City’s studio aims to stay way ahead of Arch rivals

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It’s hard to imagine that 13 years ago one of Sheffield’s best-known music studios was little more than a decrepid, disused mill.

Now, after years of investment, the studio’s renowned producers and dream-like acoustics attract the likes of Duane Eddy and Richard Hawley.

Yet, one of the city’s biggest studios is barely noticeable off the street in Neepsend.

But that doesn’t put people off.

This summer, as the touring calendar quietens down, Yellow Arch’s recording diary starts to get booked-up.

Already this summer Sheffield boy-girl duo Slow Club’s latest album, Complete Surrender has been recorded there and the studio team are already working with some of contemporary music’s most cutting-edge acts, as producer Shane Chaucan explains.

“We get so much talent in this building. We recently had a band called New International and they were brilliant, really eclectic.”

The range of musicians and bands who record and rehearse at the studio is incredible, from the twangy guitar of Duane Eddy to indie popsters Slow Club.

“Some engineers here will work with anyone whereas Colin Elliot tends to choose the people he works with. But almost everyone who works here is a professional musician, it’s really quite humbling in a way.”

Chaucan may work with music day in, day out, and while he has his own taste, he doesn’t mind what music a band plays.

“For me, the job is 10 per cent about music and 90 per cent about working with people and making people feel comfortable. At Yellow Arch we always make them feel at home. It doesn’t matter what they play – if you’re an enthusiast like most engineers are you’re able to appreciate music for what it is.”

“All engineers have to be sympathetic towards any genre they are working with, and the notes and construction of the song are the duty of the musician. Vibe and feel and sound is down to engineering and production mostly. I suppose a good way to put it is that the musician has a sound in their head and the engineer using a mixture of witchcraft and telepathy turns that into a tangible sound.”

To host these tangible sounds Yellow Arch has recently built a stage area for parties and live events. It is a brilliant space and the atmosphere is brilliant when we have events,” says Chaucan.

“There’s a real home-grown atmosphere to the studio here – it’s very liberal.”

There are four rehearsal rooms, a live venue and recording rooms at Yellow Arch. The vastness of the studio is owing to its history as a nuts-and-bolts factory, the legacy of which took months of hard graft to clean up when directors Colin Elliot, Dr Steve Moorhead and Andy Cook established the studio in 1997.

And as Slow Club finalise their latest record, so too, do umpteen other bands, all at Yellow Arch studio.