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The Gifted in Hangar 1018 Studios

By Monk Turner
Published: Tuesday, June 02, 2009, at 11:29AM
James Bairian and Louis Castle Monk Turner [Flickr]

While eighteen wheelers grumble by and countless commuters zip (or crawl) across the 10 freeway, a production team known as The Gifted are hard at work making the hit records of tomorrow in the warehouse district of Downtown. They are currently hard at work producing Ceci Bastida's next record, a release that's already generating massive amounts of buzz.

Housed in the Hangar 1018 building, conveniently located across the street from a strip joint, this hidden oasis is where we caught up with James Bairian and Louis Castle.

MONK TURNER: How did you guys meet and when did you start the studio?

LOUIS CASTLE: We first met each other because we went to high school together. A Woldorf School called Highland Hall. We started a band in high school called The Hippos. When that band broke up we started Dirty Little Secret together and then we kind of started producing other bands and stuff. The first band we produced was Giant Drag. When we were doing the Dirty Little Secret record, we did all of it here. We got in here and we never left. That's really kind of how it was.

JAMES BAIRIAN: In like 2005.

MT: Had you set up the studio by then? What was the story of this space downtown?

JB: Well, to back up a bit about how we got into recording, in 2001 we just decided to buy some gear to record Dirty Little Secret. When we started Dirty Little Secret we didn't want to pay $100,000 like we did when we were on a huge label so we just started buying gear and learning how to record ourselves. We were in a rehearsal space, Downtown Rehearsal just over the bridge, and we just had a little set up there and built a little booth. We started buying pieces of gear and recording our friend's bands. We just acquired more and more gear. When we were recording the Dirty Little Secret record, we moved in here what was supposed to be just for a week for drums. But then ended up staying here and combining all our gear.

MT: Why did you guys choose to come downtown?

LC: The strip club across the street. [laughter]

JB: Why did we choose to come downtown?

LC: Because of Downtown Rehearsal space.

JB: It was the best deal and the best room. It was the best place to do what we wanted to do.

LC: And we had no money.

JB: Yeah. [laughter]

MT: Where do you hang out after a day in the studio? Any favorite restaurants?

JB: I think we have three places we go. We're creatures of habit. 2nd Street Cafe at 2nd and Alameda.

MT: I ate there last night!

JB: It's good, right? SeƱor Fish - every day. [laughter] And El Pollo Loco over on Soto but that one, I don't know if we really want to drop that one. [laughter] Do we go anywhere else?

LC: The Sushi Place.

JB: Oh yeah! TOT. They have a good Tuna Tuna bowl. It's a little over priced. They charge too much for the Diet Cokes. It's like $2.50 for one can, no refill. Other than that it's a great place.

MT: Anything else you'd like to share about working in Downtown?

LC: The cool thing about downtown, especially for us, is that there is so much we have not seen and food we haven't tasted. It almost seems infinite. It's just an ocean of stuff and that's really cool. We might, you know, not go anywhere but our three places, but talk to us in two years and we'll have six places. [laughter] They'll be totally solid and better.

JB: And we'll be hyped on them.

Hangar 1018 Studios is located at 1018 Santa Fe in (you guessed it) Hangar 1018. More pictures, rates, and contact information can be found at


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