Established five years ago by Tanner Hendon and Wyatt Oates Madison Studios, is the closest thing to Southern Tracks that Atlanta has left. It’s a big building formerly known as Exocet Studios but Hendon and Oates have put a lot of work into the equipment and the general vibe of the studio. Alternative Addiction talked with both Hendon and Oates about them starting Madison Studios, working together as Madrex Productions and eventually forming Madison Records.
“Wyatt’s about ten years older than I am,” said Hendon talking with Alternative Addiction. “When I was about 13, for Christmas I asked for a recording session here in Atlanta. My parents got that for me and Wyatt happened to be the engineer that was assigned to the session. We hit it off and he went on to engineer and produce a couple of my band’s records. When that was done, we started producing together.”
Even though Oates is a little older than Hendon, the two shared similar paths to their career choice.
Said Hendon, “I started getting into production when I was 15. I had a studio set up in my basement. Nothing fancy. I wanted to start writing songs and that got me learning multiple instruments. I taught myself how to play guitar, bass, and keys, and I’m a drummer by trade. Eventually I started recording other people down there, but I taught myself.”
“It’s about the same for me,” said Oates. “Since I was 14 or 15 I was playing in bands. I was from a smaller town and I heard about a school that you could go to and make a record that sounded didn’t sound awful. When I heard about that school, I dropped out of the band I was in and went to the school. I eventually met Tanner and we started working together.”
They shared similar paths to production but they weren’t ready to start their own studio until the deal fell in their lap. Hendon told the story of how Exocet Studios would become Madison studios.
“The studio’s been a studio since the late 80s. We got it about five years ago. We weren’t looking for a studio, we were looking for a rehearsal space for my band back then. We stumbled upon it. It was foreclosed so it was dirt cheap for what it is. All the rooms were built out for the most part. It was an easy buy because we kind of wanted to get into the production. There wasn’t any gear here and it’s taken some time to get that together but it’s turned into a pretty special place.”
Remember that bit about Madison Studios being the closest thing that Atlanta had to Southern Tracks now that the famous studio has been shut down? That’s because Hendon and Oates have the main board out of Southern Tracks that Brendan O’Brien used to record everyone from Pearl Jam to Springsteen.
Read Part Two of the Article