Recording studio damaged, vintage equipment destroyed in Gwinnett fire

Toast and Jam Studio in Buford was damaged in a fire Monday. The studio's owner said "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in vintage equiment has been destroyed.

Credit: Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services

Credit: Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services

Toast and Jam Studio in Buford was damaged in a fire Monday. The studio's owner said "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in vintage equiment has been destroyed.

A Buford recording studio lost "hundreds of thousands of dollars" worth of vintage musical instruments and equipment in a Monday afternoon fire, the studio's owner said on a GoFundMe page.

Artists who use Toast and Jam Studio on Main Street will have to finish their recordings at other metro Atlanta studios while the business’ owners rebuild, a process that could take weeks or months, owners Dominick Maduri and Noah Wright told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview.

The studio was part of the 120-year-old building that served as the distribution center and office for leather company Tannery Row. No other businesses were damaged in the fire, including the co-working space that the studio also owns in the same building

The fire was an accidental electrical fire, according to the fire department.

Toast and Jam Studio suffered “extensive water damage, moderate smoke damage and minor fire damage,” according to Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services. There was no structural damage, Wright said.

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A 911 caller reported smoke coming out of a crawlspace at 12:41 p.m. Monday; firefighters arrived four minutes later. Despite two fire-activated sprinklers inside the building, the fire had traveled from the crawlspace up a first floor wall. Firefighters extinguished it before it reached the second floor, a department release said.

By the time Maduri, the only owner who was in town at the time, arrived at the studio, he saw nine firetrucks and smoke coming out of the front door.

The building’s electrical meters were being switched from state to city providers Monday, Maduri said.

“I knew something was not good,” Maduri said. “I had no idea what would have caused it. A thousand and one things were running through my head at the time.”

A significant number of vintage instruments and equipment were destroyed in the fire, including a piano. Multiple vintage guitars that were “hard to find” sustained significant water damage.  One of the biggest potential losses is a unique soundboard the studio used to make recordings. The board was custom made for NASA in the 1990s for the agency’s broadcasting efforts, and Maduri, Wright and co-owner Matt Wood bought it secondhand.

“That item is not replaceable,” Wright said. “It’s one-of-a-kind. The only option we have now is to send it back to the company (that made it) and see if they can rebuild it.”

The fire also damaged additions the owners had made inside the studio. It will take a month to six weeks at minimum to re-open, Wright said.

While the studio is closed for repairs, the musicians Toast and Jam have been working with will have to finish their ongoing projects somewhere else.  Bands including Atlanta-based Stay Here and Macon’s Hindsight were in the process of recording music at Toast and Jam.

Wright, Wood and Maduri will still be involved, but they will be borrowing space from colleagues in the Atlanta music community, Maduri said. Wright said the studio has received significant support from friends, colleagues and members of the music community.

“We knew we had a tight community with the studio but it’s amazing to see everything in action,” Wright said. “It’s been really humbling and heartwarming to see that we are truly part of this community.”

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