“…And one day I was driving on my way to school when I drove past the city dump, and I was like ‘City Dump,’ thats what it is right there, that’s what this life is. That’s what this represents…that struggle, and that old shit getting tossed to the side.”
-Jonathan Howe aka ‘Icon’ -Owner, City Dump Records
A diamond in the rough lies on the south side of Indianapolis, a recording studio called The City Dump. The house-turned-studio’s exterior is deceiving, but the creative juices are flowing within the walls of this newly renovated home studio. IndyMojo.com recently had the opportunity to sit down with owner Jonathan “Icon” Howe to discuss his passion, business, and thoughts on all things music here in Indy.
Since 2009, City Dump has had open doors. Starting off as a young high school rapper, Icon always knew he wanted to pursue his dream of being a recording engineer. With early help from his father, who was heavily involved with his church, he was given the tools to start building his future. Icon specifically remembers his father bringing home equipment to set up a studio for him.
The next steps involved learning the equipment and finding his sound through numerous influences and countless hours learning the technical aspects. In just a handful of years, Icon has experienced an overwhelmingly positive response from artists around metro Indy and the growing popularity of City Dump has enabled him to pursue his business as a full-time position in 2014.
Earlier this year, Icon was able to turn his side hustle into a full time job, focusing on producing beats in hip hop, R&B and trap. Icon goes on to mention the growth of production studios in Indianapolis and highlights how the quality of sound such studios are creating gives many artists options.
What sets City Dump apart from the rest is their sound-for-price, meaning City Dump has the same sound quality as other studios in town, but charges less. Icon believes in convenience, technology, and value- right down to ease of booking, payment and appointment-setting. Moreover, City Dump promotes growth in every artist, since they themselves are artists.
City Dump leaves something to be desired on the outside, but is a complete gem on the inside. Three main rooms make up City Dump consisting of Studio A (the recording and monitoring room), a vocal room where artists record, and the newly renovated Studio B (which is both the producer area and a visitor lounge).
Designer Javon Chin filled us in on his creative process for the recent transformation of City Dump. He began with simple concept sketches and started gathering materials. After putting the plan into action, he and Icon quickly realized they had a never-ending flow of ideas. In the end, Javon claims the final product turned out better than the original plan. The beautiful walls, pristine floors, and experimental lighting truly take City Dump to the next artistic level.
Currently, City Dump has many projects in the works. Recently finishing up the new Napghanistan album by Yung Tone, Icon is now working on four new R&B albums. His goal for City Dump by the end of the year is to experiment with offering online mixing as a service. He is also working with local legend DJ Topspeed on some projects as well.
Overall, Icon sums up City Dump as a “big studio in a home.” It is a place where you can come to relax and feel at home, while maintaining the professional and quality standards of a big name studio. Icon prides his staff on mastering the technology and taking the time to truly learn and develop themselves as engineers and producers. He speaks highly of the music scenes in Indianapolis and is excited for new endeavors for the future of City Dump.
City Dump Recording Studio
1805 Howard St, Indianapolis IN, 46221
Photography Credit: Lacey Corn, Black Byrd Studio