In this series of articles, I chat with people who share my love of recording so much that they make their career out of it. Here's what Eddie and I spoke about when we chatted recently.
Twenty years after first meeting, Eddie and his mate Dan have recently gone from sharing a production studio in RMS Studios, Putney to running and managing the whole recording/rehearsal space.
During our chat, I learnt about his transition from gigging keyboard player to producer to studio owner. And how Eddie and Dan aim to use their vast experience to be "more than just rehearsal rooms".
He also name dropped the local artists he's most excited about and gave his take on how Covid and Brexit are affecting the music industry.
What inspired you to start your studio?
Well, I've had a kind of project recording studio here in this arch for 20 years. The rehearsal business, which is downstairs, has been run by someone all that time, and she just had enough. She wanted to move on. And me and my friend, who's also worked here in the past, we just saw it as an opportunity.
In a way, it wasn't that we wanted to run a rehearsal business, it was more that I needed to protect my studio and I was scared that whoever might come in and take it over would want to make too many changes and I'd have to move out. And it's quite a complex little sort of laboratory of sound in here, and I can't imagine moving. So that was actually kind of the primary reason for taking it on.
But then we got used to the idea and we sort of got into it. We have some hope to make it a bit more than just rehearsal rooms by doing various things to help out musicians in the area. Things like helping them with getting a show on the road or tour management or crew or things like that; we can do all that.
So that's how we found ourselves where we are. It wasn't like a lifelong plan but we’re very happy to be here.
What musicians do you typically work with?
Well, I suppose it's kind of your average pop and rock band. Everyone from your local pub band to touring bands. Occasionally we get some jazz people in, occasionally we get some classical people in, but not very often. It's got a reputation for being an old school kind of rocker's, pub gig place.
We’ve got a back room, which is pretty big so we do get quite a lot of signed bands in there. And they can be great because they take longer bookings, but obviously they're a bit more demanding in terms of what they need in the room. So it’s a nice mix because it's nice to have that.
Have you worked with any famous artists or bands
Well, yeah. I'm a keyboard player actually. And I started off in one of those Levi's bands, if you're old enough to remember, called Freak Power. And then I joined a band called Moloko. I was with them for a few years and I still work with the singer Róisín Murphy. We are about to go on tour. And then a whole host of other sort of projects and bands. Zero 7 I was in for a number of years and toured with them a lot.
But a long time ago I decided to try and get away from the live gig thing and more into production. It's been very gradual. I found myself getting the odd job as a producer and now that's probably most of my wage is producing and mixing. So I don't really do so many gigs, but I'm still making albums with a lot of people.
Do you have any local, up and coming bands that you're excited about?
Yeah, well, they’re not local but Flip Top Box... the best band that has ever been in the whole history of mankind. And I may be biased. Not the Greek one... the original, too damn good to be on the internet (allegedly). Me and Dan did a more serious project. Also pretty old now, but still exists! Hear Post Office on Spotify.
Fuse Box City is a great local band. [Hear their stuff on Spotify or SoundCloud Follow them on Twitter or Instagram.]
There's a band called MADMADMAD who do some sort of no-wave, post-punk, disco, mental stuff that’s fantastic. [Hear their stuff on Spotify or Mixcloud Follow them on Twitter or Instagram.]
That's the only people who spring to mind right now under pressure. Give me 5 minute and I could probably have a hundred.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge that the industry currently faces?
Well, we all know the answer to that right now. Covid. It's decimated us. This arch is owned by Transport for London and, in fairness, they've been really decent and they allowed us to have a year off rent. But then when Covid came back in December, all our bookings over two weeks, every single one, 100% were cancelled. And now they’re starting to come back in again, but there's cancellations every day and they're all down to that. So let's all hope that that's going to resolve itself one way or another in days to come.
Other than that, there is the European touring aspect right now, It has been harder for bands to tour in Europe. Brexit related. That is getting sorted out bit by bit because various countries have decided just to allow our poor musicians to work there, as we have their musicians coming here. No one really wanted to stop each other going either way so the whole thing is ridiculous. But one by one, countries have, sort of, made it easier for us to do that. But, I mean, it's a job. You have to do your Carnet and everything and you have all these border checks. Whereas before you could just head off in your van or whatever. It's terrible. And it's terrible for people trying to come and work here as well. The idea that we wouldn't hire a European orchestra because ours is just as good is totally missing the point of music, you know.
Yeah, exactly. That's a good way of putting it. ‘We're happy with our music, I don't need to go to New York to see their music.’ It’s bonkers!