Jimi Wyatt – The man behind Ginger Recording Studios
How many of us can say that we’ve visited and talked with the likes of Dave Pensado or Tom Lord-Alge in the USA? Or, maybe even walked around and seen many of the Worlds most famous studios such as Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio in Wiltshire, England. Many of you may have heard of Jimi Wyatt and his excellent studio Ginger Studios in Melbourne, but do they know the man behind the desk?
Jimi and Ginger Studios in Melbourne joined forces last month and created an open studio network with A Sharp Recording Studios in Sydney; all in the interests of the musician. As such, we thought that we would catch up with Jimi, find out a little more about this very young and talented studio owner – he has an interesting history.
“Making mix tapes at 7 years may have been a good indicator that I would end up in the music industry.” So it was no surprise that later in life Jimi would finish a Bachelor of Advanced Music and Audio Production.
“I worked as an assistant doing the normal cleanup and make coffee thing after graduating and eventually got a break at Eastern Bloc as house engineer” that was working with Jonathan Burnside (Grinspoon, The Sleepy Jackson, Faith No More). However things changed when Jonathon moved back to the USA.
“I was out of work but decided to continue engineering and opened a small studio so that I could record and help nurture musicians and their creative ideas”. There followed quite a bit of success but Jimi realized that international experience was the only way forward.
“Looking for inspiration I went to some of the worlds most renowned studios such as AIR, Real World, Hit Factory, South Beach Studios, Avatar and met with engineers such as Dave Pensado, TOM Lord-Alge and whilst working over there one very large question arose…why aren’t there studios and engineers of this calibre in Melbourne providing the quality that Australian musicians should expect.” Is this how Ginger came about?
“Well I found the inspiration, came home, looked for a central location but it took years to find. I had a vision, a space that would allow for both extended sessions with bands and be available for advertising types who need studio time on short notice in close proximity to their workplaces. In Melbourne’s CBD, the buildings are main long and skinny when a wide and long building with high ceiling clearances was needed – real tricky to find”. Perseverance was the key.
“We found the ideal site, but we had to wait another 8 months for planning permission to be signed off. I had a huge amount of gear turning up to my house whilst we waited. So we installed half of the SSL console in a room in a house that had 5 meter vaulted ceilings and made for some of the meanest ambient drum sounds!” Has anyone else had half a duality in their living room. If you have let us know…
“The Duality fit my vision for Ginger, speed of workflow, sonics, aesthetics, reliability and integration. I wanted something that would integrate old and new technology (analogue and digital) seamlessly and not impede creative flow and Duality fits that bill perfectly. I can get a power supply from the UK in 24 hours – that’s service and the client is like “wow, this place has got us covered”. This was not the only vision that Jimi had and vibe and performance are everything.
“I was very lucky to be mentored by some great engineers including Michael Shipley before he tragically died. We were friends and he taught me that I had to listen. This is why I like working with lots of energy in the room and I’ll do just about anything to make that happen. I’d rather have a P.A. in the tracking space with spill into everything than everyone in separate rooms with perfect isolation resulting in a near zero reading on my “vibe-o-meter”. Vibe and performance are important but so is the equipment and Jimi has this covered too.
“Our Telefunken ELA M251 E through a STA-Level is killer on most vocalists, we really seem to capture the performance with this combination.” Also worth a mention is the Zenner limiter in parallel on the drum bus. “However, it’s really important to get it right at the source and our Yamaha C7 grand piano and custom built Moody drum kit both sound phenomenal” and, as you can imagine, they are meticulously cared for as you never know who will book or walk through the door.
“Jason Derülo with Joe Peluso engineered our very first booking, so this set the level.” However in the short and successful history of Ginger Studios there have been some interesting occasions too.
“Our Studio friendly German Shorthaired Pointer, Archie stole Tina Arena’s muesli bar…that takes the cake! She’d been training for Dancing With The Stars all day and hadn’t eaten anything. She came to the to the studio to shoot a film-clip for her new album. While she was getting her make-up done Archie took the opportunity to snack on the only food she had brought with her….
Finally, we asked Jimi what was the best decision he had made so far. In hindsight we’re not surprised at the answer “Asking my girl-friend to marry me. Music is a big part of life, but it isn’t everything, and without other things in your life you’ll have nothing to inspire it.”
That’s very true.
If you want to find out more about Ginger Studios have a look at their new website: www.ginger-studios.com