Get To Know: Emerald Room Studios
We check in with the boys behind Boorloo/Perth’s newest recording studio and rehearsal space
Music making has never been more accessible than right now. From mobile apps like BandLab to free, fully fledged DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) like Studio One and Cakewalk… and lets not even mention the easily available cracked versions of Ableton, FL Studio, Pro Tools and the like. When coupled with affordable & efficient microphones and outboard gear, a bedroom hobbyist can seemingly become a chart topping star, as we hear with the dreamy success stories of someone like Billie Elish.
However, a myriad of factors soon arise for those looking to take things to the next level (especially live bands). These include (but are not limited to) recording in a poorly treated room leading to bad tracks (“you can’t polish a turd”); not having the expertise to act as recording engineer and artist at the same time; finding yourself lacking inspiration or not getting good takes recording in the same space you sleep... not to mention annoying your housemates and leading to noise complaints from neighbours.
The solution? Head to a professional recording environment, just like Boorloo/Perth’s newest studios and rehearsal spaces, Emerald Room Studios. Located in Balcatta, ERS features a recording suite with a live room and control room, as well as five dedicated rehearsal rooms. The recording suite is the centrepiece of the building, pairing a spacious live room with a professional control room for tracking, while each rehearsal room has been designed with both acoustics and aesthetics in mind, while being soundproofed to industry standards.
The brainchild of owners and best mates Josh Cuzens and Emmett Carroll, musicians themselves, the pair completely designed and oversaw construction of the studios themselves, with a few years of hard work finally culminating in their dreamspace. Just how much work went into it may have not been initially clear, with Emmet explaining “We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We thought we were opening a studio but that became a bit of an afterthought when we realised we would need lawyers, surveyors, building applications/occupancy permits etc. It’s wild to think we navigated all of it ourselves, with the help of friends and family.”
To celebrate the opening of ERS, we caught up with Josh to find out more:
Let’s take this back to the start - how long have you both been friends?
Myself and Emmett met through our mutual friend Lewi about 7/8 years ago! We were both in bands and bonded extremely well through music. A few months after meeting, Emmett was producing my band! We had a great bond when recording and talking about the technical parts of music.
How long has the dream of Emerald Room Studios been in the works and what led you to wanting to open a recording studio/rehearsal rooms?
It's probably been 4 years in the works. 2 years as a pipe dream, and 2 years of really trying! I had been hoping to open a recording focused studio by myself, but realised I couldn't do it alone. I didn't know enough. It was honestly the easiest decision to approach Josh, and then the ideas just snowballed.
Where did the name for the studio come from?
The name “Emerald Room Studios” actually goes back to when we first met. The first time we recorded together was in Emmett’s share house at the time. In that house there was a weird “pool room” which had these amazing emerald green glass doors. So from that point on we called that room “The Emerald Room”. We even hosted a house show back in 2016 where our 2 bands played and the facebook event name was “The Emerald Room House Party” haha! The times we had in that room hanging out, bonding and creating music were so special so the name just came naturally when we decided to do this.
What are the main goals for the studio?
Our main goal for the studio is just to create a comfortable, inclusive, safe and creative space for all kinds of musicians and artists to come and explore what music is to them. Whether it's bands or solo, rehearsing for fun or recording to try and make a household name...we want to give people a space that is there for them.
What part of the studios are you most proud of?
Being there every day, there's two things that stand out to me. The structure; knowing we built it...we conceived it...it's like what I imagine having a child is like in some ways? We built it and know everything about our studio; the dimensions of the rooms, the stud spacing in the walls, the aircon drainage pipe positioning, the acoustic response of the rooms, the council regulations, the building codes, the way you have a jimmy the door slightly on the vending machine to open it...etc.
Secondly; the bands that come in. We are so stoked when a new band comes in, or one of our regulars pops in. It does feel like a family is growing and it's special to be at the centre of it.
Do you have any advice from lessons learned during the experience for anyone who might want to do something similar?
It’s A LOT of work! We were both pretty naive to think we could do the build In our intended time frame (we probably ran a month over time). We had a lot of hurdles...it took us over a year to even get a space we wanted. We got knocked back time and time again by real estate agents and landlords simply because we had an abstract idea they didn’t understand, were just too young or they were happy to write off an arts related industry.
We saved a lot of money doing pretty much everything ourselves. I’m an electrician and Emmett is a painter with an engineering undergraduate, so we had experience in the building industry and a good understanding of the design necessities with a studio. In saying that, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our builder Macca, our carpenter Connor and a few other trades we called upon. We also had an incredible amount of help from our friends when it came to; putting up gyprock and ceiling floor boards etc. We owe a lot to them.
But the advice we would give would be to just go for it. As cliche as that sounds, you just don't know what’s possible. You'll never know everything you need to before you start something for the first time, you just have to back yourself in and be ready to ask a lot of questions. We had a lot of sleepless nights and questioned the whole idea. But seeing it at the end and people coming in and enjoying it just makes it all worth it.
Are there any exciting projects you’re working on at the moment you’d like to share?
We have HEAPS of exciting projects we are working on at the moment. Not a heap we can talk about, as they are still in the process but one of them is our Opening Party! We have started planning it and we are super excited for it! Keep an eye out at the end of November/start of December!
For more information on Emerald Room Studios including bookings, head to their website.