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Tree Sound Studios- Creating Sustainable Sound

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Tree Sound Studios is unlike any other music studio in the world. Just half an hour from Emory, Tree is rooted in its place; practicing sustainability and engaging with the local community. At the same time, Tree’s actions are reverberating all over the world through the amazing music made there.

            Started 20 years ago by owner Paul Diaz, Tree has grown into Atlanta’s largest, greenest, and most unique music studio. The client list is just as unique, ranging from big names like Dave Matthews and Lil’ Wayne to a wide variety of upcoming artists. Regardless of the client’s fame, the Tree Sound family treats everyone with the same amount of respect. “What people love about this studio is that it’s not pretentious, it’s really chill,” explains general manager and co-owner, Sunshine Sweetwater Diaz. Tree has several studios, each of which is unique in its own way.  All of the studios, however, are designed to foster a relaxed environment where the artist can feel free to be creative.

            Not only is Tree a relaxed enterprise, but a sustainable one. The studio is carbon-neutral, as 50% of their energy comes from an Atlanta landfill producing methane gas and half of their power is offset by purchasing renewable energy credits from Green Mountain Energy. Furthermore, the studio has solar panels and a rainwater catch system, in which rainwater that flows from the roof to the gutters is used for landscaping. For instance, it is used to water the organic herb, spice, and vegetable garden at the entrance of the studio. What’s more, Tree has a local, organic farm called Rock Star Farms in Gainsville, GA. The latest edition to the Tree Family is Tree Power and Sound, which is powering live events with renewable energy through a small trailer that is attached to solar panels and a wind tower.

            “We like being able to promote the local economy and community action,” explains Sunshine. Just last year, the Studio hosted the largest green music event in Georgia to raise awareness of environmental issues in the music community. Specifically, the event focused on the 2010 Pack the Park movement, which is dedicated to providing, refurbishing or building green-wise parks in various communities. “The green movement is about getting together with people you don’t normally get together with. It doesn’t matter what ethnicity or class you are, as long as you’re doing your part,” says Sunshine. 

            Tree’s environmental consciousness is branching out and making a difference in the music community. Founder and co-owner Paul Diaz explains, “It’s kind of our mission to somehow educate the musicians and performers about what’s going on so that they can in turn educate the mainstream culture and the young people…Music is the most powerful tool we have available to effect the minds of young people.” Diaz emphasizes his belief in music’s ability to effect positive change, “Imagine the world we would live in if Led Zepellin, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, just to pick three, were all environmentalists and made that clear in their product, distribution, touring, the places they recorded, and in the messages that they had in their music. If that were true we would live in a vastly different world than we do now.” While there are other organizations, like Reverb and Sustainable Wave, who are working to incorporate sustainability into the music industry, Tree Sound is the only mainstream studio with deep sustainable roots.

            What makes Tree unique is not just what they do, but how they do it. A peaceful, cooperative, and hard-working environment is really what allowed Tree to grow into such a special place. When asked what her favorite memory at Tree has been, Sunshine takes a minute to think and says, “Seeing how this place has become a community, a family. Tree is not just a place to come work. We’re making memories everyday just working together.”

To find out more about Tree, check them out on http://www.treesoundstudios.com/

-Jenna Shweitzer ’11

Photos: Courtesy of Abigail Schwamm

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