Former lead guitarist for the rock band Blue October and Orb Recording Studios co-founder Charles Britton “C.B.” Hudson III spent many hours discussing his dream with bandmate Matt Noveskey. They learned they shared one big dream: building a technologically advanced recording studio big enough – and sophisticated enough – to hold its own at a national level. The studio would accommodate major acts, but also nurture new artists. Growth and inspiration would be core values, no matter how small or large the artist’s budget.
C.B. has crafted every detail of developing Orb into a place that will change this growing city’s recording landcape.
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Blue October’s former lead guitarist C.B. Hudson likes to point out that he landed his career-making gig at Kismet Cafe in San Marcos, TX.
One might say kismet has been playing a role in his life ever since. It led to his friendship with Blue October bandmate Matt Noveskey, which led to countless hours spent plotting every detail of their ideal recording studio. Over time, their concept evolved from dream to plan and finally, to reality.
That’s basically the way Hudson operates in most areas of his life. Kismet might put him in the right place at the right time, but he knows what to do when he gets there.
In December 2000, played his first show with the band. Hudson went on to co-write three of the band’s most popular tunes: “Dirt Room,” “18th Floor Balcony” and “Somebody.” After 10 years in the band, he started building Orb Recording Studios, where he hopes to help other bands produce professional work that will move their careers to the next level — and beyond.
Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Dallas, C.B. Hudson gravitated to music at an early age. He got his first guitar for his 10th birthday, followed by years of lessons, a stint in his high school’s jazz band and a six-week summer program for promising talent at Berklee College of Music. He attended Southwest Texas State (now Texas State University) as a psychology major with a business minor, then began pursuing an MBA in finance.
And then kismet kicked in. He was studying for finals that day at Kismet Cafe; he’s still just a few credit-hours away from earning that MBA.
Maybe he’ll have time to finish it after fine-tuning operations at Orb (and adapting to first-time fatherhood). Hudson also plans to explore possibilities such as voice-over and commercial work; Orb’s two studios and configurable extra spaces were designed with versatility in mind. Orb also was designed to offer the comforts of more expensive studios—without the accompanying costs or attitudes. “We wanted to bring a really nice, more modern, clean, new, big facility to Austin,” Hudson explains. “We wanted to build a nationally competitive studio with the laid-back vibe of Austin’s hill country. Part of our mission is to provide super-friendly, easy-going, quality service to our clients.
“In this industry, sometimes you run into negativity and other things that really hinder the creative process,” he continues. “We want to alleviate that. We just want to make good music and be able to nurture artists.”
Hudson and Noveskey share a perspective honed from recording in myriad studio environments and releasing both major-label and independent work. According to Hudson, too many people harbor the misperception that they no longer need recording studios. “It’s extremely difficult to make a record at your house with the quality that major labels are looking for,” he notes. “A lot of artists don’t realize that if you go in and you make a real record, when you shop that to major labels, they see a turnkey deal.”
These days, labels are more likely to consider signing an artist who doesn’t require a major financial outlay to get something released. Hudson says artists who already have a professional-quality record in their hands gain a valuable advantage — and appear more established from the get-go.
At Orb Recording Studios, the idea is to pass those opportunities along to other music-makers — whether they’re first-timers, stars-in-the-making or bona-fide legends.
Michigan-born bassist Matt Noveskey was basically tagging along when a music-biz friend working with rock band Blue October invited him on a trip to Austin, but he dropped his preconceived notions of Texas and fell in love the minute he stepped off the plane and within two weeks, he was back — as a permanent resident and Blue October member.
That was in 1999. Noveskey soon formed a brotherlike bond with Blue October guitarist C.B. Hudson and as the band’s experience and fame grew, the two learned their way around many recording studios, working with producers such as Steve Lillywhite, Tim Palmer, Interscope’s Chuck Reed, Dave Castell, Patrick Leonard and Blue Miller. They also whiled away countless tour hours fantasizing about their dream studio. Meanwhile, Noveskey evolved into a sought-after producer and manager, fostering the careers of young artists and helping them reach higher levels of achievement and success. Hudson couldn’t help but notice.
