Composer Andy Huckvale recently employed Miloco Builds to design and install a new home studio in the basement of his 19th century, Grade II listed home.
“I wanted a space that I would feel inspired to work in,” he said. “A home studio has an opportunity to reflect the character of its owner. For me that was having a warm colour scheme and lots and lots of wood.”
Miloco Builds is known for larger projects such as Paul Epworth’s The Church Studios or international projects for Amazon. The studio is based around a main wooden desk with a sliding 88-key controller keyboard drawer and a widescreen monitor.
Huckvale continued: “I wanted an area where I wasn’t looking at a screen and could get a bit more hands-on and just leave it on record whilst I experimented. There’s also an upright piano and a drum kit to the rear of the studio. These all have tie-lines to the main patchbay, so everything is connected and ready to record.”
He selected Audient’s Nero as his desktop monitor controller, as well as the brand’s eight-channel preamp ASP800 to handle all the drum mics.
“The main reason I chose [Audient Nero] was how configurable everything is,” Huckvale explained. “I can punch the sub in and out individually, add up to two alt speakers and set different cues for my other headphone feeds when I’m recording piano or drums. I’m not entirely sure how my workflow will change over the next few years, so this covered all bases without costing the earth. It feels really solid, has a nice, chunky volume knob, sounds really clean and fits within easy reach on my desktop.”
As for selecting the ASP800, he said: “I needed a bunch of quality preamps with the option of a couple of them having some additional colouring for the kick and snare. I also try and leave everything mic’d up, so I can get ideas down quickly and not be mucking around with mic stands.”
Ultimately, Huckvale described 2019 as a “landmark year” for him. Alongside having his studio built and the arrival of his first child, Huckvale also found time to branch out into a number of other fields, including music for podcast themes, online book catalogues and computer games. “The latter was a real challenge – I was putting together the music for the Over the Alps game on the new Apple Arcade platform and ended up doing all the sound design too, so I had to juggle the creative and the technical parts of my brain quite a bit.”
He is also working on his third studio album under his Huckvale moniker: “It has involved a lot of nerding about making tape loops with old four-track recorders and dictaphones. I also want to mix in some live orchestral instruments and hardware synths and then somehow infuse that all with a pop sensibility. I’ve given myself a bit of a conundrum I think, but I’m enjoying just tinkering with things in the new studio to see what sounds come to the surface.
“I’ve been working out of here for about six months and I love it. When I go downstairs to the studio, I’m at work for the day, so even though I’m working from home there’s still enough of a barrier to not get distracted. Saying that, I’m also really lucky that I’ll be around to witness any milestones if our baby starts taking his first steps during the daytime.”