The Studio is Live
Last week saw a frenzy of activity here at Soundgas as we finally set up our studio. For me personally, this represented the culmination of many years’ dreaming and planning; to see things coming together at last was a great thrill. As we brought in boxes from my old studio, unearthing long forgotten pedals and obscure effects boxes, and adding key pieces from the Soundgas collection, it gradually became apparent that we had something very special on our hands.
The centrepiece of the studio is our ex-BBC Chilton QM-3 desk that was completely overhauled last year. Inevitably the equipment list in the studio will evolve to reflect changes in the Soundgas stock list, but there are many pieces that have earned their place as permanent fixtures. One such piece is the Kawasaki spring reverb unit that was probably made for Japanese broadcast use. It may only be mono in and out but it has a distinctive sound and character (possibly caused by one of the three springs being wired out of phase) and is a firm Soundgas favourite, as is the pristine ex-broadcast EMT-246 Reverb which comes from the opposite end of the spectrum: so clean and clear.
Other highlights of the Soundgas Studio for me are the extensive collections of vintage analogue drum machines, synths and beatboxes, and of course many tape and analogue echoes, plus our wild and wonderful assortment of rack gear, including a pair of Marshall Time Modulators (one of which came from Giorgio Moroder
‘s Musicland Studios in Munich).
While the studio is unlikely to be completed for some months yet, we wanted to be up and running before the August holiday season was upon us.
Our first visitors were none other than legendary producer Flood and Radiohead‘s Ed O’Brien who were on the hunt for some additional flavours for their ongoing collaboration on Ed’s solo album. We had a fine time talking music, food, coffee and kids over lunch in the studio and we couldn’t have wished for a more enjoyable inaugural session.
I keep telling people that I have to pinch myself every time I walk into the room and see the mountain of mouthwatering gear we’ve assembled, but that we’d have the benefit of Flood’s experience and advice on our first day in the studio was far beyond my wilder imaginings. Both he and Ed were generous with their time and comments and in return I was able to recommend a particularly interesting Klemt Echolette which we’d just serviced – though not perfect operationally, I felt it had bags of character and was a perfect compliment to one of our serviced Roland RE-201 Space Echoes. Their visit was over too soon, and I’m looking forward to a reciprocal visit to Battery in London to have a poke round Flood’s storeroom….
While we are keen to have the studio fully operational as soon as possible, we don’t want to rush into a permanent set up until we’ve had the chance to understand our likely workflow, so the set-up will remain flexible for some time yet. Though the Soundgas studio is primarily for our own use for music making and video recording, we are very excited at the prospect of welcoming friends and customers to come in and collaborate or work on shorter projects. We are discussing the logistics of hiring the space in future (and also of hiring out some of our gear) and also of being able to offer our international customers access to the studio via an online sound processing service. The future looks very exciting and we’ll keep you up-to-date as things develop.
Tony Miln is the co-founder (& Head Gear Head) of Soundgas. See/hear him in action on Instagram.