As some studio doors close, others open and this is very literally the case with Morsecode Studios, where, thanks to a connection with legendary producer Trevor Horn, the actual doors that used to be in London’s SARM (Basing Street) studios now reside. Taking delivery of one of the very last ‘classic’ ASP8024 desks to leave the Audient factory, Morsecode Studios owner Brendan Moon and in-house engineer and producer, Liam McCluskey both agree that their desk “…has worked out very well.”
“We couldn’t have done any of this without a mixing desk capable of handling a multitude of effects from different areas”
The Glaswegian studios’ design was a group effort by Morsecode’s team, sound engineer Simon Bloor, Cameron Gower-Poole (Dua Lippa, Ellie Goulding, Little Mix) – also mix engineer from SARM Music Village (SMV) – and Ian Gore an engineer at Metropolis. “Ian was particularly helpful in assisting us with […] the designing of cable runs as we decided they were all going to be old-school analogue, with miles of copper cable running through the walls.”
Moon explains how the large studio space, which “felt big enough to play 5-aside in”, was designed around the recording of Paul Epworth and GUN’s second album for Universal/Caroline, Favourite Pleasures. “We knew we’d have to record a drum kit in a big room all mic’d up properly, in a very old school way. We also knew that there was going to be guitar and bass players playing live alongside the drummers, so we would need isolation booths, or guitar modelling setups, for which we had one of the first Fractal axFX setups in the UK.
ASP8024 has “…all the facilities that we needed to run a studio with an analogue vibe and professional sound.”
“We couldn’t have done any of this without a mixing desk capable of handling a multitude of effects from different areas,” he confirms. “Right now in the studio we have a guitar area with lines going through to a separate isolation booth to a selection of vintage amplifiers both bass and guitar, a dedicated keyboard area, all of which are ready at any point for visiting musicians or bands to fire up. I can’t imagine doing any of this without a proper mixing desk.”
The British console got the nod of approval across the board. “Cameron had trained on a similar Audient console as an audio student in London; for me it was an easily understandable layout, with all the facilities that we needed to run a studio with an analogue vibe and professional sound.”
Lewis Capaldi and rock band, GUN still rehearse in the large space after being the first to record there, and since then the Audient console has been clocking up studio hours recording King King (British Blues Band of the Year), a full album with solo artist Baz Moore, as well as local up-and-coming acts such as Stephanie Cheape (SMA Scotland’s Best Unsigned Act 2017) who recently headlined the Scottish venue King Tuts.
“Morsecode Management client, Natasha Cook Jenkins has just hit 10 million views on YouTube from her EP that was recorded in the studio, and we’re working on another joint project with the guys at SMV: a new Glaswegian group not a million miles away from the Black Eyed Peas called the Pretty Machine, which will be released some-time next year,” says Moon, listing the studios’ growing number of successes.
“I can’t imagine doing any of this without a proper mixing desk” ~ Brendan Moon
Back to those main soundproof doors in Morsecode Studios Live Area, which Moon describes as “his most prized possessions” salvaged from the old SARM Basing Street in Notting Hill. “It’s nice to have a bit of history, knowing that everyone from Grace Jones, Led Zepplin, Free, Bob Marley, Live Aid, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Drake, Rihanna and the legendary Trevor Horn have all walked through these very doors to make their recordings. We should put up a sign, but we haven’t done that yet!”
Maybe they won’t need to, even without it there has already been huge interest. “It’s only been this summer that we have opened our doors to the general public to be able to book the studio and we have been impressed by the number of customers we’ve had, both from record labels and local bands. The studio was kept a bit of a secret, but we felt now was the time to let it be known to the wider musical public!”
Not a moment too soon, Audient thinks. Good luck to you all!