Two heads are better than one! We want to take your mixes and mastering to the next level, and with James' modern and Mark's traditional approach we can cover most bases. We've worked with everyone from local bands to legendary producers such as Chris Birkett and Snowboy, and pride ourselves on a high end result that won't break the bank!
Formerly of GTA Studios, which gained a reputation for being one of the best studios in Essex, we recently moved to new premises, re-branded, and can now offer even better facilities to our clients at an affordable price.
Mark Ashfield is a traditionally trained engineer, who learned his craft on classic analogue equipment - large format mixing consoles and two inch tape - right before everything went digital and most of what he'd learned became redundant! But now that analogue 'sound' has come back into vogue, he can bring a traditional studio approach to recording, mixing and mastering that over 25 years of industry experience has refined into a truly hybrid style. Much preferring knobs and faders to menus and mice, he favours mixing with the screen turned off and is still trying to find a reliable way of playing vinyl in the car.
James Nugent started working at GTA almost by accident in 2014 and quickly turned out to be an astounding engineer with a superb ear. The duo hit it off straight away and found that working together really combined the best of both worlds. James is adept at flying around just the right plugins for the session, is quick and nimble at the most complex of edits, and brought a fresh perception and more modern workflow to Mark's more traditional leanings.
As a team, there is little we can't mix, try us out with your next project!
Send me a note through the contact button above.
- Chris Birkett
- John Otway
- DB Cohen
- Mamas Gun
- The Getup
- Joe Clack
- Soul Grenades
- Brian Bath
- Viktoria Modesta
- Anti Establishment
- Joanna Forest
- Steve Drewitt
- KT Bush Band
- Don't Worry
- Trinity College
- The Fantastics
- Delsyn Drive
- King Canute
- Audio Network
- James Taylor
- Pharoah & The Beats
- Cat Videos
- Crimson Ties
- Ade Onayiga
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Interview with Cosmic Audio
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: We're working on a long term project with an excellent songwriter and superb musician called Joe Clack. His songs are just fantastic and full of emotion, and there's a wide variation of styles that have bought in session musicians, a choir, voice over artists - it's all hugely creative and great fun, and the results have been spectacular.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both, analog on the way in for speed in capturing the moment - you can't beat quickly grabbing an EQ for a bit of extra bite on the snare or to tame some harshness in a guitar amp on the way in, but digital for mixing due to the sheer convenience of recall if it's a longer term project.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That we'll do our very best to bring out the best in YOUR music. And we have fun and make memories along the way.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The huge variety of clients and styles of music we have through the door, and the wide range of people we get to meet and work with.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What their vision is if they have one, how they like to work, what the proposed format and market for their music is, what artists they admire, and whether they're experienced in the studio or it's all a new, fun adventure!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: We work for you, so whether you're completely new to the production experience, or have years behind you, don't be afraid to tell us what you want - and if you're not sure what that is or what a facility like ours can bring, just talk to us. We love sharing ideas and making great music.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A Hammond organ and Leslie speaker, some SM57's and a decent interface, and laptop running Logic Pro.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Mark has been in the industry for over 25 years and was bought up on analogue tape and mixing desks. He started off recording his own bands and was quickly asked by other musicians to record them. He worked freelance until 2012 and then built his own commercial studio in Essex. James joined the fold in 2014 due to his natural recording and mixing abilities and a great partnership was formed. In 2016 we moved to new premises in Epping and rebranded as Cosmic Audio.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd love to work with Warren Huart on pretty much any artist. I respect his technical skills and superb ear, but above all his ability to focus on creativity and the music itself.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: It's all in the music and the performance. You can have the best gear in the world, but it's all about the song, how it's performed, and capturing a great sound at source.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: We have a wide experience of everything from location choral recordings to tracking metal bands. Our most common work is with real bands - we're never happier than when the studio is full of creative people and we're mic'ing drums kits, guitar amps and there's real, live, of-the-moment music being captured. With online mixing and post production we are comfortable and experienced in dealing with a huge variety of genres - and always love a new challenge!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Our strongest skill is interpersonal and finding the artists sound. It's all about the artists and musicians. We like to make them comfortable, bring out the best of their creativity, and make every recording memorable. The mics, gear and plugins you use are all secondary to what's going into them. Our sheer volume of repeat customers are testimony to our skills in finding the sound of the artist, and bringing out the best of that to make a great recording.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: We can bring many things to a song from both a technical and, as musicians ourselves, an artistic point of view. If something really isn't working we like to be open an honest, and if we think there is something that would be of huge benefit to a song we are happy to make suggestions. We like to focus mixing on the arrangement, on dynamics, bringing elements of the chorus out to add impact, but respecting the artist's original vision. We get great satisfaction from bringing the best out of a song and putting a huge grin on the artists face - that's the best bit for us!
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Our work process depends entirely on who we're working with. We don't have a set formula in place, we like to judge each project on it's own merits and don't force a way of working on to our clients. Want to try some crazy drum mic'ing technique? Let's do it! We like to remain open minded and find the best way of working for the artist - it's all about their music at the end of the day, and we try to find a work process that enhances their creativity for the best musical result.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: We currently have a large live room and super-vibey control room adjacent to each other, and are about to start work on a third multi-purpose room that will enable us to record in the same room as the band if necessary, as well as giving us a second mix and mastering room, and somewhere really cool to shoot video
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: We are generally inspired by artists and professionals that put the band, music, and performance first, and the gear you use second. You can get amazing results using almost any technology these days if it's a great song being performed well.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: For recording we most commonly do full band recordings, usually recorded as live as possible for the best vibe and to really get the musicians inspiring and feeding off of each other. As well as mixing our own recordings, we often mix tracks and whole albums for clients that have been recorded elsewhere.