Well almost…..vocals were added later in a studio and it was mixed and mastered in a studio. But the underlying sounds were made on the tour bus on an ipod. Quite remarkable. The album is called The Fall. Here’s the lovely Revolving Doors.
Those kind people at the EMI Archive Trust have dug out a photo of the studio as it looked upon opening in 1898.
London's first recording studio
The lady sitting at the studio piano is Amy Williams who was the Recording Department secretary and also accompanied the vocalists. This role is the equivalent of a modern day A&R assistant getting to play on all the label’s records! You can see that the piano is raised so that its sound can be captured in the (one and only one!) recording horn which itself would be adjusted to the height of a singer’s mouth.
I’m not sure who the man is that is standing behind the recording horn. It’s not Gaisberg as he does not have a the trademark Gaisberg moustache. Fred is most likely behind the camera as he was a keen photographer.
You can see that the room is not particularly uplifting. Fred described it thus: “Yes, grimy was the word for it. The smoking room of the old Coburn Hotel was our improvised studio. There stood the recording machine on a high stand: from this projected a long, thin trumpet into which the artist sang. Close by, on a high movable platform, was an upright piano.”
31 Maiden Lane was then being used as a hotel (The Coburn Hotel) which was clearly run down when The Gramophone Company took over its basement to use as a recording studio. Its now being used a pizza restaurant called Fire and Stone.
I found this piece of film on youtube. Its a wonderful period piece shot in Australia that shows how EMI Australia recorded, manufactured and released a record in those days when vinyl ruled the world.
I think that recording was made in EMI’s Studios 301 that is now part of Tom Meisner’s SAE empire. Can anybody confirm that? Please let me know if you think it was a different studio.
The band in the film are The Australian Crawl. This was their first single on EMI called “Beautiful People” and it reached #22 in the Australian charts. they would go on to become the 4th most successful Aussie band on their domestic albums chart of all time by the mid-1980’s when they split up.