Regular maintenance is normal for any studio, but especially when you have celebrity clients. They expect a certain level of comfort, and things can get nasty when that’s not upheld. Such is the case of KDS Recording in Orlando, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, citing complaints about mold and lack of air conditioning in a dispute with its landlord.
KDS isn’t as famous as Criteria, Record Plant or Electric Lady, but it has an impressive pedigree nonetheless. The studio was formerly owned my boy band impresario Lou Pearlman, who created two huge 90s musical sensations in Backstreet Boys and N’Sync. It’s no surprise that the hits from those bands came from KDS, as did some from Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Creed and Britney Spears as well.
The story is actually one of dueling lawsuits, with the landlord Surterre LLC of Miami claiming that the studio owes $157,000 in back rent, and KDS countersuing for $500,000 and possible punitive damages for the failing air conditioning system, mold and mildew.
The problem forced artists like Eminem to buy a supplemental AC unit in order to finish some work there, but then got out of hand enough that at least one of its SSL consoles was destroyed by the mold. Florida’s hot and humid weather is generally tough on electronic equipment at any time, but it can be fatal without proper HVAC.
Under Pearlman, who died in prison in 2016 while serving a sentence for running a $300 million fraud, the studio was called Trans Continental Studios.
It’s a shame to see any commercial studio run into difficulties, especially when there are so few of them remaining. It’s even harder when one takes a beating from the elements. Management states that the studio isn’t closing despite the lawsuits, which is good news. Hopefully the difficulties will soon pass so the studio operations will get back to normal.