Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement in the music industry?
My name is Claudio, and I am a music producer, pianist, and digital entrepreneur.
I run a website called doctormix.com through which I offer online mixing, mastering and music production services. I often hire collaborators to take part in the process, and invite them to my studio to work alongside me. I’m also a YouTuber, with a popular channel also known as Doctor Mix featuring mixing and production techniques, synthesizers and generally all things to do with working in a recording studio!
Why was it so important for you to build a brand new recording studio?
It’s important for me to have my own studio, so that there’s a dedicated space for myself and my teammates to work in. Making music requires a specialist space, and whilst you can go and hire a studio, it’s not quite the same as having one that has been designed and shaped to your own requirements.
Why are acoustics so important in music?
There are many reasons why acoustics are important in music – first and foremost, you need a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted by sirens from the street or other unwanted sounds! It’s equally important that you can make music in such a way that you won’t disturb others, or you might find yourself receiving quite a few complaints.
At the end of the day, music is all about acoustics – and the best way to create music is to have a space that is calibrated to your needs.
How hard was it to find suitable properties in London?
Finding a suitable property in London is quite hard, predominantly because it is an expensive area. London is a dynamic and desirable market, which means that finding a property which fits the size and location that you need can be challenging.
Did you speak to your neighbours about the building becoming a music studio? What was their reaction?
When I bought the studio, the neighbours were slightly concerned. They were worried that lots of musicians would show up and play rock music into the early hours of the morning! Of course, that’s not the type of studio that I run. Firstly, it’s not open to the public, and secondly, it’s not so much a studio for tracking live performances – it’s geared towards music and video production.
Convincing the neighbours that it wouldn’t be a noisy building was tricky, and naturally there was a little push-back, but we got there in the end.
When you realised that the existing building didn’t have the right acoustics for your requirements, what was your first thought?
Virtually no building comes prepared for music treatment, so it wasn’t a big surprise! Unless you buy an existing studio, you’re faced with the challenge of doing the work to prepare the space yourself. Although I know a fair amount about acoustics and how it works, my first thought was that I needed to call in the professionals.
I knew that addressing the acoustic considerations right away would set me up for the future – I didn’t want to be worrying about having problems with the neighbours, or even problems with the music itself. To summarise, ‘professionals’ was definitely my first thought!
What’s the impact of having an unwanted echo in the music?
When you’re recording music, especially acoustic music with guitars, violins and similar instruments, the sound is going to bounce around the room – especially if you are surrounded by hard surfaces. That reverb will end up in your recording, and your music will have echoes baked in which are very hard to remove. Even if you’re planning to add reverb later on, it’s always going to sound nicer if you can start with a ‘dry’ sound without any echoing.
Another challenge with reverb is that it can make certain frequencies more prominent than others within the mix. That’s a problem, because when you’re mixing you always want the frequency response to be ‘flat’ so that the music you’re hearing is exactly what you recorded and not the result of reverberation. Having quality sound treatment is absolutely vital for recording music.
How did ROCKWOOL help you to achieve your dream recording studio environment?
If you’ve been in the music industry for some time, or you’ve been involved in building music studios, you know that ROCKWOOL is the go-to insulation material. Over the years, ROCKWOOL has developed the best quality sound insulation from natural materials, and it’s also fire resistant. It just works! I should know, as almost all of this studio is fitted with ROCKWOOL insulation – that’s in the floor, walls and ceiling.
We’ve seen photos of you getting hands-on with the installation of the product. How easy was it to work with?
One of the benefits of ROCKWOOL insulation is that it’s very easy to install. It comes in slabs that are the right size to handle, and they’re ready to be fitted – whether into the wall, the floor, or wherever you are using them. You don’t need to worry about any additional fixings – in fact, we installed over 100 square metres of ROCKWOOL insulation in this studio, and we got the bulk of it done in one afternoon.
When the world returns to ‘normal’, what is your ambition for the music studio?
When the world goes back to normal, I want to collaborate with other musicians more than ever before. I want to be able to bring them into the studio – whilst working remotely is great, there’s something about playing and producing together that you can’t recapture in that way. There’s a certain magic when you’re playing and responding to one another in real time that you can’t quite manage if you’re not together. Now that I have the pleasure of working in a fully insulated studio, I can’t wait to invite other musicians back in.
What advice would you share with anyone who has the ambition to build their own music studio?
I would recommend always seeking advice from professionals. Although you can get some information online, you can’t match the knowledge of a true expert. It might take a little bit longer, but you don’t want to make a mistake or choose the wrong material when that could have been avoided by seeking professional guidance. If you do make a mistake, you could end up paying a lot of money to fix it in the future – so it’s best to get it right from day one.