Lincolnton isnâ€™t exactly Nashville, but many may be surprised to know it does boast a recording studio, and an impressive one at that.
Located near town, Threshing Floor Audio is up and running, yet under construction at the same time.
â€œWeâ€™re still working the kinks out,â€ said owner Elijah Mosely.
Kinks or not, Threshing Floor has been prospering since Mosely opened it last October.
â€œAs soon as we opened the doors we had clients,â€ he said.
Housed in a building that dates back to the 1800s, the studio is a work in progress. But, as Mosely points out, the focus has been on recording music more so than redecorating.
With three control rooms, isolation rooms for the artists and a tracking room, Threshing Floor is similar to any other professional recording studio, except that itâ€™s located in a small town.
That hasnâ€™t stopped musicians from taking advantage of what one local artist called â€œthe best studio in North Carolina.â€
Mosely, who joined a punk band at the age of 14, says being a musician is what led him to end up sitting on the other side of the control panel.
â€œI got into studio work because I got tired of going into other studios and getting botched,â€ said Mosely.
He says he found most studios had an uncreative, sterilized, totally uninspired atmosphere that wasnâ€™t exactly conducive to making a musical masterpiece.
So Mosely took matters into his own hands, buying recording equipment with $2,500 he borrowed from his mother-in-law. He began recording his own stuff in a tiny basement.
Soon, people started asking Mosely to help with recording their material.
The Oklahoma native, who has lived in this area since the age of eight and graduated from East Lincoln High School in 2000, moved to Maiden and started a studio.
Two and a half years later, Mosely had to relocate due to a new ordinance. Thatâ€™s when he came to the building in Lincolnton.
Moselyâ€™s passion for music is undeniable.
â€œI love music,â€ he said. â€œIf itâ€™s good, I love it.â€
He says he enjoys all types, including classical, jazz and world music.
At Threshing Floor, Mosely says he works with artists who perform all types of music, but he also says many of them are Christian artists.
Mosely himself is a Christian and says he feels that God has been a major presence in his life as far as leading him down this path.
Now, he wants to use his blessings to help others.
Ideally, Mosely would like to bring in people who are interested in learning recording techniques. He says that, for a fee, he would allow students to come to the facility and participate in a one-on-one, hands-on learning experience.
â€œI didnâ€™t have any opportunities like that,â€ said Mosely. â€œThere is a music scene here that no one knows about.â€
His interest in advancing that scene is in part due to the potential he feels local bands possess. Mosely believes the Charlotte area could end up being like Seattle was in the early 1990s, when bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden went from playing in the local scene to selling millions of albums.
â€œI donâ€™t know if it will be this year, next year or five years from now, but it will happen,â€ Mosely said.
He cites the advent of studios like Threshing Floor as a sign of things to come. Mosely says he remembers spending $800 a day to record in Charlotte and ending up with a subpar product as a result of working with an engineer who just didnâ€™t care.
Mosely strives to be the exact opposite of that engineer, overseeing projects even when he delegates the responsibility of working with a particular band to an employee.
Having been there and done that, Mosely knows what bands want to get out of the recording process.
â€œItâ€™s not about sounding polished and perfect,â€ said Mosely. â€œItâ€™s about sounding like what they want it to.â€
Overall, Mosely is dissatisfied with the state of the music industry. He says the industry is only concerned with mass markets and making money. The days of executives investing with artists for the long haul and actually caring about making quality music are long gone. Today, itâ€™s all about being processed and packaged.
Yet, Mosely believes that will change, in part due to a little thing called the Internet.
With the Internet, small bands have a medium in which to share their music with the world.
For his part, Mosely wants to contribute to helping artists who normally wouldnâ€™t have a prayer get some glory.
â€œ(Threshing Floor) is a place where the grassroots guys can come and record an album,â€ he said.
In staying true to his philosophy of helping small bands try to â€œmake itâ€ in the music industry, Mosely says he wonâ€™t take on a project if he doesnâ€™t feel he can pour his heart and soul into it.
To that end, Mosely defers to his assistant Lindsey Quick on projects like childrenâ€™s albums since she has experience recording kidsâ€™ music.
Mosely himself has produced albums for several big-name Christian artists. He says he is a good fit for Christian bands because he has that sensibility; the punk band he played with was a Christian band.
In general, Mosely says the only genres of music he doesnâ€™t produce are top 40 and rap, although he says he has engineered for such acts.
â€œIf I canâ€™t write it, I canâ€™t produce it,â€ he said.
Moselyâ€™s dedication to the bands he produces is such that he considers himself the â€œfifth band memberâ€ when heâ€™s working with a group.
Another way Mosely acts as a friend to bands is by allowing them to bring tracks they have already recorded to Threshing Floor for mixing, tracking or editing.
A lifelong music lover, Mosely relates to artists because he is one.
Although he still plays music, Mosely is now more into the science behind making it.
â€œThe catalyst was music, the desperate need to get my music on tape,â€ said Mosely. â€œThey say necessity is the mother of invention.â€
Itâ€™s a learning process according to Mosely. He says he started out learning the basics â€“ the buttons and knobs on the sound board â€“ then the creative aspect came into play. Itâ€™s a process the Mosely doesnâ€™t see ending any time soon.
â€œI will be teaching myself till Iâ€™m 80 years old and slumped over my console,â€ Mosely said.
For now, Mosely plans to stay where he is.
â€œI find Lincolnton a great place to do this,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve been to New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Iâ€™ve seen their scenes and Iâ€™ve realized thereâ€™s nothing theyâ€™re doing there that we canâ€™t do here.â€
He can also do it cheaper here, as overhead costs are lower. That savings get passed on to the artists, so everyone benefits.
Even if Mosely makes it big, he says he wants to stay small, avoiding the pitfalls of corruption so prevalent in the entertainment industry.
â€œI would like to think if I ever become a huge producer, I wonâ€™t exploit other people because I can,â€ said Mosely.
by Allyson Levine