For many years growing up I always dreamed of owning and running my own recording studio, back in the days when the only way a band could make a demo was to beg, borrow or steal a cassette based 4-track recorder. (I have fond memories of the Yamaha MT-120 with graphic EQ!)
In 1998, I was lucky enough to realise my dream and, with help for the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, I set-up my first studio Tanglewood Studio, which was a 16 track studio based around two old, ADAT machines. In those days 16 tracks was an amazing facility to most bands who had access to 4, maybe 8 at best. Studios were advertised on the amount of tracks they had.
In the late nineties, the local recording Industry was booming and, influenced by Albini, Vig and a host of other engineers/producers, I learned my craft by recording, recording and more recording. Most weekends and evenings, I honed my skills, I mixed, I remixed (I listen to those mixes now and they sound okay, surprisingly). I had basic equipment but I was passionate, driven and only 21 years old.
Fast-forward to 2006, I eventually managed to purchase my own house, I did so before the market crashed with a sub-prime mortgage. (If I were in the same position today I wouldn’t have been able to purchase a house). I registered with every Estate Agent in the city and was show countless houses which didn’t come up to spec; basements with enough head height for a flea, single garages which would barely fit a classic Mini, I must have looked at thirty or forty of them. So it was no surprise, when my sister, not the Estate Agent, spotted a perfect end of terrace house with a great basement space. I was on holiday when I phoned the agent to get a viewing. The house was a mess, but the foundations were stable, so after minimal bartering, I bought it and moved in.
It’s now October 2006, I get the key from the Estate Agent and walk down to the new house, enter the door, lay on the (disgusting) carpet and text my sister, “Ah, home, crap home!”. It’s a reference to 1986 film with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long called The Money Pit (showing my age here). So, after about ten seconds consideration I decide to gut the place and start again, friends come around we pull out build in wardrobes (that are about as old as The Money Pit), remove cork tiles from the wall (yes, really) and strip seventeen layers of wall paper, from 1930 onwards off the walls in the bedrooms — guess they just papered over the top in days gone by, or they did in this house anyway! It’s now early November and the workforce is hired to rewire the electrics, sort the plumbing, rebuild and re-plaster. “In by Christmas,” my completely mis-guided mantra. After much work I eventually moved in May 2007!
I started working on the studio space. Nothing went right. In all honesty I didn’t have enough skills, in those days, to proceed. So things were built, then knocked down. A friend helped, they had an episode during the build and you could literally see in their work where this happened, so that had to come down. This went on for a couple of years. Then I met my wife in 2009, we married in 2011, with all the funds going toward the wedding, the studio construction was halted. Now, don’t get me wrong, my wife is an incredible musician and was just as keen about having a studio and a place to make music as I was (too often I hear of unsupportive partners). However, we wanted to have a great wedding more at this stage. June 4th 2011 we were married, it was a bright and beautiful day, surrounded by friends and family.
So, when I think about Beleiefspace Studio I don’t think we actually really started building it until Autumn 2011. I found an excellent builder, an dBs Music alumni and fellow musician who made short work of the building process and, paying as we went, building when we could, we managed to get it together by 2012.
Thus Beliefspace Studio was born, a digital studio with an analogue heart; and close to my heart.
The fund started, we ordered equipment, we set-up instruments, we made music there. We loved the space. We started a band. We started Live in Session in the space with the guys from JustJamIt. We made some great albums, we had some amazing jam sessions. We filled the space with love, light and music.
It’s not all been good though. We’ve had our share of disasters. There was one time we were having band practice and my sister-in-law (who was in the band) said, “My feet are wet!” Turned out we had a leaky pipe which ruined the floor in the recording room. The photo above was taken after we sorted it.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to invoice a few projects through the studio. However, this year I have changed my work pattern and the amount of work now invoiced through the studio, as a business, is untenable. We’ve outgrown the space with Live in Session Ltd. and have moved operation to Momentum Studios. Also, I’m in the privileged position of having access to studios with Neve Genesys, SSL Duality, SSL AWS924 and API1608 based studios at work. So, it’s time to re-evaluate and re-assess.
On to greener pastures and a swift sunrise.