Situated in the historic Asheville Citizen-Times building on O. Henry Avenue in downtown, the property will become the new home for an extensive artistic collaboration. At the helm will be Citizen Vinyl, a record manufacturing facility (the first ever based in the state) at the heart of this musical project.
The collaboration will also include Session (Citizen Vinyl’s adjacent bar/cafe), Coda: Analog Art & Sound (an immersive art gallery and retail space) and Citizen Studios (WWNC’s former broadcast station, and now an in-house recording and mastering facility).
At the core of this melodic beehive is Gar Ragland of Citizen Studios. A longtime professional musician, record producer and label head, Ragland will bring WWNC’s legendary Studio A back to life — a piece of American musical history now entering its next bountiful phase.
Smoky Mountain News: With the opening of Citizen Vinyl next week, what’s the vibe going through the building right now?
Gar Ragland: We’re super excited. That’s where the real fun and magic is in this project, [which] is having the opportunity to build — and help build — a project where I find myself surrounded by people who really inspire me, who are so good at what they do.
And we all share this sort of youthful enthusiasm that what we’re doing as a team, as a sort of collective, is something far more special, impactful and enduring for Asheville than any of us would be able to do on our own sort of respective silos.
SMN: That also plays into one of the things I love not only about Asheville, but Western North Carolina, which is the idea of collaboration.
GR: Exactly. [And] I think that this project is a great case study for that. We feel like it’s a tremendous privilege and responsibility to be doing what we’re doing in that building. Our whole team has so much reverence for it and the architecture.
Our whole approach with this project has been to be as minimally invasive to the building, to our design and our concept, as we possibly can be. And frankly, it’s to our advantage because [the building] has so much to offer. Why would we mess this up and try to reconfigure it into something that it’s not? This [building] is beautiful art.
Obviously, our number one goal is to be a successful business. And we want to earn the reputation nationally for being the go-to for quality record manufacturing. But, as a collective under this building, we want to symbolize — and remind people of — the deep, historic and artistic history of Asheville.
Interview continued on SmokyMountainNews.com.