At the very beginning of speaking to Brandon Buttner about his career, he shared that there was one thing that sets him a part from everyone else that moved to Nashville, LA, or New York. He has always planned to move back to Minnesota. There has been an internal desire to bring something back with him to help make the Minneapolis scene better or help it grow.
“A lot of people when they move to a city like Nashville or LA, they just fall in love with it and go crazy. There’s definitely opportunities out there that don’t exist back in Minnesota, but seven years later and I don’t have that connection to LA like I do to Minnesota,” shares Brandon.
Brandon’s travels back to Minnesota is always spent talking to engineers, producers, and artists to keep getting updates on where our scene is right now. He shares advice, answers questions, and offers different perspectives of the two very different music communities.
Brandon is quick to state that there are a ton of great studios in Minnesota, with great engineers and great songwriters. Trips are also spent working with Minnesota artists, from sessions at The Terrarium to The Hideaway Studios. There’s a desire to be an active part of our community, which he’s still trying to quantify how.
The current pandemic has revealed a potential idea for a business. Brandon remembers the Guitar Center Sessions that featured national artists doing a live recording. He’s been brainstorming ways to open a studio that specializes in doing more high quality video content along with music.
Artists travel to Tiny Desk in Washington D.C. Artists traveled to Guitar Center Hollywood to perform for a video. Musicians travel to Paste Studios in New York.
“A lot of my favorite recordings of bands are performance recording, not necessarily the album version. It would be a cool in a place like Minneapolis to promote and record something like this,” Brandon states.
Musicians see these videos happening on the coasts and feel like they have no opportunities in the Midwest to make something like that. There’s a presumed glass ceiling hanging over Minneapolis, which causes some bands to move. Brandon sees the potential of him helping artists realize there is amazing talent here, and there can be avenues for national success.
Roles of Minnesota Engineers
Besides the role of the “runner” (a position we discussed in previous articles), Minneapolis and LA carry a large difference in studio management. Here, our engineers are also studio owners. This leads to the nature of studio owners sticking in their own bubble, only interacting with walk through the door of their studio. In LA, like bees pollinating, freelancers bounce around from studio to studio, taking projects all around.
This environment can lead to more collaborative efforts between artists, engineers, and studios. You see that with guest artists and engineers being able to work on a variety of projects all around. There is no home studio for a producer and owners have to appeal to any genre. Brandon has this culture instilled in him and bringing that back to Minnesota would be a distinct difference.
Working with Brandon
Alex Richter, aka SOLANA, is one Minnesota artist that has trusted his creative process to Brandon. Although they went to the same high school, they didn’t have mutual friends. Alex was working with an engineer that trusted Brandon to master the recordings. After his engineer moved to Seattle, Alex was having issues with a mixed version of one of his songs. He shared it with Brandon for advice. Brandon asked for the stems (combined parts of the song) and returned back a new mix, just like that, with everything perfect.
“The reason I’ve gone back to working with Brandon is from the jump he showed that he really cared, and believed in what I was doing,” Alex compliments.
Look for his new single “Talk To Me” to be released May 29th on YouTube.
Brandon Buttner exudes Midwest values, West Coast ingenuity, and hometown heart. His success has been earned humbly. There’s not much of a better role model to up-and-coming artists, engineers, and producers.