Live Performance comes to Airlock Studios with ADAM SP5
As a long time owner/operator of Airlock Studios, it seems these worlds of performance, studio and recording are coming together and merging into a very timely format with his new venture - “Up in the Airlock”
Essentially a live performance filmed and recorded in-studio, Up in the Airlock has just wound up its first season with ten episodes, each comprising a roughly 30 minute virtual gig online.
We caught up with Ian at Airlock in the leafy outer hills of Brisbane to talk all things music, recording during lockdown times and ADAM Audio’s SP-5 headphones.
“Its been an exciting challenge for us to capture entertaining performances both visually & sonically by bands across a wide spectrum of genres.
The main obstacle is having all of the performers in one space so as though get the best energy of a live performance - especially vocally - and avoiding as much spill as possible.”
Conceived of before any hint of a pandemic, Ian had much of the technical side of filming in-studio live performances sorted and three shows “in-the-can”.
Airlock Studios had been extensively re-fit to incorporate new isolation booths, and undergone technical improvements under the hood.
“I'd wanted to do this for a long time. Last year I met the guys from Method to my Madness (production company), Alex and Nat - we started talking in September and we shot three bands as a test. When COVID-19 and lockdown hit, Ian was ready.
We were set to launch in March, so I thought let's just film a whole lot of bands then at least we can be working on it in our home.We thought this looks really good but while working out what we could do to make it sound a bit better and look better - COVID happened.
It got a couple in the bank, so to speak.”
The amount of performers and crew has been limited in the ensuing shoots, with solo performers becoming the preferred choice at the height of restrictions. As lockdown eased and number restrictions slowly lifted, higher numbers of participants could be involved in the filming process - including bands.
At this point ADAM Audio SP5 headphones became the go-to monitoring solution for performers across three performance zones.
“Everyone, all the performers are loving them. The isolation, the snugness on then head so people can jump around a bit.” says Ian.
Ian & Airlock have been longtime users of ADAM Audio S2X speakers, installed not long after the studio’s inception in 1998.The SP5 have also found their way behind the mixing board as well.
Ian regards the S2X highly, which round out NS10s and JLM mains in the monitor contingent at Airlock.
“Yes they’re great - at the moment we’ve got them linked to a sub. I’ve loved them for a long time and I’d like to investigate the new models”
Ian isn’t optimistic about a return to international touring and festivals in the near future though, and sees the live streaming avenue as an outlet for music creation & performance.
“I am optimistic about the recorded side of stuff because I think that right now that everyone has been hunkered away being productive -- Not everyone, but a lot of people have been writing a lot of stuff - I’ve seen it just in the day to day (studio) bookings.
People are going to be coming in to put down what they've been creating, but live, I'm not convinced that there's going to be a whole lot going on even next year.
I don't think there'll be the possibility of big tours here for a while.
I also think it's probably irresponsible to try, sadly, because I want it to happen.”
Being locked down for the first season of Up in the Airlock has given the production team an opportunity to curate & showcase local talent, which Ian sees as part of the core mission rather than a limitation.
“My dream has always been somehow to help elevate small bands, support small bands.
So when, say, Lenny Kravitz (for example) comes to town he wants to do it as part of his tour I want to be able to put a good band that no one knows who they are alongside it.
Its great to be able to provide a forum for these artists to be able to perform and promote their projects with a high level of production, and to be able to stand out from the crowd.”