Producer, engineer and musician Stuart Gray took delivery of an ASP8024-HE console late last year and described it as “just gorgeous” the moment it arrived. Once installed at Jealoustown Recording Studios in Co. Meath, Ireland, he said the desk “has changed the sound of everything I do.”
Hearing such positivity from a studio owner at what was otherwise a dark time for many in the music industry, we were inspired to find out more about Stuart. What makes him – and his studio – so delightfully cheerful?
He revealed many insights, but following tradition we started off by asking about his gear.
I run a hybrid setup at Jealoustown: Pro Tools Ultimate, 2 Antelope HD32s, my wonderful Audient ASP8024 HE – oh, and lots of other nice preamps and toys.
How did you hear about Audient?
Well I’ve been seeing these ASP8024s in studios for years and I never really knew much about them.
Then a few years back, I watched Cenzo Townshend’s YouTube clips of his studio and I literally was hooked on just the look of the desk. I took a chance and contacted Cenzo on Instagram and he wrote back to me straight away. Really, the man is a world of knowledge and had so much good to say about the desk. There was no going back at that stage for me.
“I didn’t realise that it would have such an impact on my sound”
Then I had to figure out whether it would fit in my little studio. <gulp>
We’re glad it did! How has the console settled in?
Honestly, the Audient has changed the sound of everything I do. In fact, if I’m being honest, I probably didn’t realise that it would have such an impact on my sound, but – wow, it really has.
The worst part about investing in such a serious bit of kit is, you feel like everything you have done before that is substandard. I sometimes wish I could go and re-record everything I’ve done before I got this machine – dammit!
Who have you had the pleasure of recording over the years?
Oh I’ve had such a great pleasure in recording so many super-talented people. A lot of whom are currently unknown and should be world famous.
“the Audient has changed the sound of everything I do.”
The ones you guys might have heard of would be: Brian Kennedy, Gavin James, Ryan Sheridan, Finbar Furey, Bryce Hitchcock, Germein, Don Baker, Royseven and – hang on there are more: Aslan, Picture House, Colm Wilkinson, The Best Part, The Valmonts and many more. [Phew! ~Audient]
How do you see the future of your studio?
Sometimes people say to me, “You are actually the busiest man I know!” – and I will agree, I put my heart and soul into every project I’m lucky enough to work on. I really do eat, sleep and breath music.
I’m always keeping an eye on what’s new and exciting music-wise, and ever more so gear-wise to make things better and better with every little thing I do.
I feel like one of these days one of the artists I work with is gonna blow the roof of the music business and it will be the proudest day of my life!
What are you most proud of up until now?
It’s actually so hard to say what I’m most proud of.
I feel every time I work with a new band I’m literally proud to get the opportunity and I’m always proud of the results. Especially now that my dream of owning a real analogue console has come true!
“[My Dad] was with me all the way and believed in me from the very first day”
I am also proud that myself and my dad built my studio from literally the ground up. He was with me all the way and believed in me from the very first day. He watched me grow as a producer and always had an impressed look on his face, which just made my job so easy. My dad was a musician, my friend and my mentor. I lost my dad last year (2020) but I still feel him in my studio everyday.
…and yet, your Audient console wasn’t the only new arrival this year, was it?
No indeed! My son Elliot was born in June, so he keeps me on my toes – and a smile on my face – when I’m not in the studio.
So did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now?
About 20 years ago I got a simple Pro Tools setup on a Mac and recorded my own band, Electric Lemon. From that moment on I was hooked and couldn’t stop doing this. Since then, I’ve only dreamed of having my own studio, and recording and producing as many people as would let me!
Here I am at 44 with the world at my feet! It could be a long, long road to where I wanna go, but I’m most certainly enjoying the journey.
Your enthusiasm is infectious, Stuart! Thank you for chatting with us. We wish you every success with Jealoustown.