Recently equipped with an Audient ASP8024-HE console, Muddy Road Studios opened its doors to the public in February this year, giving fifty local visitors a tour of the new studio, with one lucky winner given their own Audient audio interface iD4 in a prize draw.
Owner James Willment has a clear vision for his new facility – seemingly as a place of opportunity – which he describes as a ‘residential recording studio and live venue’, comprising two studios, a live room, stage, a separate large function room, a bar and games area, as well as residential accommodation.
“I love to help artists build their confidence and give their best – and to offer a full service from recording and production right through to creating a video and a website. It’s not easy to be a free-spirited, creative musician and run the rest of the show when getting your music out there.”
Willment continued: “In this day and age, everyone has a studio in their pocket in the form of their smartphone. Even commercial digital studios are realising that something is missing; they are having to put mixes through a summing amplifier and as many valve toys or simulations as they can get, to warm things up and get some ‘distorted harmonics and ‘natural dirt’ back into their pure digital signal. This [Audient ASP8024-HE] desk cuts the mustard on the way into ProTools and on the way out for mixdown.
“I'm delighted with my console. I have more than enough inputs to record a live session and extras for any overdubs. Plus, all of my analogue outboard gear can be routed anywhere via the patchbay.”
Willment explained his latest plan to help musicians out financially, with the MUDDY ROAD REVUE: “Bands/artists can host events at Muddy Road by inviting fans, friends and family to their gig whilst being recorded and videoed. Ticket prices could include food and drink – and would ultimately cover the band/artists’ studio costs. It’s an innovative way for artists to subsidise the costs of producing a showcase reel that they can use for promotional purposes.”
Whilst developing his ‘entertainment crowdfunder’ idea, he’s been targeting city-based musicians looking for a peaceful, creative space to get away from it all, as Muddy Road Studios is located in converted farm buildings in the beautiful Somerset countryside. He has also been forging links with Bridgwater & Taunton College, more locally. “I have been collaborating with the College to build up some work experience hours for students, by filming local bands on stage at Muddy Road Studios in and around the farm.
“Though the College has its own excellent facilities, there’s nothing like getting off campus and out into real life situations. There were 16 College students working here on the Open Day: artists, sound engineers, videographers and video production.” He is expecting to have a few of these work experience days throughout the year with up to 30 students at a time.