Mike Oldfield at Tilehouse Studios in the 1980's
"Moonlight Shadow" by Mike Oldfield
was recorded at Tilehouse Studios in 1983
Tilehouse Studios is located in a house built in 1883 and bought by Mike Oldfield in 1979, where he lived and worked for 7 years. His 1983 smash hit single Moonlight Shadow was recorded here and various albums including Crises and Five Miles Out. The studio was designed by Eddie Veale in the early 1980s and is acoustically treated to the highest standards. Eddie has designed studios for a long list of rockstars and institutions including John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Dave Gilmour, Trevor Horn and the Ministry of Defence. The studio was abandoned in 1987 when Mike relocated to nearby Chalfont.
In 2010 the studio was resurrected by Luke Oldfield who is the studio manager and in-house producer at Tilehouse Studios. Luke uses the studio for his own songwriting and recording projects when the studio is not booked up for recording. Luke currently writes and plays in the pop/folktronic band Gypsyfingers and has worked with signed bands such as Metronomy, Madness and The Wytches both at Tilehouse Studios and at Toe Rag Studios with Liam Watson (The White Stripes - “Elephant”).
In Luke’s own words: “It has always been a dream of mine to run a recording studio where musicians can come and create in a laid back environment. As a child I heard about 1970‘s residential studios like Virgin’s studio The Manor and about how games of cricket were organised in the summer for bands and residents to take part in. It sounded to me like the perfect place to work and make music! I wanted to capture the essence of a studio like The Manor at Tilehouse Studios, which is why we encourage bands and artists to stay in the hotel and B&B accommodation options nearby. Some studios I’ve been to have operated like band factories and had a sterile vibe. I wanted Tilehouse Studios to have a friendly, welcoming and laid back vibe whilst at the same time offering a fantastic professional recording facility and service to make great music. Tilehouse Studios is surrounded by beautiful countryside, woods and fields making it a peaceful place for music-making and songwriting. The studio itself is a unique and boutique recording facility kitted out with a great selection of vintage equipment and some of the best modern high-end gear available. Our mixing console is a fully refurbished Studer 189 originally built in 1968, which sounds (and looks!) amazing. Our Studer A800 16-track tape machine is as good as analog recording gets as our Apogee Symphony converters are for digital recording.”
Visit Luke's website at: www.lukeoldfield.com
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Payment, Deposits and Cancellations.
A 50% deposit will secure the dates for your session. Deposits are non-refundable and cancellations made with less than 24 hours notice will be charged in full at the agreed rate. The remaining balance should be paid before the start of the session by bank transfer or cheque or on arrival in cash. Credit or debit cards are not accepted.
Is there accommodation nearby?
Yes, there is a nice hotel called Denham Grove across the road, 200m from the studio, with a restaurant, bar, gym, tennis court and pool. Book in advance for the best rates.
There are also various B&B options close in picturesque Denham Village and we have our own apartment underneath the studio.
What do we get when we hire the Studio?
The studio comes with everything you need to make a great record: instruments, guitars, drums, cymbals, percussion, piano, microphones, amps and a sound engineer. You are welcome to bring any or all of your own gear. Tape is not included.
Can we record to tape?
Yes! Our Studer A800 tape machine is one of the best sounding tape machines ever made and we love using it to record at Tilehouse Studios. In our experience some instruments just don’t sound the same without tape. This is particularly true for drums and bass due to the way the tape interacts with the audio - i.e. tape compression. Tape machines are costly and time-consuming to maintain and run but the experience and quality of recording to tape is well worth the effort! Please bear in mind that if you usually rely on digital editing to comp vocals or correct/manipulate your recordings, then tape is probably not for you.
What is the difference between Analogue & Digital?
This could be the title of a PHD thesis! Here are some articles and resources if you want to get to grips with the topic:
Sound On Sound Magazine - "Analogue Warmth" Article
Wikipedia - "Comparison of Analogue & Digital Recording"
Luke Oldfield on recording to tape:
“For me the best recordings are those that capture a moment and have feeling. That’s why I love recording to tape. High-end tape machines like my Studer A800 just sound amazing for live bands. Tape has character in the same way that a film photograph does. Most digital recorders are great if you want a crystal clear, pristine sound but lack the character and richness that tape gives, especially with drums. The flexibility of digital can also make bands complacent as they expect to be able to plug in and play the engineer to “fix” mistakes or sloppily produced recordings. Recording to tape, there is nowhere to hide so bands need to be well rehearsed and willing to commit to arrangements and parts. Spending time on preproduction and rehearsing saves a lot of time in the studio. When recording to tape you have to allow time to do things properly like mic placement, instrument selection and tone. Then it is up to the musicians to play their parts and capture that moment. Of course, digital is always there to fall back on if you need to do lots of editing or intricate effects but I like to record drums and backing tracks at least to tape wherever possible.”
Is there a producer we can work with?
Luke Oldfield runs Tilehouse Studios and is the in-house producer. He produces his own music at Tilehouse Studios. Studio time includes an engineer but production services are negotiated separately from Recording services.
Ok, enough questions! How do we get to Tilehouse Studios?!
DIRECTIONS / GETTING TO TILEHOUSE STUDIOS:
Tilehouse Studios is located within Little Halings house, located within the M25, just off the M40 at Junction 1 and within easy reach from London by train or by car.
TRAIN: Trains go between London Marylebone and Denham at least once per hour. Taxi from the station will cost around £6.
DIRECTIONS FROM M40 & M25 (Junction 16):
- From the M25 follow signs at Junction 16 for Uxbridge and M40/A40.
- From M40/A40 take the exit at Junction 1.
You now have two options depending which direction you are travelling on M40:
- If coming TOWARDS LONDON on M40: At the roundabout, take the first exit (A40 Oxford Road) signposted towards Gerrards Gross.
- If coming FROM LONDON on M40, turn right at the traffic lights.Then cross the mini roundabout (first exit). Turn right at the next roundabout.
- When you approach the first set of lights with BP Garage of your left, take the right-hand slip-road onto Denham Avenue (A412). The BP garage has an M&S where you can stock up on food supplies.
- Take the second left turning onto Tilehouse Lane.- Once on Tilehouse Lane follow the Lane for about 2 miles, going under the railway bridge, past Denham Golf Club on your left, past the airfield on your left, past Whyatt’s Covert on your right. You will then see The Denham Grove Hotel (De Vere) on your right. Tilehouse Studios is located at Little Halings which is the second (and last!) house on the left. It has a gravel drive and is not to be confused with our neighbours The Halings or The Tilehouse. Park up outside the house and someone will come out to meet you and show you into the studio.
DIRECTIONS FROM M25 (Junction 17):
- Leave M25 at Junction 17, signposted Maple Cross.
- At the roundabout take the first exit.- At the next roundabout take the second exit.
- Carry straight on at the traffic lights in Maple Cross.
- Cross the roundabout after leaving Maple Cross. Watch out for a crossing + sign on the left hand side, which means you are 200 yards away from the turning onto Tilehouse Lane, just after a lay-by.
- Turn right onto Tilehouse Lane.
- Tilehouse Studios is located at Little Halings which is the first house on the right. It has a gravel drive with no gate and is not to be confused with The Halings or The Tilehouse (our neighbours!). Park up outside the house and someone will come out to meet you and show you into the studio.