The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
Advertisement
The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M outfielder Allie Enright (33) makes a diving catch during Texas A&M’s game against Albany at the first round of the NCAA Women’s College World Series at Davis Diamond on Friday, May 18, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
A&M opens regional with 6-2 win over UAlbany
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 17, 2024

For a moment after UAlbany softball graduate C Maddi Petrella’s first inning two-run home run sailed over the Davis Diamond scoreboard in left...

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024

Housemates create in-house recording studio to foster B-CS music

Zack+Castillo+adjusts+the+mic+for+artist+John+Marc+Kohl+before+a+Modest+House+Session.
Cody Franklin

Zack Castillo adjusts the mic for artist John Marc Kohl before a Modest House Session.

When three housemates went looking for a way to tap into the local music scene, they found the solution in the dining room.
Industrial engineering senior Tim Dorman, Zach Castillo and mechanical engineering senior Will Davis transformed part of their small white “modest” house into a recording studio in October 2014, and Modest House Sessions was born.
The studio showcases local and touring artists on its YouTube channel, which has garnered up to 8,000 views on its videos.
They have recently started booking shows to expand beyond in-house recordings. In February, they collected bands that had previously done sessions to perform in what they called the Modest House Showcase at the Grand Stafford.
“Mainly what we’re focusing on right now is really enriching and cultivating a music and art scene in the Bryan-College Station area,” Dorman said.
Inspiration came to the three one night when they recorded and filmed a session of their own, which was later uploaded to their YouTube channel and named “Prelude.”
Dorman said they see more and more independent artists emerging in the music world, which is why they focus on not only live sessions, but also booking shows, managing bands and working on their craft with them.
“We’re trying to make ourselves a one-stop shop where people can come to record because in the future, there’s not really going to be labels as far as music labels are concerned,” Dorman said. “When you’re looking into the future, a lot of artists are going more independent. So if we as a studio became more serious about [making] this a lucrative endeavor, we’ll kind of have to figure out how to adapt to how the future’s going to be like.”
One of Modest House’s goals is to track bands touring within its proximity and invite them to the house to do sessions. The recording studio got its first big break when a Nashville-based band called Judah and the Lion agreed to do a live session at the house.
“They played on Letterman, which is really cool, and it was cool that we got to have them in our house because it was the first legit artist coming through,” Dorman said. “And we’ve had more luck on that — getting artists who are touring through the area.”
The recording group also maintains a focus on local talent, inviting students and residents in Bryan-College Station to perform in their house, in addition to branching out to outside artists.
“We have that on one front and on the other are these local artists, because there are a lot of local artists, there are a lot of people who have talent but they have no way of getting it out there,” Dorman said.
A concern among the three guys before beginning the recording sessions was that eventually within the community they would “tap the well dry after a few artists,” said Dorman, a fear that hasn’t phased them so far.
“It’s like, ‘Aw man, there are not people here, everyone who has talent is in Austin or Dallas,’ and that’s really not the case at all,” Dorman said. “You create the culture for people to come to, you don’t wait and say, ‘The people aren’t here.’ You have to create it.”
Modest House Sessions is just one of the ways in which the Bryan-College Station art scene is expanding. John Marc Kohl, industrial engineering senior, is one of the student singer-songwriters who has recorded with Modest House. Kohl said it’s a giant step forward in providing local artists an outlet for their craft.
“[The sessions are] really just encouraging creative expression and bringing the art out of people and pushing people to play that are great but maybe aren’t sure of themselves,” Kohl said. “And the fact that they’re giving people a place to do their art and play their music is huge and is encouraging to me as just a songwriter who goes to school and [is] getting a business degree. And I know it has been encouraging to all my friends and other people who have seen it just think, ‘Wow that’s so cool, I want to work on my stuff.’ It’s a huge catalyst.”
The trio doesn’t necessarily limit their recording sessions to their home — they also facilitate what they call “around town sessions.” One such session included recording Nightowls at the Amity Building in Downtown Bryan as well as the Northgate Vintage clothing shop on University.
Dorman serves mainly as the group’s public relations manager and Davis handles the cinematography of the sessions, although all three often delve into each other’s area of expertise.
Castillo, who focuses mainly on the audio and production aspect of the sessions, said live recording sessions with artists, such as Mahogany Sessions and Cardinal Sessions on YouTube, connect the featured artists with their fans in ways that a solely audio version of a song cannot.
“I think that’s what makes it so attractive to people,” Castillo said. “Our goal is that it’s intimate, it’s our house. And so we try and get to know the artist that we’re recording. It’s more of a community thing.”
With some sessions, four to five cameras are used to film the artist and their music while some sessions involve only a one- or two-camera shoot, Dorman said. Getting to know the artists being recorded in an intimate environment is a feat unique to recording studios like Modest House.
“We try to capture the parts that you wouldn’t normally see like us talking to the artists and connecting with them,” Dorman said. “We’ve done where we have artists come in and we spend the whole day with them. We hang out and that’s really what we want to do.”

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Industrial engineering senior Tim Dorman, Zach Castillo and mechanical engineering senior Will Davis transformed part of their small white “modest” house into a recording studio in October 2014, and Modest House Sessions was born.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *