The Growlers’ Drummer is Working to Put Film and Recording Studios in OC Public High Schools

The combo of father and son, Adrian Montoya and Scott Montoya, are in the midst of establishing a new nonprofit, Studios for Schools. The Montoyas are fundraising to provide audio and video equipment for public high schools that have little means of obtaining these types of professional—and usually expensive—industry tools. We caught up with Scott, who also plays drums for the Growlers. Between tour dates, he has enjoyed getting environmental in his local Long Beach community, and working with his dad to give back to their first studio recipient, Santiago High School in Garden Grove.

OC Weekly (Kim Conlan): What is this new project?
Scott Montoya: I just opened a nonprofit called Studios for Schools. I’m waiting on the nonprofit status, or 503(c)(3), to be approved.

How was this organization created?
What happened was, my dad got a hold of me because he is the Treasurer of the alumni association for Santiago High School in Garden Grove. He said, I’m working with a teacher that works with the AV Club, and she wants to build a sound-studio slash production studio there. So my dad’s been working on it and wanted me to get involved.

What was the next move?
I decided to start with a couple of auctions on Ebay with some Growlers stuff and some tickets. Then I thought, I gotta step it up, so I just decided to start a nonprofit so that I can make it more legit for anyone who wants to donate. I’m going to start doing scholarships, and we are almost done with the studio, and [the kids] all learning Pro Tools right now.

Why is it important for adolescents to have access to this type of equipment?
Santiago High School doesn’t even have a PTA, and these kids don’t really have much. The teacher, Ms. Ellingwood, who reached out, she was telling me that, for a few of the kids, it gave them something—it gave them a reason. It’s not for everyone, but some people really like it.

What made you feel connected to this cause?
It’s something that I really like doing myself, and it’s an art form that I was lucky enough to learn from an internship in Rome for six months with Mick Boggis. Mick was a Grammy award-winning ADR-mixer. He did 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. He did a bunch of other stuff like Motörhead and Pogues, and came up in the London punk scene. He taught me a bunch about sound that I had never ever thought before. I got the privilege of him bestowing his knowledge on me.

How are you raising funds?
I’ve reached out to a lot of people that I’ve met over the years, and Dan Auerbach just sent a giant Black Keys package with autographed vinyl that I’m about to put up for auction. And Ian MacKaye signed a 20-Year Dischord [record], Marcelo Camelo is sending a few signed records to put up, and Sean [Bohrman] from Burger Records is putting together one. Really I want items that are unique, like artwork, something from the artist, things that will make it more of a curated, awesome collection. Everyone that I’ve ever met or been involved with, I can actually ask for help in something that benefits the community.

What are the basic elements you’re trying to supply the studios with?
A Mac computer with Pro Tools, preferably a working console that the kids can actually use as a console. As much as you don’t really need to learn consoles, it’s way better to, if you don’t understand Pro Tools—they kind of go hand-in-hand. Especially because, I mean, doing stuff with your hands and hands-on stuff is way better than just doing it on the computer. It just makes more sense. Use a console, get it analog. We’d need microphones, soundproofing material, an electrician, a room. That’s just for music. If they had a couple of computers for editing, a green screen, teleprompter, and cameras, they can be completely self-sufficient for everything media.

For more information on donating and items up for auction, visit:

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