He's A Real Gone Home Kid
The Independent 23rd April 2001
Deacon Blue's frontman Ricky Ross
He talks to Jennifer Rodger about the recording studio at his house 23 April
Rock'n'roll studios are usually grimmer than the grimmest. I had a rented studio space in the back of another studio in the West End of Glasgow the lighting was bad and there were no windows in the room. Then we decided to turn a fantastic room in the house that was only used once a year at Christmas into a home studio. I felt immediately better working in a room with two lovely windows and a real fire, and it was large enough to fit all the studio equipment.
The first thing I did was to trade in a van load containing an old desk tape recorder and a lot of hardware and returned with two boxes with a Mac G4 computer and a Digi 001 Pro-Tools package. I felt that I had got a lot more than I had actually traded, and then to have more room space as a result was fantastic.
The greatest thing is I don't need any other hardware. My only worry was that I could run games on the computer and would waste a lot of time. But I've had some wonderful afternoons when my children have been playing on the computer and I've been playing on the piano.
I think that things have changed for home studios because it's possible to get cheap equipment. I use the Pro Tools package as my main system for recording and I've probably got the bog standard starting pack. I was told that if I wouldn't be using it every day then I'd never get my money back if I got a high-grade version. So rather than pay £10,000 I bought mine for £500. It's like having a really cheap recorder on the computer, and I record live instruments and voice as well as record drum machines and sampling. It's all done on two screens that make up the interface of Pro Tools: one that looks like a mixing desk and the other that is a bit like a tape recorder, so you can see what tracks you're working on.
It was not long after buying the system that I got offered a project for a television drama and it was perfect to record this in the home studio. Then throughout the wet and cold months of January and February I was able to stay in my studio and put a fire on and look out of the window, and I loved to not have to leave my house and go to work.
I recently listened to an album that I had recorded on Pro Tools and I was really proud of it. I had decided to compensate for the difference in sound if you record totally on Pro Tools you just don't get the warmth and I had used warm analogue input so that everything that went on to Pro Tools was warmed up. Recording live instruments on Pro Tools is a nice marriage of the traditional and new technology. I am glad to have set up the home studio. The thing I love most about it is that, with having two children, between 3 and 7pm it's a very busy time. But then when the house quietens down I can go to the studio for half an hour.