×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mark Isham: Sound Investment Starts at Home

Composer takes DIY to another level with two-acre, multi-space facility

Eighteen years ago, film composer and jazz artist Mark Isham (“Crash,” “42”) was writing music in his Benedict Canyon garage. When he and his wife Donna went looking for property that would provide them with an upgrade in space, having room to construct a comfortable studio was also on the checklist.

They found the ideal location — a green, hilly two-acre parcel that already boasted a house, guest house and horse stables — in Hidden Hills in the western San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles. It was less expensive to build a new studio than convert the stables, Isham discovered. Wet Dog Studios, named for their late, beloved golden retriever, who loved to do laps in the pool, was finished and opened in 1997.

Comfort is a high priority, not only because Isham does all of his writing and some of his recording here, but also because directors and producers frequently visit to preview scores in progress. “Guys like Robert Redford like coming here,” says Isham, who has worked for Redford on four films, including “A River Runs Through It” and “Quiz Show.” “They’ll schedule it at the end of their day; they’ll come out and hang.”

Studio A, where Isham says he spends “80% of my time,” contains a multiscreen writing area with key board and a large mixing console with giant screen and 5.1 capability. Studio B, originally designed for small-group recording, serves as a secondary room for assistants and technical support. An isolation booth for vocal recordings and a business office are nearby.

Location: Hidden Hills, Calif.

Square footage: 1,900 square feet for Studios A and B, although the nearby house has its own screening room (which doubles as a mixing room with a portable Pro Tools rig).

Aesthetic: Rustic warmth with wood ceilings, floors and beams. Windows and porch offer pastoral views.

Equipment: Five computers, including two 8-core Mac Pros to run Logic Pro (composing software) and video with Pro Tools, patched into a Euphonix CS3000 console to demo cues for directors. The other three computers (a Mac Pro, Mac Mini and PC) run all the sample software.

Recorded scores: “The Cooler,” “Crash”

More Music

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Attorney for Universal Music Artists Impacted by 2008 Fire Requests Inventory

    Following on its statements last week that it will be filing a lawsuit on behalf of several Universal Music recording artists impacted by a 2008 fire that destroyed a huge number of master recordings, a Los Angeles law firm has requested a “complete inventory” from the company. Addressed to UMG CEO and chairman Lucian Grainge, [...]

  • Charles Caldas To Step Down as

    Charles Caldas To Step Down as Merlin CEO

    Charles Caldas, the only CEO that the independent-label collective Merlin has ever known, announced today that he will step down from his post at the end of 2019, after more than 12 years at the helm of the global rights organization. He will continue his current duties until then and work with the Merlin board to [...]

  • XXXTentacion

    Watch a Trailer for New XXXTentacion Documentary

    A year to the day after rapper XXXTentacion was murdered, his estate has released a trailer for an upcoming documentary on the artist, which the announcement says is “releasing soon.” The clip, which includes narration from X himself, captures quick flashes of him reuniting with family and friends, engaging with fans, and working on music. In the [...]

  • Editorial Use OnlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Ed Sheeran Adds Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Khalid, Eminem, H.E.R. to 'Collaborations' List

    With less than a month to go, Ed Sheeran has uncensored his list of duet partners on the “No.6 Collaborations Project” album that’s due out July 12 and, not surprisingly, Justin Bieber is far from the only superstar in the bunch. It’s heavy on urban music giants, with Travis Scott, Khalid, Eminem, Cardi B, Chance [...]

  • Meek Mill, Future to Co-Headline on

    Meek Mill, Future to Co-Headline Late Summer Amphitheater Tour

    Hip-hop stars Meek Mill and Future have announced what they’re billing as a fall tour — even though, technically, most of the dates fall in the final weeks of summer — that will bring them to 24 cities across the country, mostly in outdoor amphitheaters. The co-headlining outing starts August 28 in St. Louis at [...]

  • Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Global indie-label collective Merlin reported record distributions in its 2019 membership report, paying $845 million to label and distributor members between April 2018 and March of this year. That figure, a 63% year-over-year increase, includes more than $130 million paid out this year from non-royalty income — and included in that figure is the estimated [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content