Over the past 10 years, Mobile’s music scene has grown tremendously. Local bands are venturing out of the city to both perform and record their music. As the scene has grown, the need for local businesses that provide services to musicians has increased as well.
Many local bands are choosing to travel to locales such as Nashville, New Orleans and Muscle Shoals to find a professional environment in which to record and take the next step in their career. However, one local business is trying to give out-of-town studios a little competition by providing a high-level recording environment as well as a number of industry level services.
The Holy Bible tells of God creating man on the sixth day. With the creation of man came the creation of music. Day 6 Entertainment Group, Inc. pulls its name from this scripture. This venture has been a passionate dream for David Pettway for many years. Pulling inspiration from his muse Sam Cooke, Pettway began building Day 6 in a line of office suites off Cottage Hill Road.
Until recently, Day 6 has been a well-guarded secret with a select few chosen to use its facilities. Now, this musical behemoth is ready to open its doors to a broader clientele, and David’s daughter Jessica is ready to see musical talent walk through their doors.
“The first year was basically an incubation period for our artists that we are working with directly,” said Pettway. “So, it wasn’t open to the public. Over the past two years, we have started developing our team and opening to the public.”
“We’re really now jumping into the public domain,” Post-Production Engineer Sam Houston added. “Up until now, we’ve tried to keep things small. In this business, you need to have every duck in a row. We’ve had to do things very systematically.
Day 6 is opening its doors both literally and figuratively. This entertainment group is actively seeking out talent to not only record in their studio but also recruit to their label. Bands are given the chance to audition in front of Day 6’s team of trained ears. Would-be label artists make an appointment with Day 6 and perform songs (originals or covers) that showcase vocal range and ability. If a band catches their ears, the Day 6 team next decides if the artist is worthy of a full record deal or a development deal. The latter allows Day 6 to shape perspective talent.
“Sometimes, we see a lot of potential in an artist or a band, but perhaps, they’re not quite there,” said Pettway. “Before signing and giving them two-year contract, we’ll develop that artist.”
The services Day 6 provides are on par with a major label. In addition to development and recording, Day 6 provides management for artists. It is also is the home of AVA J Publishing Company, which specializes in publishing, copyrights and licenses.
The studio also provides graphic design for album cover art and also has a professional video production studio that will not only be used for music videos but also for post-production work on films.
For bands looking just to lay down and mix tracks, Day 6 provides a professional engineering staff that includes the Nashville-trained Houston and seasoned audio engineer/producer Matt D’Amico. D’Amico has built his reputation upon his work at Integrity Music and Jada Entertainment.
Together, D’Amico, Houston and Day 6 have created a studio filled with equipment worthy of the biggest names in music. However, Day 6 has also recognized that equipment is not the only amenity that wins over musical artists. The studio also wants to provide a comfortable environment.
“Some studios make people feel uncomfortable or sometimes unsafe,” explained Pettway. “We provide a safe, comfortable environment that will make you feel creative and expressive. It’s a non-judgmental environment.
Local rapper Rich Boy has enjoyed the benefits of Day 6’s recording environment as well as national artist Trinidad James. Day 6 has also worked with The Volks, Arty B, The Easy Tongues and Shirley Scott. When it came to deciding on where to lay down tracks, Gypsy Jazz superstars Roman Street chose Day 6.
According to Houston, Day 6 wants a “plethora of sounds” to be produced within its walls. Houston also explained that sonic discrimination does not exist here.
“We just don’t stop with your average R&B, rock, pop, rap or anything,” said Houston. “We just look for what is real music.”
With today’s technology in recording music, Day 6 has a great challenge to overcome. In recent years, many musicians have opted to create home recording studios with aspiration of both recording and mixing their own sounds. Due to lack of access or lack of funds, this option has become pretty standard for what Houston and D’Amico call “blue collar” musicians.
“There are not a lot of professional studios in town, and we can bring that to the blue collar worker and foster their creativity,” said D’Amico. “I can’t tell you how many people record in their home and say, ‘Matt, I can’t do this. Can you help me?’ They bring it to me, and I mix it. It’s my art form.”
“We’re bringing elements of 100 percent professionalism to the blue collar individual,” added Houston. “Most of my friends play in all the bands downtown. These are the guys that are looking for that professionalism and looking for that label that can actually help them out, without being turned-off.”
The Day 6 team has a bright vision of the future. They are currently putting the final touches on a beautiful live-recording studio. They are also preparing to push some of their signed talent into the spotlight.
For Day 6, their venture is providing community support by offering a much-needed set of services. According to Pettway, it is time for musicians to keep things local.
“We’ve heard of people travelling far and wide to get the professionalism that we have here,” said Pettway. “They no longer have to go to New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville or Miami to record.”