The trio Behind Hermosa’s Studio 637 Channels Good Vibes With a One-Stop Shop for Video, Music and Livestreaming
Going on the record.
- Written bySara Debevec
- Photographed byJeff Berting
Walking through Hermosa’s Cypress District and on my way to cover another story, I heard two young men having a lively conversation. I couldn’t quite figure out what they were talking about, but their voices led me to the door of Studio 637.
Peeking in, I quickly realized this must be a highly creative place—the walls covered in art and a beautiful mural by street artist Josh Barnes taking a big part of the room. There was no choice but to walk in and introduce myself.
“The Studio 637 slogan ‘It all happens here’ aptly sums up their purpose.”
The pleasant space was much larger than I imagined from the outside. Large green screens hung from the ceilings, and speakers with different shapes and sizes decorated the walls. The two men introduced themselves as Kevin and Cole. They revealed that I had walked into a recording studio that also specializes in video and livestreaming.
The Studio 637 slogan “It all happens here” aptly sums up their purpose. From shooting with Snoop Dogg at his compound in Inglewood to creating a livestream for a nonprofit in Seattle, their days are full of diverse projects: concerts, conferences, conventions, graduations and live talk shows.
The pillars of Studio 637 are Kevin Yamada, Cole Hockenbury and Alex Lockwood—three people who understand each other without words and are all-around good friends. South Bay native and reggae fan Kevin graduated from a recording school in Hollywood and interned at one other studio before setting roots at Studio 637. Cole, also born and raised in the South Bay, is an actor and gamer who loves astronomy and the adrenaline that comes with livestreaming.
Alex, originally from Denver, Colorado, studied natural sciences at nearby Loyola Marymount University, but music has always been his passion. Growing up, he played in different bands and eventually decided to go into audio engineering. Together they pool a wealth of talent and passion into this joint venture.
“We decided early on that we wanted to get involved in more than just recording because the recording industry has been declining over the past decade,” says Kevin, who was one of the first production engineers at the studio. Cole came on shortly after as an intern and was very quickly outperforming the guy above him.
“They have built a special kind of chemistry and learned to communicate clearly and quickly.”
“We started incorporating livestreaming early on,” Cole adds. “That’s when livestreaming was just taking off—before YouTube was doing YouTube Live and all that kind of stuff.”
Their goal was to do everything they could for artists, to help people reach a broader audience with their music videos and livestreaming. Their mission and drive only got stronger when they realized they were really good at livestreaming.
Once all the departments were starting to grow, they needed someone to head the audio department. “Kevin was the original producer-engineer,” says Alex, “and then he found me to relieve him of his audio duties so he could focus on the business as a whole.”
Kevin chimes in: “You can imagine how hard it was to receive important business phone calls and then having to take them during a recording. I was doing recording sessions, and then I’d do a business phone call and everything would get all messed up.”
In March 2017, after the trio established a viable clientele, Alex’s family decided to purchase the business—helping them grow their livestream department and take it to the next level. “My parents, Blair and Lindsay Lockwood, were able to lend their expertise to us,” shares Alex. “My father is a corporate lawyer who has been involved in tons of different types of businesses, and my mom is super-creative and really good at design.”
With the Lockwoods’ support, Alex, Cole and Kevin revamped the entire place and opened their doors to more local art. Cole now runs the video and livestreaming department, Alex is head of the audio department and Kevin works with clients to build the teams.
But the three partners admit that it’s really Claire Davenport who runs the show. Claire, who started as an audio intern and became their studio manager a year and a half ago, has been instrumental in managing the growth of their business. She plays a key role in making sure “the train runs on time.”
Alex and Claire also partnered romantically. So with love, friendship and family at their core, Studio 637 feels more like a home than a recording studio.
Since 2014 the company’s involvement with the Hermosa Beach Summer Concert Series helped them break into more concert work. Working with popular music venue Saint Rocke and local livestreaming company LiveList, Studio 637 has expanded their network beyond just the South Bay.
“Music videos are a lot of fun too,” says Alex. “We did a music video with a local artist, Jeff Baker. The music video was shot in local South Bay spots like Mike’s Guitar Parlor. Mike has been a huge asset to this business, connecting us to local musicians. The project involved four to five days of shooting, and the music was recorded, mixed and mastered here.”
The Studio 637 team members also work closely with and livestream concerts for well-known reggae band Iration, and they partnered with the band Tribal Seeds and the California Roots reggae festival, where they had a full stage all to themselves streaming live interviews with artists.
Another major project was a video for the rebirth of Hotel Figueroa, the historic hotel near Staples Center in Downtown L.A. The hotel sought to rebrand an aging property and become more relevant, so Studio 637 streamed their vintage sign that was illuminated for the first time in 40 years to a private party downstairs by the pool bar area. In addition, they produced a legacy video showcasing the revitalization of the hotel.
“It was a pretty awesome moment for the hotel, and it was very cool that we were the video crew piecing the whole story together,” says Kevin. He remembers they had to put a camera on the roof and then run cables off it … and it’s a tall building. “We were just down there, and I have this vivid memory of Cole’s hair dangling off the top of the building,” chuckles Alex.
What’s next for Studio 637? Cole would like to see them pursue a live broadcast for the 2020 Olympics. “We are also looking at operating multiple streams at the same time, so we are constantly expanding and involving more people,” he says.
Kevin adds that since they have all been working together for years, they have built a special kind of chemistry and learned to communicate clearly and quickly. “I think we have developed our own way of workflow that has really been able to help us not only complete these productions but also take them to the next level. I think that’s why people choose us, and I am really excited for the future.”