London house dons Secretsundaze show us around their newly opened studio.
Secretsundaze – My Studio
James Priestley & Giles Smith: “So here’s a bit of history on Secretsundaze Studios. Our Secretsundaze office is based in The Laundry building. A while ago our good friend and James’s old studio partner Dan Berkson was looking to rent a studio in the area and so we decided to build a mezzanine within our unit to host our studio. It was cool to be able to build this from scratch so we could do all the proper insulation and treatments. Dan rented the space from us for a year or so but then had to move because he needed a bigger space.
“Around that time we were looking to start working on some music together and so started to have some other ideas for the space instead of just finding another tenant. At the same time, we got introduced to Sam Jones via our friend Esa who we’d also been doing some work with in the studio, and he was looking for a home for his studio having recently moved down to London.
“It seemed like a match in heaven. We get a dope studio for us to use, Sam gets a space to house his gear, and there’s also enough time for other people to use the space to and for it to generate a bit of income and allow us to do some cool things and projects up there. Secretsundaze Studios were born!
“Making the studios (there’s only one but studios sounded better) an extension of what we do with Secretsundaze has allowed us a lot more freedom and creativity to get some cool stuff going and to open up to our existing audience, people who follow us as DJs, our label or come to our parties. Plus also hook up with some old friends or people we’ve worked with over the years, like Tony Nwachukwu who was a regular guest at our sister party All Over My Face back in early 2000s and our friend from Cambridge, George Levings aka Secretsundaze recording artist Endian and Commix.
“It’s still early days but we’re looking forward to the OTB sessions and some other in-house artist-led sessions, as well as various teaching and tutoring stuff going on. We hope that this could feed back into the label at some point too.
“Secretsundaze Studios is used for the guys’ own productions and is also available to hire with extra options for music production training. For more info, availability and rates just get in touch.”
The Secretsundaze crew: Sam Jones, Giles Smith, James Priestley, Tony Nwachukwu, George Levings.
Soundcraft B800 24 Channel Broadcast Desk
Tony Nwachukwu: “I’m getting a lot out of the complementary in-the-box/out-the-box workflow that can be achieved with the Soundcraft mixing desk. It’s not just a mixing desk; it’s the cross section, the transition point. I approach producing and mixing tracks with the flexibility of the digital domain and the warmth, character and idiosyncrasies of the analogue. Add The Akai tape machine in the mix and you have decades of mixing styles at your disposal.”
Drawmer 1968 MkII Dual Channel Tube Compressor
Sam Jones: “The tube circuits break up and warm things up very nicely. I love the ‘Big’ button which acts as a low-pass filter so we can run plenty of bass through it without affecting the compression. I’m also a fan of the auto release setting, which allows the release time to adapt based on the dynamics of the signal being processed.”
AKG BX-5 Spring Reverb
Sam Jones: “The BX-5 is very nice for getting that old sound. This really is a vintage piece of kit – there’s not many around and you’d be hard pressed to find one in a condition like this is. It has an EQ and selector for the amount of reverb – it can be quite a close verb, longer, or in the middle. Great for creating that King Tubby-esque vibe and you can get some really nice effects when you start to play around with it.”
Akai Valve Tape Machine
Sam Jones: “A ‘go-to’ process of mine to make things sound full and old, which I love to do. Even just a touch – just a little bit – is enough to make a real difference. It features valve in and valve out to really warm things up. It’s a huge old brick of valves, a kind of warming up distortion.”
WEM Copicat Tape Echo
Sam Jones: “You can record whilst playing around with the settings to get some pretty wild and interesting results. It’s a hands-on piece of kit – you can slow it right down, make it repeat back on itself, get some nice feedback and mess around with the tone. You can get some really nice lo-fi sounds – it can be subtle or more aggressive and can be used for adding some reverb. It’s also great for using on vocals to create a classic dubby kind of effect.”
George Levings: “The latest addition to the studio. We haven’t had much time to play around on this one yet but it’s a polyphonic analogue synth that looks to be a bit of a powerhouse!”
Boo, the French Bulldog
She’s the brains of the operation…
To find out more about the Secretsundaze studio, click here.
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