Apparently Oakland can push Greg Ashley out, but it can't keep him away.
An Oakland resident since 2002, Ashley ran his Creamery Analog recording studio there for almost a decade. He moved into a girlfriend's place in Austin back in May when he and his roommates at the Ghost Town Gallery were evicted. In the weeks after his forced relocation, Ashley said he planned to stay in Texas -- he's originally from Houston -- and start a studio.
A month later, Ashley has moved back to Oakland and opened a new studio inside a church just blocks away from Ghost Town. He's been recording bands there since last week.
"It sounds pretty good! I had my first session here last night," Ashley said last Friday. "The sound came out just as good as ever on the tape, so it's looking like a positive thing."
Ashley says he always planned to return to the Bay Area and finish the recording projects he had going before he was evicted, but the short amount of time spent back in Texas also convinced him that he should stay. He was unable to find a cheap house outside of Austin, which is experiencing an influx of tech industry almost on par with the Bay Area, and the summer heat was more brutal than he remembered.
"In the end, living in Austin would just be a mess," Ashley said. "It's becoming overpopulated way too fast, just like here, so why am I moving somewhere that's becoming just like the Bay Area but is 100 degrees out at night?"
The living-and-recording situation at the church appears to be ideal for Ashley. He doesn't have many neighbors, and he rents it from a woodworking friend who works in the back and lets him live there. His friend also signed a ten-year lease, but Ashley doesn't take anything for granted.
"The lease wasn't up at Ghost Town when they kicked us all out," he said.
Ashley says the new studio sounds just as good as the Creamery and a baptism pool under the stage has potential for some cool reverb effects. The only thing he has to do now is tune the piano that was left in the church.
"It's in tune with itself but it's exactly a half-step flat," Ashley said. "Until I get enough money to get it tuned, it's still functional, but I either have to slow the tape down so the music is a half-step down or the musicians have to play the piano a half-step flat; it's whatever they choose."