Founded in 1976 by legendary UK producer Mickie Most, London’s RAK Studios is famous for hosting some of the biggest names in music. Radiohead, Robert Plant, Adele, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys and David Bowie are just a few of the artists to have recorded inside the converted Victorian-era schoolhouse. So we headed to the St. John’s Wood neighborhood of the British capital to ask studio manager Trisha Wegg to give us some insight into what makes the place so special.
Could you give us the history behind RAK Studios?
Over the 42 years that RAK Studios has operated, we have played host to an amazing array of artists – some of whom I could only ever dream of working with – across so many different musical genres.
We have also won three MPG ‘Studio of the Year’ awards in the last 10 years.
Mickie Most purchased our building in St. John’s Wood in late 1975 and the studios opened in 1976. The building also contained offices to house RAK Publishing and the record label RAK Records. RAK Publishing is still successfully operating to the present day.
Initially, there were two recording studios. Both Studio 1 and Studio 2 had API consoles put in which are still up and recording to date. We also had a fully equipped mobile recording studio, again with an API desk.
Mickie then purchased the building next door and proceeded to build Studio 3, which housed a state of the art SSL 4056 E mixing console. Studio 3 opened in late 1984. Studio 4 was built in 1987 and is now a mixing, recording and writing room with the SSL 4056 desk originally from Studio 3. Studio 3 now houses a Neve VRP 60 Channel Legend desk with flying fader automation.
Can you pinpoint why an artist or band would choose to record at RAK?
It’s a good question. So many factors come into play. Budget for the project. Our reputation based on a client’s favorite artists or producers that have chosen to record at RAK. The quality of the equipment both vintage and state-of-the-art. The variety of studios we have on offer and the sound of each room plays an important part in that choice. And, of course, there is also that indefinable old RAK magic!
How would you describe the staff at RAK?
I believe the quality of the service and our staff are certainly key to our success. The team at RAK are dedicated and professional. Their technical knowledge combined with paying great attention to detail and client requests makes for a great support system for artists, engineers and producers. They are also friendly and enthusiastic about each project they undertake.
How big of a draw is it that you can offer accommodation to studio clients?
For some projects having the accommodation is an integral part of the decision to book the studios. It provides an affordable place to stay in a great part of London.
What are your favorite recent albums and your all-time Top 5 releases recorded at RAK?
The releases from 2017 and early 2018 would have to be: UB40’s Unplugged, Sam Smith’s The Thrill Of It All, The Corrs’ Jupiter Calling, Van Morrison’s Roll With The Punches and Kasabian’s For Crying Out Loud.
A small selection of some of my all-time favorites would include: Hot Chocolate and It Started With A Kiss, Picture Book from Simply Red, Fate Of Nations by Robert Plant, Fairy Tale of New York by The Pogues, Junior’s Mama Used To Say and Toumani & Sidiki by Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté.
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