For the last five years, Lockout Music Studios has provided musicians with one of, if not the, most hospitable rehearsal and recording experience Southern California has to offer. Owner, Dave Leon, has made his impression on the OC music scene since the ‘90s as a member in punk/ska band, Vitamin L. Two decades later, he’s giving back to the community by providing today’s musicians with a second Lockout location in the heart of SanTana.
After the spaces being sold out for four years and an extensive waiting list, Leon would get asked almost on a daily basis if there were any available spaces. That’s when he decided that based on the high demand, it would foolish not to open another music studio. This time, with 75 studio spaces.
"Finally, I was able to make the most state of the art, upscale studio for musicians," Leon says.
Every Lockout location (Santa Ana, San Pedro, Riverside) is in the downtown area, which is more appealing to those looking to explore the city before or after rehearsing/recording. Downtown SanTana has grown at a tremendous rate and has become significantly more diverse. It’s no wonder DTSA is such a lively location, especially with everything the area has to offer within walking distance including a number of bars, restaurants, and places to catch live music.
"People want to practice the craft and be in downtown Santa Ana," Leon tells the Weekly. "It keeps growing. More people want space down here just for anything - whatever creative use they have. I'm pretty excited it's much more diverse in its creative use and people can be down here right in Santa Ana. I'm pretty proud because I helped get this area off the ground with The Yost and Velvet."
Lockout Music Studios will support not only the people, but local businesses as well. In the basement of the studio building, a DTSA CrossFit gym will be opening the same weekend as Lockout. So if you want to pump iron before or after a workout, you have the option to train with some of OC's most ambitious coaches. There will also be a food court and '80s arcade bar opening next door. What more could you ask for?
The building that is now Lockout Music Studios was once a bank built in 1929. The 22,000 sq. ft. building, once shabby and vacant, is now clean and sleek. The current design can be described by Leon as “mid-century modern meets industrial modern” with the look of exposed brick, exposed beams, and cement. The project took Leon two years to complete considering he took it on single-handedly – from acquiring the entitlement, completely renovating it, upgrading the power, and adding an elevator. Leon also decided to plaster photos of legendary artists including N.W.A., Johnny Cash, and The Runaways on the walls. There is even an old bank vault that Leon is offering to musicians to use as a recording studio. Talk about a makeover!
"I took an old shell, and I turned it into this new use. Construction took a long time, at one point I wasn't sure if I was going to live through this" says Leon.
Back in the day, Leon and his band struggled to find a place that fit their ideal standards to rehearse and record. As a result, they settled on practicing in warehouses, garages, and the like. Keeping this in mind, Leon constructed his studio spaces to correspond with the vision of what he always wanted to have as an active musician.
First and foremost, Leon has ensured every one of his studios is safe for anyone and everyone. There is 24-hour video surveillance, on site management, key coded entry, and is incredibly cognitive of fire safety.
Spaces are 60-400 sq. feet, sound resistant, acoustically sound, affordable, and available to use 24/7. If you’re an early bird and want to get an early start at 8 a.m., you can. If you’re a night owl and want to jam at 3 a.m., you can do that too. No more rushing to make it to the studio before 9 p.m.
Lockout Music Studios can attend to every single artist’s needs. The spaces can be utilized for practically anything – from being used as a place to DJ, practice, record, and give music lessons to a creative office space, photography studio, and a fine art studio. The rooms have plenty of amenities anyone would be grateful to have – windows, individual air conditioning units, multiple wall outlets, and everyone’s favorite, free Wi-Fi.
The second location already has half of its rooms booked, all before its grand opening. There’s no question of whether or not this will be a success for Leon as well as artists of all sorts in Orange County.
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This is just the beginning for Lockout Music Studios considering Leon's indomitable drive and plans to expand.
"It would be great to see Lockout Studios become something like Starbucks," Leon tells the Weekly. "I think these studios potentially could be in every market, and there's a lot of demand...we can really expand and get into a lot more markets in the downtown area. I'd like to open at least one every year."
The grand opening of the second DTSA Lockout Music Studios location will take place at 501. N. Main St. Santa Ana on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Want to rent a studio space? Click here to get more information on Lockout Music Studios.