Droptone is a state-of-the-art, full service recording studio located in Excelsior, MN. Droptone is easily the fastest growing audio production facility in Minnesota, expanding in its legacy of legendary and current artists with a specialization in hip-hop, reggae, pop, and rock genres.

A “go-to” recording studio for musicians, television and movie producers, Droptone is well established and well equipped to handle any and all situations, solving the needs of its’ clientele. Droptone offers recording, editing, mixing, and mastering services as well as full-scale production including song composition and arrangement. Off-site recording is available if needed. Droptone is affordable and one of the best-valued recording studios in the state.

Droptone is located 20 minutes outside of downtown Minneapolis on an extremely private and quiet lot nestled in the woods by a small lake, designed to give artists and bands a relaxed, affordable place to record with outstanding sound, at a fraction of the usual recording studio costs. For 19 solid years, many of the biggest and best groups in the Midwest have experienced the Droptone advantage.

Explore the site and contact us when you’re ready for the best recording experience you’ll ever have.

Contact Us Now

Clientele

Past and present clients

Client Testimonials

 

Stephen is the man. Period. Droptone itself is a beautiful place and has all of the tools you need and then some, but more important, STEPHEN IS THE MAN. I came from out-of-town not knowing anyone on the music side and had no idea where to record the material I had been sitting on. Because I do rap/hiphop, I would get the suggestions from people who knew a guy with Protools on his laptop in the basement. Luckily for me, through some weird aligning of the stars, I ended up with an email address to Stephen and not only did he email me back promptly, he offered me a chance to visit and check the place out before any talks of payments started. Once I arrived, I knew something special would come from the sessions…I admit I was a little nervous at first because of my style and genre of music but Stephen’s versatility with sound and music wiped out any of the initial worry I had. Long story short, the sessions were always dope, usually starting with some thought provoking convo before the time even started. I like to think that helped my delivery on the mic…getting the best of your “takes” is Stephen’s specialty. “There’s a lot of good stuff in that last one, let’s see how it would sound if we tried it this way too…” I could go on forever but really If you need to record professionally in a good environment with everything you need, go to Droptone. I was linked up with another talented artist to sing on one of my songs and was able to get my track professionally mastered all through Stephen…you won’t regret Droptone!

D.Native

D.Native

Highly recommend recording with Stephen Helvig, he’s a studio wizard.

Vision The Kid

Vision The Kid

My experience at Droptone Studio was exceptional! Stephen Helvig made it so. Not only is the gear top notch, but the expertise is second to none. Knowing how to handle an artist, what to suggest and the way to suggest it makes the experience comfortable. Having laid down basic tracks at Droptone, and recorded additional musicians in Nashville, returning to add them to the project could have been tricky. Working with Stephen was seamless. It helped that we locked in with some damn good Nashville people, all professionals. Nestled in the woods of a community that is creative in itself, Excelsior, Minnesota is blessed to have Droptone in its midst. If you’re from the area or willing to spend time on Lake Minnetonka, one of Minnesota’s sweetest natural playgrounds, among tons of tasty restaurants and nightlife, drive over, boat over or fly in to make tracks you’ll be proud of. I’m so proud of this project, not just for how it sounds, but how it all fell and fit together. Thank you Stephen, thank you Droptone Studio, I’ll be back. Anyone needing a quick demo, a voiceover, a full on record project… they even do birthday parties for groups of kids that bring in their own food and sing along with their favorite pop star backing tracks. Taylor Swift wannabes, get your SHAKE on! Can’t say enough about Droptone Studio. Rock on!

David Keiski

David Keiski

Could not have created my debut album, ALI V- “SHADE” without the amazing producers, equipment, and services provided at Droptone Studio!

Ali Vail

Ali Vail

Droptone Studio is the best. Hands down. Great atmosphere to record in with great equipment and even better hospitality. No regret in choosing this studio to record our EP. Highly recommended!!

The Dayshapes

The Dayshapes

If you are looking for a studio with qualities such as great rates, friendly and professional producers and grade ‘A’ recording equipment, then Droptone is where you want to be. I cannot over stress the fact that you will be satisfied with the services you get. After recording my first solo “start all over” I am rather hooked on the place and looking forward to continue work on the rest of my album with them. I would recommend Droptone over n over again!

Brian Ayangwo

Droptone Studio is incredible. Such a comfortable place to record. So laid back while being so professional. I would recommend this studio to anyone interested in any aspect of recording. Stephen Helvig can make nails on a chalkboard sound like a choir of angels. Just go with Droptone.

Morrison Boomer

Morrison Boomer

Droptone’s professionalism can only be matched by their passion to make your music reach it’s full potential. I’ve never had an engineer put so much care and heart into something that’s already so important to me. Check them out!

Gordon Vanguard

Gordon Vanguard

My experience at Droptone was awesome! Everyone was really nice, and they helped me to get my first song finished. I look forward to working with Droptone Studio again! You should check them out!

