Grammy Award-winning producer/mixer Andrew Scheps has relocated his studio facilities to Monnow Valley Studio in South Wales, UK, writes Tim Frost.
He has brought over his vintage Flying Faders 64-channel MkII Neve 8068 as the centre-piece of a new install.
The Monnow Valley studio opened in 1975 originally as the Rockfield rehearsal studio and went independent in the 1980s. It is now one of the UK’s oldest residential studios. Since the‘80s it has played host to artists including Black Sabbath, Oasis, Robert Plant, Simple Minds and Biffy Clyro.
Scheps first worked there in 2007, a year after owner Jo Riou bought the studio. He has returned on numerous occasions in the interim years and felt that it should be the new home for his studio.
“I fell in love with the rooms at Monnow Valley and immediately knew the Neve would sound amazing there,” he says.“When my move to the UK became concrete, I called Jo and we struck the deal. It’s great to finally see it sitting next to one of my favourite live rooms.”
With his move to the UK, Scheps, who now mainly mixes in the box, has closed his Punkerpad West studio in LA and moved the gear to Wales for the install.
Scheps will be booking the room to produce and record (if it’s available, says Riou), now that the studio is 100% open for business. “I suppose in a way I’m hoping the room will be too busy for me to get into…” he comments.
Along with the console, Scheps has brought the results of 20 years of rescuing gear from closing studios such as Sound City, Oceanway Recording and Signet Soundelux (plus a wealth of experience from working with Metallica, the Chili Peppers, Iggy Pop, Limp Bizkit… and Adele!)
The install was overseen by studio co-manager Tom Manning alongside ex-Olympic Studios tech, Richard Griffiths and engineers Matt Glasbey, Curtis Elvidge, Liam Ross and Beau Blaise. Manning and Scheps designed the new layout, within the room that previously held an SSL G series. There is a new solid oak floor in the control room complementing the unique organic design of the studio.
Riou sees the Scheps development as a further affirmation of their continuing business as a residential studio.
“As Andrew says, this is really a very big deal. There are not a lot of people who would shift £750,000’s worth of gear half way around the world and install it into a residential studio,” she told PSNEurope.
“Whilst many studios are having to diversify or close completely, we have solely focused on music. We haven’t got distracted by tourism, which others have. We have this combination of the incredible live room and drum room that attracts customers and we have been able to expand into a place which now surpasses all our expectations.”
The selection of vintage gear added to the Monnow facility includes Pultec and Lang EQs, Urei and RCA limiters, as well as valve mic classics from Neumann and AKG. Additional equipment includes a Neve BCM-10 with 10 1073 modules, a pair of RCA Ku3s and a wide selection of boutique microphones, compressors and EQs. The new installation also includes a 64 I/O Pro Tools HDX2.
“Monnow Valley is heritage in the fact that this is one of the oldest residential studios in the country,”comments Riou.“We have the heritage equipment but we also have the brand new Pro Tools – we are all ‘digitalled up’.”
The Monnow’s residential accommodation has also been upgraded, “whilst retaining its country house appeal,” says studio co-manager, Megan Griffiths.“Our clients love the home away from home vibe at Monnow Valley. We have seven lovely bedrooms, a spacious lounge and dining room, a gym plus three acres of gardens and the beautiful River Monnow on our doorstep.”
Apart from the studio itself, the privacy that Monnow offers is another factor for its continuing success.
“People love coming here. It’s isolated but still only a couple of miles from the town and with one studio people have the exclusivity,” Riou comments. “And, of course, our price: we are really affordable and we offer incredible value for money. Andrew has brought something very special to this small corner of Wales and our vision is for it to continue for years to come.”
Top pic: The main studio at Mannow Valley. Middle pic: Andrew Scheps. Second middle pic: The live room. Bottom pic: Outside Mannow Valley Studio