Just on the Newmarket Road as you drive into Soham is a growing facility of interest to all those in the music, dance and performing arts world and in particular a recording studio which offers a truly professional space for artists to lay down their tracks.
Now Blue Shed, which also offers rehearsal studios, dance studios, tuition, equipment hire and sales, and other services like technical support and set, stage and props construction provides a one-hour or two-hour recording studio experience which includes cutting your own CD.
The experience is ideal for all ages but while the Shed deals with names in the musical world (recent visitors were a pro rock band currently now on a tour of French venues).
My visit was to understand how Blue Shed offers the hour experience which is perfect for young people, and a group such as a birthday party. It’s a family business and Steve Thompson works with his two sons Nigel (technical manager, equipment sales and hire) and Simon (marketing and events).
As I turned up Nigel was busy preparing for the Soham Carnival bands float which was taking place the next day.
Steve took me through to the recording studio – a large room with acoustic treatment panels and banks of top of the range equipment to capture and edit music – from classical to rock to dance.
Steve explained how they’ll then sit the birthday boy or girl/recording artist down at the mixing desk over to one side of the room (parents accompanying younger people – there’s room!) and set up a backing track for them to perform or sing to, recording their very own demo. The desk has that classic look to it and with headphones on it makes a cool shot (they take a photo!).
All is done with computers and in digital, the backing track is downloaded and work on it takes place. Then it’s mixed down and the process takes an hour. An on site engineer will support you and master tracks until they are sounding just right, and at the end of it a CD is presented complete with the earlier photo on the sleeve!
Steve told me: “We have three very good sound engineers and they have worked on some excellent recordings including a flute, backing tracks for weddings, rappers, rock bands, theatre voice-over work, radio adverts, a flamenco group, musical theatre casts, solo artists all in professional quality digital sound. Bands on their way to the summer festivals have been dropping by in recent days."
All in all a great experience, perfect as a present but with real ongoing interest for those with the musical talent and enthusiasm to take it further.
And who knows? Armed with that demo CD you may get your big break!
Sessions cost £25 for an hour; £50 for 2 hours. Website Tel: 01353 723544