Tony Lazzara and Eric Chalef get things done. Whether it's building custom sound systems and speakers, bar tops or menus, these guys have a reputation for doing high quality work, thinking outside of the box and putting their nose to the grind. When our team initially started bouncing ideas around about getting a mobile Apologue Tasting Bar built, we knew just the dudes to do it. These guys knocked it out of the park. One afternoon I popped by their shop to pick up the bar, and they generously treated me to a tour. We got a chance to talk about how Erase Audio came to be and about their latest venture, Versus Guitars!
Robby Haynes: Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into woodworking and manufacturing?
Tony Lazzara: We started in college, mainly working in sculpture and installation pieces. As we learned more and became involved in the music world our interests expanded and we realized there were similar principles behind building all things. I often refer to, “if you can bake a cake, you can build a bomb” idea.
When did you guys start Erase and what were your first projects?
We started Erase about three years ago but have been building and working with audio since the early 2000’s. The first big project, with our latest focus on custom audio systems and woodworking, was at the Virgin hotel. We installed a rig in the “speakeasy” style music venue, on the 25th floor. Great little venue, still really proud of the way it came out. I heard Eddie Vedder sent us a compliment on the system. I’ll take it.
I know you guys have done a lot of work at the CAA. What was that process like and what kind of considerations were made during the design phase to reflect the history and vibe of that space?
That’s an ongoing project that keeps us constantly challenged, as we are tasked to build our speakers to match the beautiful wood working throughout the whole building. Every aspect of the design and build needs to have a look from a time passed but function like any modern space. A faded glory with a modern twist, like having speakers that look antique but have the functionality of app based audio controls. As for inspiration, we love Art Deco, and I think those type of design ideas compliment the decorative elements in some of the rooms. I have overheard people in the lobby explaining to others that the speakers in there are the original speakers that were built when the building was built in 1890! I will also take that as a compliment.
To what extent does your background as artists and musicians inform your overall design work? Are there parallels between the two (i.e. harmony, structure etc.).
I guess the main thing, when making anything is attention to detail, trying to connect the dots and striving for the best end result in every project.
You guys have been working on guitars for a couple of years now and it looks like those are rolling out as we speak. What can you tell me about them and where can people check them out or hear them being played?
Yes! Right now we are transitioning into a new phase with electric guitars being a bigger part of the company. We will also be changing the name to Versus, later this year. We just got back from Fear the Riff expo in Brooklyn, where we debuted new guitars and speaker cabinets. It was an amazing gathering of gear and builders, big and small from all over. We hope to get invited again next year. www.feartheriff.com
For custom guitar or speaker box builds, check out: versusguitars.com All Apologue drinkers and fans who mention this article when placing an order will get a discount!