Posted May 29th 2012 at 7:12 am by
in Profiles

Music for Change

StudioDOG Recording Studio is led by Isaac Rothwell and Langston Masingale, two young men who grew up in inner-city Syracuse. Though they once left the city to pursue an education and careers in music and audio engineering, they returned to their hometown to give back to the place that raised them. Their goal is to put the city on the map, in terms of music, and also to transform their community and the lives of the children who live there.

To Langston and Isaac, Syracuse is rich with musical talent. They provide a sanctuary where these artists can perform at their best, propelled by the support of producers and engineers. They want to help artists achieve the sound they aspire to in all genre and styles. StudioDOG has recorded folk music and bluegrass, rap and hip hop, death metal, Latin Christian rock and contemporary Christian acoustic music, and they would like to record classical. No matter what kind of music, studioDOG favors a rich analogue sound captured by custom equipment.

Langston and Isaac aim to create spaces to learn and grow. They want the good work that happens inside the studio to “come outside of the walls and resonate into the community and make positive change.” Langston: “We’re going to interact not only with the parents, but also with their children, so mom and dad can make a song, but so can their son.” Isaac has worked with at-risk youth, teaching them how to record music that made the local “top forty.” Through teaching the production of music, Isaac and Langston hope to inspire children to go to college, as Isaac himself was inspired by On Point for College, a program that aims to “change Syracuse degree by degree.”

StudioDOG is located in the basement of Isaac’s home in the Near Westside, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Syracuse, an area with vacant land and abandoned buildings, but also with new initiatives to rebuild community. Isaac, who grew up a few blocks away, bought the house with his wife and built the recording studio with a control room and two isolation booths. The house itself was designed by architecture students and faculty at Syracuse University and constructed under the auspices of the Near Westside Initiative. For more details on the house and its design and construction, check out this video.

If you want to record some music, contact Langston and Isaac at their studio: studioDOG, 521 Tully Street, Syracuse, NY 13204.

Post by Anne Whiston Spirn, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MIT. To read more about her work and activities, go to www.annewhistonspirn.com and www.facebook.com/annewhistonspirn.

6 responses to “Music for Change”

  1. Christina says:

    Great initiative and idea to turn abandoned buildings into creative centers. I grew up near Detroit and have seen there how sticking with a place, creating places/spaces/programs that provide outlets for young people can become infectious and are an important part of turning a broad range of people’s mindsets around to view a neighborhood or city and the opportunities for people in that place in a more positive way.

    In the video I love when Isaac asks “What are we doing? Why are we just leaving?…” Keep asking that! That’s how you change things!

  2. Anon. says:

    I love the idea. Best of luck to these guys. They have a great idea and a good thing going.

  3. Patricia Molina says:

    Great initiative and great video! It´s is so important to spread the word about this kind of projects and to foster creative attitudes towards urban decline.

  4. Martha Bonilla says:

    This is so powerful!

    I loved the idea of creating a platform to support youth capacity to tell their own stories, to strength their talent and to become a voice in their communities. In Colombia, where I am, we need this kind of projects to create opportunities for young people to be part of the urban fabric in a positive way. The question is How this project started? how this group of musicians make their way of living?

    Thank you for sharing this great project!!

  5. Karaline Rothwell says:

    Founded by Langston Masingale-not true. It was founded by its creator Isaac ‘Jung Profit’ Rothwell. Langston is a partner in the business.

  6. CoLab Radio says:

    Thank you for pointing this out. The author has fixed it in the post.