Danielle Gassmann

Danielle Gassmann

Droptone Studio is like an early home in a scary world. This tall, vast and magical studio brought my intimacy with music to a new level. The experience of the studio is beyond organic, creating a sensation of artistic security. Stephen Helvig has been with me since the first time I let myself leave all fears behind and venture into the world of imagination and positive change. I have always felt comfortable in a working environment with Stephen, but beyond comfortability comes constructive friendship. This bond is the ability to know and understand that any criticism is only because of honest artistic trust and faith. I will stand behind the fact that Stephen would believe in anyone if they spend the time to get to where he is. I have great respect for Stephen and hope the energy between us will never cease.

Matt Dodge

Matt Dodge

Maria had very kind words to share with David Campbell, host of the local show on 89.3 The Current.  Check out what Maria has to say about producer Stephen Helvig & Droptone:

 

Maria Isa

Maria Isa

Droptone Studio is amazing. Stephen always goes the extra mile to make your product the best it can be. I’m so glad I went with Droptone studio, definitely check them out.

Nikki Rodriguez

Nikki Rodriguez

Stephen Helvig at Droptone Studio has been the greatest partner any songwriter could ever ask for. He is very easy to work with, creative, very knowledgable in his craft, very talented, and very good about working around my schedule. The studio is well equipped and the atmosphere is great as there are no distractions and a laid back feeling that I enjoy. I am working on my 2nd album at Droptone and I highly recommend it.

Corby Pelto

Corby Pelto

Combining creativity and extensive skill, Droptone provides the perfect atmosphere for any artist. The studio made me feel comfortable and at home, but I never lost site of its professionalism. Steve Helvig is incredibly dedicated to his work. This is visible not only in the final product, but in the entire recording process. Recording at Droptone was fun, insightful, and I couldn’t imagine working with anyone/anywhere else!

Merritt Rethlake

Merritt Rethlake

I couldn’t have been happier with my experience at Droptone. The studio is both beautiful and comfortable to work in. Not only that, the expertise is unbelievable. Stephen Helvig is truly an artist and collaborator – qualities that are unusual and essential in a recording engineer. Droptone is topnotch.

Ariel Strasser

Ariel Strasser

First of all I want to say that my experience at Droptone Studio was nothing short of great! I had the joy of working with producer Stephen Helvig on my first and latest EP. Stephen graduated with a vocal degree and definitely knows his stuff. During the recording process he helped with melodies and harmonies and all of his suggestions were extremely helpful. He is also very nice and inviting to every musician that comes in. I brought in a friend to help on a track and she ended up recording her CD their because she felt so comfortable. The environment is very comfortable as well. You always feel like you should be there. There are couches and chairs to relax on or you can sit right next to the producer during the editing process (as long as you don’t try to take over☺) Overall, I would recommend this place to every musician looking to record. All I would say is, “Don’t waste their time and they won’t waste yours.” I look forward to recording here again!

Toni Adedeji (Samuel Crown)

Toni Adedeji (Samuel Crown)

It is my pleasure to strongly recommend Stephen Helvig for lyrics writing, composing and producing. He is extremely talented! My daughter, Michelle Bergh, age 13, has been working with him to create a 3-song demo CD of original music. He took the time to listen to her favorite songs. He listened carefully to her voice and her vocal range. He also took the time to get to know her and her thoughts, finding out what exactly she wanted to sing about and what styles. Once the process was started, he incorporated her thoughts and even some of the words she said into songs that relayed the messages she sought to relay. The music he composed was very creative and awesome. When Steve completed the draft of the song, he put a vocal guide on the tracks so that she could easily learn the music, and he worked with her one-on-one to smooth out any rough spots. Steve went over and above our expectations, and even brought in live instrumentalists to play certain parts of the background music. In the recording studio, he was very helpful in specifically guiding her vocally in the various sections so that the finished product was perfect. We’ve had great feedback from the songs! You can hear them on iTunes. Her last song, “All I Need,” is on YouTube. When we are in the market for more songs, we will definitely work with Stephen once again!

Donna Bergh (Michelle Bergh)

Donna Bergh (Michelle Bergh)

The first time I came into Droptone, Stephen made me feel right at home. The thing I liked most about Stephen was his ambition to make great music. If he knew he had talent in the room, he would push you to be the best you could be, even if you weren’t into it that day. He never sugar-coated anything he told me and my band. It was a lot of work, but Stephen also made it fun and relaxed. He knew what needed to be done every time we came in for a session and he was very prepared even if we weren’t. If I had any problems with a song I was writing or needed help with chord melodies or anything for that matter, Stephen was there always willing to help. At the end of the day, Stephen Helvig is just a great guy and even better music producer and I’m very fortunate to have been able to work with him.

Hot Southern Mess

Hot Southern Mess

Dope studio, great engineers, good peeps, and fantastic ears! It’s always a joy to work with David and Stephen and the rest of the crew. Culture Cry Wolf loves ya!

Culture Cry Wolf

Culture Cry Wolf

Hands down the best recording experience of our lives. Droptone’s engineers treat you like family and that’s what you become. David Kellogg’s ear is unmatched, his insight is priceless, and his experience speaks for itself.

Chester Bay

Chester Bay

Working at Droptone was the right choice for us as both Stephen and David made themselves invested in our album project as much as we were. They became part of our family, celebrating our wins, commiserating in our challenges, guiding us when we needed it and stepping aside when we didn’t. The album’s success is in equal parts everyone that put themselves into it. The room is a comfortable and relaxing place to work and sounds amazing – our acoustic instruments sounded alive in that space. We learned a lot in those sessions and will carry that over into our future projects.

