Rain

Rain

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 6°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.

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.”

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

Tasha Salmon introduced Ben the elf in her household this year and daughter Mylie is loving seeing what antics he has been up to

Naughty elves have been holding toys captive, redecorating Christmas trees and swinging from the lampshades over the past week.

Martin Neely as Sir Kenneth Branflakes and Sebastian Hill as The Beast

There were no dancing cups and saucers, singing clocks or candelabra hosts but who needs the Disney sparkle when you have the true magic of panto?

The Snow Queen, the latest Christmas Spectacular from the Ipswich Co-Op Juniors

The Ipswich Co-op Juniors certainly know how to stage a spectacle and this year’s festive extravaganza is as glitzy and glamorous – and as technically accomplished – as anything you would see on a West End stage.

Steve Ruston as Sinbad in Sinbad, the New Wolsey's latest rock'n'roll pantomime

In an age when most pantomimes are traditional and predictable, the New Wolsey’s new rock’n’roll panto, Sinbad, doesn’t arrive like a breath of fresh air but more like a full-blown tempest. In among the rock’n’roll classics like Living on a Prayer, Smoke on the Water, The Tide Is High and Sending Out an SOS, we even get some lines of Shakespeare’s King Lear: “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!” to underline the power of the story.

Elf on Shelf is back for Christmas 2016

Families in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, Woodbridge and Newmarket will be expecting a visit from a naughty little elf tonight as the Christmas tradition continues.

Dorothy (Charlotte Sheenan),  Scarecrow (Sam Brown); Tin Man (Michael Haywood Smith) and The Cowardly Lion (Nathan Cant) in The Wizard of Oz by Ipswich Operatic Society at the Ipswich Regent. Picture by Gavin King Photography

The Wizard of Oz, a Hollywood musical classic, is brought to the Ipswich Regent with style by the Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society.

Barrell of Fun: The Barton Players rolling out the barrell this weekend with their traditional Olde Tyme Music Hall. Amanda Kingsnorth and the Men's Company

Tickets are selling fast for tomorrow’s performances of an old-time musical by the Barton Players – but there are still a few seats left.

Behind the scenes at The New Wolsey Theatre as they set up for 'Sinbad' - photo by Sarah Lucy Brown

Panto season is almost upon us and photographer Sarah Lucy Brown and Arts editor Andrew Clarke have been behind the scenes at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich to discover that a lot of planning goes into the creation of so much chaos, music and magic

Jasmin Vardimon presents Pinocchio with DanceEast this Christmas - photo by Ben Harries

There are dozens of traditional pantomimes taking place in Suffolk this Christmas season, but there are also a selection of other shows ideal for the whole family.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24