Inside the Studio

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Steve Sutherland  |  Mar 12, 2024
From Dolly Parton to Pearl Jam, White Stripes to Snoop Dogg... this facility in Nashville is not just a recording studio but a teaching academy too. Steve Sutherland explains...

Name's Gregg...' We're some 30 minutes into the interview when the door to the cramped London hotel room opens and he stumbles in and collapses onto the bed. He's wearing headphones big as earmuffs and appears to be listening to something or other on his Walkman.

Steve Sutherland  |  Feb 16, 2024
Betty Davis, Stevie Wonder and an IRS showdown along the way... Steve Sutherland on a studio in America's Deep South that's produced more than its fair share of classic cuts

It's a bit of a mystery why it didn't come out when it should have. One story goes that the record company had no faith in its sales potential and shelved it. Another has it that the singer had a row with the record company boss over a track called 'Stars Starve, You Know', which had a right go at him.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jan 19, 2024
It was an historic house with a rock 'n' roll heritage, its elegant oak panels reverberating with the sounds of Morrissey, Pink Floyd and The Cure. Steve Sutherland has the story...

What is it with Jacks? Of all the folks in all the world, the J-men seem more prone than most to behaviour befitting the scallywag and scoundrel. Was it Brian The Ripper? Nope, it was Jack. When the gals in Ray Charles' chorus wanted that ne-er do-well man out of their hair, guess who it was they told to hit the road? Yup, Jack. When The Rolling Stones canned the dopey psychedelia and got their funk back on, who was it led them on a merry dance back to the dark side? Jumpin' Jim? Jumpin' Jeremy? Nope, it was Jumpin' Jack who had the Flash.

Steve Sutherland  |  Dec 19, 2023
Orff, Stockhausen, Cage... founded in the '50s, this facility was a mecca for composers who used machines to reimagine the future of music. Steve Sutherland tells the tale

Nobody writes letters anymore, but back on the 11th of March 1913 an Italian artist called Luigi Russolo wrote one to a fellow countryman called Francesco Balilla Pratella, who was a musician and composer. Both men were followers of the writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who, in 1909, had founded the Futurist movement.

Steve Sutherland  |  Nov 10, 2023
From skating palace to orchestra HQ and home to The Beatles and Dr Who theme too. Steve Sutherland on the facility that played a unique part in pioneering British music

You can argue all you like over the greatest single ever released. You can trade opinions on the greatest debut album ever made, and dispute the greatest guitar solo ever recorded... You can bandy words over most things. But when it comes to the greatest TV show theme ever, there's only one winner: Dr Who.

Steve Sutherland  |  Oct 13, 2023
This facility's clients have ranged from Arctic Monkeys to Nina Simone, and it has also pioneered solar-powered sound. Steve Sutherland on a studio not afraid to innovate

Of all the many weird and wonderful characters who have populated our Inside The Studio feature down through the years, if my memory serves me right we have never ever come across a giant rabbit. Still, there's always a first time...

Steve Sutherland  |  Sep 15, 2023
Used by stars such as Michael Jackson and Alanis Morissette, this facility in Los Angeles was founded by a pioneer in the art of studio design. Steve Sutherland has the story

My first encounter with the Madman was in the Coen Brothers' brilliant 1991 movie about writer's block, Barton Fink. The Madman was a sweaty travelling salesman with a sideline in brutal murders and an unpleasant ear infection. He was played, terrifically, by John Goodman and he was known as Madman Mundt ('Jesus, people can be cruel. If it's not my bulk, it's my personality'.)

Steve Sutherland  |  Aug 16, 2023
From The Righteous Brothers and Ramones to Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, the music made in this LA studio still resonates around the globe. Steve Sutherland has the story

You could say that he was obsessed. Ever since he'd heard that record on his car radio and been so overwhelmed he'd had to pull over to the side of the road, his life had never been the same.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jul 12, 2023
Opened in 1978, this studio is where Kate Bush, The Cranberries and U2 created songs that sold worldwide. Steve Sutherland goes to the heart of the Irish recording industry

It may seem counter-intuitive, perverse even, to begin this account of Windmill Lane Studios by dwelling on one of its early shortcomings, but hey, what the heck? When U2 rocked up in the late summer of 1980 to record their debut LP, Boy, producer Steve Lillywhite was far from impressed with the facilities on offer. The band's recent single, 'A Day Without Me', which Lillywhite had produced, had failed to chart and he'd been beating himself up over the way it sounded, particularly the drums.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jun 06, 2023
Founded in New York, this facility would expand to three studios in the US, catering to stars like Stevie Wonder, Metallica and The Stones. Steve Sutherland has the lowdown

Chances are you won't be familiar with Marshall Chapman, but she's an American singer/songwriter and one of the unsung heroes of our story. On the 10th of January 1978, she was working on Jaded Virgin, her second LP, when a fire broke out in the studio next door. Chapman downed tools and helped other musicians and engineers who were in the vicinity to carry priceless master recordings to safety outside the building.

Steve Sutherland  |  May 12, 2023
This facility in San Francisco has been home to bands as diverse as The Grateful Dead, Green Day and Santana. But first Steve Sutherland salutes the man behind the brand

During my late teens in the mid 1970s, whenever I browsed through the stock in a record shop, if I came upon an album produced at Wally Heider Studios, no matter who it was by, I was more than likely to buy it. Such was the quality guaranteed by the Wally Heider brand that the studio became a kind of shrine to me, a far-off holy grail that shone in my imagination as did that holiest of live venues, the Fillmore West.

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 14, 2023
Once home to Aretha, The Eagles, Clapton and the brothers Gibb, this facility in Florida now turns out chart-topping hip-hop, Latin and R&B. Steve Sutherland takes up the tale

It may never feature in those lists of events so seismic that people remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. But what happened in Chicago's Comiskey Park on 12 July 1979 remains significant enough to engender heated debate even today.

Steve Sutherland  |  Mar 10, 2023
Founded in 1954, this facility would become one of the music world's most renowned studios, giving birth to ska, rocksteady and reggae. Steve Sutherland has the story

One of the many pleasures in collecting used vinyl 45s is coming across a Jamaican cut where the label has been deliberately defiled. What this usually means is that the artist and the title on both sides have been scratched out or ink-penned over so that the disc attains supreme anonymity.

Steve Sutherland  |  Feb 17, 2023
In London's Soho lies a studio that has rocked to Thin Lizzy, rolled with Robert Plant and now has big plans to bring immersive audio to music fans. Steve Sutherland explains

Not wishing to teach anyone's grandma to suck eggs, but it might be worth beginning by having a quick look at Dolby Atmos. A surround sound technology reasonably recently developed by US company Dolby – or 'Dobly' if you're a Spinal Tap fan – it's a system that allows sounds to be moved as objects in a three-dimensional space, coming atcha from above, behind, inside, outside... everywhere.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jan 13, 2023
From Dusty to Deep Purple, The Beatles and The Stones, in the '60s and '70s this studio quickly became home to pop and rock's leading lights. Steve Sutherland has the story

So, here's how you do it. Take two synchronised tape copies of a finished recording and play them simultaneously into a third master recorder, all the while manually retarding the rotation of one of the two tape reels by pressing on the flanges, manipulating the phase difference between the two sources. Easy-peasy. Now you can flange.

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