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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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The Sound Laboratory: A creative space for musicians

Olivia Montgomery
The Sound Laboratory is located at 109 S, Water St. in Kent.

Editor’s note: Debonaire Wright, a KentWired photographer, was interviewed due to his relevance to the article. 

When brothers Byron Ridenour-Wright and Debonaire Wright opened The Sound Laboratory in June 2020, just three months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, they never thought the business would grow as much as it has.

In the beginning, there were many federal and state level restrictions on the business due to the pandemic. However, they still received endorsements from the public, Ridenour-Wright said.

“People still showed support and showed love to us,” Ridenour-Wright said. “We didn’t make as much money as we probably could’ve made, but we got support.”

Despite the problems caused by the pandemic, the hardest part of opening the studio was not COVID-19 but rather the initial business founding aspects, Ridenour-Wright said.

“Initially when I first opened the business I thought it was going to be a little bit easier than it is,” Ridenour-Wright said. “Business, in general, is hard, it’s harder than people expect. Just getting the logos together and marketing at the right time, and trying to reach out to the people is definitely difficult.”

Though they faced slight problems in the beginning, the brothers remained steady on the path to curating their studio, motivated by their childhood dreams. 

“The inspiration was really just dreams and goals as kids, and growing up and keeping the same aspirations,” Wright said. 

Ridenour-Wright said that his father would often go to the recording studio, and he would go along. This introduced him to the world of recording music. 

“There used to be a studio called the Moondog across the street from where we are [located],” Ridenour-Wright said. “My dad used to go to the Moondog studio. I just remember being there and thinking ‘This is what I want to do’.”

Additionally, Ridenour-Wright said he makes hip-hop music of his own, which was part of his inspiration for crafting the studio. 

When he began his music journey, one of the only ways to record music was to go to an expensive recording studio.

“I wanted to create a space where it was cheap and I didn’t have to pay [a lot],” Ridenour-Wright said. “I didn’t want to pay $50 an hour for my studio sessions, I wanted to learn it myself.”

Their Facebook page describes the studio, located at 109 S, Water St. in Kent, as, “The voice and heart of Portage County, Ohio. This is a new Ohio movement.” 

Taking that statement in mind, the business has grown to encompass all aspects of music production, photography and videography services.

With the wide variety of services the studio offers to the public, both of the brothers said there is no typical day at work. 

“The most exciting part is not knowing what you’re going to get on any given day,” Wright said. “It’s unpredictable, which is both good and bad.”

Ridenour-Wright said that there are days when clients will book the studio for hours, and sometimes there will be no clients at all. 

The studio typically sees around 20-30 people a week between all of the employees, Wright said. 

However, the weekend creates a whirlwind of business for the studio, with the hustle and bustle of downtown Kent drawing in the public, Ridenour-Wright said.

Currently, the building features a main mixing room lined with chalkboard walls with messages written across them. It also has two specialized recording rooms and a photography room featuring various backgrounds for clients to use.

As for the future of The Sound Laboratory, the brothers are looking to change the interior design of the studio and expand the target audience of the business.  

“Right now we are going to kind of paint and get everything looking better,” Wright said. “We are changing the look. Kind of rebranding and reaching out to a lot of the students. Also [we plan to] start doing a lot more photoshoots and things of that nature.”

With the studio being located in downtown Kent, students at the university are closer to the business than they may think. However, Wright said they haven’t tapped into the Kent State student market fully yet. 

One of the steps they are taking to market more to Kent State students is starting a podcast that will be featured on their YouTube channel, Ridenour-Wright said. 

“Being in the college area is going to be good for the podcast,” Ridenour-Wright said. “We are going to be able to have talent come from the college.”

Another new step The Sound Laboratory is taking to boost its business is by starting a record label, Ridenour-Wright said.

“This is going to be basically an artist-friendly deal,” Ridenour-Wright said. “We are going to help you, you are going to help us and we’re going to get to the next level.”

Overall, Wright encourages anyone who wishes to record music, to do a photo shoot or film a music video to come into the studio.

“It’s a healthy environment, and it’s friendly to anybody,” Wright said. “Generally, we are just trying to help people get what they are looking for, which is either a song, voiceovers, a good photoshoot or music videos.”

Ridenour-Wright also explained that the studio is a safe and inclusive environment for people, and encourages everyone to check it out. 

“I just want people to know that this is a comfortable space, it’s a place of truth,” Ridenour-Wright said. “This is a place you can come and express yourself and nobody is going to judge you.”

For more information about hours of operation and how to book with The Sound Laboratory, visit their website.  

Olivia Montgomery is a Digital Tech. Contact her at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Olivia Montgomery, Reporter
Olivia is a sophomore journalism major with a minor in public relations. She is a general assignment reporter who enjoys writing about anything happening around campus. Contact her at [email protected]

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