When we drove onto the property, one immediately was taken by the size and grandeur of the main mill building. Its Bath stone was radiant in the winter light but its scale resonated with me as I had trained as an audio engineer in an old converted grain warehouse in the Dublin docklands – a studio named Windmill Lane. My immediate thought was that this building would make an ideal studio environment. The thickness of the walls and the manner of its construction would afford it a rich resonance. Despite the fact that it was being used as a “spare car parts depot” and was cut up into lots of small rooms, you could still feel how naturally reverberant the rooms were.
We then walked around the rest of the property and we were astonished to discover another five buildings. Our excitement was slightly tempered when the first intercity train whizzed by us en route to London but we all enthusiastic about its potential.
It seemed like anything was possible in these rooms
Clearly embracing Peter’s ethos, all of the recording spaces had unique layouts, all of them interconnected. It seemed like anything was possible in these rooms and one could not fail to make a spectacular recording here, such was the creative and supportive nature of the whole environment. From the beautiful accommodations to the spectacular food and the ever-helpful staff and assistants, it was remarkable that Peter and his team had assembled such a cast of characters. One was just surrounded by excellence, warmth and creativity. It quickly became a home for all of us who worked there on a regular basis.
Despite its size, every musician just loved working there.
Many of the projects that I completed there were recorded in The Big Room. To say that this space shattered the old concept of studio design, was an understatement. Despite its size, every musician just loved working there. It drew out the most imaginative performances from one and all. You could lose yourself in the music while simultaneously watch the weather roll over the valley. Time seemed to float in that room and it was not unusual for 10 -12 hours to literally speed by. But being wrapped in daylight really allowed your body to adjust accordingly and despite many a long day, I never had that drained feeling that was so common with “black box” studios.
To me Real World was my home away from home, an oasis in the crazy world that we inhabited. Some of my most enduring friendships began at or through Real World. It is a testament to all that is great in our business, and somehow it manages to do it with a uniqueness all of its own.