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Lifelong friends jump into the fire with new recording studio 

"A firefighter's shift creates a lot of free time to be at the studio."

Matthew Firek and Andrew Wilds took the long way around to get to their new project, Fire K Studios, a full-service recording studio in Baldwin. The South Hills natives and lifelong friends spent some time in State College — where they began to experiment with recording — and Wilds took a job as a firefighter (which he still holds).

"It's actually an ideal job," says Wilds. "A firefighter's shift — we're on for 24 hours, then off for 72 hours, so that creates a lot of free time to be at the studio if need be. They actually work really well together."

Wilds and Firek played in bands together during high school and college, then went their separate ways for a bit, only to reunite in State College in 2007, when Wilds moved there. They built a home recording setup, and things began to grow from there. When Wilds got a job offer from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, the pair's plan began to come together.

"In a way it worked out; it was then that we decided we'd open a commercial studio here in Pittsburgh," Firek says. "We took all the equipment we'd gathered over those years and put it together in one place here."

Fire K doesn't specialize in one genre, says Wilds — "We were primarily a rock band, and worked with rock and metal, but we've grown to handle anything. Matt's pretty good with hip hop and electronic music. The studio is big enough [that] we can work with anything, even classical; we both have a classical background." They also offer recording for voiceovers and podcasts, and can accommodate bands that want to rent practice space.

On Thu., Dec. 5, Firek and Wilds open Fire K to the public for an open house — an opportunity to check out the facilities and chat with the engineers. In addition to demonstrations and food and drink, Christopher Hannigan will perform.

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