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“He saw that every time we came home, I was working. I would go right back into the studio,” Noveskey explains. “One thing led to another, and we just came up with a plan together.”
That plan, now realized as Orb Recording Studios, reaches far beyond the mere brick and mortar of a recording space, Noveskey says.
“I also have this grand image — it goes back to the very first day we even started talking about the concept of the studio — which is development,” says Noveskey, now married and a father of two. “I want to get back to the same ideals and philosophies that Barry Gordy started at Motown. I want to have writers and artists we can go to in our own backyard, a community of producers and musicians. It’s part of a family, not competition.”
Noveskey’s Midwestern-bred sense of loyalty is strong, and one of his goals for Orb is to help launch new artists who will choose to return no matter how famous they become. He knows Orb will earn that loyalty by caring for clients and offering them every resource in the studio’s extensive arsenal.
“I view myself as a fundamental producer,” he says. “I’ve worked with a bunch of artists that were really unknown when I got together with them. The thing I’m most proud of is being able to take the training wheels off these artists and watch them go on to bigger and better things.”
Noveskey’s first major-label experience was Blue October’s 2000 Universal Records debut, Consent to Treatment; he also did the album art and co-authored “James” with bandmate Justin Furstenfeld. Another Noveskey composition, “You Make Me Smile,” became wildly popular, but the band stopped playing it when he took a health-related two-year leave of absence in late 2002.
In 2002, he began working with acts such as IAMDYNAMITE and started to envision a future in production. His ever expanding resume includes an impressive roster of genre-bending artists, such as IAMDYNAMITE, Alpha Rev, CAVO, Daryl “DMC” McDaniels, The Unlikely Candidates, Waterloo Revival and Joshua Radin. He’s also crossed project paths with notable recording and mixing engineers such as Jay Ruston, Adam Hawkins, Greg Archilla, Chuck Alkazian and Sterling Winfield. In just a relatively short time producing other acts, Matt has independently achieved some of the following benchmarks:
#1 iTunes independent (producer)
#1 iHeartRadio Alternative (producer/co-writer)
Top 10 iTunes pop (producer/co-writer)
Top 20 iTunes overall (producer/ co-writer)
Top 30 on Alternative US charts (producer)
Top 40 on HOT AC US charts (producer)
Top 30 Texas Country charts (producer/co-writer)
“I always joke, you know, ‘how do producers pick their field?’” Noveskey remarks. “It’s not like you wake up one day and you’re like, ‘Today I’m a record producer.’ You just have to keep plugging away until something happens and then people start to approach you, instead of you going out and hustling for work.
“I’m a song guy,” he continues. “I’ve always been that guy who hears the structure. When we worked with our first couple of producers, I was like, ‘This guy’s doing what I already do in the band.’ I loved watching him work — we worked with Nick Launay on our first record — and it had such a profound impact on me because I realized this is something I could do for the rest of my life, and be so happy. Before then, I didn’t really know what a producer did.”
Each lesson became a building block used to create Orb’s environment, which, Noveskey says, is the sum of “little things that C.B. and I loved about each place we worked.”
One critical element, they agreed, is multiple recording rooms, “not just one room where you’re stuck with one sort of vibe.”
Another is a space built specifically for recording, not converted from another use. Clean, comfortable areas to spread out and relax are also vital. But there are intangibles as well.
“This studio is all about the experience,” Noveskey explains. “The most important thing about a studio is not to have a sense of arrogance. The things I remember about the best studios have just as much to do with the interns and the people there you had conversations with as the space.
“We’re just trying to be a place that people feel good about, and want to come back to.”
Matt Meli has been recording music for a long time. He’s the bee’s knees. You should work with him.
He enjoys long walks on the beach and enjoys soup.
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Gary Clark Jr.
Third Eye Blind
Victor began his music career at an early age performing in competitive drum line and winning multiple awards. He decided to focus on engineering shortly after graduating. In 2018 he started interning at Orb Recording Studios where he was quickly promoted to staff engineer. Victor has worked with multiple international and top 40 acts. His work ethic and passion for his craft have been a critical factor in his career.
