Welcome to The Hen House

The Hen House is Perth, Western Australia's sexxxiest and most inspiring rehearsal studio. Situated in Osborne Park, we have 14 spacious and vibing rehearsal rooms. Its the perfect place to jam, shoot hoops, play streetfighter and hangout. Book a room now 0407 442 726 - Hope to see you here soon. Rob

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What's happening at the house

Land Your Dream Producer & Take A Holiday At The Same Time!

Japanese Tongue Sisters - Recording In Portland

Do you have a dream producer you just wish your band could record with? You may have a particular producer in mind whose previous work on some of your favourite albums potentially helped inspire you to be in a band in the first place?!

Now what if I told you that your bands ability to land that dream producer is better than ever before. True story!

A strong Aussie dollar, plummeting recording costs and increased competition for recording dollars has created the perfect storm for bands all over the world.

We found this out on the 2nd Gyroscope album ‘Are You Involved’ when we threw a hail mary out there and sent producer Mark Trombino our demo’s. We absolutely loved the job he had done a few years prior with Jimmy Eat World and their album Bleed American. Much to our surprise he got back to us about how much he loved the demo’s and wanted to make the album happen.

Our next issue was our small budget. Even though we had a label backing us our budget was much smaller than he was accustomed too, but because he loved the demo’s he made some financial concessions and we recorded the album in a very basic, very cheap studio in North Hollywood. The cheap studio time coupled with the shrinking budgets of the US Major Labels had forced Mark to rethink the studios he used and the time frames he recorded albums in. Since 2005 this has only increased and now more than ever there are incredible producers all over the world looking for bands to record.

Other Perth bands have done a similar thing and landed amazing producers whilst turning the trip into a holiday at the same time. Who needs Contiki!?!

The guys from Avastera took this route and recorded their last E.P ‘Breathing Hope’ over in Baltimore with respected Producer Paul Leavitt (The Dangerous Summer, Circa Survive). I asked guitarist Chris Hanssen if the price was a lot more expensive or comparable when considering the producer they used?

CHRIS: When you take out the cost of flights out of this equation – The production/recording costs actually works out to be much cheaper than recording costs over here. The average ‘cost per day’ in most studios around Perth is generally around $600 per day for unsigned bands (this of course varies from studio & producer). 

For a 2 week session (14 days), that works out to be around $8400 JUST for tracking/studio time. This is before Mixing and Mastering duties have been paid for.

I won’t say exactly what we were charged by Paul (only because I’m sure producers would prefer us not to discuss their prices on a public forum), but I can tell you that we paid a lot less than that, and that was for everything! The whole package from raw tracking to finished products, that being – Tracking, Mixing, Mastering and producer costs.

Avastera Enjoying Some Downtime In The U.S.A

ROB: Of course Avastera had to then spend an extra $15K on flights overseas but they made the most of it and also turned the trip into a holiday.

CHRIS: Outside of the hours we spent locked in the studio working on the new record – We managed to; Get All Access passes to Warped Tour (hanging out with some of our childhood heroes backstage at warped tour was unreal!), we met so many amazing people, made plenty of new friends and spontaneously spent 1 crazy night in New York City before flying home.

Gyroscope’s experience was very similar; We spent 3 nights in Las Vegas partying and took a day trip to San Diego. Dan and Brad made it to the baseball and I even  got to spend a day riding roller coasters at Magic Mountain. You never know where music will take you?!

Gyroscope Days Off In Las Vegas

More importantly we created an album that to this day, we are all still really proud of. Mark’s input into the album was extremely valuable and the skills we learnt from using a world class producer helped us a lot when writing our 3rd and 4th albums. The overall experience of living in L.A for a period of time is one of the highlights of my time in Gyroscope.

But is it for everyone?

Sophie Rodgers from We Are The Emergency (R.I.P) and Japanese Tongue Sisters recently recorded the new JTS album in Portland, U.S.A with acclaimed producer Kris Crummett. She really brought up some excellent points when I asked here weather she would recommend recording oversea’s to other bands?

“There are a couple of points to this question. There are a number of great producers in Perth that will help you get a great product out of your band. It’s not that you “need” to go overseas to get a decent recording, but if there is someone you want to work with, you are serious about the long term commitment, and you can afford it, then I think bands should absolutely go for it. I firmly believe you should go 100% in music and try not to settle for anything less than exactly what you want, so if the producer you want lives in USA, UK, or Estonia, then you should jump on the plane. I think it is also important to be pragmatic about how you go about it. If you’ve just started a band and you’ve got 3 songs that you want to record to get some gigs, it’s probably better to bash ‘em out without the air travel.” 

Sophie absolutely nails this point home.

Recording overseas isn’t going to be for everyone. The costs associated with the travel aspect are just too large to ignore. At the same time if music is your life, then why not go all in on one of the most important facets of your band and record with an amazing producer.

Using a great producer is a bit like gaining a high powered mentor or coach. You’ll fast track your musical education, end up with a great product, meet some new people along the way and have a ball being exposed to a new country and culture.

Of course once you decide on the Producer you may also need a recording studio. Here are a few places for inspiration (especially if money is no object)

Black Rock Studios – Greece; Take a look at that amazing view! Looks $$$

Atrium Studios – L.A; Tommy Lee’s Recording Studio. Looks like a lot of fun.

Rockfield Studios – Wales; Converted horse stables in the Welsh country side. Where Gyro recorded our 4th album

El Mirador Studios – Spain; Owned by the famed producer Youth (The Verve) – Beautiful residential studio in the Spanish countryside.

Good Luck and as always if there is any advice you need or questions you have. Im here to help.

