The Premises Studios in Hackney Road, East London have been a fixture on the London music scene for more than twenty six years. Step into the studio cafe and you will find yourself surrounded by framed photographs of many of the high profile artists who have graced the studios over the years. Each photo is inscribed; either with lavish praise or cryptic comment; from Nina Simone, right through to Lana Del Rey, whose recent 'Video Games' video, shot 'Live At The Premises', has notched up a cool ten million views.
Studio owner Viv Broughton explained, "The Premises has an undefinable vibe, a unique atmosphere that makes it the perfect incubator for all kinds of great music. Despite the hundreds of big names who have passed through the doors, it's a resolutely unstarry joint, although being right on the Shoreditch fringe certainly hasn't done us any harm."
The studios were originally built within three Victorian town houses, which were knocked together and extended, resulting in a complex that now boasts fourteen separate studios: a mixture of busy rehearsal rooms, private studios (producer James Ford has had his own room at The Premises for more than ten years), storage cages for approximately thirty five bands, and two very different flagship studios for recording and mixing.
Of the latter, Studio A is a light and airy 1,000sq ft penthouse suite comprised of a control room and a 700sq ft acoustically designed live room with natural light and floating floor, drum and vocal isolation booths and a Yamaha C3 series acoustic grand piano. The control room was designed by Roger D'Arcy of Recording Architecture and centres around an SSL AWS900 24 channel analogue desk with full SSL automation and total recall. It also offers a Pro Tools HD2 TDM System, and monitoring via ATC 20ASLs, ATC50As, Yamaha NS10-Ms and Mackie HR626s. Studio A was the first solar-powered commercial recording studio in Europe and provides a combination of ultra high-end gear in a carbon-neutral environment. Click through to a full equipment list of outboard, mics, amps and tape machines here.
Studio director Nathan Hale commented, "This room is generally reckoned to be one of the finest tracking rooms in London and we have the awards, including the prestigious 2011 Music Week award, to prove it." Studio A clients have included Lily Allen, Klaxons, Spector, Bloc Party, Florence and the Machine, The View, Jocelyn Brown and Pulled Apart By Horses, with the most recent product to emerge being the highly acclaimed new Dexy's album, produced by Peter Schweir.
Studio B, in contrast, is promoted as being one of London's finest mix rooms and offers a neutrally tuned control room designed by Thermionic Culture's Nick Terry and the Beat Farm's Marco Perry. A vast array of vintage and new outboard is clustered around a customised 56 channel Trident console with a 15-channel Cadac side-car. Described by Nathan as "a dedicated mix room to rival any other", it has "exquisitely balanced monitoring by Beatles/British Grove engineer Dave Harries, meaning that what you hear is exactly what you get. As a result, our resident mix engineer, Ashley Workman, has become the 'go to guy' for discerning labels who want a good recording turned into a great finished product."
Studio B's equipment list covers all the bases and includes not only Pro Tools HD3, a 4-way ATC main monitoring system with sub bass, Adam S2.5A or Yamaha NS10-M nearfield monitors but also a tonne of high-end outboard (Lexicon, Urei, AMS, Neve, Drawmer, DBX, Eventide and Thermionic Culture to name a few). For a full list as well as recent projects mixed in the room, click here.
Whilst many studios are struggling, particularly in London where property values have soared, The Premises has quietly adapted to the rapidly changing circumstances of the music industry. Viv added, "It's certainly been a tough year but, in a recession, people look for high quality at low cost and that's what we provide. Against the odds, we have had our best year ever, with a thirty-five percent increase in turnover." To find out more about The Premises or to make a booking enquiry click through to their contact details here.