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Kevin Butler has been producing, engineering, mixing and mastering for bands and recording artists for over a decade in Austin, TX. Butler began recording when he was still a teenager. By the time he was 21, he was a full-time professional running his own studio, Test Tube Audio. A 2003 graduate of Full Sail University with a degree in recording arts, Butler’s recent work includes Quiet Company’s Transgressor, Blue October’s Sway, and IAMDYNAMITE’s Wasa Tusa.
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His band Black Books signed with European label Believe Recordings in 2012, and has had songs featured in Showtime’s Californication, and has toured the UK with the Flaming Lips.
Butler also composes music for TV and Film for clients including Nike, GM, Disney and Google.
Kevin joined the Orb team after engineering several sessions with Noveskey.
“We really hit it off,” Butler recalls. “We work really well together.”
Says Orb partner C.B. Hudson, “Matt and I wanted to choose guys who had the education background and experience. Kevin had a studio at his house. He’s been doing it for years now. He’s very ambitious and I like that. He’s got a lot of drive. That goes a long way.”
In his low-key manner, Butler says simply, “I’m just there to make it sound good.”
Visit Kevin Butler’s website: www.kevinbutlerproductions.com
Partial Client List:
The Clouds Are Ghosts
Cody Bryan Band
Co Manager/Booking Agent
Jimmy’s audacious passion for music began in 2009 when he was 14 years old. Inspired by the likes of Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa and Joey Bada$$, who were only a few years older than him at the time, he began producing, writing, rapping and recording his friends in his home studio. Shortly after graduating from high school, he attended an audio engineering school in San Antonio and finished his education in Austin where he currently resides. 2019 was a pivotal year for Jimmy. He secured an internship at Orb Recording Studios and worked his way up from intern, to assistant, to engineer and finally booking manager, collecting credits along the way. He now spends his days as a full-engineer and artist getting into as many aspects of the music industry as he can. His specialty is Hip-Hop, but with a sharp ear and experience in film, live sound, and voice-overs, he’s willing to record almost any genre.
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Co Manager/Studio Admin
Music has always been an integral part of Elik’s life, even at an early age he had an astute fascination with the creative aspects of melody, rhythm, and sound. Elik began playing bass at the age of 13, performing with multiple bands spanning a multitude of genres. Throughout his musical career, Elik has worked in atmospheres comprising both creative and business oriented workflow. His venture into the studio world has kept him busy as the Studio Admin, session bassist, and in-house luthier.
Founder & CEO
BeatStars was created for you; the writer, the performer, the beat maker, the producer, the engineer, the record label, the publisher, the videographer, the artist and the CREATOR. BeatStars was built for the person telling their story with music and to find like-minded people to experience it with. Music is the universal language that connects us across the globe. Music brings out our human emotions and music is the unified voice of the people.
At BeatStars we strive to inspire music collaboration between the people writing the songs and the people composing the music. Bringing artists from all over the world together to truly explore their full potential as song makers.
Orb Recording Studios’ state-of-the-art acoustics were designed by Acoustic Spaces owner and chief designer Mark Genfan. A veteran studio architectural and acoustics designer with a background in both engineering and music, Genfan has created many of Texas’ most renowned recording and production spaces, including Tequila Mockingbird and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios. Genfan’s client list also includes the University of Texas’ film department, director Terrence Malick and the Charlie Uniform Tango video and post-production studios in Dallas and Austin.
A New York City native now living near San Marcos, south of Austin, Genfan spent several years as a lecturer on acoustics and studio design at Texas State University in San Marcos. He also served as technical director of remote recording for Sony Classical Productions, capturing live performances by Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, John Williams, Lorin Maazel and other stars of the classical music world. He began his career in radio, then moved to New York’s famed Skyline Recording Studio in 1983, working as technical engineer for some of the most iconic artists of the ’80s. Throughout his career, he has also performed as a jazz and classical musician.
A member of the Audio Engineering Society and the Acoustical Society of America, Genfan has served in various positions, including president, on the board of trustees for the Katherine Anne Porter School in Wimberley.
Visit Acoustic Spaces website: www.acousticspaces.com