One year on from the unveiling of his expanded Decoy Studios, award-winning mix engineer Cenzo Townshend is able to reel off an impressive roll-call of projects ranging from Newton Faulkner to Franz Ferdinand/Sparks supergroup FFS. David Davies hears the latest from the picturesque Suffolk facility
Last summer PSNEurope reported on the significant expansion of acclaimed mix engineer Cenzo Townshend’s own studio facility in the Suffolk coastal town of Woodbridge. Although acknowledging the unpredictability of current market conditions, Townshend was hopeful that the well-equipped rural facility – now sporting a large control room, live room and live booth alongside the existing mix room space – could nonetheless find a niche for those seeking to undertake both mixing and additional recording during the latter stages of a project.
Twelve months later and the roll call of projects to have passed through the doors of Decoy firmly underlines Townshend’s optimism. Fast-rising stars – such as singer/songwriters George Ezra and Rhodes – have been particularly numerous, although established acts have also been making use of the studios’ services. Robbie Williams, Suede, The Maccabees and FFS – the hugely enjoyable collaborative venture between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks – have all been mixed at Decoy during recent months.
“We have been very busy,” confirms Townshend, “to the extent that at one point earlier this year we had something like eight mixes on the charts, which is obviously a great result. I had thought we might be doing more recording – although we have had some people coming through to do drums for a few days, for example – but in reality it works out better financially anyway to do more of our own mix projects than rent out for recording for weeks on end. But this industry tends to be cyclical, so it could well be that we are doing more recording in the future… that’s just the way it has worked out over the last year.”
The last time PSNEurope visited Decoy we detailed an extensive list of equipment that includes SSL 6000G and Audient ASP8024 consoles, Tannoy and Yamaha monitors, Pro Tools systems and huge amounts of vintage gear, including Neve modules, Pultec EQs and Bricasti reverbs, among many others. Since then, Townshend has added more classic outboard, as well as additional instruments to the live room (pictured).
He is also full of praise for a recently acquired Audient iD22 AD/DA interface and monitoring system, and the iZ Technology RADAR digital recorder. “It’s a fantastic 24-in, 24-out box running Pro Tools and featuring an internal clock and a very fast processor,” he says of the RADAR. “We’ve been using that a lot and plenty of people have been coming in for listening tests. It always sounds great through the Audient.”
For Townshend, the facility’s popularity has also meant a curbing of the nomadic lifestyle that tends to be inherent in the life of the successful mix engineer. “I’ve pretty much been here every day of the last year,” he comments. “I don’t mind travelling, but everyone seems happy to work here, which is great.”