LOWELLVILLE – Bear Cave Studios, owned and operated by Daniel Svenson, recorded and released more than 200 minutes of music by some of the Mahoning Valley’s top independent artists in 2021.
The Labra Brothers, jazz artist Unc D, and Mofidelity – Svenson and Unc D’s own project – are among the acts that recorded at Bear Cave. Their songs reached over a half million listeners across the world, according to Svenson.
Svenson and Unc D have released a new jazz single every month since the summer of 2020. As Mofidelity, they released a new electronic single every two weeks since August.
Most ambitious, however, was the release of the duo’s 36-track album “Unc Precedented, Vol 1,” on Jan. 13. The two hour-plus box set comprises the 16 Unc D jazz singles released in 2021, as well as 19 bonus tracks.
Despite the box set being recorded and released independently, its lead track (“VVL”) features many notable musicians, including bassist Bubby Lewis (Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Jhene Aiko). More than two dozen musicians from Youngstown, Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Amsterdam and London play on the album, Svenson says.
In early 2021, Svenson and Unc D scored big with the jazz single “BLDNTHNDR” being placed on Spotify’s Jazztronica playlist, which has over 520,000 followers. The track has remained on the playlist every day since then, with two other Unc D singles being added to the playlist over the course of the year.
While the music releases opened doors for Svenson and Unc D to perform at Cleveland’s most noted venues, the pair is seeking to double down on its recording effort by opening its own doors to even more local artists.
With a policy of giving every artist one free recording session, Svenson hopes to build Bear Cave into a studio that releases enough content to bring the Youngstown music scene to that of a major city. Svenson says he aims to create a series of intimate audio and visual recordings based on each session.