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Columbus recording studio hits play in new home

Courtesy of James D. McCullars Jr.

Local music producer Jon Fintel opened Relay Recording in its new home Friday with live music, friends and a sigh of relief.

After six months of renovations to the bar-turned-recording-studio, Fintel introduced nearly 200 guests, including friends and fellow musicians, to the new space with a concert by local bands She Bears, Harboring Ghosts, Ease the Medic and EYE.

Fintel, 39, opened Relay Recording out of a house in Bexley in 2002 before moving to a building on Washington Avenue.

“I was without a home for a while,” Fintel said. “The struggle to find this place and build it up is done. It feels really good.”

Fintel spent a year searching for a new location before finding the 3,800-square-foot space, located in the Discovery District at 211 N. 6th St.

He credits his musician friends for helping with the renovation, which included tearing down a 50-foot bar that belonged to the previous establishment, Pyramid II. His friend Jessica Strimbu runs a vintage clothing store, Tin Roof Vintage, out of the building as well, which helped cut costs.

“I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of really good people who ended up helping me out with the new place,” Fintel said.

Fintel has worked in audio production in Columbus since 1994, after graduating from Full Sail University in Florida. With only a handful of studios to choose from in Columbus, Fintel said his space is ahead of the competition with the most up-to-date equipment, including a new Pro Tools station and an analog-to-digital converter.

“There’s no place in town that has better equipment than I do,” Fintel said.

After seeing the studio with an audience Friday, Fintel said he might continue to use it as a venue for small concerts and live album recordings.

“You can’t have a show in any other studio I know of in town,” Fintel said. “It’s a unique space.”

Mike Finch, frontman of local band Ease the Medic and an Ohio State alumnus, has recorded two albums with Fintel. Finch said

Fintel is patient and easy to work with, qualities that are important when you are singing to someone for 12 hours straight.

“To find someone who can hear every note that’s right or wrong, and give you suggestions in a calm and humorous manner to keep you at ease, and get the best performance out of you is really what you’re looking for,” Finch said.

Finch said he is impressed with the new studio and hopes it will become a popular spot for local musicians.

“It’s a central, downtown hub with a really nice studio and someone who’s actually interested in making good independent music in Columbus,” Finch said.

Eric Doran, a fourth-year in marketing, attended the event with friends.

Doran said he is in the process of forming a band and would like to record at Relay in the future.

“I like the atmosphere. I like how it’s set up,” Doran said. “We need this. We need places where you can record and play music in Columbus.”

Fintel hopes the enthusiasm from local musicians will continue to grow.

“I’m hoping it gets people to do more, get more records out and be more active in promoting themselves and the city,” Fintel said.

“There’s a lot of good music in Columbus. We deserve to be recognized for it.”

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