipment. Another smaller room boasts an additional computer and more obscure instruments that might complement recordings, including a vibraphone and a dulcimer.

When he isn’t working his day job from this new office, creating music for the Video Helper and Warner Chappell Music libraries that could end up on the latest television programs, he will share his industry knowledge with East End Arts students and other community members. He’s even had a hand in guiding music students through their band rehearsals. 

“I’m just kind of seeing where it takes me and just being open to being helpful, being of service,” Mr. Jones said of his new gig, which began Aug. 1. “I might encourage [East End Arts students] to start writing stuff and then say, ‘Hey, get here early, we can set up and track it.’ I’m open to anything, really, in terms of working here.”

While EEA members get discounts on studio time, Mr. Jones’ recording, mixing and mastering services, as well as a multi-session production course, are all open to the public.

“I think the most incredible thing is his real world experience to be able to not only help uplift the technological aspects of the recording studio, but really bring that service and accessibility to the area,” said EEA creative director Wendy Weiss. . “[His services] align with the mission of East End Arts to build community and unlock creativity by bringing in this recording studio that anyone can have access to, whether you are someone that’s just getting started with your music, or you’re someone who is a professional, but you don’t need to travel so far.”