WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
In September of 2004, at the age of 18, I moved to Liverpool and began studying a degree in Computer Science. I was already heavily into consuming and creating music, but I didn’t know about the alternative career opportunities in music. I lasted about two weeks before coming to the conclusion that a) I wasn’t interested in computer science and b) education in general wasn’t really working for me.
Around this time I had a friend studying Sound Technology at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and I started sitting in on his recording sessions. I quickly realised that the role of a producer had a huge influence over the sound and performance of a song which I found really exciting, and I decided there and then that I wanted to be part of that world. That was the start of my relationship with recording studio’s and began an obsessive pursuit of mastering the craft of producing records.
I set about buying cheap bits of recording gear and every copy of Sound on Sound magazine I could lay my hands on. Living in a big student house meant that I could turn vacant bedrooms into temporary recording spaces, and I started recording demo’s for local bands for free. I managed to get away with this for about three months before the fear of eviction forced me to look for proper spaces to record in.
It just so happened at the time that another friend of mine was interested in setting up rehearsal rooms in Liverpool. I offered to run the day to day for him in return for a free room that I could have as my recording studio. We spent a while looking for the right premises and eventually settled on the basement of a large tobacco warehouse. It was next door to an already established rehearsal business, so we decided to turn the whole thing into one complete recording studio. As we were new and had no previous reputation, I would go out to gigs and start chatting to the bands I really liked, and told them about myself and the studio. This was a great way of picking out the artists that I really liked and wanted to work with, and something I still do today. Gradually a client base built up and I spent the next six years learning to produce demo’s and the occasional EP.
ENTER THE MOTOR MUSEUM
The Motor Museum had a long term occupant for the past five years, and sometime along the way we had met and become friends. One evening he told me that he was planning to move on, and that he thought the Motor Museum would be a great opportunity for me. At first I said no, aware that at that time I didn’t have a client base large enough to support it, until I finally talked myself into the idea; I spent a very hectic week moving my gear in and rewiring the patch bays to get everything integrated, and the following Monday jumped straight into sessions.
The Motor Museum had a hugely successful history and was a very aspirinational studio for artists and producers. It had been responsible for a lot of culturally iconic records, and everybody who had been there had very positive things to say about it’s vibe, environment, and sound. I wanted to retain and continue it’s legacy, but make it more accessible to artists who were at an earlier stage in their career; my belief was that immersing artists in higher quality studios and putting them with producers from early on would enhance the development of their recorded work and unlock resources that otherwise wouldn’t be available.
Fast forward five years and things have gone from strength to strength. The Motor Museum is constantly in demand, working on sessions with emerging and internationally established artists. There is a fantastic team of exceptionally talented young engineers that represent the studio, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction that the studio can provide them with a healthy workload and a springboard to the next steps of their careers. A major milestone came in 2015 when I recorded the Bring Me The Horizon album ‘That’s The Spirit’; the first single was done in The Motor Museum, and this kickstarted a relationship that led to me recording the rest of the album. I’m very proud of the success of that album and it earned me my first gold record. I firmly believe that the recording industry is on the road to being healthy once again, and it’s very rewarding to know that I can offer a facility that is truly unique and valuable to creating fantastic music. Making the move was a huge leap of faith, but one that I am very proud of!
I see the future of recording studio’s being what I call ‘producer-led’ facilities. This generation of recording studio’s are a creative extension of the producers that reside in them, and a reflection of their record making style. The jack-of-all-trades recording studio is still relevant, but I believe the most iconic creative partnerships will happen in studio’s that are more unique, more dynamic and more inspiring. Under the strain of an industry in flux, many recording studio’s have chosen to diversify and dilute their services, taking on roles that they otherwise may not be suitable for. At The Motor Museum, my mission is to specialise and continually refine our offering, identifying what is special about us and how we can best deliver that to our clients. To me it is more exciting to be a master of one particular niche, than to be unremarkable in five.