London (June 21, 2006)–Musician and producer/engineer Steve Williams has equipped his recording facility, The Chapel Studios, with a 96-channel Audient ASP8024 mixing console, Pro Tools HD3 system, the SSL XLogic mic pres, Neve 1073 pres, and a host of other gear. Williams believes the effects and mics in use on a session play a critical role, and is currently excited about Waves software and sE Electronics microphones.
Steve Williams in The ChapelWilliams has a rather colorful musical background, having attended the Royal Academy Of Music to study orchestral music, and eventually going on to a jazz and rock course at Guildhall. After that, his career turned the first of many corners. “I came out of Guildhall and I’d heard that you might land something if you answered ads in Melody Maker,” he explained. “It was one of those things. I answered one looking for a drummer and it turned out to be Midge Ure and I went on tour with him around the world. With him, I ended up having to learn a whole host of things: bodhran, accordion, guitar, penny whistle.”
This led Williams to a career in pop as MD for various touring acts of the time. “I played with a lot of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman people like Rick Astley and Kim Appleby and more recently I was Lisa Stansfield’s MD and toured with her. I also did a couple of albums with Midge way back.” Williams also worked in film music working on From Hell starring Johnny Depp and Britney Spears’ Crossroads. He also played with Sting and Eric Clapton but as his production and programming experience grew, so did his interest in putting together his own studio so his own project studio eventually moved and became The Chapel Studios.
“The Chapel is a bespoke building built from below the ground and has arched windows, very chapel like. We’ve only been going two years. Here we’ve had mostly new acts who really look set to do things. We’ve recently had Kenneth Johannson, Sharon Gosler and a great singer called Pierre. We’ve done a lot of video games too, lots of voiceovers. We did X3 Reunion and today a voiceover for Whirlwind Of Vietnam. We’re not Air or Abbey Road but The Chapel Studios is a great studio–we’re getting lots of people through the door.”
Software wise, Williams is on the crest of the Waves effects having immersed himself in the best this range has to offer. “I’m really impressed with the Waves stuff,” he said. “It is amazing and has become the essential tool for my studio and it is very easy to use as well. I’ve bought a Platinum bundle and am going to buy the Diamond bundle. I like to use the Doubler, which doubles voices–it does a fantastic job. The MetaFlanger is brilliant too for effects and chorusing. I have also got Vocal and that looks like that will be amazing too. The Renaissance compressors are fantastic for things like vocals and then there are other effects like the Stereo Imager, a tool I’ve never had before, and it’s really handy.”
On the mic side of things, Steve has chosen sE for dedicated studio tasks. “The point about the sE3 is that, because it’s not hugely expensive, I can dedicate it to one job,” he noted. “I find it really works on cymbals, not because it has a boosted high end but it takes the high end and gives it some real clarity especially on my ride cymbal. It just stays there and does the job brilliantly.”
And speaking of dedication, Williams has one last tip for any budding producers out there–on top of using the finest effects and mics, of course. “It’s basically down to what you hear, but putting the time in to a project really pays off. That last 10 percent you put in will often give you that extra bit of soul that you thought was missing from your production.”