Julia Jacklin, Silverchair, Ocean Alley, Courtney Barnett, DZ Deathrays, DMA’S and Sarah Blasko are just a few names amongst The Grove’s extensive alumni. Having hosted some of the biggest names in Australian music history, The Grove has built a name for itself as being a one-of-a-kind recording studio with an inimitable atmosphere.
“The Grove Studios was originally built by Garry Gary Beers from INXS,” says Horscroft.
“In 2000, he built Studio 1 – which really put the property on the map for musicians to come and make records. This place was originally called Mangrove Studios, and after it moved hands, it was changed to The Grove. We bought it six years ago and we’ve continued with that name ever since.”
The Grove Studios was constructed with a Portuguese Hacienda design, and boasts four magnificent studios, furnished accommodation and resort-level facilities. Each studio serves an individual purpose, fully equipped with their own loadout of rare and vintage gear.
“Studio 1 features our renowned 56-channel SSL G series console, and is the main studio that people come and live in – it’s got four bedrooms, a full kitchen and furnished living room, and even a separate producer cottage around the billabong. It’s a beautiful setup that’s secluded from the rest of the property,” Horscroft says.
“Studio 2 was the original studio on the property, where Garry used to make his own records. It also doubles as our academy. We have 20 workstations situated in a very large control room, placed around a Harrison console from the ‘70s – famous for doing albums like Thriller and other famous Fleetwood Mac records. It’s a really rare opportunity for a class to be gathered around such a piece of history.
Studio 3 is the production suite. It’s got a tonne of our vintage synths, guitars and amps. It’s a little more eccentric and delicate. Studio 4 is called The Barn – it’s a really free and open space. It has some great old mic preamps, and we often use it for preproduction or mixing.”
But what really sets The Grove apart from other studios is its creative vibe. It’s not often where one gets to work in a world-class studio for the day with access to some of Australia’s most alluring bushland, all within arms’ reach. “We’ve got a culture that’s so focused on creativity, which you’ll find is very different from every other recording facility,” Horscroft says.
“We all push for that – having a unique culture. The Grove is a place where artists can get completely immersed in the creative process. That dream of getting a country house and setting up your own studio – we provide that, but with the professional quality you’d find in a studio in downtown New York.”
Other than producing records, The Grove Studios’ latest project – The Grove Studios Academy, is in its first year of independence. After working alongside TAFE for three years, Horscroft decided to venture out on his own. The Grove Studios is now a registered training organisation and offers two programs: a Diploma of Music Industry (Sound Production), and an Advanced Diploma. According to Horscroft, this was something that was “in the burner” for a long time.
“The first notion of this was born back in my BJB (Big Jesus Burger Studios) days,” Horscroft says.
“We had an idea of developing a school, mainly due to the fact that we had so many junior interns coming in and turning into great engineers, assistants, and producers. What we had – this flow of people coming in and learning the trade – was something really special. We wanted to offer that to more people in a more formal mentorship process. It’s very rare for students to be taught in a functioning business, let alone a place where these great records are being made.”
Each year, a small cohort of students will be granted an expansive glimpse into all facets of the industry, including live sound, film, and music production. Students will be privy to The Grove Studios’ swathe of leading-edge technology, as well as the opportunity to learn from a star-studded list of guest lecturers.
“All of our producers here at The Grove give lectures on projects they’re working on, and how they’re being put together,” says Horscroft.
“Other than that, we’ve had Adam from Birds of Tokyo to Heath Johns from BMG Publishing – they understand what we’re doing and how it’s special. We’ve never had people rejecting our invite. We pride ourselves on having very active and professional lecturers who provide priceless council and advice for students to really narrow down what avenue they want to work in.”
While emerging technology seems to favour home and/or bedroom production, Horscroft isn’t fazed in the slightest. “I think the biggest thing is that more and more people are making music now, than ever,” he says.
“There’s so many people wanting to increase the quality of their music, so they come in and then they discover the magic of recording. The Grove is a purpose-built workshop designed to provide you with all the tools you need for making music, including a space to host a lot of creatives at the same time. There’s a bit of magic in that – which is hard to replicate in your bedroom.”
For bookings and further information, head to The Grove Studios.
(Photo credit: Maclay Heriot)