By: KRISTIN CURTIS
In late 2015 and early 2016, Kris Smith was a man with a mission as he began meeting with musicians, producers, and influential people in the Fort Collins area. Through many connections, meetings, and the luck of timing, Kris stumbled into a group of guys ready to create something magical. This idea morphed into Bridgeway Recording, a recording studio in Fort Collins powered by four unique individuals: Jared Meyer, Collin Ingram, Kris Smith, and Justin Roth. With help from Dan Butcher and Kevin Brookfield, the collective moved into the space that previously housed Morningwood Studios and began to make their dream a reality.
Kris has been interested in recording from a young age, as he began experimenting with multi-track cassette tapes in 3rd grade and playing the drums in 5th grade. After writing and recording multitudes of songs during his high school years, he went on to Massachusetts Communications College in Boston, where he studied to be a sound engineer in 2000 at the age of 18.
“I knew from an early age that I wanted to be involved in music. I had a realization that if I was doing something that I loved and I could make money doing it, I would likely lead a happier life,” Kris says.
When he completed school, he was able to land two internships at Soundtrack, a commercial recording studio and Q Division, New England’s largest recording facility for music that houses all aspects of the record business. While at Q Division, Kris met Matthew Ellard, a sound engineer who had 15 years of experience in the industry who also acted as the go-to guy for heavy metal music. Matthew took Kris under his wing, leading to a job as a staff engineer and head of the internship program. Kris created the internship experience at Q Division, which allowed him to oversee the hiring, interview process, and training of 14 interns per semester.
While working as a sound engineer, Kris got his first big break in 2004 when he worked on Dropkick Murphys’ Warrior’s Code alongside Dave Bianco and Matt Tahaney. After proving himself, Kris began actively producing records as a producer and receiving more opportunities to mix in 2005.
In 2009, Kris made the move to Colorado in search of a lifestyle change. “I wanted more time out in the world and less time in the studio,” Kris says. He opened his first recording studio, Haus of Kraus; however, the cumbersome workload of operating a business without assistance left Kris burnt out. It was in December 2015 when he, after a stint of soul searching, formulated the idea to share the workload among creative individuals. Thus, the gathering of individuals with a love of recording began.
Kris instantly reached out to Jared Meyer, who previously was an intern at Haus of Kraus and is currently in the punk rock group A.M. Pleasure Assassins. Through a series of meetings, Kris also connected with Collin Ingram, who was involved with recording at The Artery, in addition to Justin Roth, who was recording and touring as a singer/songwriter.
Since they opened the doors of Bridgeway Recording on June 1, 2016, Collin, Justin, Kris, and Jared work to utilize each other’s strengths to make their projects excel. “We are all very unique people and none of us do the same thing the same way, which is why we are able to do this. People come to us for our unique skillsets,” Kris says. Because of the collective’s vast amount of experience combined, Bridgeway is a commercial studio where any genre is welcomed and will be served with excellence. While recording can become costly very quickly, these guys make it a goal to be affordable. “We are trying to put together a work flow between the four of us that will be accessible to all budget types,” Kris says.
Bridgeway Recording has brought together four people who are all in love with making records and doing it well. According to Kris, “There is an energy that exists between a group of musicians and that’s what you are trying to capture. When you hear a great record, something that really inspires you, it’s not the way it sounds, it’s not the way the hook goes generally, and it’s the way that it feels to you. If you feel something, then it’s a great record.”