Miami punk rock mainstay Christian Salmon (also known as Chris Critic from the Basicks, the Critics, Boy Prostitute, UFC, and the Repromen) runs a tight ship at Critical Recordings.
When you visit the studio, he's guaranteed to be taking out the trash or balancing his QuickBooks while talking on the phone to a prospective client. With his partner Chris Velasquez, Salmon's cranked out some solid records from his studio, including stuff by the Crumbs, Pool Party, Can't Stand Ya's, and Los Rock Addictos.
Both national and international acts have enlisted the services of Critical Recordings for everything from production to mastering. The studio itself is professionally outfitted for acoustic perfection, and features Pro Tools, auto-tune, sound booths, computers, and candles. Everything you need to make a record.
Initially conceived as a place for him and his friends to rock, practice, and record for cheap, Salmon was kicking the idea around since he graduated high school. After eight years of hard work, pain, and perseverance, he was finally able to save enough money to take the plunge.
The studio's main producer Armando Doval was hand picked by Salmon. "I'd worked with so many engineers and producers in the past that didn't seem to care or respect the band they were working with. But Armando is really easy going and hard working, he gets exactly what the band is looking for."
Keeping with punk's if-you-wanna-do-something-right-you-gotta-do-it-yourself-or-someone-else-will-fuck-it-up-spirit, Critical Studios is taking control of Churchill's semi-annual Battle of the Bands this Sunday.
"Most Battles of the Bands are total ripoffs. They offer prizes, but no one wins," says Salmon. "The bands playing this Sunday are all going home with a live CD of their performance at Churchill's. The champions get three songs mixed and mastered for free at Critical."
Velasquez adds: "I'll be one of the judges. I'll be fair. I have no problem letting a band know they sucked, in a nice way."
Critical Recordings Battle of the Bands, featuring Naked Vengance, White Noise, Atomik, Last Summer, and Krisp. Sunday, November 28. Churchill's, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. Visit churchillspub.com.