• Studio Day
  • Room 5
  • Room 10
  • Room 1
  • console
  • studio night
  • Arty recording
  • Arty recording
  • Live room
  • Equipment
  • studio live room
  • studio centre
  • control room
  • behind desk
  • Room 7
  • Snug

In the Studio…Saturday’s Kids

In The Studio…
Saturday’s Kids
Darren Lawson, Sion, Rhys, Ev (drummer David not pictured), Gethin Pearson.
Saturday’s Kids are hard rocking young men who claim to ‘break your ankles but take care of you afterwards’ (this is, in fact, the true story of a fan at a gig). Hailing from Abergavenny and Cardiff, they recorded ‘renaissance punk’ with production duo Gethin Pearson and Darren Lawson, aka Tough Luv.
After four brilliant EPs, 5 UK tours, one European tour, sessions for Jen Long, James Dean Bradfield, and BBC Radio 1 airplay – the four piece finally set about recording their first album.
Due to play the ever-cool SWN Festival and Bombed Out’s 15 year anniversary event in Leeds, the band are poised for deserved success.
Alongside their musical antics, their DIY music attitude extends to http://spacejunkiepress.tumblr.com/, their comic book project.
When producer Gethin Pearson’s mouth wasn’t full of nuts (of the peanut variety) he was giving wise producing advice, and Darren Lawson productively used his time to attempt to read the whole of the internet when he wasn’t co-producing.
They ate paprika chips, stuffed mushrooms and salad from the bag, and Sion thinks there must have been ghost in room six who moved two potted plants onto his bed.
Wild times at Monnow Valley for some hard rocking boys.
Catch them at SWN this October.

In the Studio… BASCA

In the Studio…



10 songwriters and BASCA members, including board member and session organiser Rita Campbell, came down for a song writing retreat at Monnow in late August.
Lovely weather, BBQs and full catering by Jo; the songwriters made the most of our many rooms and large spaces to write 15 songs, recording them too.
Working on rotation over the stay in groups of two and three, they were there to write but also network. For some members it was the chance to put aside all other commitments and simply write, producing 15 songs.
Whilst we host bands and artists for song writing sessions and pre-production all the time, this was the first of our specific song-writing retreats in association with BASCA, bringing members of the organisation together who would otherwise not have worked with one another.
Amongst the writers we had the composer of multiple children’s theme tunes including the Tellytubbies and Rosie and Jim, Andrew McCrorie-Shand, renowned West End MD (amongst many other things) John G Smith, rapper Influence, and Nashville export Kris Wilkinson Hughes. It was a hugely successful retreat, and we’re looking forward to having BASCA, and their writers, return.

In the Studio…. Noir|Noir

In the Studio…

Noir | Noir


Rob Ellis and engineer David Pye with the band and our two in-house engineers Liam and Stef.

Cork alt-rockers Noir | Noir decamped with us for the first two weeks in June to make their album. Firstly, they saw some of the hottest weather we’ve had, and secondly, they made very good use of our pool table.


Produced by Rob Ellis, the band rocked our live room; unafraid to try new sounds, they made the most of the beautiful sunshine for some outdoor recording. Rob had all of the band, his manager Claire, her partner Jo, Steff our engineer and even me stamping on some gravel like some crazed army.



Rob also had Eoin, (fag in hand, see below) throwing a children’s old Thomas the Tank engine soft ball at a sheet of scrap metal in the yard. See the photo below for the technical set up they used…

IMG_2475They also had the Vulcan string quartet in to record and even played some hubcaps in the live room – all in all, this album looks set to be one you don’t want to miss!BMwUhgECcAEMsh3.jpg-large


In the Studio…The Commander in Chief

In The Studio…

The Commander in Chief

monnow valley 1

Down to record her next single in the rainy beginning of August was 23 year old shred guitarist The Commander in Chief. The Norwegian singer/guitarist laid down some highly technical solos and vocals, producing the track herself with the aid of engineer James Mottershead. The track – 5 years in waiting – was finally finished at Monnow over a 2 day intensive period. The track is out today, along with an accompanying video featuring MMA fighters and carries a ‘very important message…[of] freedom of speech’.

