Screaming Owl Swoops Onto Music Scene

An area recording studio is looking to expand the Carbondale music scene and give community members a chance to put their vocal talents to use.

Located on “The Island” in Carbondale next to Artistic Minds Tattoos, Screaming Owl Records has worked to make a name for itself in the Carbondale music scene since last April. Studio owner John Beyler said he noticed something missing in Carbondale for people who were talented in music and wanted to create it.

“There wasn’t a recording studio around here; there were people’s houses, garages and private studios, but there was nothing for the public or for people who wanted to pursue music,” he said. “It was either a drive to Chicago or Memphis to get to a good studio, so it seemed like a good time to open one right here in Carbondale.”

For a fee of $35 an hour, an artist can go in and record a track, or even a full album, in the basement studio. Beyler said the studio and its employees provide the knowledge and the equipment to help customers make music. With two isolation vocal booths, a live studio room for big bands, and any instrument one could think of, the Screaming Owl has everything a musician would ever need, he said.

“There are a lot of things that go into a recording studio and making the sound perfect, and I think we do a good job at providing that here,” Beyler said.

Screaming Owl employee Josh Combs said an artist will leave a studio session with a finished track with added tweaks.

“For the set price you can leave with a mixed product. But if it’s something you would want to go in-depth with, like make it radio ready, we can also do that for an extra fee. It all depends on how much time someone is in here.”

Beyler said they have worked with genres and artists across the spectrum.

“So far we’ve done a lot of bluegrass and hip-hop. The biggest person we work with right now is Project Pat from Three 6 Mafia,” Beyler said.

And while nationally known acts are using the studio, many area artists are also taking advantage of the studio time. Cold Pizza, a folk rock band from Carbondale, has been recording at the Screaming Owl since the beginning of the summer. Lead singer Ben Fuson said he has always been more than satisfied with the studio sessions.

“Cold Pizza has recorded in other places in the area previous to Screaming Owl opening, but none have compared. It has a better environment for the artist all around, where the other recording studios do not,” he said.

Screaming Owl employees are also looking to expand their name to events outside the studio walls. This past May, the studio collaborated with the Premiere Lounge to put on a show during which Project Pat performed for a packed crowd. The studio is continuing to work with the Premiere Lounge for their Talent Throwdown, a program with an “American Idol” vibe, every Thursday night starting Aug. 29.

“You can bring in a band, rap or sing, or even DJ, and at the end of the semester we are going to offer a record contract,” Beyler said. “We are bringing in guest judges from the industry, and then the crowd is a vote as well so we’re encouraging people to bring their friends.”

Each genre will be judged separately at the end. Beyler hopes it is another way to get local artists out there and promote the variety of talent in Carbondale.

“A lot of local bands and artists around here have just as much talent, if not more, than bigger music scenes like Nashville,” Combs said.

In an effort to showcase local musical talent, the Screaming Owl began their Sunset Showcase from 7-10 p.m. every Thursday at the Town Square Pavilion. The event is free to the public and people can come to see multiple acts with a wide range of genres. And it’s through events like the Sunset Showcase and Talent Throwdown that Beyler hopes to strengthen the Carbondale music scene.

“This last year I’ve seen a lot of fire lit under people’s butts in music, which is what I like to see,” Beyler said. “We aren’t trying to be the only one doing it, we’re trying to collaborate with people so that way this town has everything.”