Leslie Rich (Hounds of Finn)

Leslie Rich (Hounds of Finn)

HUGE thank you to Stephen at Droptone Studio for all of your hard work on Sawyer’s Dream’s EP!! You did such a brilliant job in such a short time & we are forever grateful for all the special care you took to make our songs sound absolutely amazing. We highly recommend this studio for any musicians looking to record a high quality album in a relaxing environment and top professionals to work with. Droptone ROCKS!

Sky Athmann (Sawyer’s Dream)

Sky Athmann (Sawyer’s Dream)

I have had a very good experience at Droptone Studio. Professional recording, great producing and service. I have recorded a single there and currently working on a 4 song EP. I highly recommend it.

John Stokman

John Stokman

Over the winter, I worked with Stephen Helvig at Droptone to create a 3 song EP. I had a very good and welcoming experience at Droptone. The studio and staff are both great to use and allow room for a lot of creativity. I would highly recommend Droptone.

Mia Johnson

Mia Johnson

My experience at Droptone studio has been nothing short of rewarding. As an artist, it is important to know that the producer you work with understands your vision and has your best interest at heart. My sessions with Stephen Helvig at Droptone Studio have contributed to my growth as an artist vocally and lyrically. Really glad I found them during my studio search. I’ll recommend Droptone to any artist looking for that high quality, radio play sound.

Snoti Jappah

Snoti Jappah

Really glad I completed my third CD with Stephen at Droptone! Stephen told me up front “my specialty is vocals, I’m a vocal guy”…and he was not kidding! I could not believe the vocals I was able to get on my CD, and he has a very deliberate way of comfortably but diligently getting the right performance out of you, and then making it happen. This is not say that is the only strength, in fact, my project was difficult. I showed up with tracks from three different studios and three different engineer/producers that needed to be brought together into a cohesive record that sounded like a Steely Dan record. Not a simple task, but Stephen was able to listen to what I wanted, then listen to what I played, get me to do something more….and then he was amenable and responsive to the many changes I wanted, as I am not terribly easy to please on this stuff, but I know what I need, and sometimes that means searching. Stephen is also quick and adept at the tools involved, so I always felt like I was getting my money’s worth. To wrap up, we held a great CD release party and the large studio hangout, and shot some great video as well…a perfect coda to a successful project. The result is what I feel is my best record yet, and I have been doing this for decades. T.C. Ortberg Half Finished Novel CD Project, 2014.

Todd Ortberg

Todd Ortberg

Services

Recording

Recording

Professional standard microphones. Classic preamps & compressors. Ample gear. Pro Tools HD. Acoustically perfected room. Comfortable environment to make your music happen. Read More

Mixing

Mixing

When it comes to the mixing of your music, there can be no compromise. Whether you recorded your tracks in your bedroom or at a world-class recording studio, sometimes the biggest difference can be found in your mix engineer. Read More

Production

Production

Relax. Help is on the way. Whether you want a second opinion for your song ideas, a manager to oversee the creation of your album, or someone to add arrangements and coach session musicians, we can help guide you’re project in the right direction.

Songwriting

Songwriting

Need custom beats? Want to work with a producer to write songs? Look no further, we’ve got years of experience writing and producing music in all genres.

Vocal Coaching

Vocal Coaching

It takes more than Autotune to get the best results. Get professional sounding vocals on your project with our help. Read More

Mastering

Mastering

The final touches to ensure that your project sounds great on any set of speakers.

Birthdays

Birthdays

Parents have discovered a unique, exciting, and memorable birthday experience for their kids here at our studio. If you’re looking for something different this year, rent out the studio for an afternoon and treat your kids to an experience they won’t forget. Read More

Voice-Overs

Voice-Overs

We offer a wide range of commercial services, from voice-overs to jingles, audio books to school auditions. We can handle any project and have the experience to deliver professional results. Read More

Please contact us with your questions, or request a meeting & tour of the studio.

 
 

Information

  • 952-917-9189
  • stephen@droptonestudio.com
  • 20300 Excelsior Blvd
    Excelsior, MN 55331

  • 25 minutes west of Minneapolis
    1 mile from Minnetonka High School

Droptone Studio is located 20 minutes outside of downtown Minneapolis on an extremely private and quiet lot nestled in the woods by a small lake in Excelsior, Minnesota. 
The main sound room's dimensions are spacious and acoustically perfected in the golden ratio (20' x 33' x 13'). The control and additional sound booths sit above the main room with open sight lines and exceptional isolation.

The signal chain combines the best of old and new school equipment. We start with great classic mics ranging from Neumann U87 to AKG 414's. In the pre-amp stage we skip harsh mixing console pre-amps so every channel goes directly to a full rack of class "a" tube pre-amps and compressors ranging from UA1176 and 610 to Martech, Drawmer's, and Summit/Neve. This gives us the warmth and compression of tape without losing the control to keep things as hot and loud as possible. From the classic mic and pre-combos we go directly to Pro Tools HD. In this environment we can edit quicker, fix the little things, and make great use of those "great energy and feel-yet a few mistakes" type takes. Recording this way allows artists and bands to relax and really get into the performance of their music without worrying about "studio" perfection and having to endlessly re-perform material. Mix-down time is also quicker and more efficient with automation, a large array of plug-in tools and effects, and never having to start from scratch. Bands are often surprised that half the mix-down was done even while they were recording. Finally, we monitor on the highly esteemed full spectrum Genelec system.

