Studio Overview: Keynote Studios

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Studio Overview: Keynote Studios

Words by Benjamin Eizenberg

Exploring the best out west.

Tucked away in the multicultural suburb of Auburn in Sydney’s inner west, a small recording and rehearsal studio has been plugging away, acting as a beacon for the music industry for those trapped in the suburban sprawl. For over 20 years, Keynote Studios has welcomed rock n roll devotees through its doors, giving each band the opportunity to pursue a full-blown studio experience.

Newcomers to the mad world of music mixing, sound engineering and all things that womp would do well to step into the Keynote space, either to record their first LP or perhaps just to jam out in one of their many rehearsal rooms. No matter your setup, groove, or consternation; whether you’re a session maestro or a recording debutante; the experienced heads at Keynote Studios can service your jam-o-rific needs.

Gaining access to high-end studio equipment or discovering the best recording or rehearsal methods can often be all too much for younger budding musicians. Keynote’s resident recording specialist Shaggy Judge understands the stress that comes with recording for many bands, but hearing it from him, things in the box couldn’t be much simpler.

“If anything I like to make the band members feel totally comfortable,” Shaggy says. “I try to avoid that whole stress that comes as soon as you pull the mics out… I try to break that barrier fairly quickly so that everyone is relaxed and more focused on the song rather than the environment. Its just something that’s really important.”

Originally from Perth, Shaggy has over 30 years’ experience working in the studio. He worked at Planet Studios in Perth, which sadly burned down in 2004 and after that in Putney, South Australia before coming to Sydney’s Keynote Studios around ten years ago.

Being present in the industry for so long has given Shaggy the perfect perspective towards keeping things simple in the studio; comfort inflects everything about Keynote Studios.

“I have little ways of trying to extract the best performance out of the band,” he confides. “We’ve got an area next to the control room where there’s drinks and people can have a smoke, so they don’t have to walk down the stairs or walk outside. That makes it easier for them when they have a break; they’re still involved in the situation. It really helps!”

This relaxed attitude also bleeds into the control room, where Shaggy offers a fully fleshed studio setup fitted to each user’s specific requirements. In the box with Shaggy is a 40 channel analogue desk with pristine preamps, decked out with PreSonus Studio One 4.1 and a Midas interface sound system.

And the process is easy: get everyone into the room and hit it.

“A lot of the time the band is really good,” Shaggy finds. “I had a band in here recently doing some fun things and they just nailed it. They were great! They did about seven songs in three hours and they were happy. Bang! Done! But some bands take a little bit more work than that.”

The setup can be different for each session. Shaggy can generally fit a whole band, up to seven people plus gear in the recording studio at once, and this can often work out great.

“Some people want a really rough live raw sound. Some people want a [more] produced sound… especially rock and pop punk groups want the more raw sound, Led Zeppelin-y, and I can do that, that’s easy.”

The Keynote Studio backline is available with a specialised drum kit ready to rock.

“Basically, they just need to go through with me what it is they’re looking for, and then I’ll set up accordingly to do the best I can to get what they are looking for,” he says.

Keynote Studios also operates as a rehearsal and backline hire provider, as managed by owner John Holland.

Keynote’s backline has had a busy time of late, being lent out for cover bands The Killer Queen Experience and The Elton John Experience during their tours. Previously, jazz musician James Morrison, former Australian Crawl front man James Reyne, and ARIA Hall of Famers Dragon have all used the Keynote backline.

As Shaggy puts it, “Everything just works”.

Head to Keynote Studios to book your spot with Shaggy today.