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Hidden City Studios Turns Five

Elliott Lanam Celebrates a Half Decade of Recording Music

Elliott Lanam began his small studio in the infamous woodshop off Yanonali and Garden streets before migrating to its current nook at 924 Chapala Street, pictured here. | Credit: Courtesy

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Hidden City Studios is celebrating five years in business. Run by Elliott Lanam, the independent music production house is more robust than ever since its founding in September 2014. “It’s amazing. For me to go five years in an industry that seems to be dying, it speaks really well of the business and how we treat our customers,” Lanam said.

Lanam first started running his small studio in the infamous woodshop off Yanonali and Garden streets before migrating to its current nook at 924 Chapala Street. With the studio now clocking in at 1,400 square feet, Lanam is celebrating half a decade by adding a new grand piano, a Neve 1073 — “the best preamp you can buy,” he said — new guitars, new mics, and new software instruments and plug-ins. What’s more, Lanam plans to give back by raffling off a day of free studio time. 

Lanam is a personable kind of person, and it’s with a sincerity of spirit that he runs his business. “To me, Santa Barbara is such a spoken-word town. You can’t try to fuck people over and send them a bill; it’s just not going to work — you have to be genuine and generous, and you have to really put the customer first and client first. That genuine way of running a business is crucial to longevity in this town,” he said.

Recent Hidden City productions that Lanam’s excited about include new albums by Broken Machines, Mah-Ze-Tar, Sapphire Adizes, and Allie Paige. Lanam’s also in the process of producing his own album highlighting area singers with a group project called ALLofUS. 

“The talent in this town is amazing,” Lanam said. “What I’ve contributed is a great network and opportunities for musicians. I make it easy for people to make music and to record their music at a high-quality level without having to break the bank.”

In a time when business can be tough on and off State Street, Lanam is very grateful for the community support. “Thank you to everyone for your support and willingness to work with me. I’m super excited to do my job and convey that excitement in my work. I think that music is an essential expression toward our happiness, our sanity, and our daily expression. Without it, the world would be a super, super dark place.”

BLONDES AND ROSES:  Rock, R&B, and trip-hop meld in the one-two punch of Santa Barbara’s Mexico City Blondes and Rafa Rose at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) on Saturday, September 14, at 9 p.m. The We the Beat show features two of S.B.’s hotter new artists, both of whom have released new, groovingly good albums this year. 

CARTER FOR A CAUSE:  The Carter Family are legends of the country genre, and Tom Brosseau is bringing their overlooked legacy to life with a string of upcoming 805 shows. The North Dakotan singer/songwriter will play selections from In the Shadow of the Hill: Songs from the Carter Family Catalogue, Vol. 1 on Saturday, September 14, at the Tierra Sol Festival at Camp Arnaz (155 E. Sulphur Mountain Rd., Ojai). Proceeds will benefit Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council, Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast, and Greater Goods. Can’t catch him then? See Brosseau when he returns on Thursday, October 3, at Greater Goods (145 W. El Roblar Dr., Ojai) and at Certain Sparks Music (107 S H St., Lompoc) on Saturday, October 5.

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