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Motor City Cribs

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You can trace a lot of music straight back to the church. And any good frontman has a little bit of a preacher in him. So how could you go wrong setting up a recording studio in an old church?

That's exactly what BandB vocalist and guitarist Chris Breest has done. Along with partners, local producer Doug Moore and Peter Keys (the keyboadist for Lynyrd Skynyrd who has deep ties to the Motor City), he set up a studio in a former Methodist church in downtown Plymouth. The lack of a parking lot had been the undoing of the former neighborhood church, so Breest and Moore jumped at the opportunity to set up shop in 2003.

"The Church" — as the studio is known — needed a lot of work initially, but with the help of bands trading remodeling work for recording time, Breest has turned the space into one of the most inspiring studios in the Detroit area.

The basement has three apartments (one of which Breest lives in), a living room and another room for bands to decompress in. Upstairs are two control rooms, a vocal booth and one large live room that used to be the sanctuary. Inexplicably, the heart of the church had a drop ceiling when Breest took over. When he removed it, he opened up the original 22-foot cathedral ceiling and created a wide-open playing space with amazing acoustics. 

Breest and his partners run the space as a co-op, and a number of different production teams use the recording space. In addition to Breest's BandB, Royce da 5'9" recorded this year's Revival here, and Detroit hip-hop emcee Dante LaSalle (pictured) has recorded most of his records here. Breest says, "It's an incredible spot. Some spaces are made for art and music. This is one of them."

You can find out more about BandB at myspace.com/bandbdetroit and Dante LaSalle at dantelasalle.com.

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