Combining the warmth and power of classic high-end equipment with the stress free efficiency and modern edge of Pro Tools has been ideal for us to make songs and albums that compete with the very best studios around the world. 
We consider ourselves a production studio geared towards working with artists and bands through song completion and long term projects with the gear and space of high-end commercial studios. We thrive on repeat business so it's all about artist and band success and satisfaction. We have an exceptional history of clients continuing to work with us on all their projects. Besides independent recording we produce for several independent labels and their artists and some of the big labels too.

Every project is catered according to budget concerns whether or not a producer or solely an engineer is working on your project. Arrangement and musical instrument performance are available for solo singers with just about any preferred genre. We also have a great reputation of making instrument and sample based, creative, edgy, and hard hitting Rap, Hip-Hop, and R&B track production. We are comfortable recording and/or producing any style of music having 20 years experience recording rock, hip-hop, pop, R&B, world beat, reggae, blues, jazz, classical, folk, and many others. We also offer recording only, mixing only and/or or mastering only services.

Please contact us with any questions or to schedule a visit to our studio to hear some of our work and discuss our very affordable rates.

Gear List

Workstation
  • Pro Tools HD
  • Genelec Monitors
  • Waves plugins
  • Fabfilter plugins
  • Autotune
  • Focusrite plugins
  • Structure, Motif, Fantom, Triton, Roland, Air,  & Native Instrument sample libraries

Pre-amps & Compressors
  • Universal Audio 6176
  • Drawmer 1960 tube
  • Martech MSS-10
  • Summit Audio DCL 200
  • Nightpro Preq3
  • ART Dual MP
  • Avalon U5 DI
  • Mackie ONYX

Microphones
  • Neumann U87
  • Neumann KM 184′s
  • AKG 414′s
  • Electro Voice RE20
  • Beyerdynamic M160
  • Beyerdynamic M88 Classic
  • Sennheiser 421′s
  • Shure SM57′s
  • Shure Beta 57
  • Audix D6
  • Cascade Fat Heads

Instruments & Amps
  • 1998 Taylor 814ce acoustic guitar
  • 1995 Taylor 710 acoustic guitar
  • 1999 G&L Legacy electric guitar
  • 2000 G&L ASAT Special Semi-Hollow electric guitar
  • 1993 G&L Legacy Bass
  • Mesa Mark IV guitar amp
  • 1965 Fender Twin Reverb Reissue guitar amp
  • Fender Rumble 350 Combo bass amp
  • Premier drum kit (Signia Maple) with Zildjian cymbals
  • Roland XP-60 Workstation
  • Casio CDP-120 88 Weighted-Key Digital Piano
  • Dumbek
  • Tablas

The Team

Meet our team members

Stephen Helvig

Stephen Helvig

Stephen Helvig is a music producer based out of Excelsior, MN. Addicted to music at an early age, Helvig has never stopped pursuing the rush. From the infatuation of arranging the perfect track to the thrill of stepping out on stage, Helvig stays immersed in creating and performing music. A drive for perfection combined with intense creativity and organization represent the foundation of his production skills. His work intensity is balanced by a laid-back and approachable demeanor that make collaboration and communication easy and enjoyable. Helvig has produced and engineered over 100 artists in the Twin Cities area, many of whom continue to work with him on consecutive projects.

Specializing in vocal production and arrangement, Helvig has an advanced ear for melody and harmony. This gives him the ability to work in so many genres, producing albums in pop, rock, hip hop, and country. He has produced notable local acts including Maria IsaCulture Cry WolfThe Sota BoysThe Get UpMatt Dodge, and many others. He has also contributed vocal production, mixing, engineering, and arranging for other artists including, Beres HammondMalfunkshun9TomorrowsChester BaySimsEsera TuaoloHounds of FinnMikel Wright & The WrongsJamecia BennettVision The Kid, and members of the St. Paul Chamber OrchestraMinnesota Orchestra, and Minnesota Opera.

Helvig’s work has been featured on Sirius XM’s The Joint and hundreds of college radio stations across the country. Local radio stations and press have also featured works, including 101.3 KDWB, 89.3 The Current, Cities 97.1, 96.3 KTwin, 89.9 KMOJ, 90.3 KFAI, Metro magazine, City Pages, The Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, and the TC Daily Planet. In addition, Helvig has done voice-over work featured in commercial advertisements for Lifetime Fitness, Euro-Cars US, Poncheros, and several other companies.

Helvig started his musical education at the age of 15 when he began studying voice at a small music studio in southern Minnesota while teaching himself guitar. His studies continued at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota where Helvig graduated summa cum laude with Honors in Vocal Performance.

In 2009, Helvig formed 9Tomorrows with Droptone Studio owner, David Kellogg. Helvig recorded the album with Kellogg throughout 2010 and 9Tomorrows released Gravity In Love in December of 2010. 9Tomorrows has garnered extensive radio play throughout the country and abroad. Grammy-nominated artist Beres Hammond was featured on their song, “Walk Through The Door” which was subsequently added on Sirius XM’s The Joint. In 2012, 9Tomorrows set out on a 20-show East Coast tour as direct support to Beres Hammond. Helvig has also shared the stage with national acts KongosJimmy CliffLucianoSoul AsylumQuietdrive, and The Grass Roots.

