Inside Lark Recordings
MANY people assume, when thinking about new music, that the best...
and most worthy artists are exclusive to the city. We forget how many great artists and studios are available locally - supporting some wonderful music and stars of the future. One such studio is Lark Recordings. Based in Surrey: I was afforded the opportunity to visit them and gain an insight into the work they do - meeting the people that produce the music and support the artists (that record there). I was fortunate to chat to Producer/Owner Andy and Marketing Assistant Elena - and the fantastic Jacqui Brown.
ABOUT LARK RECORDINGS
“Lark is a digital content company that produces audio and video products for global distribution via all major digital music and video outlets including iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and YouTube.
We own a portfolio of digital labels that specialise in curating albums and playlists by combining new recordings with strong catalogue material across Pop, Rock, Classical, Jazz and New Age genres. We also operate Lark Studios, a high quality audio and video recording facility in Surrey.
Founded in 2007, our team has over thirty years experience in the recording, production, music and entertainment business. Our team are experienced in all aspects of sound engineering and music production from recording intimate acoustic sets with bands such as The Stereophonics, Nick Heyward, Everything But The Girl, The Manic Street Preachers and Squeeze to classical recordings and staging and recording ‘Party in the Park’ over a period of many years.
We feel very lucky to have an experienced team of engineers and producers who have worked with renowned artists across a wide spectrum of musical tastes but are equally passionate about working with the fantastic array of local talented community and youth groups”.
Landa at Lark
A HISTORY AND LOOK INSIDE LARK RECORDINGS
I got the opportunity to chat to studio Producer/Owner Andy about how Lark Recordings got started. He explained how the studio has been running for eight years; three years in its current location in Artington.
Helping to builds careers up; Lark Recordings help artists “gain a following” as Andy explained; a way for talent young stars to gain a foothold and get valuable experience. With regards the range of recordings/genres that have been laid down in the studio - everything from Classical recordings to Pop has been recorded at Lark.
Andy explained how much great local talent there is throughout Guildford and Surrey - Lark Recordings is a way of promoting them and ensuring they have recording facilities and expertise available at their disposal. It is not just a case of artists coming into the studio, recording their music and going off into the world. The guys at Lark Recordings help musicians get their songs just right, but it doesn’t stop there. It is expensive to rent in Guilford, as Andy explained, which can put artists and people off - the reality of living and performing can be a daunting balancing act. Lark Recordings is an affordable and supportive space: Andy, Jacqui and Elena (who I will introduce later).
“Our studio is based around a 24 channel analogue Allen and Heath (GS-R24M) desk with a selection of analogue outboard equipment including:
Microphones: Nuemann U87, SE Z5600 Valve, ElectroVoice RE20, Avantone CV-12, SM57s, SM58s, Sontronics Halo, Shure Beta 52, SE GM10, Shure PG48s, matched pair Oktava MK012, SE X1.
Pre-amps: Trident Series 80B, dbx286, Focusrite Liquid Saffire, Allen & Heath.
Analogue Outboard: Urei LA4 Compressors, Thermionic Culture Phoenix Valve Dual Channel Compressor, TC Electronic Finaliser, DBX channel strip, TL Audio 5013 Ivory Dual Channel Valve EQ, FMR RNC1773, Joe Meek MC2.
We run both Logic X and Pro Tools 10 and our plugins include: Melodyne, Waves Gold Bundle, PSP Vintage Warmer and Old Timer, Slate Digital Virtual Channel, Isotope Ozone 5 & 6, RX 3, Nectar 2 and Stutter Edit.
In addition to our studio, we have a 24-track digital mobile rig for recording in any venue”.
ARTISTS RECORDING AT LARK
When at the studio; Andy gave me an insight into the musicians that come through the doors. I was curious to know whether it was unfair areas like Guildford get overlooked when it comes to great musicians - as opposed to the larger cities.
Andy stated how the A.C.M. (The Academy of Contemporary Music) and the University of Surrey are producing so many great young musicians - those that can more than rival the best the cities provide. In conjunction with high rent prices (and cost of living) is the comparative lack of local venues - there are a few, Andy pointed out, but not a hugely thriving scene.
Bars like The Star Inn and the legendary Boileroom provide a platform but there not a huge amount. I got a chance to listen to one local artist, Meg Birch, and a couple of songs she had performed at the studio. The single Feel Alive has Country vibes and a real flair of Nashville: one of the slickest, catchiest and most impassioned Country track I have heard all year. If you have not heard her music: she is an artist that is well worth a look. Her E.P. is out in October but will be proceeded by a single release next month. A huge, soulful voice - that recalls Adele and Amy Winehouse - she is one of the most exciting musicians playing locally.
Meg Birch has recorded at Lark as a solo artist and as part of Megana
Karizma Duo is another top act that has recorded at Lark. They have a terrific repertoire of songs and turn tracks inside out. Andy explained how songs can be saturated and how hard it can be to successful cover a song. Karizma Duo reinvents songs and gives such a new spin on them- making them sound fresh and original.
