The resident of Toast has an itch: a gear itch. “I don’t really need any new tech,” explains Craig Silvey (pictured), “but with the creation of a new studio, I’ve gotten the bug again!”
Toast is the reincarnation of two studios Silvey has worked in extensively during his busy career; Matt Johnson’s now-defunct Garden Studios in Shoreditch, East London, where he worked between 2009 and 2012, and his original Toast Studios in California.
It’s based in a building used by musicians, record producers and songwriters, in a classic Brill Building-style, media hub arrangement, round the corner from Ladbroke Grove. (“And five minutes from my house!” says the American.)
When The The’s Johnson closed the Garden at the end of 2012, securing new premises for Silvey’s much sought-after mixing skills – and quickly – was paramount. A connection with Swedish producer Martin Terefe (KT Tunstall, Jamie Cullum) drew Silvey to the new West London location. He transported his collection of vintage outboard gear, including the 1972 Neve 8026 desk he has owned since 1995, into Toast over the Christmas break.
As with the Garden, the Miloco Group are managing the bookings at the facility. Toast is split between a large, day-lit control room and a recording booth big enough for overdubs or a drum kit. “Plus Martin’s big tracking room is upstairs if I need it,” Silvey adds.
“It took a while got to get used to the acoustics – they were very different to the Garden,” he continues. Miloco subsequently drafted in an acoustician to tune the space, followed by Silvey installing his beloved Boxer T2 monitors there. “Now its closer to the Garden’s sound. Maybe even better.”
@page_break@ Since the official launch in July, Silvey says he’s been “as busy as I want to be”, with the likes of Goldfrapp, Arcade Fire, The National and old friends The Horrors all dropping in for mix sessions.
Recent projects include work for Rae Morrison, a new signing to Atlantic, and a solo album by Hamilton Leithauser, frontman of indie band The Walkmen.
“A good portion of my sound comes from the Neve desk, so it was good to get that back in place and working here,” he remarks. “The mix buss has a certain sound – it’s beefier than later models.”
Asked to highlight three other pieces of ‘go-to’ kit in his extensive collection, Silvey highlights a Thermionic Culture Phoenix compressor, original Helios 69 modules from Chris Blackwell’s Island Studios, and an Ibanez AD202 analogue delay (“you can pick them up for 200 quid”).
But there’s still that itch to scratch…
“I’ve been contemplating more API modules,” he reveals, “and a major Pro Tools upgrade. I haven’t had to upgrade so far. I’m still on version 8!” http://www.miloco.co.uk/studios/toast