The staff at Sonic Farm Studio has over 70 years of combined experience in producing music.


Dan Brace – Owner, Engineer, Studio Manager, Visionary

Dan Brace is the owner and operator of Sonic Farm studio. He attended the audio engineering program at SAE in New York City in 2002. Since then he has worked in the professional audio industry here in Buffalo. You might know Dan as the former in-house sound technician at Darien Lake PAC. He also worked for UniStage and Indigo productions as a sound engineer over the last 10 years. Dan is committed to providing the Buffalo and Toronto area with a world class recording facility that can offer a unique and satisfying studio experience at an affordable price.



Nelson Starr – Staff Producer, Mix, Mastering and Consulting, Special Projects

Nelson Starr came to the attention of WNYers with the grungy, progressive leaning rock group, the Tails, in the early 90’s. Concurrently, he worked the area as a jazz pianist, private lesson instructor, and all around musician’s musician. After an all-too-hasty Tails breakup, Starr refocused on composition, production and earning a living with music. With a short stint touring as bassist for the 10,000 Maniacs, doing recording sessions and gigs in NYC with up-and-coming indies, and compositions for film and TV, Starr forged new ground within and beyond the rock world. This culminated in jazz performances at Lincoln Center, scores for national TV shows, rock tours throughout Canada and the US and induction into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

More recently, Starr has pursued “working hobbies” in the food world: as regular judge at Nickel City Chef, Taste of Buffalo and other culinary events. His featured appearances on Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations have earned him new fans worldwide. Starr’s subsequent forays into food TV and other culture and lifestyle media – with even a detour into politics — have made him an in-demand host, interviewee, writer and activist in the Buffalo scene.

Currently, Starr, when he is not gigging as “Paul” in Beatlemagic (yet another of his passions – the Beatles) or performing various rock or jazz gigs, can be seen hosting Buffalo For Real TV, where he investigates the unique, the classical, the entrepreneurial, and the all-too-honest or just plain weird treasures that Buffalo has to offer. With Nelson Starr, the only thing for sure is: stay tuned for more!

Nelson Starr’s credits, awards and doings:


Nelson has played sessions for Grammy winning producers/engineers, Harvey Jay Goldberg (Rolling Stones) and Jeffrey Lesser (Lou Reed); performed and recorded with Ezra Reich (yes, composer Steve Reich’s son); toured as a bassist for 10,000 Maniacs; and toured as the keyboardist for the platinum selling Canadian artist, Jeff Martin (The Tea Party).

Nelson co-produced four albums by The Tails and has produced (and often performed and engineered) music for, among others, the acclaimed rock act Floozie; modern pop duo Perpendicular; singer-songwriters Chris Fallon and Maria Sebastian; and critical darlings, the modern jazz ensemble The Eric Starr Group.

After signing with the record label Progrock Records, duo project, Invisigoth (with Darren Burns, AKA “Cage”), released two highly-praised albums in 2007 and 2008. With Invisigoth, Nelson performs as vocalist under the pseudonym, “Viggo Domino”.

In 2009, Nelson formed a solo band – performing as Nelson Starr and the Benjamins. Tracks are slowly brewing while Nelson remains all too busy–but happy–working in audio, music and media. Please “Like” Nelson Starr and the Benjamins on Facebook!

Lastly, Nelson has a blast touring America in a Beatles cover band, Beatlemagic, and playing locally in a classic hits band, Party Squad, as well as various jazz groups and pick-up groups, including the Nelson Starr Jazz Trio. Recently, Nelson has rejoined ex-Tails guitarist, Jeff Miers, and Perpendicular vocalist, Craig Warner, in the Prog/Jam band, Random Abstract.
A few of the names Nelson has performed with are former Blue Note recording artist Sam Noto and bari-sax great Bruce Johnstone (Maynard Ferguson). Nelson plays and is bandmates with notable British saxophonist, Iain Ballamy (Bill Bruford’s Earthworks) and has recorded duo with Dominic Miller (Sting’s longtime guitarist) as part of The Eric Starr Group – his brother’s band (Nelson is on vocals, piano and guitar). In 2004, the Eric Star Group played a sold-out performance at New York’s Lincoln Center. Their current release, Such is Life, is now available and has garnered steady jazz radio play and exclusively glowing reviews in such magazines as Downbeat and Jazz Times.

FOOD (also see FILM AND TELEVISION, below):

Judge “Nickel City Chef”, 2009 – 2013

Judge “Taste of Buffalo”, 2009, 2011

Judge “Taste of Culinary” American Culinary Federation

Judge “Soup Fest”

Consultant/Fixer Buffalo shoot “Rustbelt…” Episode, Anthony Bourdain No Reservations

FILM AND TELEVISION (and Composition/Scoring):

After finishing as a runner up in the Travel Channel’s FANatic contest (based on his breakout video with John Paget, 2008), Nelson appeared on “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” (Episodes: “Rustbelt…”, “Saudi Arabia”, “Burning Questions”), and sang his original song, “She Can’t Hang,” in front of star, Anthony Bourdain and fellow sidekick Zamir Gotta (also featured on “…No Reservations – Rustbelt”. Nelson also briefly appeared on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” (Crazy Burger segment).

In 2009, Nelson and filmmaker John Paget started their own internet TV network, (currently dormant). On it, they produced the acclaimed original series “All Access Pass with Nelson Starr”. That same team then produced a flagship promotional film piece for Visit Buffalo Niagara/Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau called, “Buffalo: You’ll Eat it Up”. Currently, Nelson hosts the spin-off, “Buffalo For Real TV”, a series highlighting various areas of Buffalo culture, including food and drink.

Nelson got started scoring films by composing the soundtrack for the independent film noir, “The Falls” (2003, Ardustry Home Entertainment). Later he scored the multiple award-winning film, “Alcatraz Reunion” in 2008 and “Larry has Left the Building” in 2013 (both with John Paget, Pagetfilms).

Nelson’s music has also been featured on television, including the Fox television show, “Party of Five.” In 2006, Nelson also scored music for the hit TV shows, “Psychic Detectives” and “Missing Persons Unit” both on Court TV (now TruTV).

In 2011, Nelson landed a hip-hop, pop track in the feature film, “Shut Up Little Man” (Official selection, 2011 Sundance Film Festival).

Recently, Nelson has scored pieces for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.


Nelson co-authored, The Everything Bass Guitar Book, with brother Eric Starr (2008, Adams Media).

Nelson published articles in Artvoice magazine and Erie Life Magazine and was a contributing writer at Buffalo Rising online (2009-10).


Buffalo Music Hall of Fame — Inducted fall 2006

Best Rock Keyboardist Award (Buffalo Music Awards) — 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005

Best Male Vocalist Award (Artvoice) — 1999, 1996

Best Rock Keyboardist Award (Artvoice) — 1999

Best Original Keyboardist Award (Buffalo Music Awards) — 1998

Best Original Male Vocalist Award (Buffalo Music Awards) — 1994, 1995, 1997

Winner, Award of Merit (for song, “On the Run”, Global Music Awards) — 2012



Matthew Backlas – Production Assistant, IT and Promotions

Matthew Backlas has been actively producing, writing, arranging and recording music since 1997, when he first decided playing an instrument alone would simply not be enough and learned to program sequencers. Since then he has always triumphed the “whole sound” for the greater good of the song, project, or artist involved. He has played guitars, bass, drums and keyboards in just about every genre imaginable both on the road and in the studio. He has a degree in computer science and handles everything related to the public face of Sonic Farm Studio.