Music Issue 2015: MANA Recording Studios

Local and globally famous heavy bands have helped shape this Tampa studio's philosophy.

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Founder/engineer: Erik Rutan
Rutan got his start recording in 1999, at a U-Store-It place off Skipper Road. A year later, he established an official space. Today, Rutan’s recording studio and post-production facility is located in a St. Pete complex with Granville Guitars (a repair shop that services all Rutan’s axes and amps), and he’s manned the boards for a glut of death and black metal artists, including Cannibal Corpse and his own band, Hate Eternal (which drops a new album in August on Season of Mist). He’s also seen indiefolk rock outfit the Mountain Goats, punk/thrash crossover group Agnostic Front and hardcore punk rockers Madball come through his doors.

Operating style: “The thing I focus on most is capturing great performances and unique tones and trying to create an album for every individual client that has unique characteristics to it. A lot of [modern] records sound the same, so I’m always up to the challenge.”

Studio must-have: “The most important thing is working with bands that want to work with me. That chemistry is very similar to being in a band …The best collaborations in the studio happen when everyone’s open to laying it all out on the table.”

Memorable recording sessions: ”I did four albums with Goatwhore, three with Cannibal Corpse. If I had to pick two bands that have really helped mold me into what I am today, it would certainly be those two. Agnostic Front and Madball, those were incredible experiences as well ...Anything that puts me out of my comfort zone and really makes me utilize all my abilities, I enjoy.”

Why ‘Mana’? “Mana is spiritual power, and I feel like music is my spiritual power. It has encompassed everything I do and who I am my whole life, so I felt it was a fitting name.”

4705 95th Street N. St. Petersburg, 727-399-7354,,

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