As long as producer Devin Vaughan, head engineer at Charleston’s 100 Watt Studios, is making music, he is happy.
“If anybody needs something, I’ll play it. That’s my passion,” Vaughan told City Paper.
Vaughan’s love of crafting music started at age 13 when he developed a devotion to his drum kit. After relocating to Nashville in 2009, Vaughan ended up head engineer for Nashville producer Paul Moak at The Smoakstack studio, working with artists like Kelly Clarkson, Caitlyn Smith and Sadler Vaden and producing music for the TV series Nashville.
Vaughan moved back to Charleston in 2019 and reconnected with Scott Gould, owner of Hybrid Audio Solutions in West Ashley. The two began playing music together as rock ‘n’ roll duo Acid Hawk and with Vaughan’s further involvement in the studio, they renamed the space 100 Watt Studios.
Following a major renovation during the COVID-related shutdown,100 Watt Studios solidified a place in the community with a benefit show for World Central Kitchen in 2021 that featured local alt-rock bands including Whitehall, Babe Club and Vaughan’s own project, GRIM.
Since then the studio has become a one-stop-shop for smaller local acts to hone their sound. That has included Vaughn’s contributing drum work for acts like emo pop group Sad Son’s eponymous debut EP and experimental pop artist Barely Trev’s upcoming single, “Serotonin.”
It was in shaping the ‘90s rock sound on Baby Yaga’s 2021 EP I’ll Ruin Your Life that Vaughan found a solid optimism as a producer. “From an experience point, it was one of the easiest sessions that I’d done in a long time and it made me feel like there was some really good music coming out of Charleston,” he said. His production work also appears on a new record with soul rock ensemble Sounds of Black Fox and a new EP with reggae rock outfit McLovin.
As he continues working with up-and-coming groups, Vaughan can see a resurgence of a once deep music city’s more obscure musical territory.
“In the late 90s, early 2000s, Charleston’s music scene was pretty buzzing,” he said. “I feel like it kind of died off a little bit, and I feel like it’s coming back now.”
He hopes 100 Watt Studios can continue to be a pillar of support for budding talent.
“Everybody needs to help one another if we want to elevate the whole community and put it on the map,” he said. “I want to take some of these bands that people don’t know about and help them and push them. I want to bring Charleston’s music scene up a level.”
Thus, Vaughan has one simple thing in mind for the rest of 2022: “Make more records… I like making music, so let’s do more of it.”
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