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, Quiet Company, 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 began working as a freelance engineer as a second job shortly after college, working in small project studios in the boston and NYC area.
In 2009, he relocated to Austin and obtained a formal degree in Audio Engineering and Production. He soon found himself behind the board for artists such as Malford Milligan, Meat Puppets, and Gary Clark Jr. He has a strong focus in capturing Live performances and extensive experience in Acoustic Folk and Jazz production and recording.
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Jonny Greenwood (the Master Soundtrack)
Gary Clark, Jr.
Hunter graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2015 with a music degree. In school he began building experience as an engineer by doing live sound for local concert series and recording solo artists and groups.
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Since relocating to Austin in 2016, he’s gained further experience as an engineer at Orb by assisting and leading on sessions with many local artists and projects.
Selected credits include:
Josh Abbott Band
The Peterson Brothers
Juan started creating music at the early age of 11 when he first picked up the trumpet. Over time, his fascination with music continued to grow, and his passion for music transformed into a determined effort to make a career in the music industry. He attended The University of Texas at Austin and received his degree in Recording Technology under the direction of acclaimed producer and engineer, Jim Vollentine.
Juan worked as an engineer for the Butler School of Music and became the head engineer for the UT Jazz Orchestra. He also interned at Big Orange Studio in Austin where he mastered live recording sessions for Daytrotter.
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After receiving his degree, Juan wrote, recorded and toured with pop-rock band, Driver Friendly, with whom he’s been with for over a decade. With three full-length albums and two EPs under his belt, he has a good understanding of the collaborative process that happens both in a live performance setting and behind the board. This experience and knowledge makes Juan a valuable player on any song-writing team.
Other accomplishments include writing music for and performing in the feature film, Bandslam; recording, producing and mixing the score for the documentary Stacker; winning the Outstanding Engineered Live Recording Award by Downbeat Magazine; teaching high school students in Drum and Bugle Corps; providing trumpet session work for various artists; and running the Austin Marathon.
Juan joined Orb Recording Studios in January 2015, where he is thrilled to be part of a team that shares the enthusiasm and passion for recording that he possesses.
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
Hailing from the live music capitol of the world (Austin Texas) Austin Martin is every artist & record labels secret weapon and go to producer/engineer. Thru the course of his career he has worked with artist such as Gucci Maine, Smoke Purp, Wale, Jim Jones, Red Cafe, Baby Bash, Dorrough Music, Sauce Walka, Sosa Man, Boston George and many more. Austin has also worked alongside of some of the most influential entertainment companies today such as Revlot Tv, Bet & Mtv Networks as well as Major record labels Universal Republic, Island Def Jam, & Atlantic Records.His work has been placed on television and film, and has been heard on radio station airwaves across the country.
Joseph co-founded the rock band Anberlin, and was the primary songwriter and performer with them for 19 years.
During that time, Anberlin sold over a million records worldwide, had 3 albums debut on the Billboard Top 10 and were featured on movie and video game soundtracks. as well as their song “Feelgood Drag” reaching #1 on the RIAA national chart and reaching gold certification.
Over the years he has had the opportunity to work with and learn from Brenden O’Brien, Aaron Sprinkle, Neal Avron, and many talented musicians that have been a great influence in his personal and professional life. After having a successful music career for the last 2 decades as a writer and performer, he is now producing full time at Orb Studios in Austin, TX.
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