Studios are magical places.
The gear is fascinating, the creative vibe all consuming, and when you visit one that houses genuine talent, inspiring in so many ways. This little slice of the blogosphere covers my recent visit to the studio of Andy Barlow, one half of Lamb and producer of various artists including The Ramona Flowers and his own solo project LOWB. It follows the full September 2012 interview here.
I arrived at Andy’s Brighton home on a blustery Monday morning and was welcomed by Alex, Andy’s studio tech who has been helping move the studio from the previous room to a bigger, more airy space in the house.
After a quick brew, Andy gave me the tour.
Despite the dark pics (I closed many of the curtains to stop all the reflections, sorry!) you immediately notice the natural daylight and it’s amazing how much that makes the space feel creative as opposed to functional. The lovely rolling hills view doesn’t hurt either.
We talked about the studio move and Andy was adamant that gear was secondary to the creative process and he’d been ruthless in culling unused, superfluous gear. Out went the TLA desk, various pre’s, space echos (nooooooo!), redundant synths and more. 4 patchbays whittled down to one very neat unit proved the point that he was being serious about creating a zen space.
- Jomox xBase09
- Arturia Minibrute (mine, all mine )
- New UAD Apollo
- Manley Vari MU
- TLA Stuff
- The trimmed down Patchbay
A rather lovely Fender Rhodes sat in the corner with a Korg MS20 keeping it company. We fired up the Rhodes connected to Mooger Fooger filter and LFO/ring mod pedals and the warmth and chaos was speaker loving and destroying in equal measure. Beautiful and nasty. Perfect!
I took my new Arturia Minibrute along and within a minute Andy was busting out the Strong the Root bassline as though it was made on the little beast.
A new DSI prophet also sounded lovely especially through a nice plate reverb from the also new UAD Apollo.
One aspect of particular note was Andy’s use of controllers. A mackie control, NI maschine, 2 iPads and a small army of nanoKontrols were spaced around the desk. I nearly sold my Tascam US2400 to him but it’s lack of scribble strips was a killer blow. Why are there so few decent fader based controllers these days?
We finished the afternoon with a preview of 3 tracks from his latest production project, The Ramona Flowers. Recorded at the band’s studio and mixed at Andy’s place, it was obvious that generating warmth had been a major part of the production process. One track in particular features Lamb’s own Lou and without meaning to suck up, she really does have an amazing voice.
Hearing Andy’s production chops and Lou’s vocals on new material makes the prospect of the next Lamb album even more exciting.
A good day (as you can probably tell )
More pics in the slideshow…