Nestled in the heart of Wembley and literally a stones throw away from the stadium sits The Park Studios. The studios were first set up in 2009 by a small record label with one recording studio a production room and a large green screen film studio. In 2011 Producer Tobin Jones joined the studio team and eventually took over the company in 2016.
Under Jones’ ownership the studios have grown from being a small production studio to two recording studios, three production studios and a rehearsal space. The Park Studios is now a real hub for musicians and creative’s. The priority for Jones is to ensure people feel comfortable enough to express their creativity at The Park. “Artists have to feel relaxed and inspired to produce the best recordings. I think that’s a big part of the whole ethos of this studio – It’s somewhere people will want to hang out,” said Jones.“We work within many genres of music” added Jones. “We tend to work with artists who are pushing boundaries regardless of genre. We work with psycadelic and experimental rock bands, experimental electronic artists, folk and hip-hop artists. Artists include Cold Specks, Powell, Bo Ningen, Swedish Death Candy, Odina, The Pearl Harts, Wolfgang Tillmans, Thurston Moore, Merzbow and Cecilia Ebba”. It’s nice to have the flexibility especially when working with artists who are keen to do something slightly different to the norm,” Jones explains. “It’s always quite exciting when you do something like that with an artist because it gets everyone quite invigorated and the creative juices flowing.” “A recent stand out project was the Powell and Wolfgang Tillmans record for XL, it was incredible to be involved with and felt like a real collaboration of two of the music unique artists around” said Jones.
The team at The Park includes Jones and in house engineer Lucas Mendes. Originally from Dorset, Jones began his audio career with a local PA company and ended up working with live crews on festivals in the West Country. After moving to London twelve years ago, Jones completed his degree in audio engineering and subsequently worked at Metropolis. Working at the legendary Metropolis studios he gained valuable experience before becoming an assistant to producer Jim Anderson at Sub Bubble studios where he worked with artists such as Cold Specks and The Twilight Sad. He later became head engineer re-launching Sub Bubble as The Park Studios in 2011 and took over as owner in 2016.
Lucas Mendes has been a resident engineer/producer at The Park Studios for nearly three years. Mendes has worked with a wide range of artists including Cecilia Ebba, Swedish Death Candy and The Pearl Harts and has produced songs spanning many different genres including Electronica/trip-hop, Rock, Pop, Folk, Acoustic and Jazz. Medes has been producing a new record for Plastic Sun and Cecilia Ebba’s debut EP from last year which are both sounding incredible.
In today’s competitive market it’s important to manage and maintain the success of a studio. “I think by playing to our strengths and having a relaxed and creative environment where artists can feel they can create innovative and interesting music is vital” added Jones. “We also offer live performance video recording sessions as these days artists need more and more additional content for social media and certainly having spaces hired on a long term basis has helped us cover the everyday overheads of the studio”.
The Park maintains strong ties with the local community through its work with artists from the area and by being part of the local creative independent business community. This has led to the studio becoming known as one of the best and friendliest studios in Wembley.
In the main control room Jones uses a Solid State Logic AWS 900+ SE desk, which he says integrates very well with his Pro Tools HD system. For monitoring, there are Dynaudio M3s and Yamaha NS10Ms with a Bryston 3B amp, as well as Dynaudio BM6’s for nearfields. Jones also has a whole host of preamps in his arsenal, including Neve 1073s, API’s and a number of vintage Telefunken pres. Meanwhile, some familiar recording options are available, including Neumann U87s, Coles 4038s, Royer R121s, AKG’s C414B XLS, Sennheiser MD421s, Geffell UM57 and a recently acquired Advanced Audio CM251 valve mic which Jones describes as a beautiful microphone with a warm, lush sound.
“The SSL AWS desk integrates seamlessly with our system, it makes the workflow incredibly fast when you’re going between different production, mixing and recording setups, sometimes over the course of a single day” said Jones. “ Some of the vintage amps we have at the studio such as our 1967 Ampeg B15 Portflex and 1955 Silvertone Guitar amp a have beautifully warm vintage sound and I find them invaluable when mixing as I tend to re-amp a lot when I’m sent stems produced on a computer”.
To ensure the studio remains up to date it recently had a tech upgrade of its Protools HD5 rig to a Protools Ultimate 2018 system with 40 IP 48 OP on Avid IO converters and UAD plugin system. It also installed a Themionic Culture, Culture Vulture distortion rack unit and has recently taken delivery of an Advanced Audio CM251 valve mic.
A more unusual piece of kit that can be found in The Park’s main studio is an Analogue Systems RS8500 modular synthesizer. According to Jones, only four of these configurations have ever been made, and this particular unit is similar to the one that was originally built for Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.
Building on already strong foundations, Jones continues to be engaged with the music community as an active member of the creative scene. He believes that it is vital for the survival of music studios for people to have somewhere to go to be creative rather than just sitting at home mixing. Jones also intends to keep expanding The Park as part of a creative community and expand its filming and live music services.