Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Gallery: Sounding great is all about the right mix

14:00 12 August 2014

Cenzo Townshend has launched a new state-of-the-art studio in Melton.He has produced songs and albums for the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs, U2, Snow Patrol, Florence + the Machine, Friendly Fires, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand.

Cenzo Townshend has launched a new state-of-the-art studio in Melton.He has produced songs and albums for the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs, U2, Snow Patrol, Florence + the Machine, Friendly Fires, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand.

Sarah Lucy brown

Think of a typical recording studio and an uninviting, windowless room will likely spring to mind. But tucked away on a Suffolk farm is a music-making sanctuary where artists get to savour the wide open space of a boundless countryside landscape with Cenzo Townshend. Tom Potter went along to have a look round Decoy Studios and meet the man behind the mixer.

shares

Inside Decoy Studios, Cenzo Townshend is surrounded by a dizzying volume of cutting-edge equipment and vintage gear – none of which is for exhibition only.

From the timber-adorned drum room wall, to the sleekly designed acoustic diffusers hanging on either side of the live studio, everything has a function for achieving the perfect sound. Even the seemingly ornamental bookshelf, in a vocal booth nicknamed The Library, has an important role in laying down tracks.

Cenzo started his life in the music industry as a DJ and a trainee – or ‘gopher’ – at a London recording studio.

Working alongside the likes of legendary producers Alan Moulder and Mark Ellis – also known as Flood – he would find himself cutting records for Nick Cave’s early band The Birthday Party.

Twenty years later, he is an award-winning mix engineer with credits on countless best-selling albums and singles from artists including U2, Snow Patrol, Elbow, Florence and the Machine, Kaiser Chiefs, George Ezra, Ben Howard, The Maccabees.

But as well as being a renowned figure in the industry, he is also a family man who, until recently, was having to spend five days a week in the capital, returning home to Melton, near Woodbridge, only at weekends.

But with the business now officially based at Decoy Farm, it means he can concentrate more of his time on not only living in the county he has come to love, but also getting down to the business of recording and producing records from his new Decoy Studio base nearby.

“I started off making tea in a studio in Soho. I suppose now you’d call it an internship, but back then it was ‘tea boy’ or ‘gopher’, or other names like that,” said Cenzo, who lives with wife Rachael, daughters Sophia and Luisa, and son Luca, when he returns from studying music management at university.

In 2008, Cenzo was in the middle of recording U2’s 10th album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, at Olympic Studios in Barnes when he was told by the EMI and Virgin Group that it was going to have to close.

“It was a beautiful place. Hendrix and The Stones had recorded there. Someone from Virgin told us it was going to have to close, and that was it.”

But Cenzo decided to go it alone, working on plans to start his own recording studio while continuing to mix albums and singles by the likes of George Ezra, Jamie T, Klaxons, Foxes, The Vaccines, Tom Odell, Snow Patrol and Tom Jones.

Finally, with able assistance from a team of young engineers, he has the set-up he always wanted... almost.

“I suppose things like this are never truly finished – they’re always evolving. Until now I’d been mixing albums. The artist would record elsewhere and send me the parts to be mixed here.

“Some of the artists came down – like Skaters, from Brooklyn. They loved it here. They turned up to my son’s cricket match wearing Parkas and flat caps.

“Now we have the facility to record, the type of work we want to do will have more involvement from me and the team. I want to get back into recording again.

“Suffolk is such a great place to live. Visiting artists are always blown away by the area – even those from really nice parts of London.”

The studio has three self-contained rooms and a mixing room. The smaller of two recording rooms is set up like a library, where rows of books work as natural diffusers, while the walls and ceiling absorb the sound.

“Every studio sounds different depending on its size and the way the walls have been treated,” said Cenzo.

“I wanted to make the main playing area sound as organic as possible. We’ve got a mix of classic equipment, like vintage drums and amplifiers, to the modern state-of-the-art stuff. I want to provide musicians with a creative environment where there’s equipment it’s hard for them to find at home.

“A lot of musicians are real analogue nuts – others don’t mind, as long as the results are good.”

It’s not just visiting London-based artists that interest Cenzo and the Decoy team. They also work with the Rock School Club, based in Harwich, which offers nine to 16-year-olds the chance to perform and take apprenticeships and work placements to enter the creative music industry.

Cenzo said: “We’re planning to set up a production company, to find bands and to bring them here – so we’re keeping an eye out for new talent.

“I’ve been lucky to work with so many talented people – and will hopefully get to work with many more. It’s great to hear songs on the radio that have been mixed here and not in a big glamorous studio in London.

“With fewer physical record sales, we are sticking our necks out a bit to make new music, but we’re giving the artists something they are excited to come here for, along with our technical ability.

“I learnt with some of the greatest engineers and I’m trying to pass my knowledge on to other people.”

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Lord Deben John Gummer, Christine Block, from Deben Estuary Partnership, Karen Thomas, from Water Management Alliance, Graham Henderson, from DEP, Simon Amstutz, from AONB, Therese Coffey MP, David Kemp from the Environment Agency, and Suffolk Coastal District Councillor Andy Smith gathered to launch the Deben Estuary Plan.

Three years of work have created a new community-led blueprint to protect and manage one of Suffolk’s treasures, the River Deben estuary

Detectives investigating a burglary at a home in Colchester have issued an efit of a man they would like to identify in connection with the incident.

Age UK is looking for volunteers to take part in a video

Bosses at Age UK Suffolk are looking for 10 older people to take part in a new promotional video that is being made to show off the work of the charity.

Andrew Gaskell, who was almost totally paralised in a scrum accident playing for Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club in 1998, lost body hair in a bid to raise £5.500 for a standing wheelchair.

A former Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club player who was partially paralysed in a scrum accident 17 years ago has gone for the smooth-bodied look in a bid to raise more than £5,000 for a specialist piece of equipment.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

Rail delays at Colchester have been caused by a broken down train.

Rendlesham Care Centre rated ‘good’ by CQC (L-R) Danielle Brown, Administrator; Liz Slight, Home Manager; Maxine Crisp, Carer; Fabian Lossa, Carer; Rachael Last, Receptionist

Rendlesham Care Centre was found to provide a safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led service according to the CQC report.

A diversion has been put in place

Severe traffic delays in Chelmsford have been caused by a traffic collision.

Woodbridge Carnival fireworks 2015.

People in an east Suffolk town are being asked to vote with their cash if they want a fireworks display next year.

Station Hill in Bury St Edmunds, which is being redeveloped.

Plans for more than 100 flats near the train station in Bury St Edmunds - an area of the town that is earmarked for regeneration - have been recommended to be refused.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey (centre) with members of her team and Fern Howard (left) from the Alzheimer’s Society

It follows a visit by the Alzheimer’s Society, who run the Dementia Friends scheme, to help Dr Coffey and her staff understand the effect of dementia on everyday lives.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages