Nestling deep in the tranquil Somerset countryside, The Distillery is a very special studio. One of Neil Grant’s most distinctive commissions, this stunning private facility is the creative hub for Distiller Records label owner Sam Dyson.
Spirited away from other distractions, Distiller’s personally curated roster of artists – plus occasional celebrity guests – can record in comfort, inspired by breathtaking all-round views. It’s a far cry from the soulless confines of most studios, where fresh air and natural light are scarce commodities.
The Distillery’s live room provides an incredibly controlled sound that can be fine-tuned with the use of remote controlled acoustic blinds. A large isolation booth, as well as a much livelier stone walled mezzanine, adds to the variety of acoustic spaces within the studio. An aesthetic centrepiece is the specially designed acoustic glass wall, enabling vast amounts of natural light to pour into the live room throughout the day offering an open feel and incredible views.
Sam’s introduction to Harris Grant’s unique aesthetic and technical vision came while working at Peter Gabriel’s nearby Real World facility:
“I walked into The Big Room [at Real World] and instantly thought ‘wow’” Sam recalls. “It’s so beautifully designed, and just so cool. It was certainly an inspiration when it came to building my own space with Neil’s help a few years later.”
Like Real World, a huge part of the Distillery’s appeal is its idyllic rural location. Away from other pressures, artists affiliated to the label can work at their own pace, with stunning all-round views as the only distraction: “We invite musicians and producers whose work we love and respect. We want them to treat the studio as if it’s their own place, with no-one else breathing down their neck.”
Visitors have other treats in store – not least a formidable arsenal of contemporary and vintage recording gear, including a carefully restored Otari 24-track tape machine, Neve 8036 console and also a Universal Audio 610 mixer, famously built for Frank Sinatra’s home studio by Bill Putnam. But most of all, Sam affirms that it’s the raw character of the space itself that is the Distillery’s biggest asset:
“Producers walk in here and they immediately see all the glass and the stone. Then they actually hear the acoustic for themselves, and they always say it sounds just phenomenal – and that’s a testament to Neil’s genius as a designer.”
See – and hear- the results at Distiller TV.