Hello artists and friends of Essentia,
Today I want to take some time to explain details, history and characteristics of our SALA VIVA!
What is meant for SALA VIVA
It is called sala viva a recording room made of natural materials, properly studied and located to give a perfect sound without any artificial and synthetic tiles for acoustic isolation.
A recording room unique to the world
There are very few recording studios in the world with a SALA VIVA like ours.
By the way, we can say that the Essentia Beyond Music recording room is unique to the world.
In fact it was designed, planned and physically built by Xavi Perez and his family, studying every single detail to get the sound desired by Xavi.
That provides many advantages and a lot of exclusivity. We will explain each point starting from the history.
Project and construction of the SALA VIVA
Working as a composer, Xavi Perez always dreamt to have a space that would allow him to play and sing with an ideal sound. His dream was to have the chance to sing in a space with a ceramic timbre, the same typical timbre that we have when singing in the bathroom, he used to say.
In most of the bathrooms, usually we have a sound with more color, more harmonics, clear timbre, with a natural reverb. That is caused by the composition of the room, prevailingly with ceramic on the walls and furniture.
So Xavi’s family activated to study and build a studio using 100% natural and ecologic materials, placed in a peculiar way to achieve that sort of ceramic timbre.
Technical composition of the SALA VIVA
Xavi Perez’s father still hides with great zeal the complete «recipe» of the bricks that cover the walls of Essentia Beyond Music rooms. But we know that he studied and made a mixture of magnesium, quartz and something else (secret) to compose the ceramic bricks that make our recording studio so special.
The entire recording room and the Essentia control room are covered with characteristic bricks that we show you in the photos below.
Placement of the bricks in function of the sound
The bricks are placed in an undulatory way and with a precise strategy to create bass traps where necessary. In this way we can guarantee that the sound gets a timbre that we could never get in another studio.
Being a singer I can say that the natural harmonics of the voice are preserved, without any problem of bouncing in the microphone during the recording.
It is amazing and liberating to record with that ceramic timber after many years spent recording in common studios with acoustic tiles on the walls where, even if your voice had very good harmonics, everything was killed in the foam tiles for the acoustic isolation. A frustration for a singer with a good technique. Somebody even can get dizzy if spending a lot of time locked up recording.
The most famous SALA VIVA in the world
In the past many popular artists made their recordings in the SALA VIVA out there. For example, the most famous SALA VIVA in the world, with walls made of stones, originally owned by Virgin Records in the 80s, then passed to EMI Music and finally to Universal until 2008, was located in The Town House studios, West London. Precisely room n. 2 of the studio complex, called the Stone Room.
The Town House, designed and created by the famous sound designer Richard Branson, was considered the best recording studio in the world. Also famous for the production of «Candles in The Wind«, Elthon John’s song dedicated to the death of Princess Lady Diana.
Other famous artists who recorded in SALA VIVA
If you want to check the special sound that the stone room generated, you can listen to the famous Phil Collins song «In The Air Tonight». It is popular for the curios recording of the battery by Phil Collins. Despite having been artificially edited by Hugh Padgham during the production of the final song, you still will be able to appreciate the peculiarity of the sound.
The artists who recorded at The Town House were Elton John, Queen, Phil Collins, The Jam, Asia, Bryan Ferry, Coldplay, Muse, Duran Duran, Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue, Oasis, XTC, Robbie Williams y Joan Armatrading.
While some of the artists who recorded and recorded in our living room made of ceramic bricks are:
Antonio Orozco, Rosantique, Chipper Cook, Gigi Mcfarlen, Maximilian Gimenez, Parrita, Antonio José, Eddine Saïd, Miguel Nández, Diego Martín, Jere Improperios, Dani Ramírez, Alberto del Puerto, Peret, Duquende, Tamara, Moncho, Buenafuente, Berto.
