BRUNSWICK — Lit by a backdrop of table lamps and strings of lights, McKay Belk and his band Bad Mariachi on Oct. 8 opened the second-ever show at the Maine Music Mill, Brunswick’s newest concert venue.
The Maine Music Mill, according to founder and owner Jeb Enoch, is “the hybrid of an underground punk dive and a classical salon and everything in between.”
The venue is in the basement of Fort Andross, under Cabot Mill Antiques. The foyer of the performance space is Enoch’s recording studio, where he records each concert. The studio looks into a large room with 16-foot ceilings and a loft where concert-goers sit on chairs and couches across from the performers.
The venue is 11,000 cubic feet of “gorgeous acoustic space,” according to Enoch, with antique pine flooring. It can fit about 40-50 people.
Last week, four acts were slated to play the Mill’s sophomore concert, starting with Belk, who has helped Enoch get the venue off the ground.
“(Belk) is kind of the guardian angel of this place,” Enoch said, sitting behind his sound equipment.
Enoch opened the studio in May, after moving to Brunswick from Farmington. He soon met Belk in the parking lot of Fort Andross, as Belk was leaving the sculpture studio where he works for local artist John Bisbee.
Enoch showed the studio to Belk, and they started recording samples together.
On the day they met, Enoch added a layer of Belk’s guitar work to a track he had been editing for another group.
“It’s exactly what it was missing,” Enoch said. “He’s quite the player.”
Since opening in Brunswick, Enoch has recorded a variety of artists in his studio space, from the Vox Nova chamber choir of Brunswick to Bath-based rapper Mills Bills.
The Brunswick studio is his first permanent recording space.
“I’ve been recording since I was a kid,” he said. “I just kept coming back to it.”
One day, about seven years ago, Enoch said he was looking around his living room and kitchen at the piles of recording equipment when he realized he’d accumulated enough gear to try professional recording.
He started recording musicians in his home, in churches, and other miscellaneous spaces, but it was hard for him to engineer each space to get the sound he wanted, he said.
So last spring, “I took the leap off the cliff,” he said, and got the spot at Fort Andross.
In September, Enoch had the idea to scale up the use of his space to produce live concerts. It was around this time he once again ran into Belk in the parking lot, and the two got to work lining up acts and advertising the venue.
The first performance featured the Brunswick-based avant garde jazz act Titus Abbot Trio, and drew a crowd of more than 20.
About 20 people also came for the second show which, along with Belk and Bad Mariachi, featured music by Bisbee, New Hampshire singer-songwriter Footings, and blues guitarist Yazan of Brooklyn, New York.
“I don’t think there’s anything like this around,” said Enoch after the show.
From the backdrop of antique lamps from his parents’ home, to the homemade coffee and baked goods as concessions, to the live recordings of every performance, “my vision is to create an environment that allows both musicians and audience to connect in a special way,” Enoch said.
The October line-up will finish out with a variety of Maine bands, starting with “punk night” Oct. 23, featuring Uncle Spudd and QQQQQ, singer-songwriter Ashley Storrow on Oct. 30, and world music group Inanna Sisters in Rhythm Oct. 31.
Tickets range from $10-$20.
“I think there’s room for everybody here,” Enoch said. “I think this place has something unique to offer.”
Bad Mariachi, with lead singer McKay Belk, auto-harpist Kristen Kellas, drummer Chris Dibiasio, and bassist Tim Alan Walker, opened the second show Oct. 8 at the new Maine Music Mill in Brunswick.
Maine Music Mill founder Jeb Enoch records a set Oct. 8 at the new Brunswick concert venue.