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Monday, January 30, 2023

@Work: ISW

July 22, 2007 — In a setting not unlike that of a major recording studio in New York or Los Angeles, principals of ISW Studios celebrated their newly built space in Altona, alongside family, musical artists and notable community members Friday night.
Attendees were met with light refreshments and given a grand tour of the establishment’s facilities, which is the new home of ISW Studios, ISW Records and soon-to-be launched ISW Media, a full-service advertising agency.
The second floor, a 5500 square-foot operation features a percussion room, a live room that can accommodate as many as 70 people, a room specifically designed to shoot film and video, a variety of musical production booths and a main digital room, which networks with almost every room in the studio.
The visual attention-grabber of the evening was a multidimensional sculpture by well-known New Mexico artist Margarete Bagshaw made with more than 350 CDs, ranging from The Delfonics to Jay-Z’s The City is Mine. Bagshaw recently moved to the territory and immediately fell into step with the new undertaking, by bringing the “creative aspect of the studio into the project,” she said.
“I wanted to make a statement,” said Bagshaw, who also placed photographs of those involved with three companies on some of the CDs. “CDs are about communication,” and that's what ISW is all about, she said.
Bagshaw also hand painted and signed the studio’s conference room table with an array of red, green and gold colors. The colors, she said, were a way to “honor where we are." She said, “We wanted to stimulate the creative aspect of anyone who enters ISW, from singers to graphic people."
The ceiling tiles through the hallways match the conference table design.
Several attendees shared their feelings about the new studios. Marketing specialist Liza Margolis simply said “Wow!” upon entering. “One thing I have heard from everyone tonight is this could be any location. It could be in New York or it could be in L.A.”
First Lady Cecile deJongh was also impressed by the media complex. “It is more than I expected,” she said. “Every room is different and very conducive to creativity.” She also commented on the cosmopolitan atmosphere. "It could be anywhere."
To ISW President Derrick “Juice” Moore, however, the feelings about the enterprise go deeper. “To me personally, I wanted to create a place for when I wanted to release my energy." Moore added that the caliber of the equipment at ISW is the same as you would find in any top-notch recording studio in the states.
ISW studios gives off-island and local artists the convenience of producing, recording and packaging their music in one location, Moore said. He calls ISW a “full service, full capability” studio or a “one-stop shop,” for all music recording and advertising needs.
“We built this studio with the expectation that our customers can think, 'I can go see these guys and I am ok,'” Moore said. “From writers to musicians, we have people on call.”
ISW Media will serve customers their print, radio and television advertisement needs. The studio also produces documentaries and full-blown ad campaigns, ISW principal Dan McGuinness said.
Another key member of the ISW team hails from major recording company — Sony Records. ISW Records President Faye Perkins was in charge of worldwide marketing for the classical music division at Sony for 17 years and has also worked with artists such as Rage Against the Machine, Shaba Ranks and Pearl Jam.
Perkins said that her goal for ISW Records is to “create a very diverse roster of artists and have them distributed as widely as possible by traditional and alternative means.”
The new location has four fully equipped studios. Studio A is a fully analog studio and Studio B is a fully digital studio. Studios C and D are semi-analog and semi-digital, Moore said.
Producers can create beats for songs in several small production rooms that have “every instrument you can imagine,” and pass them to the studios for vocals, McGuinness said.
A Yamaha C7 Concert Grand piano sits in the middle of the studio’s live room where a steel orchestra or a 30-person steel pan band could record their music together, McGuinness said. The TV or film production room is equipped with six cameras to film television commercials, talk shows or music videos.
“We wanted to set a bar,” Moore said. “The V.I. is capable of competing with any major CD company on the mainland.”
If you were Whitney Houston or Rihanna, you can come to the V.I. to get your stuff done, he said.
McGuinness said that he hopes the new studio will bring people to the Virgin Islands to work. “There is nothing like this south of Florida or anywhere else in the Caribbean. This is world class in structure,” he said.
For more information, call 340-715-7711.
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