WSDG Plus - February 2015 - Studios for Superstars


In 1969 Jimi Hendrix hired Architect/Acoustician John Storyk - right out of Princeton - to design New York’s Electric Lady Studios. ELS remains an enduring font of Gold & Platinum. Credits run the gamut from The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder to… 45+ years on --- Arcade Fire, Beck, Daft Punk, and U2. And, just as ELS remains a Mecca to mega-artists, John, his wife and co-founder Beth Walters and the WSDG team continue to remain busy creating studios for today’s recording luminaries.

Electric Lady Studios, NY, USA - Live Room
Electric Lady Studios, NY, USA - Control Room

Acoustics To Inspire Creativity

Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Goo Goo Dolls, Producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Cold Play, Lorde, McCartney), Platinum artist Adam Young, Argentine legend Fito Páez, and Brazilian top singer Ivete Sangalo all have custom WSDG studios. And, while not owned by a superstar, Jungle City, NY’s ultimate destination studio, leaped from the pages of Vanity Fair to attract such Platinum icons as Beyonce, Kanye West, FUN and Usher. What does it take to design a studio for these idiosyncratic celebrities? “Every major artist I’ve worked with has an absolute passion for perfection,” Storyk says, “as do emerging new artists. A personal studio is the ultimate instrument for their creativity.” WSDG’s (recent) greatest design hits include:

Roc The Mic - Jay Z
New York, USA

A 4500 sq. foot, full-floor complex in the heart of NY’s “hip-hopping” West Side, Jay-Z & Juan Perez’s Roc the Mic Studio features spacious twin control rooms and, a high-end Pro Tools production suite. Each room is geared to set benchmarks in power and accuracy thanks to custom WSDG/Augspurger monitoring systems. A study in luxury and comfort, RTM is centered on a massive communal lounge, and flanked by private client areas ensconced in dark wood for an environment that reflects Jay-Z’s penchant for elegance. RTM is the ultimate environment for extraordinary creative talent.

Roc The Mic - Jay Z

The Church Studios – Paul Epworth
London, UK

Original plans called for a substantial upgrade to the monitoring system, and a brand new writing room. However, the demolition revealed that isolation between the rooms of this 200-year-old church was nonexistent. Previous owners, recording stars Dave Stewart (1984), and David Gray (2004), used the studios primarily for personal projects. Sound leakage between rooms had never been an issue. Though blessed with pristine acoustics thanks to its liturgical origins, the studio required a total renovation to allow new owner, Paul Epworth (2014), to host multiple client sessions. From a custom LED mood lighting system that provides an infinite creativity enhancing color palate, to a proprietary monitor/speaker configuration The Church Studios is incomparable.

The Church Studios - London, UK, Control room
The Church Studios, London, UK

Owl City Studios – Adam Young
                        Minnesota, USA                             

Progressing rapidly from nascent electronic music experiments in his parents’ basement, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Adam Young evolved from initial iTunes sales to a major record deal and Fireflies, a six-time platinum single, from his Ocean Eyes debut album. To support his creativity Young recently moved to a handsome log cabin deep in the Minnesota woods, where WSDG has built his dream studio. Owl City’s spacious (675 sq. ft.) control room was constructed with natural wood to compliment the cabins’ interior and exterior setting. Outfitted with a custom rolling producer’s desk, four mobile equipment racks to facilitate room reconfiguration, and an innovative, poly-cylindrical ceiling cloud to fine-tune the mixing position, is geared for widely diverse sessions. 

Owl City - Adam Young
Owl City - Adam Young

Circo Beat Studios - Fito Páez 
Buenos Aires, Argentina 

One of Argentina’s most enduring superstars, Fito Páez, named his personal recording studio after one of his most successful albums. The fiery red and softer, rose-colored control room is distinguished by its concave surfaces. Páez considers color an important creative influence, and also selected the yellow hues used in Circo Beat’s live room. Shades of yellow provide a particularly relaxed and comfortable environment for his recording. They are contrasted by the control room’s exciting reds, and energize the mixing process.  The live room also employs variable acoustics to accommodate Fito’s musical styles which range from rock ‘n’ roll to classical.

Circo Beat Studios - Fito Paez

GCR Studios - Goo Goo Dolls 
Buffalo, USA 

In 1984, WSDG designed TrackMasters, in Buffalo. The studio built a solid rep as one of upstate NY’s best-sounding and most artist-friendly facilities. In 1986 three studio engineers, John Rzeznik, George Tutuska and Robby Takac formed Goo Goo Dolls, and went on to sell “lots” of records. In 2009, the group bought the studio, renamed it ‘The Inner Machine’ and  brought WSDG back for a redesign and upgrade. The studio is housed in the 1100 sq. ft. 2nd floor of a 150+ year-old former Convent. It’s an interesting building, with a distinctive sound. WSDG stripped away the original finishes and treatments and replaced them with a completely new acoustic package with extensive perforated wood surface treatments. Additionally, a new 50 sq. ft. vocal booth was created adjacent to the control room. Artists really take advantage of booths when they get the chance. Everyone was extremely happy with the new look and feel.

GCR Studios - Goo Goo Dolls

Jota Quest Studios 
Belo Horizonte, Brazil 

One of Brazil’s most successful pop rock bands, Jota Quest has topped the Brazilian charts for over 20 years and, maintains a huge following throughout South America. 
Having outgrown the small local studio they had previously used, they reached out to WSDG to create a cool, spacious, perfectly tuned private studio ideally suited to their musical style and personal aesthetics.  The 2150 sq. ft. facility features a 753 sq. ft. live room, a 322 sq. ft. Control Room with a handsome parabolic-shaped ceiling cloud, and a smaller 140 sq. ft. stereo CR with a spacious iso Booth.  An outdoor lounge features an area for between-session meal breaks and project completion celebrations.

Jota Quest Studios

Jungle City Studios
                             New York, USA                             

The epitome of hip elegance, the $6 million+ Jungle City re-calibrated the benchmark for destination studio design. Crowning a new luxury building on NY’s High Line, Jungle morphed 4800 sq. ft. of raw space into a showplace duplex with soaring ceilings, a 370 sq. ft. terrace, and a huge rooftop deck. To maximize the studios’ expansive views, the custom WSDG/Augspurger Dual 15 Vertical main speakers were ‘floated’ in an outsized glass speaker baffle, to create a transparent “soundproof wall” between the live and control rooms.  This innovative design provides artists and engineers with full visual connectivity plus, eye candy views of The Empire State Building and the Hudson River.  

Jungle City Studios
Jungle City Studios


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