Helvig started his performing career in Skyline Citizen, an a cappella quartet. From earning 2nd place in the 2003 MN State Talent Contest to earning their way to an opening slot for Ball In The House on The Ordway stage, Skyline Citizen became an in-demand entertainment group. It was then that Helvig began developing his precise ear for vocals and arrangment skills. Excellent vocal production continues to be Helvig’s signature on all his work.

David Kellogg

David Kellogg

David Kellogg is the owner of Droptone Studio. Kellogg is a songwriter, producer, and musician. He started composing and performing music at age 9 and has never relented in his obsession with the construction of great songs.

While playing in various bands he began to work at Sleepless Nights Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. From there he fell in love with recording and discovered that producing music was his calling in life. At the University of Wisconsin he went on to studying production and song construction with Jazz Great Richard Davis. With perfect marks, and a stubborn display of camping out in front of Richard Davis’s office, he finally persuaded Davis into taking him on for an exclusive senior thesis in sound production. This gave him the inside track on production techniques and he continued his work in several Madison studios. At Smart Studios he got to work with Nirvana and Garbage producer Butch Vig.

After graduating David moved back to his hometown of Minneapolis. Here with the help of some very dear friends he built his dream studio in a beautiful wooded lake area close to the Twin Cities. His studio strikes a balance of comfort and quiet while maintaining all the space, amenities, and gear of other top studios. He continues his work there along with working at various studios in the U.S., Bahamas, Africa, and Jamaica. He has performed, produced, and written for a large range of solo artists and bands. His productions range from hip-hop, R&B, reggae, dancehall, soca, rock, and folk to a cappella, jazz, and classical music. This wide variety has helped him develop his favorite style: eclectic, edgy, and dynamic pop and R&B songs.

As a writer, guitar, bass, drums and keyboard player, his forte is song production involving layered acoustic and electronic sounds. He has an open-minded mentality that always services the song and its hit potential before anything else. He is a natural arranger and engineer and is comfortable building great tracks from the bottom up or just putting the finishing touches on a club mix. As well as being capable producing, writing, and performing all the elements of a great track he loves to co-write and is extremely easy to collaborate with. He understands when to get out of the way of talent and matching that talent in composition and accompaniment. Ultimately, He is meticulous in recording techniques and song construction giving every track its best chance for chart topping success.

Here are some of David’s past highlights: Created, lead, and wrote for the band Courage. Courage came out of the Bahamas and took over the junkanoo, reggae, and soca scene throughout the Caribbean and US. Courage toured, collaborated, and opened for bands and artists such as Jimmy Buffet, Beres Hammond, Baha Men, Luciano, Inner Circle, and Big Mountain. They were featured at the Caribbean Music Expo with other artists such as Shaggy and Third World. Courage also performed as the main act for the Miami Dolphins regular NFL season stadium Half-Time show. Produced, mixed, co-wrote, and arranged the album “Vitamin C”. “Vitamin C” had four different chart topping hits in the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Hawaii. The album was nominated for “best reggae album” in Hawaii’s music awards. It was also featured in the Caribbean Music Expo as one of the “best worldwide reggae albums by a new artist” for the year. The album currently has top sales in its category in iTunes, Amazon, and Borders Books. Songs from it and the Courage band has been featured in the movie, “The Bahama Hustle,” the national radio show “Reggae vibes,” and “The Good Morning Today Show.”

Performed, Arranged, and Composed for Sara Hendrix and Kellogg. Sara Hendrix hailed form Telluride, Colorado. Together they created an infectious acoustic folk and pop sound and toured with artists such as Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary, and Donavon. Produced, mixed, co-wrote, and arranged Sara Hendrix and Kellogg’s debut album “Ghost Stories”. “Ghost Stories” and Sara Hendrix and Kellogg were nominated by the ABC network affiliate The Point radio station as “best new artist”, “best new album” and voted Kellogg’s “Stillife” as “best new song” in 7 different cities. Several major newspapers acclaimed the album as a breakthrough in bringing folk, alternative rock, and world music together with hauntingly catchy hooks.

Produced, mixed, arranged, and co-wrote the Soundtrack theme “Blood On the Moon” in the movie “Séance” and the hip-hop song “We Got To Fight” for the movie “Strange As Angels”. Produced, mixed, arranged and performed on several tracks for VP Records and Beres Hammond’s Harmony House Records at Beres’s Studio in Stony Hill, Jamaica. Performed and arranged music with Lenny Kravitz and Italia Johnson for concerts in the Bahamas.

Produced, mixed, wrote, and arranged Hip-Hop tracks for the international rapper Ithaka, Caribbean dancehall sensation Spyda Boon, Chicago rap stars Wolf pack, and several Minneapolis based rappers with tracks playing on B96 and KMOJ. Produced, mixed, wrote, and arranged songs and tracks for R&B singer, international model, and television spokesperson Cherika Star.

