Recording’s Great Escapes: Photos of English Countryside Studio Devon Analogue
Tucked into the rolling coastal hills of Exmoor in southwest England, Devon Analogue caters to electronic artists yearning to get out of the club and into nature. Since opening in 2017, the space has hosted acts like Disclosure, Skream, Yaeji, Bicep and Calvin Harris. The lattermost artist brought collaborators including Pharrell Williams, Busta Rhymes, Normani and Tinashe along with him while recording his most recent album, this year’s Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, at the studio.
“The workflow in there is perfect and really motivated me and [my live engineer Francine Perry] on how we want to build our new studio,” says U.K.-based producer HAAi, who recently spent time working with Devon Analogue’s vast synthesizer collection and taking in views of the area’s expansive fields — and the cows who live in them — from the mixing board. “It’s a real slice of heaven.”
Tristan Grace, who created and runs the studio with his wife, Elley, shares more on the facility.
We wanted to twist the classic, rural, British residential studio concept, which was peaking between the 1990s and 2000s, particularly with legendary U.K. studios such as Ridge Farm and Rockfield Studio playing major parts in recording everybody from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Sade, Oasis, EMF and Portishead to The Stone Roses. We wanted to create a similar focused studio and living environment with the same vibe for house, techno and electronic artists.
It was, and definitely is, our continued mission to be an electronic sound-focused facility. When we originally planned the idea — it was conceptualized, as people say, on the back of a beer mat in our local pub — there wasn’t much of a commercial plan, just an idea on the space and its use within the scene. Importantly, a key aspect was to create a space accessible to both unsigned artists beginning their journey, those preparing their first record, and then through to the most established electronic artists internationally.
We look at our space as more of a creative room rather than the stereotypical control room. We wanted a workshop flow and vibe. We have a large collection of amazing synthesizers, drum machines and bizarre instruments, all of which are instantly ready to record with no faffing.
Obviously, the primary function is the studio, but it’s also very much about the space, the place, enjoying the Devon countryside, golden-sand beaches, eating good food and having fun outside of sessions. The studio is very rural, set in the hills. You are surrounded by farmland and forest walks. You arrive and switch off from the daily pulls you may have in your usual recording environment. Artists get everything from total privacy; peace; tranquility; our friendly dogs, Larry and Eve; and very, very fresh air. All of these elements we feel directly feed into an artists’ ambitions for their project here and ooze out in their music!