“This is one of my Woodstock dreams coming true,” said drummer and recording engineer Pete Caigan, who, after several years working with Jerry Marotta at the revived Dreamland Studios in West Hurley, now has filled the historic Colony Café on Rock City Road with recording equipment for use as a studio on weekdays, and will be booking local and national acts into the room come weekends. “Our beautiful town is packed with talent with no place great to showcase it. This will allow us to make records and create a launching pad for the whole scene. There’s not been anything quite like this since the Joyous Lake.”
To accommodate all he wants, Caigan’s put in a new sound system he characterizes as “amazing,” worked on making the acoustics in the tall, balcony surrounded main room more conducive to louder acts (via curtains, baffles and a host of other engineering tricks, and been working at giving the entire trapezoidal building a thorough cleaning. Along the way, he’s been finding hidden treasures and finding that the magic that first drew him to the place is growing on a daily basis.
The Manhattan-born, Bard-educated Caigan got his start learning Pro Tools for music engineering on his own, then interning with Marotta’s Jersville Studios before he got “a big opportunity” to record the bass and drums for Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow album, which went double platinum. He opened his own studio, Flymax, then moved over to work at Dreamland. The new phase of his life started rolling towards its current shape last autumn when he asked Colony Café owner Mariann Harrigfeld, who bought the place with her late husband James 14 years ago (and whose son Jeff owns nearby Woodstock Music Shop), about possibly renting some space to record in. By December, he was working in the lounge above the front lobby; by January the talk had shifted to his leasing the whole space and booking its music, and by last month a deal was worked out.
“She’s keeping the bar business and the food service, I exclusively book the music,” Caigan said of what he and Harrigfeld worked out. “We realized we each had pieces of the puzzle and could make the place work.”
Flymax Recording, in addition to having separate recording spaces, will be able to record performances live, with state-of-the-art equipment, from the main room, which holds a maximum audience of 250.
“We can do multiple things in that room, and do it at a very high level of professionalism,” Caigan went on. “Everyone who’s seen the place is enthused, and I’m even getting top musicians in helping clean the place. They love the big working fireplace, the vibe of the room, the place’s history…”