The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Robert Gordon Sessions
Charley Crockett & Hunt Sales Sessions
Nik Turner (Hawkwind)
Chris "whipper" Layton
Nick Connolly (Keyboards, Delbert McClinton, Fabulous
Working with Tyrone Vaughan and Nico was effortless.
Hal Ketchum (Member of the Grand Ol' Opry)
Nico has created a great place. The sound quality is excellent the host is gracious
Van Wilks (Texas Hall of Fame Guitar player)
I have had the wonderful chance to play with Nico in Europe and the States. He is the consumate (no BS) professional. He is tenacious and always working to get better, so it should come as no surprise that Nico has put together a very modern, efficient and comfortable studio in deep S. Austin. Over the top Drum sounds are a given due to his command of the kit. He is open to any kind of music and has a way to put every one at ease and make for a smooth session. I left the session feeling confidant that the end result was in good hands. It's nice when a musician can trust his sound to a double duty guy: Drums & Knob Turner! tres Formidable!
Denny Freeman (Taj Mahal, Bob Dylan, Solo Artist)
I've worked there once, for someone else's project, and i'm hoping tp go in for myself, soon...
James Fenner (Percussions sessions, Christopher Cross,
Nico I really enjoyed recording in your studio and playing with
you. A lot of positive energy going on! I liked the over all sound of what we all did. Thanks for letting me use your conga, it sounded great. Your encouraging words, backyard environment and studio professionalism made for a very positive recording experience. God bless you!
Tyrone Vaughan (Rock-Blues Guitar Singer)
I recorded my last single GUITAR SON at Alnico Studio. In an age where there is literally a studio on every corner, you still have to be picky. I've always had a handle on producing and engeneering my own guitar but really look to the experts for quality drum sounds and enriched vocals. I found this "quality" at Nico's place. Acoustically sound and down home enviroment made me want to cut a whole album. I will without a doubt be back over and over!!!
Charley Jones (Session Drummer, The Sniffs, Black Owl
Instant and natural are the words for Nico Leophonte as a
musician and as an engineer. By careful, attentive design Alnico Studio is a reflection of these defining characteristics.
Because of the unique floating design of the building, the bass
response is pristine in the spaces around the studio. That is the
first thing I notice. Getting fat and well tailored drum sounds is
the soul of Alnico Studio, I feel. The attentiveness and expertise that Nico operates with in conjunction with state of the art equipment and the recording platform means an artist has
immediate access to any sound design imaginable, leaving more freedom for creativity. Set in a lovely private garden in the heart of south Austin means a great comfort level to accomplish your projects. You won't get the quirky, idiosyncratic mad scientist vibe here. You get a fresh and easy sense from the setting so getting into your own headspace is made simple. I have worked several projects at Alnico Studio and I'm excited for what we get into next in this fantastic place!
Billy Young (Keyboard sessions, Billy Young Band)
Recording @ Alnico is L.A quality ! Precision recording affordable and to the point !
Rafael Ibarra with The Sniffs (Punk Rock)
One of the best studio I have recorded in! Top of the line gear,
great room sound, and the environment calls for creativity! Nico
is a fabulous engineer who listens and is excited about the art of recording!
Bernard Sellam with Awek (Award Winning French Blues
I have recorded 2 cd´s with Nico. He is a great sound engineer and producer.
Adam Johnson (Blues Rock)
Nico is both professional and artistic in his approach to
recording. Allowing the band/artist to be free in his studio while
gracefully employing his vast knowledge to ensure the finished
product is exactly to one's expectations. Not to mention the
studio's comfortable atmosphere. I couldn't be happier with my
record and am grateful to have had Nico as producer!
Hillbilly Savants (Country, Bluegrass)
In the Spring of 2012, we entered Alnico Studio with the songs
realized, lyrically, structurally, we knew what we wanted...
What happened after that, is another matter altogether! Having
Nico at the helm, on the board was amazing, but also, once Nico got behind the drums, we found our groove.
Tho basically rootsy, and rather folky, he made them all swing,
where we didn't see all of the different possibilities, Nico could hear something, that we hadn't... I know he had his doubts. Going forward ,there were a few Aha moments. Something was
happening, and we were getting exited, Nico's steady hand thru
the sessions, always gave me confidence, and as we were getting close to the end of mixing, sure there were different ways of looking at the final mix, but I believe he kept me on the right track! With deep gratitude and love and appreciation, we cannot wait to get back in...
Andy Macintyre (Rock)
I've worked with Nico for a couple of years now and his
professionalism never ceases to blow me away. In a scene full of countless great musicians and professionals, Nico easily stands out with ease and great accolades! His recently founded studio and its work is sure to inspire (and you can never go wrong with what he brings to the table, musically). Having heard samples of projects that he's completed, his place will no doubt be a major contender for reputable Austin studios in the coming years. I highly recommend Nico for anything: Be it professional
drumming, studio tracking, studio mixing, or even musical
consultation. In this day and age that's hard to come by.
LZ Love (Singer, songwriter, Vocal sessions)
I really did enjoy recording at Alnico studio. The times I have
recorded with Nico I felt the environment was pleasant. The
state-of-the-art equipment, I was very impressed with the talent
and professionalism of Nico Leophonte as an engineer. Working with him and his skills kept the flow of the recording session very upbeat and positive.. That means a lot to me as a singer songwriter.
Mikel Parent with The Sniffs (Punk Rock)
I had heard all kinds of horror stories about making ‘the first
record’— I chose Alnico Studio and avoided all that mess. Alnico boasts a flexible recording environment and an excellent
listening environment. Nico is a musician’s engineer (and a great musician in his own right) and a great communicator, so we were able to cut fantastic sounding tracks despite the fact that I’m a novice when it comes to production. And the vibe of the place allows you to focus on making great music. I know where I’m making my next record.
