Since its humble origins in the garage of Sing Sing South expat Tim O’Halloran, The Alamo has evolved into a fully equipped professional studio setup in the upstairs precinct of World Of Music, which is also owned by O’Halloran in Brighton East just 20 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD.
“Tim had a home studio he’d set up in his garage, and had a heap of gear lying around,” says Daniel Moss, booking manager at The Alamo. “When he took over the store two and a half years ago there was an empty office space upstairs, which he decided to move his studio into.”
While The Alamo is chock full of boutique and vintage pieces of musical equipment, one of its defining features is its monstrous 24 channel Neve V1 Series 24 recording console, with the acquisition of the powerful analogue board proving to be the catalyst for current Alamo studio engineers Dan Caswell and Tyson Fish joining the team two years ago.
“Cas [Dan Caswell] and Tyson acquired the old Neve console from BJB in Sydney which had just shut down – they had a console with no studio and we had a studio with no engineers, so it all came together pretty quickly,” sayd Moss. “I think the Neve arrived the day after they came on board.”
Offering musicians a tailored mix of analogue and digital technologies, The Alamo currently hosts an insane amount of gear that Moss attributes to their mutual passion for music and the never ending cycle of gear acquisition syndrome. “It’s really just an accumulation of all four of us putting all our gear in together,” he says. “Tim’s a drummer, so we’ve got like ten snares, an old Ludwig kind of Beatles kit – there’s heaps of drum gear around. We’ve also got a vintage ‘60s Mustang, a Rickenbacker 330, and a short-scale Danelectro Shorthorn bass which sounds really cool. Our guitar pedal collection also seems to be growing by the day; we literally had two new pedals arrive this morning.”
While The Alamo currently relies on Pro Tools for practicality and an intuitive recording experience, there’s still a heap of outboard recording gear at their disposal, with Moss name-checking two API Preamps, a Thermionic Culture Vulture Tube Distortion, two Empirical Labs EL8X Distressors, a Roland RE-201 Space Echo, and a G-Series Bus Compressor as being highlights of the recording setup, stressing The Alamo’s mission for studio authenticity. “Plugins are great, but having the real thing makes all the difference,” says Moss.
“One thing we’re really conscious about is trying to make a recording studio that’s affordable for independent artists. It’s easy enough to do it yourself, but there’s an experience with being in a studio that’s a really important part of it as well. You can have all the gear in the world, but getting into the room with the right people who can understand the sound you’re going for and empathise with your situation is the most important thing, really.”
The Alamo is located at 809 Nepean Highway, Victoria. For more information head to thealamo.com.au.