We had the chance to visit Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London, UK, where Producer, writer and arranger Ben Collier has found his new home in the basement studio of the complex, previously occupied by Drum and Bass aficionado Roni Size.
One thing that welcomes you immediately into the space is the smell of incense and feeling of calm and zen. I think this studio wins our prize for most inspiring space. A truly great place to get creative!
We asked Ben to give us a little trip down memory lane and share his journey so far:
"My music career started when I was 14 after doing a week's work experience at Olympic Studios in Barnes shadowing their runner. I spent my last day as an assistant/runner during an Atomic Kitten vocal session for producer Ash Howes. A few months later when I was working a summer job washing up in the studio kitchen, Ash saw me and offered me an apprenticeship as an assistant for their team. We spent three months in Studio 3 before moving from Olympic to Stanley House Studios' Studio A and B in Acton. After one of the last sessions I did with the Ash's team, I lent my umbrella to the head of a label who'd come in to listen to some mixes as he walked to his car in the pouring rain (I still haven't got it back!) Move forward a few years and the same label head's right hand man spotted me at the Apple Store in Regent Street where I was working as a Creative and asked if I'd be interested in doing some audio editing and engineering as they were looking to expand their new team. I started working at the label head's private studio out in Surrey as an editor and programmer (including working on Gabrielle Aplin's Acoustic EP) and writer with different artists which was when he offered me a publishing deal. I had my first cut with X-Factor winner Joe McElderry followed by co-writing Blue's 'I Can' which got selected by the BBC as the UK's Eurovision entry. "I then moved back to London and into a studio where I co-wrote Concrete Angel for Christina Novelli which was remixed and released by Gareth Emery (and was Armin van Buuren’s song of the year which was pretty cool) followed by co-writing Everything You Never Had for Andreya Triana which was remixed and released by Breach. I also wrote the string arrangements for both of the original ballads and appeared behind the piano in a music video for Concrete Angel."
When a production team I did some vocal tuning for Little Mix’s DNA heard that I also did string arrangements they asked me to write arrangements for James Arthur's Recovery, Little Mix's Little Me, Olly Murs' Never Been Better, and then for Sigma ft. Paloma Faith's Changing and Jess Glynne's Don't Be So Hard On Yourself which both went to No.1 in the UK. In late 2015 my manager knew I was looking for a new home and shortly afterwards I moved into Metropolis."
On moving into the Metropolis Studio, Ben realised his existing Rogers LS3/5a monitors were in need of an upgrade and so he
took a trip down to Red Dog Music in Clapham
to see what would work for his newly acquired studio. Red Dog's Sergio Batista, a like-minded dance producer was on hand to take
Ben through the options available. After listening to an extensive array of studio monitors including a number of brands, Ben was drawn to the
EVE Audio SC307
3-way studio monitors. Ben recalls; "Out of all of the monitors I tried out, the SC307's were the only ones I felt I could
actually hear detail in the low end, not just feel air moving.
At the end of 2016, Ben decided to incorporate the EVE Audio TS110 subwoofer with his SC307's. "Having used a SubPac in my last studio and on the move, I wanted to offer clients a more powerful and accurate listening experience when listening back to work together". Ben comments. "Again there's real detail and accuracy from the subwoofer and it reinforces the real low energy punch to the sound. Clients love listening back to stuff through the EVE's and comment on how natural they sound."