Zone 8 Recording Studio
This small business in Granville makes local music great.
Mark Poole runs a recording studio from his own home.
Zone 8 Recording in Granville has been one of Morgantown’s best sources for recording local music since 1994. Located in recording engineer Mark Poole’s house, the casual setting of Zone 8 makes clients feel more comfortable than a formal studio. “People tell me all the time that they are completely at ease working here. It's bound to make you play better, and I think it helps people focus,” Mark says.
At $30 an hour, Mark has always tried to keep recording costs low for local musicians. Classical, jazz, country, folk, punk, metal, blues, hip-hop, and gospel acts have all laid down tracks at Zone 8. Top-notch amplifiers and instruments are available for clients to use during their recording sessions, too.
Jim Layman plays the guitar during a recording session at Zone 8.
Mark moved from Parkersburg to Morgantown in the ’80s for the many opportunities to play original music around town. He played guitar and sang in the legendary local rock ’n’ roll trio 63 Eyes, and he is the lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter in Phantom Six (formerly Moon), a five-piece, guitar-oriented rock band with elements of garage, power pop, and punk styles. “I never really dreamed I'd be in Morgantown for 20 years. I love it here, though. It's home.”
Mark decided to learn to record his own music after feeling rushed and overcharged for recordings with his own bands. “I started buying recording gear in the early ’90s mainly because I had been playing in bands and I was always somewhat disappointed in our studio recordings. They would cost thousands of dollars. I would always kind of cringe when I had to listen to them and feel like they could've been better.”
Soon, friends were asking Mark to record their music, too. Through trial and error and recording daily, Mark honed his skills. He also worked for Squirrel Sound in Morgantown, mixing live shows for about a year, and one of his bands made an album at a recording school where he sat in on some of the classes. “I realized I kind of had a knack for recording, so I recorded a couple more bands, and then some more, and it just sort of took off from there,” he says.
Jonestown, an alternative country and power pop band based out of Shinnston and Morgantown, recently recorded a new CD at Zone 8. Lead guitarist and singer Evan Jones says Mark has a true talent for capturing the band’s sound. “Our main reasons for choosing Mark Poole and Zone 8 Recording were Mark's experience, great ears for engineering and mixing, ability to get great sounds very quickly, and an understanding of the style of music we play,” Evan says. “To me, his specialty is getting great drum and bass sounds, and he gets them very quickly. He also has great microphones and outboard gear, and he knows exactly how to use them.”
Blues, folk, and punk inspired Morgantown duo Haggard Wülf recorded its first album at Zone 8 in September. Guitarist and backing vocalist Chris Shuttlesworth says he enjoys supporting the local business. “Mark had only heard a few of our home-brewed demo songs in the form of digital MP3 files that I sent him a few days prior to the scheduled date for recording. It seemed he had a sixth sense of the sound that we were aiming for the moment we got there. It only took about a half-hour to discuss certain aspects and set up the equipment, then we were tracking our first song.”
Though recording equipment is more readily available to musicians now, Mark’s years of experience continue to give him an edge. However, he encourages people to try their own at-home recording before they come into the studio. “I still encourage people to acquire some sort of home recording setup if they can because they'll learn stuff that will make them more proficient and help them communicate better with producers and engineers once they're in the studio,” he says.
Recording other musicians at Zone 8 has also helped Mark find more depth and satisfaction in his own music. The Phantom Six recently released the album “Plastic Rain” that was recorded at Zone 8.
“The Phantom Six just finished a CD that I'm really proud of. I think a big part of why it came out the way it did stems from recording other people all these years. I feel more confident in our records now.”
For more information about Zone 8 Recording, call 304.599.7332 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.