Created, lead, and wrote for the band Sunshine Allison. Sunshine Allison’s afro-cuban, funk, and rock style became one of the biggest draws in music venues such as Madison’s Barrymore Theatre, Chicago’s Cubby Bear, Milwaukee’s Shank Hall, and Minneapolis’s First Avenue. Sunshine Allison Toured with and/or opened for bands such as The Allman Brothers, Wide Spread Panic, Blues Traveler, and The Samples. Sunshine Allison also formed a drum group that played for the University of Wisconsin athletics and other national events. Produced, mixed, co-wrote, and arranged the Album “Rise” for Sunshine Allison. The album was reviewed by the Madison’s Badger Herald as one of the best Albums to come out of an artist from Wisconsin since the likes of Cheap Trick and Steve Miller Band.

Co-Produced, recorded, and mixed the international sensation YoungBlood brass band’s album “Unlearn”. It is considered their most successful album to date and has consistently sold worldwide after being picked up by Ozone Records. It features spots by Hip-Hop legend Talib Kweli, spoken word legend Mike Ladd, and Frank Zappa’s Ike Willis.

Produced, mixed, and co-arranged albums for local pop and rock bands Detroit, Great Big Dreams, David Evans, Vicky Sanchez, Skyline Citizen and several other Minneapolis based bands and artists with tracks playing on Cities ’97 and other college radio stations.

Jai Bowie

Jai Bowie

Jai Bowie is a studio representative and musician. Bowie is highly skilled on the bass guitar and is also a songwriter and entrepreneur. With a street degree in business and a profound education in musicianship, Bowie scouts for talented artists and contributes creatively for many Droptone projects.

Music Portfolio

  • All
  • Best Of
  • Country
  • Folk
  • Hip Hop
  • Jazz/Classical
  • Pop
  • R&B/Soul
  • Reggae
  • Rock
Hip Hop/Rap Sampler

Hip Hop/Rap Sampler

...
Detail
Droptone Sampler

Droptone Sampler

Nothing speaks better than actual results. The Droptone Sampler represents our signature production work in almost every genre. Like something? Click "download," it's free. Droptone Sampler - Breakthrough Productions Vol. 1 by Droptone Studio
Detail
Jake Manisto – The Lucky One

Jake Manisto – The Lucky One

Song Credits: Written by Jake Manisto Produced, Mixed, and Recorded by Stephen Helvig Guitar and Vocals - Jake Manisto Piano - Patrick Vogl...
Detail
David K – Big News Cafe

David K – Big News Cafe

David Keiski's album, Big News Cafe, is a collection of 12 original songs that range from piano-driven country to classic rock to power ballads. It was an ambitious project that made its way down to Nashville and back. The result is a powerful representation of David K's creativity, songwriting, and
Detail
Whalen & The Willows –  The Passing Days

Whalen & The Willows – The Passing Days

This indie folk band hails from the prairies of Austin, Minnesota. I spent several days in the studio with them crafting their release, The Passing Days. The group features the singer/songwriter Joshua Whalen, violinist Victoria Torkelson, and singer Jessica Williams. Together, this trio creates cla...
Detail
T. C. Ortberg – Half Finished Novel

T. C. Ortberg – Half Finished Novel

Todd Ortberg is a local recording musician based in the Twin Cities. He's released 4 full length albums over the past 25 years and he actively performs with bands across the metro area. His latest album, Half Finished Novel, was an incredibly fun project to be a part of. The album was recorded at 3 ...
Detail
John Stokman – Longest Time

John Stokman – Longest Time

Song Credits: Written by John Stokman Produced, Mixed, and Recorded by Stephen Helvig Guitars & Vocals - John Stokman Drums - Isaac Carlton Bass - Stephen Helvig...
Detail
Matt Dodge – Living Days

Matt Dodge – Living Days

Today marks the release of Matt Dodge's 3rd full length album, "Living Days." I've had the privilege to make music with Matt since 2008, stemming all the way back to some of my first solo recording sessions. Not only is Matt an incredibly creative, hard-working artist, he's also become a dear friend...
Detail
Mia Johnson – Ambiguous

Mia Johnson – Ambiguous

2014 is off to a great start with the release of "Ambiguous" by Mia Johnson. This 3 song EP is as creative as it is raw, as catchy as it is unique. Mia's songwriting sits somewhere between alternative and pop, bridging her influences ranging from Avril Lavigne to Copeland. Producing and mixing this ...
Detail
The Sota Boys – Sitting On The Amp

The Sota Boys – Sitting On The Amp

Written By Drew Schmalz: After the success of our first project in 2010, we were ready to take things to the next level. Over the course of more than 2 years, we wrote almost 3 albums' worth of songs, and narrowed it down to 14 of the best. Throughout this long and winding road, we applied what we h...
Detail
Bella Pistola – The Western Road

Bella Pistola – The Western Road

If you haven't had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Bella Pistola's mix of alternative, punk, and classic rock, please sit back, tighten your seat-belts, and begin the streaming now. Andrew, Karl, and Jon came to Droptone last winter to start work on their EP. They had everything worked out ...
Detail
Chester Bay – Changes With The Midwest Moon