Blackwing Studio, sala viva in a deconsacrated church
Here another SALA VIVA made of stones, located in a desconsacrated church in the South East of London. Built by Eric Radcliffe, it became famous for the production and recording of the first album of de Depeche Mode and Yazoo.
My first experience in a LIVING ROOM in England
During my career I had the luck to record several times in the recording room of Herbie Flowers (David Bowie‘s bassman) downstairs of his house in Ditchling (Brighton, UK) which is also made of stone.
Herbie Flowers built it with his hands collecting Sussex red brick and brick size flint from the Sussex Downs, millions of years old. Herbie built the ‘bothy’ himself form old foundations. He built without plans, until it looked right. People from the village would turn up with beautiful flint pieces for him to add to the walls.
The floor boards were originally from the stage of Theatre Royal, Brighton and I remember I had a very good live recording with the best musicians of Brighton, colleagues of Herbie Flowers.
In the picture here below, a moment of the live recording during the streaming radio show «The Thursday Night Show» hosted by the great Dom Robinson, where I used to have a spot once a month as a guest, playing a live session some years ago (2014-2015).
For the most curious of readers: you can recognize Herbie Flowers‘s bass in the colossal «Take a Walk on the Wild Side» or in the legendary «Pink Panther Theme”. The bass here in the photo is the same original bass with which these songs were recorded and with which almost all the concerts of the international tours of David Bowie were played by the great Herbie Flowers.
I want to thank Michael Orourke of TheLIGHTWHISPERER PHOTOGRAPHY for the precious photos, testimonials and heritage of musical culture.
Advantages of our SALA VIVA
In Essentia Beyond Music we are very proud to be able to take care of our passion working in an ideal space, so exclusive and so precious with many benefits advantages and added values:
1. A wonderful ceramic timbre
It’s amazing how the voice sounds in our SALA VIVA, so that sometimes I and other singers who came to record, we took out an earphone to enjoy the pure sound of our voice …. hidden from the producer in the controlroom !!!
2. A 100% ecological space, even hypoallergenic!
It is very important today to try to use materials respecting the environment as much as possible and, when working, that’s not always possible. We can be proud to work 100% contributing and creating only good things!
3. Healthy space and … healing space!
The fact that there is nothing synthetic inside the recording rooms and, not having to use any synthetic acoustic tiles that also trap a lot of dust, odors and bacterias when it gets dry inside, makes us feel super good.
A clean, fresh space, without problems of overwhelm, dizziness or sickness when spending a lot of time inside recording, perfectly tolerated by singers or allergic musicians (like me).
My previous experiences in other recording rooms
For example, I always have been feeling bad when recording in other studios. Singing is the thing I like most, getting to record is what most excites us all, and … every time I got in a recording room I always realized that I really … was having a bad time. I used to get fatigue, feeling weaker…
The lack of oxygen, the dust accumulated in the foam tiles even if the room was clean, the sense of being enclosed in a muffled ambient… the truth, I did not enjoy it.
Inside our SALA VIVA I enjoy 100% of my work!
Now, thanks to our SALA VIVA, I have got no problems of allergies and, as often as I can, I go there also for studying and rehearsing because I am pleased by the perception of my timbre at 100% of its real harmonics inside of it!!!!
It is amazing to sing there! That’s why I consider it a «healing» place, too. Because what it does is motivating me, gratifying me and I feel very active and full of energy, with no worries about limits of time to stay inside the room of ceramic bricks!
Me in the SALA VIVA of Essentia Beyond Music
We invite you to come and visit our studio, taking as many photos as you would like because we really have something very special that we are excited to show and share.
If you are an artist that always has been recording in common studies like I used to do, let’s share and inform your colleagues about the existence of SALAS VIVAS because it really gives an added value to each production and also it’s something very curious and interesting to experience or just to know.
I hope that this article has taught you something new and that the history of the SALA VIVA impassioned you just like me.
See you next week and… VIVA LA MUSICA!