Catamount Studios

2015 - Venues/Ballrooms

Catamount Recording was founded in 1977 in the College Hill Business District next to the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Originally conceived as a private studio to aid in the musical development of 2006 Hall Of Fame inductee Headstone, the facility was built in the band’s rehearsal space by Rick Bisbey, Tom Tatman, Bill Barker and members of the group. Bisbey and Barker had previously been live sound engineers for the band, and Tatman was the group’s manager. In December of 1980, Headstone disbanded and Tatman, Bisbey and Barker opened the studio to the public.

The studio was soon fully booked by bands from around the region. In 1983 Peter Lorre, a popular rock band from Michigan, recorded their debut album at Catamount. The record was picked up and released nationally by new L.A.-based label, Sound Image, and featured on the cover of Billboard Magazine. Tatman produced and engineered the album on a mixing console that had been designed and custom built by Bisbey. This recording was the first of a long string of albums and singles that have been recorded at Catamount and subsequently released nationally and internationally by major and independent labels such as Columbia, Warner Brothers, Roadrunner, Hollywood, Sub Pop, Shrapnel, Wind Up, Word, and many others.

Over the years, the original studio saw numerous physical expansions and massive equipment upgrades. In 2002, with the help of many friends in the local music community, a new Catamount studio was built from the ground up in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park on land donated by the city. The new 4000 sq. ft. multi-studio facility was designed by Carl Yanchar of Wave~Space L.A. At the time, several major industry publications, such as Pro Sound News and EQ Magazine, ran feature articles on the new studio.  

One of the first clients to work at the facility was Roadrunner recording artists Stone Sour. The resulting album yielded three hit singles, and two Grammy nominations. Sales of the album quickly exceeded 500,000 units to earn Tatman and the studio each a Gold Record. The record has continued to sell, and is now nearing Platinum Record status.

Since its inception more than 300 albums have been recorded at Catamount. Fifty of those have been released on nationally distributed labels. Most of those albums were produced, engineered and/or mixed by Tatman. Iowa talent has been and remains the studio’s core clientele. However, dozens of out-of-state artists have traveled to Cedar Falls to get the Catamount sound, including some from traditional music centers L.A., San Francisco, New York and Chicago.  

In 2015 Catamount is still going strong, continuing to be a valuable resource for talented artists to realize their musical vision.

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