Chester Bay – Changes With The Midwest Moon

Recording Chester Bay has been one of my favorite recording experiences in the last 21 years. Their acoustic/reggae/rock/jam/folk style called for a very clean, transparent, and in-your-face production. Having a nice, big sound room and some seriously pristine mics and preamps allowed us to capture ...
Detail
Hounds of Finn – Gravity Pulls

Hounds of Finn – Gravity Pulls

Recording and co-producing “Gravity Pulls” by The Hounds of Finn this last year was a remarkable experience. I was constantly inspired, educated, and allured by the four core members and their unique way of blending the very best aspects of folk, Celtic, and rock music. All musical juggernauts in th...
Detail
Hot Southern Mess – Forever & A Day

Hot Southern Mess – Forever & A Day

Hot Southern Mess is a brand new country music trio consisting of Katie Doffing, Kristen Thomas, and Kayleen Goettsche. HSM approached me to help them do some songwriting, production, and recording back in February of 2011. At that time, they were working on a few songs but didn't have anything full...
Detail
Mikel Wright & The Wrongs – We Get Down

Mikel Wright & The Wrongs – We Get Down

Droptone is pleased to announce the release of Mikel Wright & The Wrong's first album, "We Get Down." This was an incredibly fun project and we enjoyed the opportunity to work with some very talented local musicians. Since 2007, Mikel Wright has been building his fan-base with his progressive be...
Detail
Michelle Bergh

Michelle Bergh

The past two years I've had the pleasure of working with Michelle Bergh, currently the "Miss Minnesota Preteen" title-holder. Michelle is very talented and has accomplished a lot for being so young. She previously was the "Miss Preteen National Sweetheart" and is VERY active with volunteer work. Jus
Detail
Ariel Strasser

Ariel Strasser

Last summer I had the sincere pleasure of working with singer/songwriter Ariel Strasser. A recent graduate of The Boston Conservatory, Ari is an up-and-coming artist from St. Paul, Minnesota. Ari is deeply rooted in music. Her father, Tamás Strasser, is a violist in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, h...
Detail
Samuel Crown – Dream My Way Up

Samuel Crown – Dream My Way Up

Samuel Crown has released a new E.P. "Dream My Way Up," a collection of 5 songs recorded over the past year.  Ranging from electronic, synth-based dance tunes to bare-bones acoustic ballads, Samuel Crown covers a lot of territory. Toni Adedeji, whose stage name is Samuel Crown, got started record...
Detail
The Sota Boys – Mistleflow

The Sota Boys – Mistleflow

The Sota Boys are back to follow-up their album "Always Say Always" with a Christmas EP, "MistleFlow". The EP consists of 5 songs, 4 of which are originals, and one of which is a Sota Boy twist on George Michael's classic "Last Christmas". The project includes featured vocals from Jarryd Haag, who h...
Detail
Vision The Kid – Lost Summer

Vision The Kid – Lost Summer

Over the last several months we've been fortunate enough to track and mix Vision The Kid's upcoming album "Lost Summer". Together with Producer Ryan Tru Truax, making this album has been an amazingly eclectic adventure. Our pristine signal chain met its match with Vision's lyrics and incredibly sync...
Detail
Culture Cry Wolf – Día de los Muertos

Culture Cry Wolf – Día de los Muertos

Culture Cry Wolf came into Droptone in January 2011 to start production of their debut studio album, Día de los Muertos. Produced by both David Kellogg and myself (Stephen Helvig), this album has made an impact in both the hip/hop and punk rock scenes. Culture Cry Wolf is comprised of 6 members and ...
Detail
The Sota Boys – Always Say Always

The Sota Boys – Always Say Always

The Sota Boys are a local pop/hip-hop group managed by Droptone intern Drew Schmalz. The group consists of members Brent Haglund, Jesse Johnson, and BJ Skoog, with occasional features from some of their friends. This past summer, we had the privilege of producing their first full-length album, "Alwa...
Detail
Danielle Gassmann

Danielle Gassmann

Dancer and model, Dani Gassmann has just released her single, "Can't Take It Anymore." Dani came to Droptone with a notebook full of lyrics and a few melodies in her head, but wasn't sure where to start with her first song.  After talking about a stylistic direction, Dani and I dug in and started...
Detail
9Tomorrows – Gravity In Love

9Tomorrows – Gravity In Love

Gravity in Love by 9Tomorrows Produced, mixed, and arranged by David Kellogg With additional vocal arrangements by Stephen Helvig and Dax Young Recorded, edited, and engineered by David Kellogg and Stephen Helvig at Droptone Studio, Excelsior, MN All songs performed by 9Tomorrows: Dax Young
Detail
Parallax – Nice

Parallax – Nice

Parallax made their way back to Droptone in early August to record their second live album, "Nice 2."  This project is a collaboration among some of the state's finest artists including Big Zach (of Kanser), St Paul Slim, Jellyfish and Corey (of More Than Lights), Colin Hodges (of Know Breaks), Mari...
Detail
Rellium Prime – Sideways 8

Rellium Prime – Sideways 8

Sideways 8 by Rellium Prime Mixed by David Kellogg & Stephen Helvig Vocals recorded by David Kellogg & Stephen Helvig
Detail
Corby Pelto – Merry Go Round

