Rose Lane Studios president E. “Bucket” Baker
Richie DeMaria

Rose Lane Studios is one of Santa Barbara County’s best-kept musical secrets — but it won’t be for much longer. Tucked away on Rose Lane in Carpinteria, the spacious spot houses a comprehensive production facility and label for musicians, comedians, filmmakers, and creators of all sorts. Recently renovated and refreshed with a new staff and vision for emerging artists, Rose Lane’s potential is just beginning to bloom.

“We’re a one-stop shop,” Rose Lane Studios president E. “Bucket” Baker said. “Anyone with a dream can come here. We will help you. Come do your photoshoots, your videos, your music, your social media footprint — everything you need is in-house.”

The new space imparts a clear, open vibe, with minimalist wood paneling offering a blank creative slate for artists. The specs are impressive. There’s a 2,700-square-foot soundstage, green screen, and Cloudcast studio for filming and photoshoots. There is a custom-designed Neve recording console, isolated sound rooms, and a tuned recording space, with wood and stone paneling providing different sound reflections. And then there’s the branding, website, design, and marketing division, helping project builders shape and sell their brand via the Rose Lane Records label.

Opened in 2013 by producer Jim Messina (of Loggins and Messina), the studio started as an “on-again, off-again affair,” and “A couple heads and hands have changed over the years,” booking manager Aaron Alvarez said. Fast-forward to autumn of this year, when Baker, a renowned drummer and music teacher who grew up in the area, stepped in. Baker’s musical journey is uncommonly accomplished and lustrous. He’s played with Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Barry White, Macy Gray, and Justin Timberlake, to name a few, and can be heard on the score of John Carpenter’s Vampires.

Usually a resident of Arizona, where he runs a youth music program, the Dos Pueblos High School graduate felt a calling to return to his home stomping (and drumming) grounds. “This is just the evolution,” Baker said of his musical trajectory. “I’m a musician first. I know what it’s like to be hungry. I’ve been through the absolute ringer in terms of the music industry. I’m absolutely excited about what we’ve got here.”

Since Baker took over two months ago, the results have been big. Rose Lane artist Mr. Criminal has already landed more than one million views for his song “Elevate” with Wiz Khalifa, recorded in the studio. “We’re building stars here,” Baker said. Other exciting artists on the roster include Jonathan McEuen, an 805 rocker known for his coastal country sound. Rose Lane is also building up a list of on-call producers, including Curtis Young and Tracks a Million, Randy Tico, Austin Mack, Billy D, and Overtone. Next year will also see the start of open-studio Wednesdays, Baker said, and the studio’s first full-length release. According to Baker, “2019 is the year of Rose Lane, because Bucket Baker is driving the ship now.”

The studio/label is helping reshape what the area creative community can be. Rose Lane has already ventured into comedy, with an upcoming “Phil Medina and Friends” comedy show at the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club on November 30 and December 1. Aesop’s Tables, a cooking show featuring Aesop from the hip-hop supergroup Living Legends, is in the works. Baker also has discussed the possibility of expanding into area schools with music business education programs and has reached out to area junior high jazz bands about complimentary recording sessions.

It all comes with a more personable vibe than big city studios. “I’m an absolute people person,” Baker said. “We treat you like family.” In the growing business districts of Carpinteria, the studio sidesteps the often forbiddingly high cost of maintaining and renting a music studio in Santa Barbara. The Rose Lane staff hope the studio might strengthen a cross-coastal linkage between the 805 and the music industry mecca of L.A.

“We need to find the next Katy Perry from here, the next Glen Phillips. There are all these Santa Barbara natives who are talented, so now we really have the ways to get them out there,” Baker said. “We’re here, we’re excited, and ready to go.”

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