Girard Estates: A Repurposed Church Based On The Expansion Of People’s Musical Development

To find Philly Sound Studios and the South Philly School of Music and Arts, you must follow the sound of the drums.

Across from a row of homes at 2829 S. 18th St., a converted church with bright red doors offers the residents of South Philly a place to not only get their music produced but to learn new instruments as well.

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“We cater a lot to the children with the music school within a two mile radius, primarily,” said Mariano Mattei, the owner of Philly Sound Studios. “People can come from all over, though. We are 10 minutes from the airport. We are right by 76, 95, all of the major roads.”

His father works in real estate, which gave Mattei the opportunity to flip this church into something new.

“He gave me the key and as soon as I walked into the main room, I saw a recording studio,” said Mattei. “That’s when we came up with a business plan for the music school downstairs and a recording studio up here.”

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The quality of the sound that resonates from the space and the larger, analog devices to produce music that are not that common today allows Philly Sound Studios to go against the current of most studios, said Drew Raison,  a producer and engineer at the studio and director at the South Philly School of Music and Arts.

“It is a beautiful sound,” said Kyle Bosler, a solo artist who has used the studio to record his music multiple times.

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The diversity in music that Philly Sound Studios produced ranged from blues, to punk, to gospel and to pop. Projects can go from anywhere to half a day to nine months long. Aside from the production aspect of the studio, radio gigs are held there as well, offering the opportunity for fans to get close to their favorite artists.

Artists such as All Time Low, Phillip Phillips, We the Kings, Fall Out Boy, Ingrid Michelson and Little Mix have all stepped inside the old church building to host private concerts and meet and greets.

Watching everyone’s musical development is an exciting thing, said Raison, which is one reason the teachers at the South Philly School of Music and Arts have a history on making music beyond just lessons, hoping to have about 100 students by September.

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Philly Sound Studios and the South Philly School of Music and Arts is focused on having the perfect system for artists of all kinds.

“Have a focus on what you want,” said Raison. “Have a focus on what your end game is. What are you reaching for? What are you trying to do? Share that with our staff and we will do whatever we can to help you hit that mark.” w=640 h=360]

-Text, images and video by Taylor Calta.

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