An extraordinary collection of rare and vintage equipment has been sourced to establish a fabulous recording studio just outside Dorchester – and it’s all fully accessible.
Grace and Nick Capaldi started to establish Echo Town studios just before lockdown. While covid presented many challenges they battled through, fired up with passion for vintage sound.
Nick, who has a legion of fans for his music including BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris, and his wife and manager Grace, who is a wheelchair user, knew just what they were looking for in their studio equipment – vintage sound, with an ambience to match.
And it had to be accessible – Grace found many studios they used hard to access.
Their super cool studio has proved a hit with many well-known musicians, including Mick Rogers (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band), Ben Waters, Albert Lee (who has performed and recorded there), Paul Beavis, Ian Jennings, author Damien Lewis who recorded an audiobook, BJ Cole, who worked with Elton John, Joan Armatrading, Bjork, and Liam Gallagher, Robbie McIntosh and Billy Bragg. The Rolling Stones’ producer Chris Kimsey has also been in to engineer.
The décor is a hat-tip to the achingly cool style of studios of yesteryear. But it is the array of vintage analogue equipment that will make any musician excited.
There’s an Otari 24 track tape machine that was last used by Tom Jones with producer Ethan Johns, a Fender Bassman rig that belonged to Mani from the Stone Roses, a Hohner Clavinet D6 played by Stevie Wonder, and a very rare Baldwin electric harpsichord that used to live in London’s Olympic studios.
Grace said: “We wanted to run a business together and we had already started the record label and it made sense to then build a studio to go alongside it as we had the space and motivation.
“Nick’s a musician so it’s a musician’s dream and it has passion. We also visited a few studios and found them quite inaccessible, so we are on a mission to be as accessible as possible.
“Music is inclusive and we want the creating of it to be as well. Also, being built from a musician’s perspective, it has pretty much all you would want or need, including very rare and vintage gear e.g microphones from the 60s and amps previously owned by Mani from the Stone Roses. It is going brilliantly so far; we have been busy with bookings and gigs which has been very exciting.”
The couple spent over a year sourcing the best equipment, most of it vintage and some of it extremely rare.
The first purchase they made was a 32 channel Solid State Logic 6000E console which was previously owned by the BBC in the 1980s.
And they have a microphone collection to rival any of the world’s best studios, plus a huge collection of vintage keyboards, pianos, guitars and amps.
Three vintage tape machines are on hand for those who want to really get back to the analogue magic, including a four-track Studer J37 (the same model that The Beatles recorded many classic albums on). They also have a very spacious lounge complete with kitchen area, seating and games including a snooker table.
The couple have just started to offer popstar parties for children aged six-16, too.
The Willows, Bridport Road, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 9DS