In the Bay Area of California, Fremont to be precise, lies The Panda Studios where otherworldly things appear to happen. Founded by Sam Pura in 2003, the studios have hosted a number of critically acclaimed names including Man Overboard, Polar Bear Club, Balance and Composure and The Story So Far. Not only does Pura mix, master, engineer and produce albums and EPs, he also started The Waiting Room in 2011 which is a live performance series intended to showcase the live talents of bands instead of just their abilities in the recording studio. Because of the sheer brilliance of Sam Pura's releases we thought we'd bring you a list of our favourite albums that have been recorded and produced at The Panda Studios.
1. The Story So Far - Under Soil and Dirt
Pura worked on The Story So Far's debut album Under Soil and Dirt which received a prodigious reception. Not only did he produce the record, but it was also engineered, mixed and mastered by him too. Pura has worked on TSSF's other releases starting with While you Were Sleeping and their split with Maker. He also recently co-produced The Story So Far's most recent release What you Don't See with Steve Klein from New Found Glory. In an interview with Casual Friday Pura stated that the reason The Story So Far keep coming back to the Panda Studios is: 'They always wanted to be a serious band and I think working together really helped them recognize their potential as a touring band... They know that I’m on their team and have a lot of respect for them as people and their music... The Story So Far is the perfect example of a band who comes to the studio to work real hard, but wants to have a good time and make sure their songs feel good'.
2. Misser - Distancing
Misser is the creation of Tim Landers of Transit and Brad Wiseman formerly of This Time Next Year. What started as a side project can now safely be called a band after a number of great releases. Pura worked on the band's EP which was a follow up to their debut releases Problems.Problems.Problems and Every day I tell myself I'm going to be a better person. Absolute Punk even said of Distancing 'I, for one, hope that Landers realizes that Misser serves as a much brighter showcase of his talent than does Transit'
3.State Champs - The Finer Things
Pura engineered, mixed and co produced (with Steve Klein) State Champ's debut album The Finer Things. Tyler had this to say about Sam's work in an interview with Property of Zack: 'Sam was pretty involved. Sam engineered it. So a lot of the time, for the last week, me and Steve would be in one side of the studio working on leads, while Sam was doing something in the other room with vocals or rhythm guitar. A lot of the times it was just Sam like, “Hey. You’re not doing that right. That needs to be better.” Because he wants to put out a sick record too. His thing is that every record he wants to be better and better. I think he’s doing it. It sounds sick so far.'
4.The American Scene - Safe For Now
Alternative Press stated in a review that Safe For Now is'assured, confident statement with far greater musical and emotional depth from TAS's occasionally homogenized scene'. Pura produced, mixed and engineered Safe For Now and Jeff Wright commented in a interview with Already Heard on their working and personal relationship with Sam: " Sam has been apart of our musician lives forever. Even some of our other bands have recorded with him and we’ve known him for a long time. He’s one of our really good friends and he’s a great engineer and producer. Recording with him is really easy for us because we’re just friends and he knows what we’re thinking so we don’t have to try and break it down for him."
5.Basement - Colourmeinkindness
Under the gun called Colourmeinkindness 'an amazing adaptation of 90’s emo and a grunge-filled masterpiece that, while it may serve as the end of the band, is certainly the perfect way to say goodbye'. Although Basement broke up in 2012, Basement and Pura's work will never be consigned to an inadvertent memory. The band stated that working with Sam was a creative experience which pushed new things out from the band. Guitarist Alex Henery said of Pura: 'Luckily Sam Pura really understood where we were going with the record sonically and helped us enormously in creating the record we wanted. He gave us so many ideas and helped us explore new techniques in layering and texturizing the sound of the album.'
6.The Story So Far - What you don't see
Sam Pura co produced What you don't see with Steve Klein. Kelen stated in an interview with Alternative Press: 'We are all in such a close vicinity to each other, and it’s the team we’ve worked with since we started, so it’s just the functionality of it. We trust each other, so we have this little network to help our friends out and they can help us out. We know from our experiences recording with Sam [that it works]'
7. Forever Came Calling - Contender
Contender was engineered by Sam Pura and co produced by Matt Vincent/ Sam Pura. Joe Candelaria said of Sam in an interview with Fuck Yeah Pop Punk: 'Sam is one of the hardest working dudes we have ever had the opportunity to work with. He told us “Hey, let’s work with a pop structure with this record. You have cool parts, let’s make a chorus so we don’t fuck up and make a weird minute long song with no chorus and it’s just one verse and a weird ending.” He helped us restructure a lot of the songs, as far as taking a guitar part that was awesome and making it into a chorus and repeating. The difference from other records is that we followed a bit more of a structured sound'.
Credit to Alternative Press, Absolute Punk, Already Heard, Casual Friday, Fuck Yeah Pop Punk, Property of Zack, Under the Gun for interviews.