STUDIO SPOTLIGHT: Smash Yo Records, Kent

Audio Pro International, in association with AllStudios, presents the latest instalment of our Studio Spotlight.

Smash Yo Records in Ashford, Kent describes itself as "the world’s only charity studio." Launched in November 2011 by volunteer mixing/mastering engineer Narcis “Nachos” Radoi, the studio’s mission is to help out artists, bands and singers, or anyone who wants to set foot in the music industry. And they do it all for free.

Here, Radioi explains why he does what he does, and how he goes about it…

“I realised that the entertainment industry was struggling and I wanted to provide help for people like me who are just trying to find a job doing what they are good at," he said. "After I finished my degree, I studied with a couple of engineers – one of whom worked on albums for Phil Collins, Gorillaz and Jamelia at Abbey Road. I then produced and recorded tracks for the BBC, Universal and Sony. But, when I got offered an in-house engineer contract for Atlantic I decided to turn it down in order to start something which would actually provide opportunities for people.

"We now offer free help, support, advice and studio services to local artists around Kent and London, as well as across the UK and beyond. "We believe everyone deserves a chance to make a career in something they love, even if they can’t afford to go to a big studio to do it. Instead we do it for them, offering the same standard, but without the costs. Why do we do this? Because not all artists have a chance of getting their tracks to a commercial standard without signing to a label, and labels are not willing to spend a lot on developing artists nowadays; they expect everything to be done by the time it gets to them. This means that the artist usually has to invest his/her own money in getting their tracks up to standard, because simply submitting them as demos means they will probably never get listened to."

Smash Yo Records is mainly a digital mixing and mastering studio, but it also offers analogue emulations and hardware. Equipment includes a Tascam Tape Recorder, custom Massive Passive EQ Emulation, custom API/Neve emulations, ART Pro VLA II two-channel levelling amplifier, MOTU interface with digital LA-2A, HS50m (NS10m replicas) with matching sub, SE Audio 2200T microphone with tube pre-amp, an acoustically flat room (treatment on the room gives less than 2dB peaks on most frequencies), custom made plugins, Pro Tools, Sadie, Cubase, Ableton, Reason, Magix, Waves, Neve, API and SSL, and much more.

Radoi continued: "Studios who offer the equipment and experience we provide would charge around £200-300 per track. But we do it for free for artists who need help finding jobs, sending demos, or just looking for someone to acknowledge their existence. We basically accept all types of media from all types of artists; we help them improve lyrics, edit arrangements, give production tips, even record some of them. But mainly we help by giving their tracks some professional mixing/mastering treatment and bringing them up to standard so they can submit them to labels, to radio or even just keep them for their own sense of achievement.

"Unfortunately we don’t get the chance to record many artists except for the occasional vocal or single instrument session, which is why we are looking for studios to partner with. Mixing/mastering is only online at the moment, but we can help with constructing tracks; strategic/knowledge management consulting; copyrights; ISRC codes; OMF; DDP; finding distribution channels; promotion through our video/radio show and social media channels; placement for tracks/artists and connection with A&R / labels worldwide.

Smash Yo Records is a label with big plans and skills, built on an ethos of kindness, quality and charity. The team’s aim is to partner with other recording studios on a work transfer basis, whereby studios donate mixing/mastering work in exchange for paid recording sessions funded by donations and signed artist budgets. To date they have helped over 500 people find jobs and they have a weekly video/radio show providing help, support and advice for – and featuring – unsigned artists.

For more information on Smash Yo Records, including contact details and links to the video/radio show mentioned above, click here.

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