Chelsea Hart, Chris Snelling and Alice Lamb are a trio of names Andy tipped to me: to be honest; there is a long list of fantastic young musicians that have recorded at Lark; all demonstrating what a variation of talent is performing across Surrey. Other stunning upcoming acts like Elena Ramona, Max Tanner and Chess Galea have recorded at the studio and created some of the finest moments there.
Alice Lamb is a young artist to watch very closely
ALWAYS THE SUN
Lark Recordings are involved with the inaugural Always the Sun festival in Stoke Park, Guildford.
“Lark Recordings is thrilled to sponsor a buskers’ stage for up and coming local acoustic artists at the Always The Sun, Guildford’s first Community Music and Arts Festival to take place on Stoke Park on 10th -11th September”.
Andy explained how (the benefit of the festival) is that it is “what musical festivals for the communities should be about”.
Always the Sun will bring together established acts like Mystery Jets and Tusks but provide exposure for local talent. The Buskers’ Stage is a way for Lark to become directly involved; promulgate and showcase artists they have worked with; some of the best musicians performing in the county. It is an affordable festival set up for the community and those who live in the area.
COSTS AND SERVICES
Studio Hire with Engineer
Studio and Live Room with mirrored wall suitable for up to 8 musicians
From £50 per hour. Daily rate from £250.
From £25 per hour.
During non-peak times – £35 per session of up to 4 hours.
Peak times – £25 per hour.
Have your track mixed through our outboard analogue EQs and compressors
From £50 but please get in touch for a more detailed quote.
Custom produced backing tracks
We can tailor a package to meet your needs and budget.
Chris Snelling is a regular face at Lark Recordings
YouTube video studio
Our live room is set up for video production including green screen, lighting, cameras and director from £25 per hour.
All prices plus VAT at 20%
Discounts available to students and non-profit organisations
We’re able to offer access to a range of music producers who can work with you to produce recordings ready for distribution and sale. Our aim is to get an understanding of your music, direction and ambitions and then introduce you to a suitable producer who can help you capture your sound.
Musicians and Backing Tracks
We have a team of musicians we can call upon if you don’t have your own band and would like professional accompaniment or a backing track, from a single guitarist to a full band in any style.
We can provide a full 360-degree recording/distribution/publishing package. We are able to take care of recording, mixing, mastering, album artwork, assigning ISRC and barcodes, digital distribution to all major download and streaming services, registering your works with collection societies and publishing.
Soundtracks and Music for YouTube Videos
"We have an extensive catalogue of fully cleared production music including specially composed repertoire. Our albums of material include Dance, Chill out, Documentary, Classical and many more.
We can also produce bespoke compositions for all your needs: whether its background/mood music for a television programme, youtube video or film, advertising, social media activity or location music such as specially curated and composed playlists for your workplace or business".
In this photo: Elena Ramona
BEYOND THE MICROPHONE: MARKETING AND PROMOTION
After speaking with Andy and getting a rare chance to listen to recordings; an insight into the daily life at Lark - I got the opportunity to speak with Marketing Assistant, Elena Ramona. She has not only recorded at Lark but she works at the studio and helps market artists - she has been there for almost two years now. In addition to working at Lark; Elena works in retail and brings those customer skills to the role. She has a lot of passion for her work and talks keenly about some of the acts that have come through Lark. Elena told me how Josh Franklin (one of the artists to record at the studio) has had a couple of tracks appear on Love Island. Name-checking Meg Birch and Karizma Duo: Elena has edited videos for the acts and talked fondly about the artists.
Elena became involved via A.C.M. - she found Lark via the A.C.M. Industry Link (when she was a recording artist in the studio at A.C.M.). Elena was able to come to Lark and tie together her experience in music and retail. She is very much a people person and finds the job a “good challenge”. In the future, Elena is keen to expand and work more in marketing - working at Lark is a great experience and has, in her words, “helped me with my own promotion; seeing from different perspectives how you can promote your own stuff”.
Always the Sun will see Elena promote the competition and work closely with the artists (appearing on The Buskers’ Stage).
Chess Galea has recorded several times at Lark
THE LARK PLAYLIST: ARTISTS WHO HAVE PERFORMED AT THE STUDIO
THE FUTURE: GOING FORWARD
Andy, Elena and Jacqui are excited about the future for Lark Recordings and the musicians coming through. It is a studio space filled with charm and distinction - a comfortable, affordable and hospitable space. There is a warm, supportive vibe at Lark and a real passion for discovering new talent.
I got to speak with Managing Director Jacqui, who has great enthusiasm and passion for the studio and the musicians that have recorded there. We get too obsessed with the big cities and the musicians there and forget what a chest of local talent is available.
Visiting Lark Recordings has not only given me an insight into the range and depth of musicians around Surrey - it has provided the opportunity to discover how a studio works and what is involved with recording/promoting an artist. It is well worth keeping your eyes on the artists that come through here - some big names to watch for the future. The team who work there are filled with enthusiasm and dedication for what they do - this is evident the moment you walk in. My time there was invaluable and gave greater insight into the workings and energy that goes into a recording studio. Against the backdrop of expensive, city-set recording facilities; it is wonderful discovering somewhere charming...
NESTLED in the heart of Surrey.