Will Knaak (songwriter, guitar player)
I had a great experience at Alnico studio. It's a clean, cool vibe
both inside and out. Not only is Nico Leophonte a great engineer and studio owner but he is a top notch drummer and musician as well. We cut tracks fast and easy, it barely felt like the red light was on. Located in South Austin (where real Austin is) it's right where I want to be.
Bradford Tretola (guitarist, solo artist)
I had the pleasure of recording my last record at the Alnico Studio with Nico as engineer and drummer on the project. It was an exciting and inspiring experience. Nico is first and foremost a true musician, passionate, incredibly talented and well seasoned, always giving his best. As an engineer, he did whatever it took to achieve the best sounds, starting with building the studio with his own hands, to create an inspiring atmosphere to capture the moments every musician aims to tap into. You know the moment you walk into the studio you are in the right place. We had fun experimenting with different ideas, but I always trusted his knowledge and ideas. I truly appreciated how invested he was in my music and project. Having a partner to work with like that was a gift. I have gotten many great compliments from people on the quality of the record as well as his drumming on it. I highly recommend working with him at the Alnico Studio ! Keep it up my friend!!!
Jeffrey Brian Liebowitz (Singer songwriter)
Nicolas Leophonte is a class act all the way around. I used his services to help me organize all of the Pro Tools sessions for my latest record. He not only did a wonderful job putting everything in order but was available for all of my questions afterwards. Thank you Nico! -
The Sniffs – Barrio Element album review
Ever throw on a new record and swear you’ve heard several of the songs before? The sound is simply too warm, too analog, the songwriting too strong to have possibly been written in this era of cold production and vapid lyricism. They’ve got to be obscure covers, from a long forgotten Lou Reed bootleg, a rare 45 recorded by some Midwestern high school garage band back in 1965, an early Clash demo, or maybe a Stooges outtake. Maybe you heard it on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, or on some website dedicated to mid/late-century obscurity. In any case, the result is the same; it’s just too good to be new.
This is what happens upon first hearing The Sniff’s debut album,Barrio Element, except you haven’t heard them before; they’re all originals (minus a “hidden” take on a well known Chris Isaak hit). This is, quite possibly, the strongest new record this year, and easily the first in a long while that cuts directly to the heart of American music, hence the instant familiarity. Here is the very essence, the soul and the spirit of rock n roll, pure and unadulterated.
While the record is influenced in equal parts by garage, blues, rockabilly, new wave, and, yes, punk rock, an initial listen immediately places The Sniffs among the best proto-punk bands, lyrically as well as sonically. Yet, unlike the myriad of other bands claiming such influences, they are emphatically not a punk rock band. If anything, they are a neo-proto-punk band, excluded from the ranks of true proto-punk solely for temporal reasons. Musically, they are every bit as solid (and grimey). Producers Nick Curran (a legendary genre-hopping Austin guitarist who, sadly, passed away before the album’s completion) and Nico Leophonte expertly coax a much larger and more raw sound that one might initially expect from a trio. “Gaston Ave.,” “Phone Booth” and “Waiting For The Law” are fleshed out by electric piano (courtesy of another Austin icon, Denny Freeman), an attribute that, on the surface, seems frivolous, yet in practice, lends a sonic texture both unexpected and surprisingly appropriate.
Beyond merely its sound, however, the band manages to capture an older style of songwriting, one focused on story rather than situation. While not necessarily implicitly stated, a narrative is usually implied, such as in “Ray Rey” and “Scraps of Town,” demanding the listener’s participation, sometimes without consent. It is a cinematic approach, in the vein of Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. There are no pines for lost loves or self-centered dwellings. The songs are unapologetic, honest and sneeringly apathetic, as any good punk or proto-punk track should be.
Rock n roll has always, at its core, been a music of rebellion, andBarrio Element is a battle cry against the current disgraceful state of music, as all good rock n roll album have been. Ironically, while past rebels sought to make something new, The Sniffs have gone the other way, and created something old (and I say that as the highest of complements), yet their message is the same. It’s worth your time to seek this record out; you may just find your new favorite band, and it will give you bragging rights to say ‘I listened to them when…’
Chris Bell (Bell Tower)
What can I say about recording at Alnico Studios? It was a total pleasure! The studio has fantastic gear and space to accommodate both small and large ensembles. Best of all was working with Nico. He has the studio chops to handle the technical stuff which allowed me to focus on the creative side of making a record, and I never felt like he was trying to influence the sound or overall approach to the recording. He was committed to understanding where I was coming from as an artist so he could make sure that the sound of my record reflected MY vision as an artist. Lastly, the price was right which meant I could take some time to get the project done without taking a major financial hit. If you live in Central Texas and are looking to record a CD, you won't find a better place to do it than Alnico Studios.
Charlie "Preacher" Keen
The studio is a cozy little place to record without distractions. The vibe was friendly AND professional which is a very good combination. We started when scheduled and everything was ready to go. Your mixing ability was really first class. The mastering engineer's job was not the least bit difficult because of the product you delivered. I was pleased with how the record turned out----so pleased I may have to end up breaking my self-imposed rule of never recording in the same studio twice! Thanks Nico for a fabulous experience.
The Erie Boys – Dave Pichler
Recording at Alnico was as easy and effortless as the recording process can be, due to a number of factors.
First and foremost, Nico is a great engineer, has a great set of ears, and is very easy-going.
The studio itself is comfortable and has a fabulous drum sound. Also, the studio p-bass one of the best p-basses I’ve ever played.
There’s a very at-home, laid back vibe at Alnico that really enhances the creative process.
All of the musicians on this project agreed that recording at Alnico was quite enjoyable.
We’ll be back there soon, can’t wait!