He demonstrates the wonder of the space echo (and recommends the sparing use thereof) and shows us the collection of vintage gear on the shelves: the CompuRythm CR78 – an early drum machine used on many Roxy Music albums, the Amplifier Psychedelic Machine (the best bname for a piece of kit ever), the VCS3 synth – used by Brian Eno on the first two Roxy albums, and also on the original Doctor Who theme. The studio has an extensive collection of synths including a Juno-60, Prophet 5, Hohner Clavinet and, of course, what no studio should be without –a keytar (or two). Also some strange, rare, Japanese electronic instruments, made by Suzuki, the Yamaha CP80 electronic piano – used on most Roxy and many of Bryan Ferry’s solo albums. He finds this collection inspires creativity because musicians are excited by new sounds.
He reveals the methods he uses to record vocals, piano and various other instruments – The Jazz Age was recorded entirely live with 9 musicians in the room, with a nifty tip for getting extra clarity on a vintage sounding recording, without actually destroying the vintage sound.
The control room is intriguing, with a Trident analogue desk, TLA pre-amp for the piano, LA2A for vocals and a Neve Bus Compressor for the mix, plus a Focusright Producer Pack, and Protools – but he still records to tape as well.
One real gem is the Master Room Plate reverb – yes, a genuine physical plate reverb! How wonderful it sounds – and was especially useful for the Jazz Age album, to have a genuine vintage reverb.
Simon Willey Discography