How to launch your own recording studio
ICMP students Louis Takooree and Adriano Murgia tell us how they've launched their own West Ham music studio...
Launching your own recording studio is a dream for many musicians.
But it's one made into a reality by ICMP students turned business partners Louis Takooree and Adriano Murgia.
Over the course of the last year, the duo (who study our BA in Songwriting and BA in Creative Musicianship courses respectively) have launched their successful Revolution 9 studio, which has become a musical hub for many ICMP artists.
The likes of Daniel Jacklin, ICMP Accelerator Artist Cristina Hart and Sully Gravity are just some of those to have been aurally aided and abetted by the pair. So we made the journey over to West Ham to quiz Louis and Adriano about their venture and how their entrepreneurial know how led to coming to life...
How did you end up launching the studio?
Louis Takooree (LT): Back in April 2018 I found an ad on a Facebook musicians’ group for the space. It was advertised as an empty music space, something which I think any musician would jump at the chance to have.
We were living together at the time and it didn’t take an enormous amount of convincing to persuade us both to go for it and set it up. We wanted the space to create music freely and this fit the bill.
Was it always in the back of your mind to work with artists from the ICMP community?
Adriano Murgia (AM): Yes, it made total sense for us to work with the students we’ve been studying with over the last few years.
LT: During my time at ICMP, especially on the songwriting course, they put a big emphasis on collaboration. So it was natural for us to look to our ICMP peers for support. They were first to come and use the studio.
So how important have the networks you've made at ICMP been in helping you further your careers?
ICMP offers you a safe place where you have the time and luxury of working out who to work with and who you click with. You notice the people you keep coming back to you as you gel with them in the studio."
AM: It’s great to work with people who you know. It means there’s room to make mistakes with them as you already have an understanding of each other. You have a connection.
What’s the secret to an effective collaboration in the studio?
LT: Trust is a big part of it. From everyone involved, being unafraid to make mistakes is good. One of my favourite points in a collaboration is being at that stage where you feel comfortable enough to try an idea out. Even if it's awful, you’re not afraid to take the plunge and do it.
Every time you collaborate with someone you should believe you can create your best work. If you both think that when going in to the studio, then it increases your chances of actually realising this ambition.
If you go into a session unenthusiastic and not believing in it, then the results will show that.
How do you get artists to prepare to come in to the studio?
LT: It varies. Most artists I work with have a fully finished song before heading into the studio. I need to hear a demo beforehand, then I also ask for a playlist of reference tracks. Just so I can get an idea of what they want the production to be and the direction they want to go in.
AM: Letting us know where they want to go with the song is great. If you’re trying to work it out in the studio, then it can be a bit tricky. It’s good when an artist has a demo, they have a load of references and they’re excited about it.
It’s also helpful for each person to know what their role in the session is and the player knows what they’re playing. Otherwise, it can take a lot of time to practise the song during the session while trying to record it.
What’s the biggest challenge with opening the studio?
AM: Just having a good amount of money to support this. I got a job to fund it as staying on top of bills is a challenge. It’s expensive but we’re funding our future. It’s a big investment but it’s all worth it. I would work 48 hours day just so I could have this in my life.
LT: It’s trying to balance everything we have to do in the studio to make it worthwhile with other projects. We have to be in here a lot to make it work. Balancing this with uni work and other things is a challenge.
What have you been your favourite tracks to work on?
AM: Every single track has been great in some way. Whether it’s been just me or with someone else, every single piece of music has something about it that has helped me develop and grow.
LT: I’ve noticed that there comes a point if a session is going well, you get the artist ‘whoop’. It’s at that point that you know things are progressing nicely and you can see someone else getting excited. It’s not about us when producing or recording - we bring our own ideas and creativity but what it comes down to is making the artist happy. It’s ultimately their song.
For a lot of artists, they have the vision in their head but they don’t quite have the skills to get to this point. We take their ideas and make it into something. As producers, we want to bridge any gaps they may have in their creative armoury."
For anyone who may want to embark on a similar venture, what would you advise them?
AM: Don’t be scared. A lot of the time you want to jump into an opportunity and you might have second thoughts. But there’ll never be a time when you’re totally ready. The best thing to do is try and go for it and don’t think too much about it.
LT: Absolutely, when we got this up and running there was a lot of doubt. It’s a big investment. It’s possible that we could get this set up but then, within a couple of months, realise that it was an awful decision. You have to acknowledge the doubts but don’t listen to them too much. When these opportunities arise, be as prepared as you can so you can take the risk.
How have your studies helped you progress your careers?
AM: When you start at ICMP you’re thrown into a group of people you’ve not met before. And you’re immediately tasked with writing songs. Writing is quite a vulnerable thing to do. That has taught me to be open with myself and give what I can give. It’s taught me to be more confident.
LT: Collaborating is one of the most useful things I’ve done and practised at ICMP; collaborating and not worrying about what a person will think. Understanding where I sit within the industry, what my role is and how I can use that to my advantage has been great too.
Being in London you will never run out of people to work with, even if the music you make is niche. There will always be people you want to work with and being surrounded by that is really inspiring.
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