“When you walk into Monnow Valley Studios you feel the atmosphere right away. I arrived the night before I started recording but I got so inspired by the place that I sat down by the piano and started to write a new song right away. There is something about that room at Monnow Valley that gave me total peace of mind. The combination of great equipment, the old building itself, the view and daylight flowing in from two sides – it was just fantastic! The live rooms are also incredible! When I did vocals…I was looking out of the big windows. All of a sudden a big hawk came flying and landed right in front of the window and looked straight at me. I took it as a sign and the vocals went really well! Everybody was very friendly and it was great to have bedrooms upstairs as well. It made it all so easy and practical. I am definitely coming back!”
The Commander in Chief

Only 23, she’s the official Ibanez artist, playing the prototype Falchion 7 string, the only one of its kind in the world. Support from MetalHammer, Firebrand and Revolver, as well as some major metal festival slots has put this talented young lady on the map.

See the video below by clicking on the image.

Cover for single

In the studio…Brother and Bones

In The Studio…

Brother and Bones
2013-08-01 22.20.09 HDR
Brother and Bones; L-R Engineer Gareth Cobb, Rob, Rich, James, Si, Yannis, cameraman Luke.
Bridging “the gap bridge the gap between the delicate and the destructive”, band Brother and Bones, originating (for the most part) from the South East of England and the beaches of Cornwall, came to us late on the Monday night for a week of sun and music. The band have been relentlessly touring for the past few years and released a few EPs so far, culminating in a successful trip to the US to play Teluride festival just the week before heading to us. The band supported BRIT award winner Ben Howard on his tour last year, we expect big things come 2014, and deservedly so.
They brought lots of eggs, lots of pasta, loads of Double Deckers and lots of good tunes. The drums especially sounded rather large. Much of the recording was done all together, with the glass partitioning doors allowing them to play live together without bleed from the drum room.
Breaks between takes were filled with sandwiches, a few weights in the gym and lots of tea, and come 6pm, lots of beers. Drummer Yannis cooked some incredible food, and also washed and released a small frog we found that had run in through the open back door late on the last night.
Along with their engineer and co-producer Gareth Cobb and camera man Luke Pilbeam (pro at all things ping pong too) the whole week was very lovely – we can’t wait to hear these tracks.
Here’s a live session filmed by Luke (www.rockingstonefilms.com) – late one night to fill the gap until its release, and be sure to catch them on their highly extensive UK tour this winter, they’ll be coming to a town near you for certain.

Tour tickets – http://www.brotherandbones.co.uk/live/






In The Studio…. H A R K

In the Studio…


2013-07-22 15.56.43 HDR

The Three Pyramids of H A R K and their added pyramid, Gethin Pearson.
Producer and long-time friend of Monnow, Gethin Pearson, came into the studio for 4 days with H A R K. Ex. Taint frontman Jimbob Isaac is joined by former Whyteleaf rhythm section Nikolai Ribnikov and Simon Bonwick, forming H A R K, a ‘Welsh progressive-power-sludge trio’. Their  debut ‘Mythopoeia’ was released last July, their four days at Monnow laying the foundations for their debut LP.
The boys enjoyed the last of the sunshine before the rain dropped in on us, and also enjoyed a bit of pyramid picture taking (as demonstrated above).
Jimbob even stayed an extra night or two he liked it here so much, but that could have been the temptation of Jo’s cakes…
Come again soon H A R K.

