A bubbly young couple, Nick and Grace Capaldi are the proud owners of an accessible recording studio with a difference. Nick is a guitarist and solo musician and his wife Grace is his manager, and together they run Grinning Dog Records, the label Nick started in 2016.
In 2019, they decided to spread their wings and open their own recording studio.
Due to open in April 2021, Echo Town Studios, located in Dorset, is poised to become the go-to analogue studio in the south of England. Digit's Sarah Joseph-Dasent caught up with them over Zoom recently to find out what led them to embark upon this interesting journey.
So tell us when this idea of building your own studio came up?
Nick: It was back in 2019, and Grace and I always had very similar taste in music and when I jokingly said “let’s start a recording studio” we were both excited, as we knew that it would be challenging but also fun. Right away we got a builder round to do a quote and he drew a rough sketch on a piece of paper and we were away! The actual building started in August 2020.
What had your experience in recording been up to that time?
Nick: Around 2016, I was taught by a friend to use computers to record my own music and I soon realised what I could achieve with it, and I started to buy lots of equipment like microphones, etc. To record my last record I actually went to Abbey Roads Studios, because it’s always been a desire of mine, and I wanted to make music using vintage and analogue gear in a room purpose built for the job.
Is this why you chose to build an analogue studio instead of digital?
Nick: Well, there are so many digital studios around but there’s nothing in the Dorset area with a big “desk” like the SSL Board, tape machines and vintage microphones that we’ve acquired. In fact, the studio’s slogan is “Working Museum” as we want it to be known for the rare vintage gear that we have here. We even have a Hohner Clavinet that was used by Stevie Wonder in his 1983 London tour. At the end of the day, we don’t just want the gear to be displayed behind glass in the studio, we want people to be able to use it.
You’ve got a very unique selling point with the vintage gear, but what else is different about Echo Town Studio?
Grace: We are passionate about accessibility and we want to make Echo Town accessible to everyone who comes through the door. Our thinking is “Music is universally accessible so why shouldn’t our studio be?”
How can people get in touch to book a session?
Grace: We’re so excited that people have already begun booking sessions with us! Echo Town has one control room, one spacious live room and a hang-out room, so it’s a lot of space.
What else is on the horizon for you guys?
Grace: We’re actually involved in sponsoring a local festival in Dorset called the Raising Spirit Festival, website: https://www.raisingspiritfestival.com.
It runs from June 18th – 21st and it’s organised by Ben Waters, a well known boogie woogie piano player, to raise funds for musicians in our area who’ve been out of work during the pandemic. It’s just our way to help give back to our community.
Digit Music can’t wait for the opening of Echo Town Studio next month and we look forward to following this energetic and civic-minded couple as they continue to pursue their dreams.