Sydney’s Studio Bleus is a rehearsal and recording studio designed to facilitate organic musical expression, and enhanced audio quality. Having only opened its doors in 2016, it boasts all the benefits of a modern day 21st century studio, with a refreshing attitude invested in promoting the local music scene. I’m speaking to the studio’s owner, Dave, who spent the last year refurbishing the two-storey building and perfecting its sound. Having played in bands and set up his own home studio, he says that the studio offers a quality and attention to detail that can be difficult to find.
“Playing in loud rock bands and that kind of stuff, going into rehearsal rooms where the PA’s were kind of sub-par and you know, the rooms were really loud if you know what I mean. There was no kind of intelligence in the sound. I really wanted to give the studio that point of difference. Like just make it a cut above the rest, and when people come in just to plug their instrument in and know what they’re hearing is what they’re getting.”
In its current format the studio is heavily geared towards rehearsal sessions, with the recording side of the studio limited to selective live recordings. Onsite are three rehearsal rooms, the biggest of which has been fitted with a mix suite/control room to accommodate for live recording. Each room boasts an emphatically loud QSC PA, an Allen and Heath console, an XTA Graphic EQ, and Sennheiser mics – the entire setup is characterised by an uncompromising quality. The sound of each room has been expertly treated, while the playing environment is clean and modern, and efficiently arranged. Onsite the studio has an impressive list of gear available for hire. Everything from a Mapex drum kit, a Marshall JCM800 and Blackstar HT Stage 100, to a Genz Benz GBE 1200 and a Genz Benz 4x10.
“Yeah I’ve got everything you need,” says Dave. “If you wanted to hire a full backline, then that’s totally possible.”
The high quality of sound on offer, as well as Dave’s penchant for the local music scene, has lead to the studio developing a live recording concept.
“Every week I do this thing, it’s called Studio Bleus live, which is basically a focus on young and up and coming acts that we get in,” explains Dave. “Bands that have a relationship with the studio, we film them – kind of multi-angle thing – and do a live multi-track recording of them doing a song and we’ll release it on our website, our YouTube channel, and promote it through social media and that kind of stuff. That’s been keeping us really busy and it’s really cool. We’ve had lots of great feedback about it too.”
As we know, live recording brings with it a host of audio problems and difficulties. All of which are amplified by the fact that it’s a performance, that’s also being filmed. Yet none of these roadblocks have gotten in the way of Dave producing quality live recordings.
“We’ve had some really challenging ones,” says Dave. “Live recording like that is a real challenge, like obviously if you haven’t got a vocalist that’s using a mic stand and standing still the mics aren’t static – you can imagine what kind of challenges that causes with the phase relationship between you know, your drum sound, your live guitar amps, all that kind of stuff. So the big challenge with it has been trying to sort out, you know, the layout of the room and how the musicians are positioned throughout the room, so we can get a good angle for filming, and also get a decent quality sound. That’s the idea anyway.”
The ongoing project has provided Dave and the studio with the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the blooming musical talent that Sydney has to offer. “It’s really varied, like the first one we did was this bloke Matty J, whose actually a hip-hop guy,” says Dave. “So that was really basic, it was great too man, he’s a pretty pro kid. He’s a local bloke. That was basically him just rapping to some beats, so we had a wedge on the floor, he was holding an SM58 and he just went for it, and it came out great. Like it was a pretty simple recording, but he was super pro and put on a good performance.
“One we just released this week is a band called Hurst, another local band. Awesome band man, female fronted, kind of an alternative rock thing. Just bass, guitar, drums and vocals. I was pretty happy with the way that came out, I mean they’re all great players and they had great equipment, and performed really well. Anna, the singer, she was going absolutely mental...
“Stylistically, it’s kind of all over the place. It’s really just local bands or local artists that are up and coming and, really I just want to help the scene along in Hawksbury. That’s kind of my main goal.”
Studio Bleus is clearly a studio functioning for the right reasons. It’s a musician-run type of affair, offering a level of investment to local musicians, that is hard to come by. “You know I see people who are interested in what’s going on in the music industry, and I see people who really don’t care,” says Dave. “So I really want to work with the guys who are interested, that want to get into the local pubs and care about the local scene... I want to help those guys.”
Studio Bleus is located at 3/2 Anderson Pl, Windsor NSW. For more information visit studiobleus.com.au.