From time to time at Mixdown we sit and chat with some of the people responsible for making the music world turn. Not the artists, but the studios, the stores, the schools and the gear manufacturers who help make it all possible. This month we sat down with the guys at Damien Gerard Studios in Sydney to talk about the awesome facilities they have on offer.
Tell us about the history of Damien Gerard Studios?
This year marks 30 years under the tenure of Marshall Cullen. Damien Gerard Studios is one of the oldest and most established studios in Sydney. It was founded in 1982 by Luke “Gerard” Everingham and Adam “Damien” Everingham. The facility began as one recording studio and three rehearsal rooms in an Old Wool Store Warehouse in Ultimo. In 1985 Marshall Cullen and partners took over ownership of the facility. During this time Russell Pilling began his long standing role as Chief Engineer after being trained by Marshall. Russell is still currently the Chief Engineer to this day. Over the next few years the rehearsal rooms here upgraded to recording. In 2001 The original Electric Avenue building on Mullens St in Balmain (designed and built by Sydney Studio Legend Phil Punch and home to The Church for many years) became available, and Damien Gerard Studios found a new permanent location. The premises now houses two rooms. The iconic Studio A, which has one large live room and three separate booths, as well as The Red Stairs Room, a mastering/mixing suite with a vocal booth.
Over the past 30 years, which esteemed engineers have you had come through the doors?
We’ve had David Trump,Tim Powles, Nick Launay, Kevin Shirley, Ted Howard, John Bee, Charles Fisher, Wayne Connolly, Paul McKercher, Rob Younger, Simon Holmes, Nick Dalton, Les Karski, Mike Stavrou and Chris Townend among others.
Over that time, which notable International producers have worked in the studios?
Jack Endino, Randy Jackson, Skunk Baxter, Gus van Go, Adrian Breakspear, Steve James, Paul Palmer, Roger Frankham and Wayne Rivesy just to name a few.
Which artists have you had record at Damien Gerard Studios?
Paul Kelly, Kate Miller Heidke, The Church, Hoodoo Gurus, Divinyls, Smudge, Marvin Priest, Four Play, Coda, Inxs, Yothu Yindi, The Cruel Sea, The Apartments, The Posies, John Denver, Midnight Oil, Underground Lovers, Grinspoon, Frenzal Rhomb, Alex Lloyd, Evan Dando, Mental as Anything, Ed Keupper, Noiseworks, Steve Balbi, Died Pretty, Radio Birdman, The New Christs, Rose Tattoo, Celibate Rifles and Maybe Dolls as well as many, many others.
What are your studios digital and/or analogue capabilities for recording?
We have facilities for both digital and analogue recording. We can offer recording onto 2” Tape on an MCI JH24 and Pro Tools 10 Native Thunderbolt.
How many rooms does the studio include and what are they ideal for?
We have spaces that are perfect for tracking, mixing and mastering. We have one main large live room that is big enough to track up to a 9 piece band which has three iso booths attached. We have one large control and mixing room and also a mastering suite with a voice over booth.
What recording gear is available to use?
We have a lot of gear available for use including a Main console Soundcraft 2400 mid 80’s classic analog 32/24. Our preamps include Neve, ATI, Gappre 73, API, BAE, Avedis, UA. Our comps include Urei, UA, DBX, AMEK, API, Neve Portico, Opti1A, Dramastic. Outboard EQ’s include Neve, JLM, ATI, and of course we have loads of plugins. We also have plenty of mics including NEUMAN, KM86, TLM103, Octava U87, AKG 451, D112, RODE Classic 2 Tube, SHURESM7, Beta58A, SM57, SM58, SH55, Green Bullet, Beta57A, BEYER M88, M201+Ribbons, ROYER Ribbons, SENNHEISER MD421, AUDIO-TECHNICA AT4050, EVRE20, Studio Projects Large DIA Tube, COLES 4038 ribbon mics, SENNHEISER MD-441, BEESNEEZ ARABELLA, RADIAL JDV Class-A direct box and Great River DI / Preamp
Are there any instruments available to use or hire whilst recording?
We have various guitars and basses including Music Man. We have various keyboards including an 88 key controller. There are various amps including Vox AC30’s. There is a Ludwig ‘John Bonham” style 4 piece kit. We have tonnes of pedals, Line 6 pod and a percussion box. These are all free of charge with hire aside from the Ludwig kit.
Who are your in-house engineers and what is their experience?
We have Russell Pilling. Russ has been engineering for over 25 years and has worked with Hoodoo Gurus, Yothu Yindi, Noiseworks, The Vines, Died Pretty, The Church and The Cruel Sea just to name a few artists. He has also engineered for plenty of esteemed international producers as well.
We also have Andrew Beck. He Started out in the intense music recording scene on the USA west coast throughout the 90’s. Andrew worked in various capacities with the likes of Soundgarden recording Superunknown, Delicious Vinyl, Bad Animals Studios Seattle, Ocean Way Studios and Trauma Records among others. Since relocating to Sydney in 2000 he has worked with Paul Kelly (Mastering), Kate Miller Heidke (Mastering), The Stoics, Mental As Anything, Epicure, Grinspoon, Josh Abrahams/Amiel Marvin Priest and lots more.
Then we have Pete Holz. He has completed a masters degree in acoustics at Sydney University and was one of the chief lecturers at The School of Audio Engineering (SAE) and JMC Sydney. Pete joined the Damien Gerard Studio team in 2005, and has since attended prestige courses such as a mixing workshop with Michael Brauer (Coldplay) in Southern France. Pete has become one of our most sought after engineers, providing world class clarity and quality in his mixes.
Is there anything else that you’d like to tell us about?
The Studio is in inner city Balmain where cafes, bars and much more is only a walk away. There is an in house label that provides consultation, radio plugging and promotion to selected clients as well as cd and vinyl manufacture and distribution if required.