Crosstalk Dan Daley
Money changes everything How Wall Street came to design recording studios
ou may or may not have noticed, but they’re not building recording studios like they used to. I don’t mean that they’re not building them according to known and agreedupon laws of physics, or code-based construction methodologies. I mean they’re not building them for the sorts of reasons studios have been built for a century now: primarily for the purposes of recording music. Instead, we’ve been seeing the biggest studios come into being from a much wider variety of sources, including corporate and personal ones. For instance, energy-drink maker Red Bull have studios — very nice ones, too, from the ones I’ve seen — in Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, London, Auckland, Tokyo, Capetown and Buenos Aires. In other words, more locations than EMI did at the height of their musical-colonial era. Another lifestyle brand, the sneaker-maker Converse, has had its own facility, (the cringe-worthily named) Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn for the better part of a decade now, and while it’s but a
/ Paul Allen’s $200m super yacht, The Octopus
single facility it also partners with local recording studios in San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, and Los Angeles, giving it some additional geographical heft.
Nice house, anyone home?
/ Khuli Chana in the Red Bull Studios Cape Town
/ Converse Rubber Tracks studio, Sao Paulo, Brazil
18 / April 2019
Then there are the more palatial of the personal studios. We’ve heard the tales of the studios owned by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who famously had them on his yachts (plural) and in various homes, the landlocked ones still being let out (carefully) to a select cadre of fairly luminous users. Then there is Sanctuary Studio in the Bahamas, perhaps the ne plus ultra of the private studio subsector, at least for the moment. It’s part of Albany, a $2bn, 600-acre development that locals like to call “the Monte Carlo of the Caribbean.” It’s not as though studios hadn’t been seen in exotic locales in the past; recall Chris Blackwell’s Compass Point Studios in Nassau, AIR Studios in Montserrat, and BOP Studios in one of South Africa’s more affluent hinterlands. But despite Sanctuary’s own pedigree — it’s run by Alicia Keys’ studio and production confederate Ann
/ The private Sonastério Studios, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Mincieli, and its DNA it at least somewhat musical, founded by the owner of a company that provides in-store entertainment for retail, restaurants and karaoke systems — it arrives at a time when the one percent, or perhaps more precisely the one tenth of the one percent, seem to have established themselves more firmly than ever within music’s boundaries. Sanctuary and a slew of well-capitalised corporate and personal facilities represent a paradigm change in studio dynamics.
Photo credits: Sanctuary images: Cheryl Fleming and James Lane
/ Sanctuary Studios, Bahamas
/ Two helicopter pads, two submarines, 19,200 horsepower… 96 channel SSL Axiom MT console with a 16-channel SSL 9k sidecar
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