When Paul Liatsis’s family band, Damage Control, needed bigger rehearsal space, they decided to use what was available to them: their family’s old garage. Converting the space allowed them to stay in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn instead of driving upstate every week to practice. By the time Paul and his cousin were done converting the space, the family band didn’t play together much, but Paul -- with his background in production -- saw huge potential. “I thought, this is the place for live music shows. We wanted this space to be devoted to people in the music community,” Paul told me. They host live shows every Tuesday night, with various musicians spanning across a wide variety of genres. They are currently 155 shows in.
When Bridgeside Productions opened, Paul hired a mixture of “family, friends, colleagues, and creatives” to help him run the shows. Paul’s sister and cousins took part in the shows early on, and some of the people he employed went from his good friends to his best friends. “These are the people who’ve worked on over 120 of our 155 shows during the last years.” The influx of new people led to new aspects of Bridgeside Productions, too: Paul’s friend Tony McGowan started to produce a live comedy show and invited stand up comedians to perform in the space. They even tape cooking shows like Danny Milano’s punchy Cookin’ in Brooklyn in their creative space. “Danny is a local Brooklyn Italian gent and was the number one fan of our music show. He’d get off working at an Italian restaurant at 11 pm, and would join us late for the live show, but had already watched most of it on his phone at work. He started asking band members questions around the firepit after their performances, and organically enacted our very first Q&A,” Paul laughs.
“After the show, the bands really get to know us as people. We’re trying to bring different people into this space: different walks of life, different perspectives. It was never going to be a lucrative, money-making idea, but it was about expanding our creative ideas,” Paul told me. He handles everything from pre-production to post-production and even trains people in the space. “It’s a kind of school as well,” he says.
At some point, the back of the house became a green room (“Everything in that room is green. Even the couch and the fridge,”) and now contains a wall that all bands sign after their gigs. “People come here and just feel comfortable. It takes just five minutes. You’re part of the family here when you’re done.” He pauses. “We have this appreciation for artists and appreciation for original music and art. It’s a symbiotic relationship and supportive atmosphere. I want to work with people that are pushing their craft. And they’ve gotta be good people.” He sounds completely serious when he says, “I only work with good people.”
What music Paul’s always listening to: Beatles. Zeppelin. Pink Floyd.
What new music he’s listening to now: Chile Peppers. Muse.
Written by Melia Wong
We here at Music Traveler are excited to feature one of our awesome hosts, Paul Liatsis, on the blog today. Paul is the director of Bridgeside Productions, a professional broadcast facility in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Check them out here and at @gobridgeside. https://app.musictraveler.com/en/room/628/2019/06/04/