In the Studio… Bloodflower

In the Studio…

Bloodflower 947048_579938505400467_417677176_n

A combination of brilliant hair and musical prowess make up the duo that is Bloodflower. A Monmouth/mid Wales combination of multi-instrumental talents from producer Tom Manning and singer Jonnie Owen. Both have impressive musical CVs already, and their current project – only beginning last September – is already achieving exclusives on Radio 1 and a growing amount of hype and airplay.

Meeting at Monnow where Tom previously engineered and where Jonnie recorded with his band The Last Republic, the pair have created dirty pop perfection with forward thinking production and impressive vocals. This week in the studio saw the pair celebrate Tom’s birthday with a BBQ in the 29 degree heat, take a few splashes in the river, indulge in the odd pub lunch and begin work on a new set of tracks soon to reach our ears.

Find them here @iambloodflower, their new track ‘Horizon’ is out now.

In the Studio….Tenors of Rock

In The Studio….
Tenors of Rock
2013-07-27 19.47.58
Tenors of Rock; Hugh, Jonny, Gareth, Jimmy, Dai, Gaz, just before hitting the stage at The Monmouth Festival
Supporting David Hasselhoff, playing at the Olympic stadium, supporting McFly, playing a sellout tour with Rhydian, releasing a single as part of the Six Nations – these are just some of the achievements by the Tenors of Rock in their relatively short time as a group. It looks set to continue with some incredible things in the pipeline for the boys, beginning with their recording at Monnow, split into two sessions to accommodate a very busy schedule.
The Tenors sing complex arrangements of classic rock songs, each with their own unique voices and strengths, complete with an array of tattoos, great hair, high notes and impeccable styling. With multiple part harmonies and a brilliant stage presence – we expect much more from these boys.
I spoke to the band about what it takes to be a Tenor. The following are their own words.
Entry requirements for being a Tenor of Rock;
  • Must have a minimum of one tattoo*
  • Must like rock
  • Must drink Budwiser whilst recording
  • Must never wear shirts whilst recording
  • Must have a bad sense of smell
  • If your top note is on the stave, you’re out
  • Must have a beard
*Hugh is the exception to the above because he’s special.

We look forward to hearing the finished product!

Find them all here – http://www.tenorsofrock.com

In the Studio…. Karu

In the studio….



A rather blurry Karu L-R, Phil Jackson session assistant, Eliot Shiner, Ben Davis, Lloyd Woodroffe (Elliot Sheen not pictured).

In the first of two sessions Forest of Dean-based band ‘Karu’, laid the foundations for their 5 tracks, even pulling an all-nighter in the process and completing vocals at 6am. It’s lucky their beds were only a few metres away. To shake off the late night effects, lead singer Ben went for a morning dip in the river (it was 12pm the next day and a roasting 28 degrees, but it counts as a morning dip if you went to bed at 6am).

Combining all four of their musical influences – drummer Eliot a successful producer and composer in his own right – their sound encompasses Ben’s impressive voice and their acoustic grit with a far rockier sound than anything they’ve embarked on previously.

Find them @KaruMusicUK and https://www.facebook.com/KaruMusic

In the Studio… The Bourgeoisie

In the Studio…
The Bourgeoisie
L-R; Jake Chown, Ryan McCormick, Kay Newport, producer Tom Manning, Seamus Maguire, engineer Stefan Pringle.
Forest of Dean representing, rock funk blues playing boys, The Bourgeoisiestopped down in Monnow to record and mix their debut release, a four track EP.
‘About Funkin Time’ was made across some of the hottest days we’ve had down at Monnow all summer. However temperatures were kept very cool by the lovely new air conditioning inside.
Our long time friend and up and coming producer Tom Manning was at the production helm, with Stefan Pringle engineering and assisting.
The band consists of Seamus Maguire,  Jake Chown, Kay Newport, Ryan McCormick (also of London band Peckham Cowboys) and Robin Jones. They also had a visitor pop in to record some very sexy harmonica – keep your eyes out for this release.

Find them here; https://www.facebook.com/bourgeoisieofficial?fref=ts