Rob Nassif

The Hen House Rehearsal Studios

robnassif@gmail.com

Dealing With Disappointment In The Music Biz!

Great photo by Jacinta Mathews - Our favourite photographer

In 2002 after years 5 years worth of of local shows we received a call from EMI records. They had heard our latest demo’s, loved them and wanted to fly us to Sydney to meet and play a show for them. What the hell?! EMI! Love us!! We’d never even played a show out of W.A! WOAH!

So, like four excitable teenagers we boarded the plane, flew to Sydney and met the top brass at EMI. We played the opening slot supporting The Sleepy Jackson and Eskimo Joe. EMI loved the show we played and loved Gyroscope. Things were looking good. Very good. It looked like all the hard work was about to pay off.

“Write your next batch of songs and we’ll look at signing you!” They said.

Pumped, we flew back to Perth got back into room 6 @ The Hen House and wrote our next batch of 6 songs. It was in our opinion, our best work to date.

We sent the songs back to EMI full of anticipation that we might sign that elusive Major label deal. Something we had always dreamed of. The years of hard work were about to pay off. Excitement ensured.

With in a week we received an email from EMI. It said

Dear Gyroscope,

“Thanks for the demo’s we have given them a good listen; but don’t feel the direction is right for us and we are going to pass on signing the band.”

We were devastated. So close to glory and then…bam…Nothing! It was horrible. How could they not sign us. We absolutely loved all 6 songs and felt it was our best work yet!

The moral of this story is that you will always receive setbacks and disappointments but you must press on. You have to keep believing that your band is good enough. Even if other people don’t think so….and that is exactly what we did

We kept on playing shows and having fun as a band. At the same time we sent those exact same demo’s out to a bunch of Independent and Major labels…It took a while, but 6 months after the disappointment of EMI passing on us we were in Melbourne signing a record deal with Festival Mushroom Records.

Those songs gained us our first few spins on JJJ and the wheels for the next 10 years of our journey were set in motion.

If we had let EMIs opinion upset us we may never have gone on to what was only just around the corner.

Always back yourself guys and don’t worry about setbacks and disappointments. Every band goes through them. It’s the strong ones that make it through to the other side.

Good luck

Rob Nassif

The Hen House Rehearsal Studios

www.thehenhouse.com.au

Making Money In The Music Business – Feature Article In The West Australian

Rob in Room 17 @ The Hen House

The topic of money and the music business invariably comes up in plenty of muso’s conversations. After all, musicians have just as much right as any to be compensated for their hard work. Increasingly, the ability of a musician to make a buck in the age of illegal downloads, streaming services and the internet has made that more of a challenge than ever.

The West Australian newspaper tackled this predicament with a really interesting article that came out last week. As well as my 2 cents worth their are some fascinating insights from Ian Kenny, Birds of Tokyo/Karnivool fame, Dave Faulkner from The Hoodoo Gurus as well as San Cisco/John Butler Trio Manager Phil Stevens.

To read, simply click on the thumbnails below to enlarge the pictures.

If the thumbnails do not display below then simply CLICK HERE to read the article

ROB

Do You Have The Right Bandmates?

Needles Douglas Jamming in room 17 @ The Hen House

Just how dedicated to your band are you? More importantly, How dedicated are your band mates?

With out a doubt one of the toughest parts of starting a band is simply finding other people that are 100% committed to pursuing music with the same enthusiasm that you have.

Bands often start enthusiastic enough. The simple excitement of writing a song and learning your instrument in the early days is generally enough to sustain a level of excitement amongst band members.

Over time that band then begins playing gigs and thoughts of actually taking their music somewhere begin to form and inspire the band. This dreaming phase is a beautiful time in any bands life.

The possibilities are endless and the drive with in the band is generally at an all time high. Your friends make the effort to come out to your 1st shows and you actually play in front of a decent crowd. This phase generally lasts a good year or so, its then that things seem to get interesting.

After writing their 1st generation songs and gigging in Perth for a year or so that initial enthusiasm can begin to be replaced by complacency. Often there has been no success at JJJ, that elusive support slot has yet to eventuate and friends are no longer coming to shows.

Its during this phase that the weaker band members start to lose focus and start making excuses for not making it to rehearsal or worse not making shows (insert excuse here) – Their dedication to the band begins to wain. This is often a long drawn out process that starts slowly and negatively impacts the bands ability to move forward.

It becomes harder to write songs, you play less gigs and the whole momentum of the band can now only go as fast as the weakest member who is slowly but surly dragging the band down with their lack of passion. This leads to frustration between the band members who are pulling their weight and the one(s) who aren’t.

If you play in a band with a person who fits this description then get rid of them. They are bringing your band down and you will never fulfil your goals with this sort of member in your band. I know this sounds brutal especially as friendships are usually involved but there is nothing worse than a person who likes the ‘idea’ of being in a band but simply isn’t willing to put in the time and effort required to make it.

You want to make sure you surround yourself with positive, enthusiastic and driven bandmates. People that share a really genuine love for music. People who share the same musical goals as you and are willing to do the little 1 percenter’s to help push the band forward.

These sort of bandmates are truly rare. I can safely say that Gyroscope’s strongest attribute was our dedication to each other. We all spurred each other on to make sure we were always working hard to reach out potential. Great band members are worth their weight in gold, so give them a high five when you see them next as your already along way in front of bands without a stable foundation of members.

Don’t forget guys that simply having the right members is only 75% of the job done. Having the right work ethic and dedication to fulfilling your goals will ultimately provide you with the best chance of success.

Good luck

Rob Nassif

The Hen House Rehearsal Studios

www.thehenhouse.com.au

robnassif@gmail.com

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