Audient caught up with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Charlie Simpson recently, who has been getting acquainted with the new Audient ASP4816 mixing console in his Surrey-based Komorebi Studios.
Timing the arrival of his new desk with the launch of his Patreon site, Charlie has organised it so that fans can have a virtual ‘front seat’ in the studio. Monthly payments allow them access to exclusive music and all manner of content relating to Busted, Fightstar as well as his solo projects – all with an excellent view of the Audient console. Oh, and if they subscribe to the top tier, heaps of merch as well!
We chatted about working on his solo album and his creative process, spec-ing his studio gear and how quickly he got the hang of his new desk, but first, we wanted to know where did that studio name come from??
Komorebi is Japanese for ‘light filtering through leaves of trees’, which has always been one of my favourite images, so I thought it would make a great name for the studio.
It does indeed! OK, tell us a bit about Komorebi Studios.
It is very much a hybrid setup. The ASP4816 is the hub of the studio and then I have everything running through three UAD Apollos. This setup is brilliant because you can really utilise modern recording technology and have it work seamlessly with fully analogue desks like the ASP4816.
ASP4816: “the perfect size for my studio and the routing capabilities are amazing”
I use both Logic and Pro Tools, so I also have a DAW dock controller which again allows me to integrate the digital and analogue realms really easily. I basically wanted the Dual Layer Control that you would find on the ASP8024-HE, but as that unit is not available on the ASP4816, I just improvised a bit and it works perfectly!
Did you spec all the gear yourself?
Yes I spent a long time deciding what gear I was going to get for the studio and how it would best serve my workflow. I mostly use digital plugins, but there are a few choice bits of hardware I got that either don’t have digital emulations or just don’t match up to the sound of the hardware.
“it works especially well for drums”
How are you finding the ASP4816?
I love using the ASP4816. It’s the perfect size for my studio and the routing capabilities are amazing. Though the desk is fully analogue I have managed to set it up in a way that it can be used in a modern / hybrid way.
It works especially well for drums, as I can use the aux sends of the desk to route through digital reverb room emulations which sound so realistic these days. My live room isn’t huge but this set up allows me to create a great close mic sound with the desk and then utilise the Apollos for the room.
Has it changed your creative process?
I would say it has massively expanded my creative capabilities and it means I can do things that just wouldn’t have been possible in a writing room set up. I love playing and recording drums, so to be able to have a space where I can now record live drums through a desk has been a game changer.
“such an intuitive desk to use”
How did you find the learning curve getting used to recording with ASP4816?
I was actually very new to using a fully analogue desk so I was a little intimidated when the ASP4816 arrived. I’ve been around desks for many years whilst recording albums in commercial studios but never used one on my own. I had pretty much always worked in the box, so I was amazed at how quickly I was able to learn on the ASP4816. It’s such an intuitive desk to use and within about a month, I was using it as if I’d had it for years.
What features stand out to you in particular?
The bus compressor in the ASP4816 stood out to me straight away, it has such an amazing sound. I was also blown away by the EQ’s. To get a desk that sounds this good at this size and price point is pretty astonishing.
We are loving your new Patreon site! Have you had a good take up since the launch?
Yes I have been blown away by the reaction to my Patreon launch. It’s such a great platform, as it allows artists to connect with their core audience in a way that just wasn’t possible before. It’s basically a window into my studio and creative process.
“the bus compressor in the ASP4816 stood out to me straight away, it has such an amazing sound”
You’re working on your new solo album – recorded on ASP4816 no less! How is it coming along? Tell us about your process: do you write/record simultaneously or do you come to the studio with a ‘finished’ song?
Yes it’s been amazing to self produce for the first time.
I don’t tend to stick to one formula when writing but I usually start with the melodies and then start thinking about the lyrics and the concept of the song. I usually get a rough backing track together and then really focus on nailing the vocals, once I’m happy with them, I’ll go back in and start building the track instrumentally.
“a desk that sounds this good at this size and price point is pretty astonishing”
Have you got an idea of release timings yet? Anything you can tell us about it or will we wait for the big unveiling when the time comes?
Hoping to get it out by the end of the year and really looking forward to people hearing it.
I’ve got a ten-year anniversary show at the London O2 Forum in Kentish Town on 5th November in celebration of the release of Young Pilgrim, my first solo album, which I’m also really excited about, so I’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2021!
Yes, you really have – that’s great. Where can we find you online?
Thank you so much for your time, Charlie. We can’t wait to see how things pan out for you this year – good luck with it all!