The heart and soul of any serious studio is the console and since moving to Estivella in November 2014, we have been looking for a large, vintage example. This is part two of the story and talks about collecting and installing the rascal. Enjoy!
Well, as you know from part one of this article after much research and negotiation we decided upon - the Trident Vector!
As part of the deal we were very lucky to work with Brian Hayward, one of the team of Vector designers who agreed to supervise the transport and commission the console in it's new home.
Taking into account everything from part one we talked to him at great length but the deciding factors were:
The original owner of the console was Trevor Morais who closed El Cortijo Studio over two years ago and had it in storage near Estepona on the south coast of Spain: a distance of around 770 Km :(
Obviously being in a top residential studio there are many high profile artists that have graced the circuitry with their talent and this is a truncated list; most can be found on Discogs.
It appeared to have attracted big vocalists due it's very transparent mic amps and sensitive EQ.
Dame Shirley Bassey (awesome), Björk, Sade, Celtas Cortos, Elkie Brooks, Compay Segundo, Rammstein, Reise, Manic Street Preachers, INXS, Roxette, Los Rodriguez, Diego Vasallo, Tahúres Zurdos, Najwa, Alvin Lee (more awesomeness), Scotty Moore, Frente, Susheela Raman, dEUS, Peter Murphy, Neneh Cherry, Stereo MC's, BabyBird, Ash, Drugstore, Fury In The Slaughterhouse, plus a load of exceptionally famous, but pretty uncool artists :)
Here is a South Bank Show special on Björk and El Cortijo Studio. Get a cup of tea, sit down and enjoy...
OK, you can carry on reading now!
We were exceptionally excited but of course our first job was to arrange to move it to the Supertone Records Studio in Estivella and contacted Brian to arrange a date and time 'down South'.
After being sent the dimensions, we decided that the 'Van of Rock' (aka 'Furgoneta del Rock' - our Volkswagen Transporter) was not quite voluminous enough for the job and hence rented a twin wheelbase high top IVECO from Valencia. It's at times like these when you forget how big Spain really is :)
So, we set off with the girls in the van with a plan to stop off in Granada overnight before meeting Brian.
Being conscious of the budget we chose to avoid toll roads, which can add a big lump on your travel costs and took the high road, which just happened to go right through the wine growing region of Valdepeñas.
In the UK you can almost guarantee a hold up somewhere but here, even on non-toll routes, there is relatively no traffic and speedy progress was made :)
We have now really integrated into the Spanish culture and at 1400 we stopped for lunch at Puerta de Sol, a cracking restaurant in Villarrobledo. The food was delicious as was the Vino Tinto!!
In Spain dogs are not allowed in bars or restaurants, which is very distressing for us, but the staff looked after them magnificently :)
We arrived a little later than expected and the dog friendly hotel was exceptionally cheap and although utilitarian, very clean.
Like all old Spanish cities, parking was a challenge and particularly problematic with the high top. Usually we can lever the 'Van of Rock' into underground car parks, but no chance with this rascal, so we ended up around 1Km from the hotel!
Immediately we noticed a marked difference between here and our home City of Valencia: so many tourists! It was too late to see the Alhambra as it is a big tour and have promised to go back and visit, when we find a gig there of course...
Starlite and I were therefore forced to spend the evening in El Tabernaculo, where, as is the norm in this city, tapas is served free!
We have never seen more bizarre decor...
We set off early to Estepona and breakfasted on route at a very interesting motel which still had the little pigeonholes at the reception desk. The clientele and staff reminded us of a scene from The Sopranos and we fantasised that it was a haunt for gangsters and miscreants...
As we were in a rental van, our usual SatNav was not available and therefore relied on Google.
Mistake! We were around 10 minutes away from the coast road when it decided there was a traffic jam and took us through the mountains on a 45 minute detour: not cool...
So, we eventually arrived at the storage unit to be greeted by Brian and a team of multinational muscle to wrestle the console into the van.
All the modules were packed into separate boxes, as was the 32 Kg power supply, so the frame and meter bridge looked a little lost in the corner of the warehouse.
At 350 Kg without the modules it's a fair lump and very solidly built, but without further ado we used the wheeled flight-case lids that I had packed to roll it to the van then - 1, 2, 3, LIFT!
There was a wonderful German lady called Evi with a big smile who Starlite instantly connected with who had come to see Brian and the console safely away. It was only later in the van that Brian informed us that she was the wife of the late, great Alvin Lee. One of my guitar heroes!!!
They lived near Estepona and he often recorded and mixed through the Trident until his tragic demise...
So with Brian, Starlite and myself in the front and the girls / console in the back, we made the long and uneventful journey home.
We had planned for the mighty men of Estivella to arrive at 1200 the following day which would give Brian time to strip as much weight from the console as possible.
They arrived, looked at it and after a lot of discussion, picked it up and albeit with a lot of grunting, whipped it up the stairs to the first floor and then into the control room... At one point they started to sing a Spanish marching song - what fantastic people they are...
Of course the time of 1200 was chosen specifically to coincide with Paella (cooked by our excellent friend Pepe - pictured left) at 1400.
Replacing 40 channels and thoroughly checking each one is a big job. The console hadn't been used for around 18 months and as part of the purchase we wanted it to be working to specification!
Surprisingly, there were very few faults and following a trip to our local electronics store in Valencia, the defective IC's and capacitors were replaced.
Of course there were looms to be made up for multitrack in/outs, monitors etc., but Brian went through everything with a fine tooth comb: it took 10 days :)
There are some parts that are custom made and we managed to get hold of an array of these rarities from the former parts buyer at Trident, aptly named Tryaudio and probably now have the best stock of spares in the world for these consoles.
Of course it wasn't all work and we spent many late nights chewing the fat and recounting tales of rock and roll.
It's down to us! Starlite and I have already started recording our first fully collaborative album and should be out in Autumn, 2015.
This of course gives us a great way to bond with the studio environment and equipment!
The monitors have also been upgraded to the awesome ATC SCM25A pro and cables, manufactured by the totally professional VDC Trading. Plus we have acoustically treated the control/live room and are now ready to roll...
The studio already has some world class artists booked in for recording / mixing so we are very happy indeed!
See you soon!!!