A celebration of Strawberry Recording Studios, Stockport,
1967 - 1993.
|Godley and Creme
From Sound International (October 1978)
On recording their 1978 album 'L' at Surrey Sound Studios:
Lol: We had discussions and realised we'd managed to get great records out of Strawberry North when it was just 4 and 8 track. We achieved marvellous sounds on some early 10cc records without 24 track or Helios boards. You don't have to have Westlake to get a fabulous sound. Nigel Gray had built Surrey Sound Studio up in exactly the same way as Strawberry North did, using a funky desk and second-hand tape machines, all cheap stuff.
Kev: We were spoilt working in what Strawberry had become, like the Manor. Not to knock them. they're superb studios but you begin to rely on them. You know there are certain pieces of equipment there that you can plug in to get certain sounds and I think that limits your ingenuity.
From Melody Maker (June 30th 1973, pp.34-5)
On working in Strawberry with 10cc;
"I dig them, they dig me. I find them the most remarkable musicians I've ever worked with, and they are playing again with me on my new album The Tra-La Days Are Over. I think they're the next Beatles. I've just heard their forthcoming album. I was totally knocked out. They, I feel, have achieved what David Bowie and Lou Reed have tried to achieve. Futuristic. Fresh things. New things. Electronic noise, good guitar work, lyrics that are not predictable. Yes, futuristic."
Melvin Pritchard (Barclay James Harvest)
From Melody Maker (May 27th 1972, p.41)
"I think we are able to exist without being part of it, most of the time we're happier away from London. Anyway, what's wrong with Stockport? There's problems living out of London but I think I know what we want to do. We've found this studio in Stockport. The main thing is you can go to a studio in Memphis and it's got to be different from LA and New York. Same thing in Stockport - it's a lot easier and relaxing to record - and at the same time I think it is relevant to say we don't have to come to London to be a success."
C. P. Lee
From Shake Rattle and Rain: Popular Music Making in Manchester 1950-95 (2002 Hardinge Simpole)
"The interior of the control room had been accoustically designed by audio engineers from Westlake. When I recorded there in 1970 I was more than suitably impressed with the walls. Whereas every other studio I had been in, including Phillip's state-of-the-art Marble Arch studio, and EMI's Abbey Road studio, had been content to use cork tiles in their control rooms, these were layered in a mixture of Californian pine and a particular kind of stone that had been quarried off a cliff face in Colorado. Apparently, only this stone would absorb sound in the specific way that the audio engineers deemed accoustically correct."
From 24 Hour Party People: What the Sleeve Notes Never Tell You (2002 Channel 4 Books)
"Why had those early Factory releases had that magical Hannett sound? The young genius had been able to plug in his digital thingy into the outboard racks of a major world-class thirty-six track studio that was in Stockport - Stockport ladies and gentleman, Stockport, because 10cc were a Manchester band and they had taken the proceeds of the delicious I'm Not In Love and had reinvested in their home. Reinvested. Built a fuck-off studio. Respect. (Sorry about the 'Don't Like Cricket' song, but otherwise, massive respect.)" Page 164
"Martin (Hannett) is sitting at the mixing desk, staring straight ahead. Pupils ultimately contracted. What drugs? Lotsa drugs. The mix ends. Martin, startled, jumps up from the producer's chair.
'What's that? What's that gold shiny thing? It's not a halo is it? I'm not dead. Am I dead?'
'No Martin' says Ian. 'It's a gold disc. 10cc, I'm Not in Love.'
'I'm not in 10cc am I?'
'No Martin, you're in Stockport.'
It was a great mix." Page 74
"'Stop, stop that horrible, horrible drumming.'
Martin sits in the centre of his world. The chair at the centre of the great Strawberry studio mixing desk. Thirty-six tracks, the dog's bollocks. If there is a power chair in life it is the producer's seat when art is happening behind the thick glass screen. The musicians stand and sprawl and play. The Man is at the controls." Page 69
"And things got weirder that second night, with Steve Morris back in the drum booth. Martin was fussing with a bunch of DI wires. He was busy installing a little black box on the side of the mixing desk.
'What's that gizmo, Martin?' asked Hooky.
'It's called Digital. It's heaven-sent.'
Yes, the two techies from the other side of the Moors had done their magic; this was it, the first binary echo machine in the known world. A Digital Delay.
And the engineer was busy in the loo. A small cubicle toilet in the Strawberry basement had been commandeered. An Aurafone speaker set up on the lavatory seat, and a stand mike about 18 inches away pointing at said Aurafone. Upstairs the feed from the drum booth was rooted to the toilet and then the input from the mike was put back through the cool new piece of AMS outboard. Martin was removing all the nuances of sound that a real room could create in the human ear, and then adding the reverb and delay of his own imaginary room, his special world of sound that would change the ways drums sound for ever.
Boom. Boom. Steal me." Pages 70-1