Norvin Johnson has big ideas for Multnomah Village and his "nation" — dB Nation, to be exact, his recently formed production company just off Southwest Capitol Highway on the quieter Southwest Troy Street.
Though his storefront is technically a recording studio space, Johnson is hoping it becomes a one-stop production shop for locals with a variety of media needs.
"The vision for this place is so much more than a recording studio," Johnson said. "I think it's really cool to have this sort of hidden gem here in Multnomah Village."
Though Johnson has only just begun offering services through dB Nation, he's no stranger to the industry or the Village. He's been consulting on studio designs and production for years and also owned Fierce Fitness Kickboxing on Southwest Multnomah Boulevard. He hopes to pool his talents and those of his staff, which includes Assistant Producer Jay Sasseen, to offer production services for live shows, commercials, films, sound recording and engineering.
The concept behind dB Nation comes out in its name, Sasseen explains: dB is short for decibel, a measurement of sound volume; when paired with "Nation," it reflects "our team of musicians working for musicians."
Johnson is employing a bevy of producers to serve on a variety of different projects and sounds — a team with a range of experience.
"If I am not the right producer, if my first assistant producer is not the right producer, I have other people we can offer," Johnson said.
"It's multi-tiered," Sasseen added. "When younger bands come in and want to record, we have producers around the same age who are more in tune with that style of music and who can take over."
Johnson and his team want to make the space a hub for Southwest musical talent. They have already started recording and streaming live performances in the basement studio, and they plan on making the live shows a regular occurrence. Sasseen compared it to "Live from Daryl's House," a webcast performance series by Daryl Hall of the band Hall & Oats.
"One of the things is that on the southwest side of town, there aren't many real studios. You've got to go downtown, Northeast, the Hawthorne district," Johnson said. "There are a lot of artists and musicians on this side of town who would have to travel all the way over there."
"Some of the musicians that come through O'Connors (on Southwest Capitol Highway) for instance," Sasseen added. "It's so important to get that captured on the internet for other generations to see that instead of just one night at O'Connors, there's a permanent record of these amazing musicians."
The team hopes that its central location and its grand ambitions will help the company to integrate with the Multnomah Village business district. dB Nation's first move was to officially take over production of the live music for Multnomah Days, a daylong street fair put on each August in the Village. They're also hoping to coordinate live music performances during First Fridays, and have plans to create a "docu-promo" series highlighting local businesses.
"What I really wanted to do was support this community here through what we have as we can," Johnson said. "It's a symbiotic relationship here with the Village. It's an important connection, make sure we're connected with other shops, stores and vendors."
For more information about dB Nation, visit www.db-nation.com or call 971-204-8548.