After being a sound engineer at the Walnut Room for nearly five years and the head engineer for the last year, Randall Frazier jumped into the talent buyer seat last month. While he has plans to bring in different types of acts than the room has seen in the past, he'll also be launching a Walnut Room label, as well as using the music room as a recording studio on days when there aren't shows. Frazier says he's scaling back the shows a bit and plans to book shows Thursdays through Saturdays. So on the off-days, Frazier wants to turn the room into a recording studio, which would essentially involve bringing some more microphones and pre-amps and building some sound isolation booths that could be put or taken down very quickly on the stage.
While a lot of bands have taken advantage of recording live shows in the Walnut Room, one of the best sounding venues in town, Frazier plans to take it one step further with the Walnut Room Records, which will digitally distribute live recordings. Through Helmet Room Recordings, he's been working with IRIS, a digital distribution company that has 450 retailers over 85 countries.
What this means for bands is that they can have their shows recorded and mastered by Frazier and then release it on the Walnut Room imprint. The band would split the digital royalties, but they can take home a finalized master and manufacture their own CDs.
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"They just give me exclusive rights to distribute it through the digital services," he says. "I think it's a great idea because it's going to show anyone who hasn't ever been to the Walnut Room may not to realize how superior that sound system is.
"These recordings coming out all over the place are going to kind of showcase the room for what it's really meant for," he continues. "And at the same time, it's also going to promote Denver bands and shows that are happening in Denver mostly on a local level. I'm recording national people, as well, if they want, but a majority of the shows are local. It's going to be a ton of live local music being promoted through the whole world."
The first Walnut Room Records release is from the Flashbulb Fires, a track named "The Whale," which was taken from a stereo soundboard mix and then mastered.
In terms of booking the room itself, Fraizer says he wants to focus more on an audiophile type of audience. With that in mind, he's begun reaching out to his contacts from around the world that he's made through his Helmet Room label and his indie promotions firm Massive Music America, asking folks at labels like ROIR and Ohm Resistance to look him up if they have a band coming though.
A band like, say, Expo 70, the Beta-lactam Ring psychedelic outfit who's slated to play at the Walnut Room on Wednesday, October 27. "If you're going to go see Expo 70, that's the place to go see it," he says. "If you really want to feel that music, the Walnut Room is the place."
Frazier, who recently mastered a new Legendary Pink Dots album, says he working on bringing in that band's frontman Edward Ka-Spel to the Walnut Room this spring.