August 2, 2007


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Revolution-era house offers old and new
Drumlin Downe Studios gives musicians a spirited environment
By Erica Febre

In the year 1779, during a time when troops of the American Revolution still roamed the region, a house known as Drumlin Downe was constructed in East Kingston, just one year after the town was established.

Getting the name from its placement on a kind of glacial hill called a drumlin, the old 18th-century colonial house is now the home of Drumlin Downe Studios, owned and operated by Brian Sachs.

On Saturday, Aug. 4, Drumlin Downe will host a benefit concert for cancer charities called Rock for Life, featuring five performers: Skylight Escape, Black Elephant, Bobby Freedom, Stiffwater Jct. and Kinetic Theory.

While the name has stuck with the house for more than 200 years, the exact history of the building is not known. But Sachs has his own theories about why the house was built and who might’ve occupied it.

“I think it might’ve possibly been built as part of Hamilton’s fortress,” Sachs said.

In a house this old, tales of wandering ghosts easily take hold.

Bands that once stayed at the house during recording sessions have told Sachs numerous stories of seemingly ghostly happenings — lighting flashing, TVs turning off and on, and alarm clocks buzzing in the middle of the night.

Even Sachs himself tells a tale about an apparition with the likeness of Abraham Lincoln that he said his entire family witnessed.

In keeping with the house’s natural historical elements, Drumlin Downe Studios incorporates technologies of both today and the past, using both analog as well as digital recording equipment.

“I wanted to match the old and the new. Plus I really believe that the only way to get that big rock sound is by using analog. It has no limit to its bandwidth, which digital does,” Sachs said.

Drumlin Downe acts as both a studio and a home for Sachs and his family. While certain rooms are easily distinguishable, such as the engineering room, it’s hard to separate Sachs’ living space from the studio.

Aside from providing musicians with an affordable and quality recording environment, Sachs said another of his goals is to work with young engineers looking for studio experience.

“I’m bringing in some Berklee interns, young producers, working with them and sending them on their way. It’s a creative environment — let them learn, let them flourish,” said Sachs,who is also a Berklee alumni.

Whenever musicians are recording in the house, it’s not unusual to find one sitting on the living room couch playing video games, lounging in the pool or eating food cooked by Sachs’ wife, Linda, in the kitchen.

“Actually another one of my theories is that if you feed the musicians, it allows them to keep that creative energy moving throughout the night — and what musician couldn’t use a good home-cooked meal?” Sachs said.

But Sachs wife’ doesn’t complain about sharing her house with musicians because she’s got a hobby of her own — she’s in the process of acquiring her racing license.

“This is a household where the woman takes over the garage and the only rule in this house is when the race is on, that’s what’s on the TV,” Sachs said.

Hear it
What: Rock for Life family event at Drumlin Downe Studios featuring live music, food, swimming, raffles, prizes, race cars
Who: Skylight Escape, Black Elephant, Bobby Freedom, Stiffwater Jct., Kinetic Theory
When: Saturday, Aug. 4, 1 to 8 p.m.; $5 donation.
Where: 21 Main St./ Route 107, East Kingston, 580-5339.
For more information: See or