Turn of the screw

ROFL Audio

5 May 13 words: Shariff Ibrahim
"I was able to work alongside Elton John on one of the projects he was doing there"
ROFL Audio

Studio founder and manager David Stanley

ROFL Audio recording studios are bringing a bit of Hollywood glitz and glamour to Hockley. We caught up with studio founder and manager David Stanley about his work in the US of A, pirate bands and becoming a hub of the Nottingham music scene.

What did you set out to do with ROFL?
There’s a huge difference between how studios are running, not just locally in Nottingham but throughout the UK, to how they’re run in the States. In the UK, there are very close-knit groups and not very many opportunities for new engineers or people fresh out of college to get in there. Whereas in LA, the doors are very much wide open. It’s a lot more cut throat in terms of competition in the actual studio, but they’ll let anyone in and pretty much kick you out as soon as you mess up on the slightest thing. We’re trying to bridge that gap a bit by being very open, building as many links with local businesses as we can, and offering as much as we can to musicians other than just trying to get them to pay and come in to the studio. We’re not just trying to compete with other studios, we want to be completely different.

How did you get into recording?
My first real venture into music was when I moved out to LA to the Los Angeles Recording School, learned to the standard that I did, and got to meet all these big people and work with them. I was able to work alongside Elton John on one of the projects he was doing there, and a lot of artists like Ludacris, Mary J Blige and Flo Rida. It was all great experience and all stuff I got to learn from.

What brought you back to Nottingham from LA?
In a nutshell, it was the visa. When I first went out there, that allowed me to stay technically as long as I was at the school. But obviously I had to come back as if I got caught, I could never go back again, so I had to do it all by the book. I went back a few times mainly as a holiday, then last year I did one more stint out there when I was trying as hard as I could to get a permanent visa, so I was rekindling all my contacts and networking again, trying to work in some other studios. Rather than looking at it like I’ve settled for Nottingham, I see it as bringing what I’ve learned to Nottingham instead.

You want to be more than just a recording studio?
Obviously we are trying to make money, and I’m trying to build this business up into something I can sustain myself and other people off, but at the same time we want to get all these connections with the community and let people know that’s what we’re all about. People are coming to us not just because of the high standards, but because of what else we can offer them.

What kind of artists have you been working with?
The doors opened beginning of November [2012], but we’ve been working with quite a few well known Nottingham bands since, including a few projects with Captain Dangerous, The Damn Heavy and a lot of unknown artists who are gigging around. So we’re building things up, especially through what we’re doing with White Collar Zoo as well, as our studio produces all the sound for their TV shows now.

ROFL Audio

Vocals being recorded at the studio

Who are White Collar Zoo?
White Collar Zoo are a TV network and dedicated platform for upcoming musicians, comedians, filmmakers and producers. They’re purely community-based, so all local stuff, all unknown people trying to provide a bigger platform for other people to see them. Their flagship TV show is called the Zoo Lounge, which is essentially a comedy chat show based around a featured guest musician, and they have guests with short films, music videos, things like that. It’s a lot of fun and there’s a lot of great content on there.

Any weird and wonderful outfits?
I haven’t had too much strange stuff in Nottingham yet but in LA I did work with a pirate rock band. That was very interesting. The music was actually really good, and they really knew what they were doing, but at the same time they dressed like pirates and made songs about piratey stuff.

What facilities do you have?
The studio’s based on Pro Tools HD, which techie people will know is the industry standard, and we’re the only studio other than Confetti using that. And the collection of mics and hardware we’ve got is pretty much unmatched. It’s also the work ethic we’ve got, the experience we’ve got and the way we’re working with all these other businesses in the community as well, which other studios aren’t offering.

What else is in the pipeline?
We’re talking with a couple of radio stations, and the NCN college as well. We’re building up a partnership with them to offer help for their radio station and to build different projects so we can give their students experience of working in the studio. We’ve also just solidified a partnership with the Los Angeles Film School and Recording School. The UK’s really popular out there right now, especially in TV and music, so they’re really eager to get some of the music that we’re working on sent over to them. There isn’t really anyone in the UK offering that kind of connection for free. 

Who should come to ROFL?
Anyone who’s talented - no matter how big or small. We’re not trying to focus just on the bands that are really reigned in and know what they’re doing but also the acts who are just getting in to music and aren’t that confident. We really want to spread the word about what we’re doing, why it’s different and why we want to engage with everyone.

If you’re interested in recording at ROFL Audio studios, find out more and get in touch via the ROFL Audio website.

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