|Fantasy Studios, the Bay Area landmark at which platinum recordings by Green Day, Journey, Aerosmith, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, and countless others have come to life, celebrates its 40th Anniversary. Chart-topping singles such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Open Arms,” Green Day’s “When I Come Around,” Santana’s “Smooth,” and En Vogue’s smash hit, “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” have all been created within the studio walls.
Since breaking ground four decades ago, the famed studios have been graced by artists as diverse as Lil Wayne, Placido Domingo, Joanna Newsom, and Andraé Crouch. First opened in 1971 as the in-house studio for artists on Fantasy Records, many legendary jazz and blues artists such as Bill Evans, Chick Corea, BB King, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and many more have recorded at Fantasy Studios.
To this day, Fantasy Studios remains the most sought after recording facility in the Bay Area. Studio Director, Jeffrey Wood attributes its popularity to the top-notch staff and the studios themselves, “The two most important things that Fantasy Studios has to offer are the staff and the rooms (although we have an extensive gear selection as well). Rooms of this quality are no longer built and the engineers at Fantasy practice their art on a daily basis with every style of music and voiceover, giving them an unsurpassed knowledge of their craft.”
In 2007, the Zaentz Media Center - the building that houses Fantasy Studios - and the studios themselves underwent major renovations. Renovators were careful not to disturb the sound quality for which the studios are famous. 2011 has seen Studio D updated with new cherry hardwood floors and additional glass isolation rooms. Studio Director Jeffrey Wood comments, “Technology changes rapidly and requires a significant investment. Clients of Fantasy Studios have come to expect from us a combination of top level staff, fantastic sounding rooms, and a great selection of well-maintained equipment.”
This winning combination continues to attract the film and television industries to Fantasy Studios. Famous for post-production work on Academy Award-winning films including Amadeus, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, Fellowship of the Ring and Sixth Sense, Fantasy continues this tradition in its work with current projects such as Moneyball and many of Pixar's films, such as Finding Nemo, Toy Story and their upcoming film, John Carter. Robin Williams, Frances McDormand, Holly Hunter, Sean Connery, Carrie Fisher, Sean Penn, Sharon Stone, Danny Glover and Rita Moreno are just a few of the superstar actors who have practiced their craft at Fantasy Studios with clientele ranging from the biggest studios (20th Century Fox, Pixar, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and HBO among others) to the many independent filmmakers in the Bay Area community and beyond.
In 2011, Fantasy unveiled mobile Foley pits, built to industry-standard specification, but able to be moved from room to room for optimal versatility. Fantasy Studios also offers one of the largest selections of vintage and new microphones and outboard gear in Northern California and boasts the largest collection of live echo chambers on the West Coast. All of the studios are equipped with Studer analog as well as ProTools HD. Furthermore, the facility provides complete ISDN services linking Fantasy Studios to studios worldwide.
These types of innovations have helped Fantasy attract clientele from the video game industry as well. Studio neighbors at Berkeley Sound Artists and their clients at Sony Playstation just completed Foley work for a new video game utilizing the mobile Foley pits. Over two days of recording, more than 100 sound cues were captured, using props such as real swords, a parachute harness, a 1940s ice-maker and five different pairs of shoes and gloves.
In celebration of Fantasy Studios’ 40th Anniversary, a special social media campaign will be launched via Facebook and Twitter inviting fans of music, film, television and gaming to participate in a Fantasy trivia contest. Fantasy Studios merchandise and one grand prize will be given away during the month of November. In addition, Fantasy’s social sites will be highlighting 40 incredible songs recorded over the studios’ 40 years in operation.
“We are very proud of Fantasy’s rich and varied history,” says Wood. “The biggest names in music, film and television have visited us throughout our first 40 years and it’s exciting to look back, celebrate and reflect on some of those magical moments. We are also thankful that our studio is busier than ever which demonstrates that there is a widespread need for professional studios in the entertainment industry now, and will be in the decades to come.”