After 13 years in London, Sphere Studios recently made the journey across the pond, closing up shop in the UK with plans to reopen in Los Angeles in 2015. The studio is currently under construction, with NonZero Architecture heading the design.
Why the move to L.A.? Studio founder Francesco Cameli says it was time for a change. “I wanted to work on music that was more in the genres that I enjoy listening to, and I wanted to be surrounded by some of the greatest studios on the planet and some of the greatest engineers in the business,” Cameli says. “The English market is oversaturated with plastic pop, and organic recording has taken a real pounding, not to mention active rock music.”
Though Sphere L.A. is still under construction, Cameli has been busy working out of the former Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood. “It’s a great space that I’m sharing with mix engineer Craig Bauer, owner of Hinge Studios, formerly in Chicago,” Cameli says. “I am building a mix suite for him at Sphere next to my tracking space, so we thought we’d move into Devonshire together.”
Cameli's setup at the former Devonshire Studios.
Cameli says the transition to L.A. has been great. “I pretty much got off a plane and locked myself into a studio with Don Gilmore [producer/engineer, Linkin Park, Good Charlotte] working,” Cameli says. “The first project I worked on was Korn, and I’ve been steadily working since. I recorded the new Flyleaf album, which is out soon, and did some work with Krewella as well. I’ve also started to develop a local band called Cartographer.”
The move has been two years in the making, which gave Cameli time to prepare for the transition to happen as smoothly as possible. Sphere L.A. will be a bit bigger than its London location, and Cameli has brought over the entire backline, vintage mic and outboard collection that he had there, including Pultecs, Fairchilds, UREIs and U 47s, 67s, and Elam 251s.
Though Sphere’s location has changed, Cameli’s studio philosophy remains the same as it has been from the beginning. “I want to create a space with state-of-the-art equipment but in an environment where the gear melts away and leaves a comfortable vibe that allows clients to express themselves freely and perform to the best of their abilities,” Cameli says. “L.A. is full of talent that converges here from the entire planet, so to me and my clients, [the city] offers the inspiration and the resources necessary to make great records. In that respect, Los Angeles is truly unique.”