Tucked away in Gilpin County, CO down a long dirt path lies Mountain Star Studio. Its studio barn and main home sit on 120 acres of lands that looks out onto the continental divide. The compound includes a multi-purpose recording studio and performance space, and offers artist lodging.
The property was originally built to serve as a house and horse barn for Mr. Kip Lagorin. It wasn't until four years ago when Kip’s friend Chris came around and suggested they turn it into a recording studio that this magic came to be. Both Chris and Kip have a deep respect and love for music, and more specifically the music scene in Colorado. And so, after the two came together, the property slowly morphed into the artist retreat that it is today.
Bands come through to use the space to rehearse before shows, and to record singles and albums. Some names of the bands that frequent the studio include Andrew McMahon, Chapter: SOUL, Madaila, Gipsy Moon, The Magic Beans, Fruition, Elephant Revival, and Field Division. Eventually, the studio hopes to host intimate shows on the property as well.
I got a chance to stop by this hidden gem and get to know the studio team and what led each of them to Mountain Start Studio.
Chris Sheldon- (Head Honcho/Father of the Studio/Member of DeadPish Orchestra)
Well, Kip had the place and another friend of mine had a recording machine that needed a home. Once I had the idea I just knew if we built it they will come. I was too young to ever go to Caribou Ranch Studio, but it's a part of history everyone knows about around here. What could be better than recording an album surrounded by the mountains and wilderness? That always sounded so amazing to me. So when this opportunity came, I thought I could put the dream into action.
Mike Pedersen- (In-House Band Member/Jack-of-All-Trades)
I took a drive across the country a couple years ago. I have some musician friends in the area and knew I wanted to check out Boulder. A week and a half into my travels in Colorado, I knew I was going to stay. I have some buddies in the band The Drunken Hearts and they took me up here to the studio; the rest is history. I’ve been here at the studio for close to a year now. I do all of sorts of stuff: the dishes, graphic design, interior design, [I’m the] in-house bass and guitar player… We all have to be a jack-of-all-trades on this team.
Evelyn Taylor- (Lead Singer of Field Division/Marketing Manager)
About a year ago, [Field Division] were finishing a tour and were invited up to the studio to stay for a bit. We thought it was pretty cosmic because we didn’t have anywhere to go and didn’t want to head back to our home in Iowa. We have always dreamed about moving out to Colorado to start a vibrant art community in the mountains. We really wanted this community to follow the spirit of the Laurel Canyon scene in L.A., where artists lived together and collaborated on so many great records. I thought we would have to build our own property, but then we ran into Kip and Chris and they already had the dream going and needed help.
Nicholas Frampton- (Member of Field Division/Studio Producer)
We arrived in late April of last year. We were pretty amazed by the property and actually had a record we were trying to finish, so we just plopped down at the studio to finish it. We ended up staying for a month on our first stay. We came back in July after that, and then again in October. At that point we were working out how we could stay and actually become resident artists and team members at the studio. Both Evelyn and I help with everything around here: branding, marketing, booking, producing records, and being a sort of in-house band for artists coming through.
Chris Lewarchik- (Cheerleader/Vibe Coordinator)
I’m just visiting. I’m friends with all these mad people trying to do this great thing. I kinda help them cheerlead all the bands I’m friends with and people I see who are doing good things in order to get them into the studio. I am really trying to promote the whole Caribou vibe to get those people off the street in the city, where everything is just so hustle bustle, and here they can just kick back and record in a not-so-city-based environment.
This team is truly creating a unique studio where artists can come record and retreat with the support of a team that are themselves musicians, and are ready to help create each artist's’ vision. So if you are ready to take a break from the city, look out onto the continental divide, and make a record, check out Mountain Star Studio and get yourself up there.
All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.