Recently equipped with an Audient ASP8024-HE console, Muddy Road Studios flung open its doors to the public in February, giving some fifty local visitors a glimpse of what goes on in a professional studio – and one lucky winner their very own Audient audio interface, iD4 in a prize draw! Owner James Willment has a very clear vision for his new facility, which he describes as a ‘residential recording studio and live venue’ and comprises two studios, a live room, stage, separate large function room, bar and games area as well as residential accommodation.
“I love to help artists build their confidence and give their best – and offer the full service from recording and production right through to creating video and a website. It’s not easy to be a ‘free-spirited, creative musician and run the rest of the show when getting your music out there,” he says.
“This desk cuts the mustard on the way into ProTools and on the way out for mixdown.”
James designed Muddy Road Studios to have the wow factor. “In this day and age, everyone has a studio in their pocket in the form of their smartphone,” he says. His 36-channel Audient console with patchbay and Dual Layer Control certainly helps give it an edge – aesthetically as well as sonically. “Even commercial digital studios are realising that something is missing; they are having to put their mixes through a summing amplifier and as many valve toys or simulations as they can get, to warm things up and get some ‘distorted harmonics and ‘natural dirt’ back into their pure digital signal,” he says. “This desk cuts the mustard on the way into ProTools and on the way out for mixdown.
“I’m delighted with my console. I have more than enough inputs to record a live session and extras for any overdubs. Plus all of my analogue outboard gear can be routed anywhere via a very comprehensive well laid out patchbay.” He cites the built-in mix bus compressor and the “flexibility and options on each channel” as favourite features. Indeed, with 36 channels that’s a lot of options.
“I’m delighted with my console”
James is taking advantage of the numerous inputs as well as the studios’ ample space with his latest plan, MUDDY ROAD REVUE. He explains: “Bands/artists can host events at Muddy Road by inviting fans, friends and family to their gig whilst being recorded and videoed. Ticket prices could include food and drink – and would ultimately cover the band/artists’ studio costs. An innovative way for artists to subsidise the costs of producing a showcase reel that they can use for promotional purposes.”
Whilst developing his ‘entertainment crowdfunder’ idea, he’s been targeting city-based musicians looking for a peaceful, creative space to get away from it all (Muddy Road Studios is located in converted farm buildings in the beautiful Somerset countryside), as well as forging links with Bridgwater & Taunton College more locally. “I have been collaborating with the College to build up some work experience hours for students, by filming local bands on stage at Muddy Road Studios in and around the farm,” he explains.
“Though the College has its own excellent facilities, there’s nothing like getting off campus and out into real life situations.” Which is exactly what they got last month: “There were 16 College students working here on the Open Day: artists, sound engineers, videographers and video production.” He expects to have a few of these work experience days throughout the year with up to 30 students at a time.
Audient looks forward to the next developments at Muddy Road Studios and wishes James all the best.