By Nicole Crawford
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
What do rapper Snoop Dogg, local favorites Grasshopper Takeover and a cartoon about the American Revolution have in common? Give up? The answer is Warehouse Productions.
It seems that Omaha has its very own diamond in the rough when it comes to audio production complexes. It goes by the name of Warehouse Productions.
Established in the 1950s and formerly named Sears Productions, Warehouse sits quietly in a deceivingly plain building on 44th Street between Dodge and Farnam.
What passers-by don’t realize is the boxy, gray frame houses a 40,000 cubic foot broadcast production suite which Vice President Terri Ware says is “acoustically perfect.”
Designed as an exact replica of Los Angeles studio Ocean Way, Warehouse Productions has made its name by living up to its Hollywood make-up.
The company’s history lists audio mixing and mastering of all genres. Included are nationally televised commercials, local radio spots and post-film productions, as well as work with jazz bands, full-blown orchestras, church choirs and garage-spawned rock-and-roll trios. Warehouse Productions is also responsible for turning out Chip Davis’ first Mannheim Steamroller and Fresh Aire albums.
Ware speaks in high regard about the company, which she runs with her husband Tom, who serves as CEO.
“Omaha is being recognized these days for its amazing raw, local talent,” she said. “What we offer is a place to get people’s projects together by mixing and mastering all the material in house, as we’ve always done. A sense of continuity is lost when someone has to take their project to two or three different places. Everything anyone would need to create a national-sounding master copy of their work is all under this roof. It’s a combination of all these things that can be heard in any finished product that comes from here.”
Some of Omaha’s most well-known local acts, including Cheshire Grin, the Venaculas and Grasshopper Takeover, are regulars at Warehouse. Ware says there are several other works in progress but would not divulge any information on them.
And what about the cartoon about the American Revolution? With Hollywood voice-overs reading from the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Whoopie Goldberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the animated show Liberty’s Kids had its sound pieced together at Warehouse in collaboration with the big boys at Universal Studios in California. Recently picked up by TBS and scheduled to air at the beginning of September, the series reads as a history lesson much more interesting than your eighth grade history class ever was. None of the above-mentioned stars were ever roaming around the Dundee area. Still, the majority of the cartoon’s music and sound effects were done right here in the Big O.
One big star has stopped at Warehouse lately. On a fairly recent visit to the heartland, headliner Snoop Dogg and his Dogg Pound dropped by Warehouse Productions for a little recording session.
He and his posse spent a daylong session holed up in one of the company’s three production suites. The crew spent seven hours recording a well-groomed half-hour of radio time that is sure to carry Warehouse’s perfectly mastered sound, if nothing else.