November 10, 2015

Get your party hat on and get set to celebrate the fifth birthday of Red Bull Studios, London. Prepare your ears and eyes for a week-long takeover celebrating all things music and art. We stopped by the studio for a tour with Studio Manager Brendon Harding. Over to you Brendon…

The Studio

There are 1500 knobs on this desk. I looks after all the sessions here and there’s a different person in every day, just like there has been over the last five years.

London was one of the first Red Bull studios. Auckland was the first in 2003 and was a much smaller studio with small acoustic set ups. Then came Cape Town, followed by L.A which was built as part of the L.A office build. And we were the fourth.

We were the first studio that took a hold of the studio as a project and really ran with it. London is a natural hub for music so there are hundreds of artists coming through every year, which makes things easier. The scale of the building isalso different to Auckland and Cape Town. It’s a really big part of the building, where the culture and comms team are always showing people around. Every studio since has been built in our mold, either physically or technically or in the ethos of how we run it.

We’re at 12 studios now with Berlin opening last month in Kreuzberg. It’s super sexy. All of the studios have a slightly different feel. For instance Sao Paulo is in an oldpower station and it’s an incredible space. Cape Town has relocated to a new site and Tokyo’s ceiling has old pallet crates as their sound treatment. They all have their own flavor.

The whole point of the network is that it’s a free space for creative projects and for new ideas to happen. The crux of the bookings is for emerging artists who have never been in the studio before. For instance it played a big role in the start of Jessie Ware’s career in 2011 and the same for Disclosure in 2012. It’s a high spec space and we love what the artists are doing. It’s also free which saves a lot of artists a lot of money.

Within the first month of the studio opening in 2010 we were working on Ghostpoet’s first album in here, from the vocals to digital production. Mark Ronson also used to do his radio show from here. One day he’d have Shy FX or Jamie Reynolds from The Klaxons in here, the next day he’d have Wiley here and Simon Rhodes from Duran Duran. We’d all jump a taxi and go to Yoyos afterwards; we’ve had some good times. It’s grown and grown ever since.

It’s a relatively new model. As soon as labels or management get their head around the fact it’s an amazing resource for them and we are as interested in doing cool projects as they are, without any catches, they end up coming back.

We also have our own Red Bull projects where we go out and find people to collaborate with, be it in fashion or emerging dance producers. We recently did Catwalk Studio, which we’ve done for five years now, where we pair emerging producers with fashion designers creating bespoke music for their collections.

We also do Mixtape, a project that’s about emerging regional producers. This year Radio 1 DJ B Traits curated it. We found nine artists from around the country brought them here and they exclusive mixtapes.

We also have Download this year, a metal and rock project. (The spectrum of music at RedBull Studios is great.) Download is mental and I really have a soft spot for it. The project allows an unsigned band to win recording time and stage time at Download. It’s passion galore.

From a studio perspective we have no rights on any music, no commitments or anything.

The Lounge

The lounge is an event space that we mainly use for art exhibitions, art based projects, parties, showcases and talks. Last night we hosted the Disclosure talk here, which was bloody brilliant. We had a public ballot and about 100 people won tickets. Unfortunately the host dropped out that morning and we were so worried, so I had to step in. But in the end it was all okay – I know the guys well from working with them in the studio and the talk went great.

“Red Bull Studios was a second home to us during the writing of our first record ‘Settle’ and we have so many good times and happy memories from there.” – Disclosure

The Live Room

This room caters for the full band set up. We film our Channel Four programme launch with Red Bull Studios in here. We’ve done all sorts of crazy stuff. We did a session with Wild Beasts where we dressed the room as a jungle…

Residency Room

We also have the Residency Room downstairs where artists can go to write. Hudson Mowhawke was down there writing for a year and Julio Bashmore was there for all of 2014. This year we’ve given it to different labels each month. They can come and go as they please and have access to the building 24 hours. The Red Bull Studios 5th birthday book, is actually called “When Bashmore’s Dog Did a Poo on the Carpet and other moments”. However, we later found out there was a poo mix up. It wasn’t his dog. But it’s in print now, so…

“Adam and George from Bondax got so comfortable they slept the night in Studio B – both wearing Pikachu onesies”

“To me, getting a good recording is essential but more important than that is catching a vibe. You know when you go to the studio there’s always going to be a good spirit and vibe inside.” – Toddla T

“I have so many amazing memories of the studio and from the very beginning of my music career it’s been the most important place for helping me become the artist I want to be.” – Jessie Ware

“The Red Bull Studios stands alone as one of the most forward-thinking creative and cultural collectives on the entire planet. It’s become an integral part of London’s ever growing music community” – B. Traits