There are many variables at work when it comes to music production and sound engineering – it’s not only a science but an art form. From setting up a recording environment for the best possible acoustics to knowing what equipment to use to create a particular sound, and – finally – mixing and mastering the recorded tracks for a quality end-product. As a recording artist, it is important to find the right setting for creativity to flow, be it a rehearsal space or recording studio. Here’s our round-up of leading recording studios and rehearsal spaces in Cape Town.
KILL CITY BLUES
Founded by Taxi Violence’s George van der Spuy, Kill City Blues is a longstanding and well-respected production studio and rehearsal space in Cape Town. With grassroots acts as well as heavyweights – such as Fokofpolisiekar, Arno Carstens or Johnny Clegg – passing through their doors, the goal is to enhance the performance and recording quality of South Africa’s finest bands.
The facilities consist of four refurbished rehearsal/recording rooms with quality equipment. During rehearsal sessions, sound experts are available to assist with technical set-ups and there are tailored booking options to suit a band’s schedule and vision. The team prides themselves on being professional and providing clean, clear sound quality. “Rock ‘n Roll might be down and dirty but it’s a lot easier to make in a clean, comfortable environment with all the right equipment. Do your music a favour and get a room! (And, yes, it is available by the hour).”
Rehearsal rates are R105 per hour, or R75 per hour for solo artists or drummers wanting to practice alone, and bookings are available from 10am-12am on Mondays to Thursdays, 10am-9pm on Fridays and 12pm-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Kill City Blues offers recording of singles, EPs, albums and demos at R2000 a day or R250 per hour. Live recordings are also available, mixing is offered at R2000 per song and mastering at R350 per song.
Recently, the studio has added the KCB Music Mentorship to their offering, providing guidance and music lessons to artists. Currently, lessons in vocals, guitar, bass, piano, drums, trumpet and violin are available, as well as tutoring on how to apply music theory, developing your own style and performing live with others. For rates, packages and bookings, contact Nick via firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp 084 303 7107.
Kill City Blues also hosts the Sunday Unplugged every last Sunday of the month, featuring some of Cape Town’s up-and-coming artists.
Location: 3 Hopkins Street, Salt River
VICTORY AVENUE STUDIOS
Victory Avenue Studios is run by Chris Werge, a Cape Town-based recording artist. He was part of Bobby van Jaarsveld’s team on the first season of The Voice South Africa, opened for James Blunt during his Moon Landing World Tour at the Grand West Arena in Cape Town, and his latest single ‘Feel’ is currently playing and charting on some of the biggest commercial radio stations around the country.
To share his experience and knowledge, he started his own recording studio in Pinelands, with the aim to give aspiring artists the opportunity to create great content at affordable rates. Recording includes editing, mixing, mastering and export to MP3 and WAV files. An edited HD video can also be added to the package, and reduced rates are available for students with a valid student card. In the past, Chris worked on productions with artists such as Gabriella Du Plessis, Nathan Duvel, Christy-Lyn Marais and Gerald Clark.
Location: 14 Victory Avenue, Pinelands
The Nuthouse’s services include audio post-production and sound design for radio, TV and cinema, as well as composing and arranging, and music recording and producing. Musical director and in-house composer, Andrew Ford says he loves the variety that each new project brings. From Frank Sinatra sound-alikes to rock musicals, The Nuthouse welcomes unique projects, no matter how big or small. “Whether it’s a poetry project, your daughter’s first demo, or just a dream to sing in the studio, we are happy to discuss it with you.”
Andrew has achieved international and local acclaim, receiving awards for music and post-production from Cannes Lions, London International Advertising Awards, The New York Festivals as well as the Loeries. During recording sessions, skilled and friendly sound engineers assist with sound set-ups, and the studio is equipped with top-of-the-range equipment. This includes a concert grand piano, a separate drum booth complete with a nine-piece drum kit, as well as a comfortable voice booth for defined interior acoustics and sound insulation.
Location: 24 Almond Street, Newlands
Located in Stellenbosch, Tunes Studio’s goal is to uplift the local music scene through offering quality services – such as pre-production, voice-over, album, EP and single recordings, music lessons and live sound – at reasonable prices. Recording and mixing are managed by engineer Mark Ellis, who has worked with artists such as Stoker, Albert Meintjies and Roxton Met Herkie. He is also an active musician for local acts Riku Lätti, Die Wasgoedlyn, Riaan Nieuwenhuis, as well as Jake Gunn and The Gambles, and has experience as a live engineer. Along with freelance drummer Jean Marais, who runs Tunes Studio and plays in the same bands, they promise to use their knowledge, helpful attitudes and results-driven approach to create a positive recording environment. Rehearsal space is available for musicians living close by. Jean also hosts a regular podcast show, featuring conversations with South African musicians and industry professionals. The latest episodes can be found here.
Location: Bridge Park, 10 Bridge Road, Plankenbrug, Stellenbosch
Cosher Recording Studios is a full-scale, professional, music recording and production facility based in Oranjezicht, Cape Town. With three studio spaces, three producers/sound engineers and one in-house composer, their main focus is on production and vocal recordings, especially for singer-songwriters, hip-hop, pop and dance artists. The studio’s team is known for their experience and expertise, and have been behind some of South Africa’s best songs in recent years. Artists use the facilities to accomplish high-quality, radio-ready songs.
Services include vocal producing to achieve the best possible results when recording, and songs can be composed or arranged in-house, fitting to an artist’s genre and style. Cosher Studios also offers beat making, music composition for advertising, film scoring, voice over recording and audio post-production for film.
Location: 16 Chesterfield Road, Oranjezicht, Cape Town