‘The Shed’ closes its doors on robust musical history

Williamstown recording studio located on Main Street was sold last month

Special to The Sun: ‘The Shed’ recording studio in Williamstown.

Tucked away just over two miles away from Exit 38 on the Atlantic City Expressway is the heart of Williamstown. The downtown area consists of a bakery, pizza shop, two breweries within a mile and a half of each other, a theater and the Pfeiffer Community Center, to name a few places. Despite all of these things, in the midst of the heavily traveled Main Street is Williamstown’s best kept secret, something lovingly known as “The Shed.”

Located on the corner of Main and Poplar streets is The Shed, a former recording studio that was owned and operated by Williamstown resident Nik Bruzzese. Bruzzese is a recording engineer who co-owns The Lumberyard Recording Studio in Hammonton and bassist and vocalist for the pop-punk band Man Overboard.

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Before touring the world with Man Overboard and running a studio, Bruzzese had The Shed.

“The Shed was an idea that my dad came up with,” he said. “I recorded in a buddy’s basement, that’s where it started. My dad said ‘Why don’t we get a big shed and put a studio inside it?’”

That’s exactly what he did. Bruzzese dropped a 12 feet by 28 feet shed turned recording studio on his grandmother’s property in Mullica Hill in the early 2000s.

When Bruzzese’s dad moved to the corner of Main and Poplar streets, he gave Nik the OK to put The Shed on the property.

How The Shed made the 10-mile journey from Mullica Hill to Williamstown is a funny story.

“I had it moved from Mullica Hill to Williamstown by the Amish for $200,” Bruzzese said with a laugh.

Bruzzese said the move happened in 2005 and the rest, as they say, is history.

From forming his band in the studio to recording hundreds of bands from across the country, Bruzzese’s shed-turned-recording studio became a hub for the rock/pop-punk community.

“Every band that came in there was trying to step their game up, it wasn’t just a hangout,” he said. “We were in there actually working, making the songs sound really good, making the bands sound good. It had an impact as far as musicianship and creativity.”

East coast bands like Man Overboard, Transit and Handguns recorded there. West coast bands like The Story So Far were around behind the scenes as well. The Shed didn’t discriminate, Bruzzese said even bands from Williamstown High School recorded there.

“It impacted more than just Williamstown, it was the whole South Jersey community,” he said.

What made The Shed a unique place to record was the vibe.

“You would look at it and see it open up,” he described. “You closed the door and you’d drift off in there. It was a cool vibe, it didn’t feel like you were in a shed on Main Street in the middle of town.”

The Shed and the building it shared a property with were sold last month, making it the end of an era for music production in Williamstown. While the entire property on the corner of Main and Poplar streets is no longer in his name, the memories and lessons learned are something that will stick with Bruzzese for a lifetime.

“I’m 32 now, I still do what I did in that shed for a living,” he said. “That shed was like an opening to actually learn my craft. It gave me the time and space to be creative.”

The Shed was something countless people drove past when traveling north and south on Main Street. While they may have seen the building with the blue shed in the back before, they never knew the stories it could tell. From headquartering Man Overboard to housing Bruzzese and his brother, to serving as a hub for the Philadelphia-area music scene, The Shed on Main Street was Williamstown’s best kept secret.

Anthony is a graduate of Rowan University and a proud freelance contributor for 08108 magazine. He has past bylines in The Sun Newspapers and the Burlington County Times.
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