Corby Pelto – Merry Go Round

The summer of 2010 has come and gone, but on September 1st one full length album remained.  Corby Pelto recorded his debut album "Merry-Go-Round" over the last 3 months here at Droptone and it's out now. Corby is a new artist and is clearly devoted to his craft.  His songwriting skills are well deve...
Detail
Mukama Morandi

Mukama Morandi

We just just finished a killer one drop track "Turn Back Time" for African based lyricist and singer Mukama Morandi. He had a great time performing his first studio vocal session and the track came out really strong. We are just starting to work on his second track. The song caught the ear of L.A ba...
Detail
Nikki

Nikki

New artist Nikki (Nicole Rodriguez) recorded her first 3 singles at Droptone Studio. All 3 songs were a collaboration between Nikki and I. Nikki supplied the lyrics and I wrote the music and recorded the tracks. Nikki was fantastic to work with and made huge strides in her musical abilities. Nikki ...
Detail
The Dayshapes – Monster Clouds

The Dayshapes – Monster Clouds

Several months ago I started working on a project with singer songwriter Keaton Kronberg. Before we got too far on his solo project, he ended up adding a full band to the mix and we switched gears. We both decided it would be best to let the band work on the songs for the next 4-8 weeks and then hit...
Detail
Noah Cornelius – Love All Over

Noah Cornelius – Love All Over

"Love All Over" was the culmination of 2 years of work by singer/songwriter Noah Cornelius.  Noah and I began working together in the summer of 2007.  We put down a handful of acoustic guitar scratch tracks and experimented with different tempos and song structures.  Once we had that foundation set,...
Detail
Morrison Boomer – Down The Hatch

Morrison Boomer – Down The Hatch

Morrison Boomer is an acoustic duo from Seattle.  They were in Minneapolis over the last few months and I had the privilege to record their first studio release, and their second album throughout July and August.  This album is mainly acoustic guitar, bass, and vocals.  We added strings, djembe, and...
Detail
Maria Isa – Street Politics

Maria Isa – Street Politics

Maria Isa's latest release, "Street Politics," was another product of Droptone Studio.  Maria brought her album to us this last spring and we helped her re-record, re-mix, and re-think her album. The project began by adding the support of her extremely talented band.  I captured the live sounds f...
Detail
Esera Tuaolo – Alone In The Trenches

Esera Tuaolo – Alone In The Trenches

Feel like you recognize the name Esera Tuaolo?  That's because Esera is a former NFL pro-bowler, playing in the 1998 Superbowl with the Atlanta Falcons.  He's also an accomplished author. His autobiography, Alone In The Trenches: My Life As A Gay Man In The NFL, was released in the spring of 2006.
Detail
Helen Thul – A Christmas Journey

Helen Thul – A Christmas Journey

2008 was full of fun and lots of music. It went out with a bang as the studio stayed open around the clock working on Christmas music. Helen Thul, a local christian artist, recorded her first solo project, A Christmas Journey. The last track is one of Helen's originals and is acting as a teaser for
Detail
Loren Lukas – Local Knowledge

Loren Lukas – Local Knowledge

Local Knowledge by Loren Lukas Produced by: Loren Lukas. Associate Producer: David Kellogg Engineered by Loren Lukas and David Kellogg Mixed and Mastered by David Kellogg. All songs by Loren Lukas.
Detail
Great Big Dreams – Tap Solo Just Kidding

Great Big Dreams – Tap Solo Just Kidding

Tap Solo Just Kidding by Great Big Dreams All Song Written and Performed by Great Big Dreams. Produced by David Kellogg and Chris Fahey. Recorded and mixed by David Kellogg and Chris Fahey at Droptone Studio in Excelsior, MN.
Detail
Dave Evans – Broken Game

Dave Evans – Broken Game

Broken Game by Dave Evans & The Expansion Produced, Mixed, Mastered and Arranged by David Kellogg. *Crashing Down co-produced by Chris Fahey. At No Time by Dave Evans & The Expansion Produced by Dave Evans, David Kellogg, & John Wright Recorded at: Droptone Studio - Engineers D
Detail
Jammie Wright & DTK – Jah Bless The Child

Jammie Wright & DTK – Jah Bless The Child

Jah, Bless The Child by David Kellogg and Jammie Wright Produced, Mixed, and Recorded by David Kellogg
Detail
Spyda Boon – Based On A True Story

Spyda Boon – Based On A True Story

Based On A True Story by Spyda Boon Produced, Mixed, & Recorded By David Kellogg
Detail
CDN

CDN

CDN by CDN Produced, Mixed, & Recorded by David Kellogg
Detail
Courage Band – Vitamin C

Courage Band – Vitamin C

Vitamin C by Courage Band Produced, Mixed, and Recorded by David Kellogg
Detail
Youngblood Brass Band – Unlearn

Youngblood Brass Band – Unlearn

...
Detail
Sara Hendrix & Kellogg – Ghost Stories & Sliding Reins

Sara Hendrix & Kellogg – Ghost Stories & Sliding Reins

Ghost Stories by Sara Hendrix and Kellogg Produced, Mixed, and Arranged by David Kellogg. Additional arrangements: Sara Hendrix: vocals, piano on No Time, Thompson Theme. Acoustic guitar on In The End, verse of Marriage of Three. Lath Freymiller: strings on No Time, Low and Heartbeat. Jas
Detail