Electric Lady Studios is one of the most well-known studios in the world, with a long history that began with its co-founding by Jimi Hendrix in 1970 up through being used to this day by many of the biggest artists around. But after Hendrix purchased the space along with his manager, Michael Jeffries, it almost didn’t become a studio at all, but rather a music club.
Fortunately, famed engineer Eddie Kramer came in to save the day. Kramer had worked on every Hendrix album to that point, including Electric Ladyland, which it should be noted was recorded at a different space before Electric Lady was created. Even more fortunate for us today, Kramer recently took the time to talk about the early days of the studio with MixOnline.com, including how he convinced the famous owner to devote the property to being purely a studio space.
“Oh, my God, This is a Fabulous Space”
“I remember walking down the stairs and my first impression was, ‘Oh, my God, this is a fabulous space,’” Kramer told the site. “I walked around and checked it out, looked at the square footage and finally I said, ‘Guys, you’re crazy. Why on earth do you want to build a nightclub? Why don’t we just build the best recording studio in the world?’ And they looked at me like I had four heads.”
We can all be glad those four cooler heads prevailed. In the interview, Kramer also speaks of how they worked with the architect for the studio to get the exact acoustic situation they wanted in the recording rooms.
“We kind of knew what we wanted — [London’s] Olympic was my grade-A reference point,” he explained. “It was never too live nor too dead, and that’s what I was trying to get at Electric Lady. We also did things like making half the floor covered with carpet and the other half not carpeted.”
For us gear geeks, Kramer also breaks down the original technical specifications of the studio, some of which came about a bit by happenstance. Two custom Datamix consoles were ordered because they are what Hendrix used for Electric Ladyland at Record Plant in New York. But the first console was not up to par, and the second wasn’t completed before the maker of the console got busted for not paying taxes. So the studio was able to secure everything that was left from the console maker — including test gear, modules and other equipment — and used it to build the custom equipment for the studio.