Music Issue 2015: Yoko Phono

The guys behind Alexander & The Grapes created their own inspiring space.

Founders/engineers: Alexander and Philip Charos
The Charos brothers are the primary creative force behind Alexander and the Grapes. They’ve also been recording notable locals at their home-based studio for the past few years; the control room is in the spare bedroom, and the live room is in the connected living room and dining room. Previously, they’d travel to the Northeast to record at home studios in Boston, Baltimore and Burlington, Vt., “because they were cheap and very functional,” Alexander explains. “We created Yoko Phono to have something in St. Pete that was similar. A place where bands can come and record to tape for cheap [$150 a day], and be in a laid-back home environment.”

Studio must-have? Philip Charos: “Unless we’re working on electronic music, I always insist on recording to our friendly Tascam 1/2¨ reel-to-reel. It’s like a kind and astute Midas that turns all sounds to rock ‘n' roll gold.”

Why ‘Yoko Phono’? AC: “I didn’t want the studio to have the word studio in the name. So I kind of took to naming it like I was naming a band. Something short, sweet, and silly. It’s fun to say! Yoko! Phono!”

Memorable recording session? PC: “Back in October, we were recording the new Alexander & The Grapes album Wake Up! at Yoko Phono. It was the most beautiful October day so we recorded on the front porch. That’s one of the niceties of having a recording studio in a house. That album is due to be released sometime this year.”

Client roster: Alexander and the Grapes, Jensen Serf Co., The Other Ryan Willis, Talk Nice, Ninehorn, Adam Randall, Mark Etherington, Paris & the Night, Charos Jazz Collective, Galbraith Group, Howie Matheny, Tim Ostrander, Archaic Interest, Veiny Hands & more.,

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