turned his teen-aged love for hip-hop lyrics into a thriving recording business, all in less than a decade.
And his Farmingdale business has grown so much in the past two years he’s outgrown the impressive recording studio he built himself and needs to expand elsewhere.
That’s sort of a good problem for the young Farmingdale entrepreneur, the 23-year-old owner of Now, with a little help from his friends, he’s looking forward to a fundraiser this month that will help him finance his expansion.
“My father told me that if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life,” said Gardino, who began writing hip-hop lyrics in high school and needed a way to record his work.
He bought a four-track cassette machine and got started. In a short time, he was hooked on the process and began recording his friends’ work.
“I started writing lyrics, and it’s a way of expressing yourself through poetry and lyrics, and hip hop just called to me,” he said. “I was getting good at (recording the work) and realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.”
He attended Five Towns College, the music and performing arts school in Dix Hills, and worked with the most up-to-date equipment the industry offers. After graduating, he started out on his venture. He's come a long way from cassettes and eight tracks. His digital studio offers near state-of-the-art quality.
Gardino opened his business two years ago this month in a Farmingdale home. At first, it was difficult making the rent, so he began calling artist friends, offering him his services.
The word spread: From that handful of performers, Gardino’s business expanded exponentially. He now has about 150-200 clients, about 100 of which are regulars who return often to record their latest work.
They range from hip-hop artists, both in English and Spanish, to one women who simply wanted to own a recording of her voice. She sang Joni Mitchell songs a cappella.
“We cater to aspiring artists and give them a high quality product for a reasonable rate,” Gardino said. “We aim for a radio-worthy quality recording every time.”
In fact, four or five of his artists’ work has been heard on Long Island radio stations. To date, Gardino has produced over 600 recordings.
And his rates are hard to beat. Gardino charges $30 an hour, with a two-hour minimum.
Although Gardino’s studio offers a lounge, a control room and a live room, he needs to relocate to accommodate the increase in business.
Eight acts, including Gardino, will perform at the event. Many of his friends who have seen their work blossom through Gardino’s engineering and mixing skills will attend. He hopes close to 500 people will be there.