Music Issue 2015: Will there be more Morrisound?

What's next for the studio once considered Tampa's biggest and best?

click to enlarge Morrisound's fabled Studio A. - chip weiner
chip weiner
Morrisound's fabled Studio A.

Tom Morris is blunt about the approach he and his brother Jim took with Tampa’s legendary Morrisound Studios. “When we built [it] no one thought about doing serious recording in their homes,” Morris, 60, told CL. “The cost for anything like ‘professional quality recording’ at that time was in the six figures.”

They’ve since sold the biz location along with everything in it (except for Morris’s personal gear) to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra camp, whose members first recorded at Morrisound under the Savatage moniker. “It was a very difficult decision to sell,” Morris said of letting go of a building that was the culmination of a lifelong dream, “[but] I still love what I do.”

The brothers are operating in a temporary location for now, but a new, leaner studio better suited for today’s recording climate starts construction soon, and the lower overhead means Morrisound can pass savings on to musicians. He’ll also be sharing decades of wisdom with the next generation of wannabe studio engineers when he begins a new gig as an instructor at St. Pete College’s award-winning Music Industry/Recording Arts (MIRA) program.

What were you hoping to accomplish with the move and what have you been able to do so far?
“When we began talking to TSO about selling the studios, we decided to re-imagine what a recording studio should be in 2015 and beyond. We designed our facility on 56th Street to be a world class studio for the 1980s and ’90s. The entire recording paradigm had a major shift that started in the late ’90s and moved drastically after 2001. With changes in technology, almost anyone can afford the equipment it takes to record at professional quality. Artists don’t need studios for the same kind of work they did 20 or 30 years ago, so we’re changing the way our studio will work with artists.”

How do you feel about the way it’s going?
“Due to the difficulties we’ve had locking in a new building, we are a long way from where we want to be. If things go as we plan, we should be opening our new facility in about four months. We have been doing a lot of business with artists from out of state (and out of country) and have developed a new way to do long-distance collaboration with mixing and mastering.”

How bittersweet is it to be moving?
“It was a very difficult decision to sell. I’ve worked in studios all over the world and never recorded in a room that sounded as good as Studio A. I will miss that experience. That being said, we can’t wait to introduce people to our new studios later this year.”


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Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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