Getting the right Tones

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One of the audio recording rooms in Tones Studios, a newly renovated creative studio space in Irondequoit, literally has to be heard to be believed.

“It’s like a blanket that comes over you,” says Nicole Tones, owner and founder of Tones Studios. “Instead of coming at you, it’s like you’re wearing it. It’s lovely.”

“It freaked my ears out when I first walked into it. It took my ears a couple of days to get used to it, I’d say,” admits Brian Moore, engineer at Tones Studios.

Moore says the room’s angles and acoustics were constructed just so to create this unique listening experience. Next week, a limited-seating album presentation event will showcase singer-songwriter Sarah De Vallière’s latest work, “The Healing,” and allow attendees to experience the room for themselves in 30-minute sessions.

“Sarah actually had the idea initially to do this listening party because she worked in the studio and experienced it herself. She said, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be so cool if people could hear my album in this environment?’ So, we have her to thank for this great idea,” Moore says.

The event will also feature drinks and a food truck as a sort of coming-out party for Tones Studios. Once the site of a church and then a convent, Tones Studios has renovated all four floors, which now have two recording studios, photography and video studios, a 110-person capacity performance room, editing suites, and a kitchen for cooking shows.

“We’ll be doing tours too, so hopefully when people are walking through, their creativity will spur just getting eyes on all that we have here,” says Tones.

The process to get here has been long and winding, Tones Studios staffers agree. Tones and her husband, Jason, founded the company in 2017, working on graphic media, video and audio production. Some of their work includes advertisements for Triple O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing and Radio Social; music videos with Desert Father and Greg Best; and graphic media for Living Roots Wine Co.

Nicole Tones

In 2019, they began renovations on the Irondequoit space, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed that progress considerably. However, they were still able to gradually offer shoots and creative work space. For example, Chef Calvin Eaton, who goes by the moniker the “Gluten Free Chef,” shot a cooking video at the space. The band Joywave’s 2022 album, “Live,” was mixed and mastered at Tones Studios.

The studio is designed for all types of creative efforts and the team says they’re always excited to work on new projects. But for Tones, the musical aspect is particularly important, especially in growing and supporting a vibrant creative scene. As a transplant to the area herself, she says music, which has a healing energy, was exemplified by Rochester’s artists and went a long way in capturing her heart.

As things continue, she hopes Tones Studios ultimately can be a step toward making the city a “Nashville of the North.”

“I want to see this place thrive. It has my heart 100 percent, so I want to do all I can do to bring it up and make it a stronger, better place and give them a voice,” Tones says. “There’s a lot of passion in Rochester and a lot of kind people. That’s the heart of this place and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Jacob Schermerhorn is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer and data journalist. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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