Producer and songwriter Antonina Armato has established herself in a male-dominated music industry with hits for artists such as Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus. His secret? A stimulating, safe and whimsical music studio that inspires optimal creativity.
The approximately 4,500 square feet Mafia rock studios in Santa Monica began 12 years ago as a recording room, Room A, a space Armato describes as both “wizarding and magical, but also motherly”.
“I wanted to create something that was visually inspiring and that looked like a uterus. It’s a heartwarming place where an artist can forget everything and whisper their darkest and deepest secrets, to create without any hindrance, ”said Armato, who co-wrote the song“ Haunted Heart, ”sung by Christina. Aguilera for Universal’s animated film. “The Addams Family”, in the current version.
Dimly lit, with deep tones of red and orange and a twinkle of Christmas lights, Room A features an impressive collection of crystals – including eight skulls made from various minerals, including obsidian, lithium, lapis, rose quartz and tourmaline, which she says “give off a creative, magical, loving energy. Her favorite is made from citrine.”
Armato co-founded the Rock Mafia song production team with her husband, singer-songwriter Tim James. In the studio, they hung framed albums that inspired them, including “Hawks and Doves” by Neil Young and “Fun House” by the Stooges. On the opposite wall hangs a poster of “The Godfather Part II” signed by Al Pacino, Francis Ford Coppola, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire.
“I’m Italian, so ‘The Godfather’ has always been a part of my life. Being Italian is a family matter and Rock Mafia is a family, ”said Armato.
She considers herself “the bearer of all the artist’s destiny” and feels a certain maternal responsibility towards them.
“We built this place to protect the souls of the people who come here, especially women with all that we have been through with men over the years,” Armato said.
Why is room A your favorite room?
A lot of magical things have happened here. We started our adventure with Rock Mafia about 12 years ago, going from a one bedroom studio in Venice to enough success to allow us this space. When I walked into this studio for the first time, I think my mom was with me and I was like, “This is it”. We just had a room where our assistant worked, a bathroom and a tiny little kitchen area, and this space here, which is the creative space. The remaining 3,000 to 4,000 square feet were built with our success.
Is he a Picasso?
It is a lithograph by Picasso. As an artist you start with nothing and you have a canvas, and there is something about him and what he represents that resonates with me as a person. He said, “Everything you imagine is real,” and I believe in manifestation and imagination; if you can imagine something, you can create it in reality.
Do you see this as a community space?
Everyone is like family and takes care of each other, no matter their size or if they have a song on the charts. In our business, engineers come and go like the wind, but Steve Hammons and Adam Comstock have been with us from the start. We help each other at all levels; it’s not just business. (Rock Mafia has supported his team with things like paying off student loans and buying a house.)
What’s one of your favorite creative moments here?
I loved working with Selena Gomez on “The Heart Wants What It Wants”. She no longer kept her fans away from her personal life and revealed her struggles with her heart, with whom she loved. I had to talk to her big sister because she was resistant at first, but it’s such a special song and it was a turning point for her, because people were seeing her for the first time as not only a princess. Disney. We worked on the video together, and all the elements of that particular song came together in this room.