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10/25/2013 6:00:00 AM
Audio dreaming down on First Street
Photo special to the Times/DAREN SPRAWLSRyan Reyes outside his homemade studio, 1st Street Recording. Artwork by local artist, Kyle George.
Photo special to the Times/DAREN SPRAWLS

Ryan Reyes outside his homemade studio, 1st Street Recording. Artwork by local artist, Kyle George.
Daren Sprawls (Class of '05)
Special to the Times

BLYTHE - Two years ago Ryan Reyes went begrudgingly into his back yard for a wrench. A big wrench. Standing in the middle of his family's small, rickety old tool shed, he had an epiphany.

He closed his eyes and envisioned a simple recording studio. Four months later - and with the help of a slew of friends and family - Reyes opened his first independent studio, First Street Recording.

"I was in a slump," Reyes admits, recalling that cold day in December when he wandered out into his backyard. "I had been recording in random places. I was recording in my bedroom, using the closet as an isolation booth."

Reyes was frustrated. Especially considering his pedigree. Ryan had played and toured in a punk rock outfit, T.S.R., from the age of 15 to 19 and had graduated from the Musician's Institute of Los Angeles (M.I.) with his certification in Audio Engineering in 2010.

In Los Angeles, Reyes had worked in studios for the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Mac Miller. After graduating, he interned at a studio in Phoenix, Ariz. and met members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and J. Cole. When he realized the family-owned studio in Phoenix had no intention of hiring him - or helping him hone his skills as an engineer - he moved back to Blythe.

In Blythe, it was local hip-hop group The Gooneez that gave Reyes work to focus on. The group had recently recorded a group of songs in San Diego and asked Reyes to mix and master the tapes.

"I didn't think I could mix it. They originally approached me the day after I graduated from M.I. I didn't think I was good enough. But I figured, I'll probably suck on this album, but I'm gonna try. I was scared to death. I didn't want to screw up. I was 20 years old and I just wanted to make it sound cool."

Reyes mixed it in his bedroom and after a few months The Gooneez and The Frateleez it as "Astoria." Ryan continued to work out of his bedroom, improving all the while, recording, mixing and mastering. He did another album for The Gooneez - "Anonymous" - until the idea to work in his backyard tool shed hit him "like a lightning bolt."

He worked tirelessly for four months with his uncle, Les Wadley, to design and transform the shed into a working, quality-recording studio - complete with professional microphones and a soundproof vocal booth.

"Les did everything. I had the vision, I had the design. He had the smarts to make it all happen." After months of gutting and rebuilding the shed ("The roof had to be built up, there was a refrigerator door on the shed that we had to replace with an actual door.") it was completed, First Street logo and all, in April of 2012. That night he went straight to work on mixing a new set of Gooneez' recordings - his third collaboration with the group - eventually released as "TAVS."

Since then, Reyes has worked with a variety of local artists, musicians and authors on a variety of projects including a two-song demo for high school band Shoreside, a weekly radio story with Barbara Steiner (This Week's Story), as well as hip-hop mixtapes and audiobooks.

Reyes is adamant that First Street is just the first step. "This is the absolute bare-bones beginning. This all started as an idea when I was kid. It's something I've worked 11 years on now."

Remembering what it was like for him to hear his first T.S.R. recordings, he continued, "I want to give kids in Blythe a chance to record a demo, an EP, an album, a fart, whatever they want to do. I want them to feel what I felt hearing my first recording and thinking, "I did it." Even if it's just a pebble in the ocean, it's something. And it's something you'll have forever."

Call Ryan to schedule a recording session or inquire about rates at 760-550-5152 or at his email: ryanreyes63@gmail.com.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Article comment by: Linda & Bob Wadley

Ryan I don't know the word to use to describe how proud we are of you...This is a dream you've had since you were about nine years old when you first started to strum on a guitar ...You started singing for me at the age of five and now 23 you still come and play and sing for us....We love every minute of it to....I know your love for God and determination will take you far....Love you so much Grandma and Papa....

Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Article comment by: Nancy Spechtenhauser

You go Ryan ! And you cook a mean dinner too. You have drive and you don't just dream, you make those dreams come true, wonderful to see!

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013
Article comment by: Local Boy does good

Congrats Ryan - fine example of setting your mind to something and then just doing it - even if it takes years. Thank you for sharing your results of the great American dream. Now to the rest of the youth in Blythe - GET GOING and get something accomplished like Ryan!! Can you share who did the artwork?



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