The Spring 2015 issue of American Bungalow magazine has just come out, and an article that I co-wrote made the cover! The article, written in conjunction with Southern California-based writer Laszlo Remenyi, is about a truly unique recording studio (below and at left) built by film composer, record producer, and self-proclaimed ‘reformed rock musician,’ Richard Gibbs, who, after an exhaustive five year search, bought a picturesque piece of property in Malibu, California and rebuilt its guest house as a world class recording studio.
Known as Woodshed Recording, it is the first-and-only such building of its kind – a recording studio built in the craftsman style, with a nod to Greene & Greene – where musicians and recording artists are inspired to be creative in a place that feels more like a relaxing seaside bungalow than a highly technical acoustically precise studio.
For Gibbs, the decision to design a studio in the craftsman style was an easy one. Having grown up in Florida, he had been exposed to bungalows at a young age, but it wasn’t until he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music that he came to realize just how important the right kind of atmosphere was to the creative process.
“I’ve always been attracted to the peace and tranquility—the good vibes—one feels when inside a properly designed craftsman home,” says Gibbs. “There’s a symmetry to it, a flow. It’s not just left and right symmetry, there’s a sense of connection and unity in every dimension. What you end up with is a structure and an environment that immediately tells your fight-or-flight reflex to relax, so you feel comfortable and at ease.”
Gibbs goes on to describe what it is about The Woodshed that makes it so special:
“Most studios feel like a Las Vegas casino—there’s no natural light, and you don’t know what time it is, or where you are. They deliberately disorient you, as though you’ve been sucked into some kind of vortex,” he says. “That’s because they’re accommodating the technical acoustics of the studio without thinking about sensory stimulation and the things are important for your psyche as you’re trying to create music.”
But it wasn’t easy to achieve such a welcoming atmosphere while overcoming all of the technical challenges required for proper acoustical performance in a recording studio. Countless hours of research and thoughtful design went into the project, as Gibbs assembled the team of architect Akai Yang and Malibu builder Kevin Beck, as well as veteran studio designer, Jack Vieira, to bring his vision to a reality.
The end result is a creative sanctuary that has inspired musicians and recording artists from virtually every musical genre you can think of. From internationally recognized rock bands like Coldplay and U2, to hip-hop artists like Kanye West and The RZA, to hard rockers Korn, and everyone in between, they’ve all been enamored with The Woodshed’s easy-going atmosphere and overall good vibes. Below is a video of Barbara Streisand and John Mayer at The Woodshed recording the track “Come Rain or Shine” that was featured on Streisand’s recent album, Partners.
One of the coolest things about the studio is its grand piano. Everyone who records there is encouraged to sign their autograph on the inside of it along with a personal message, but you’ll have to pick up a copy of the magazine to see that!
So if you’re not already a subscriber to the magazine, it’s never too late to start. You can subscribe to the print edition of the magazine and/or the all-new digital edition – click here for more information. Or, you can always pick up the current issue on newsstands now!
And if you’ve already got your copy and have read the article, I’d love to get your feedback, so please leave a comment below!