The Soulquarians didn’t set out to revolutionize the pulse of modern jazz. Maybe it’s an overstatement to imply that they did. But there can be no doubt that the slouchy, loose-jointed, atmospherically humid funk that they alchemized in the studio — specifically, Electric Lady Studios, in Greenwich Village — had a reach well beyond the scope of neo-soul, the inexact genre coalescing around them. A considerable number of young jazz artists were paying close attention to what they were doing, at any rate. A few even got in on the ground floor.
For a handful of years straddling the turn of the century, the Soulquarians treated Electric Lady as a clubhouse — a perpetual hang unburdened by the usual ticking clock of the recording studio.
Born from David Bowie’s desire to re-record the 1987 LP that he called “a bitter disappointment,” the seeds of this new reimagining were first sown in 2008 when Bowie asked producer/engineer @mariojmcnulty to remix the track ‘Time Will Crawl’ and record new drums with longtime drummer Sterling Campbell along with strings at Electric Lady Studios. The track was issued on the iSelect compilation to much acclaim and, in the notes for that record, David remarked ‘Oh, to redo the rest of that album.’ ⚡️ In early January of this year, McNulty and musicians again entered New York’s Electric Lady Studios to fulfill Bowie’s wish to remake “Never Let Me Down,” which now features a guest appearance by Laurie Anderson on “Shining Star (Makin’ My Love).” The 2018 reworking also boasts “newly ‘remixed’ artwork reflecting the album’s subject matter and features unseen images from the original cover photographic session from the archive of Greg Gorman. ⚡️ We love and miss you, David ⚡️
“The most undersold part of Stevie’s legacy may be the collaboration with two producers, Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil, and the pair’s massive synthesizer, TONTO (The Original New Timbral Orchestra).”
“With an instrument like TONTO you can’t write a line ahead of time, because until you get the sound up, you don’t know how it’s going to react with the other sounds. Everything was done sort of jazz fashion, it was all head arrangements… sometimes some of the lines would be suggested. That horn line [from “Superstition] I was singing it… and then Stevie started playing it. That was how we worked.”
But deep within the distinctly uncool area that produced the Valley Girl stereotype, Foxygen multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rado slowly began to leave his mark on the overall sound of 2010s indie rock, one tape recording at a time. Now, only four years after he bought a compressor and used it completely wrong throughout the entirety of Foxygen’s …And Star Power — he had heard that Todd Rundgren used to press all of the buttons in at the same time — Rado has become one of the most in-demand producers in his genre, pumping out acclaimed records from Father John Misty, The Lemon Twigs, Whitney, Alex Cameron and more, most of which hail from his Woodland Hills garage.
Rado suddenly found himself at the center of mid-2010s indie rock. He became incredibly in demand, unable to keep up with the rigors of being in a touring band while saying yes to everyone he wanted to work with, having to turn down multiple enticing offers due to time constraints.
“ALBUM DONE,” Rocky tweeted on Sunday night, along with the album’s cover art. While there isn’t a confirmed release date as of yet (he could be dropping it right now as you read this), residents have pointed out that Testing billboards have already appeared in New York.
To mark the fortieth anniversary of Horses, her 1975 debut album, Smith recorded a new live version of it at New York’s Electric Lady Studios before an in-studio audience and then hit the road to perform the album in full for packed theaters around the world. Director Steven Sebring, who worked with Smith and company on his debut documentary, 2008’s Patti Smith: Dream of Life, joined their caravan, and Horses: Patti Smithand Her Band hovers over a two-night stand in January 2016 at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.
The Kills: Live At Electric Lady is officially on sale in collaboration with Record Store Day, available only at participating independent record shops throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan.
The Kills: Live At Electric Lady was recorded on the 15th anniversary of the band’s first ever performance together. Playing to a small, invitation-only crowd inside Electric Lady’s Studio “A,” Allison Mosshart and Jamie Hince deliver a snarling, powerful 10 song set.
Check here for a participating store near you and ask if they have it in stock.
“Check out the video and song, which the former One Direction produced alongside MYKL at New York’s iconic Electric Lady Studios, below. Zayn’s debut full-length, Mind of Mine, was released in March 2016.” Read the full article here.
As Hendrix would make each new recording, it would be logged and stored at his own Electric Lady Studios, which he opened in August 1970. “Electric Lady had this enormous wall of closets, and most of them were full of tapes, and only Jimi and I had the keys,” Kramer recalls. “We’d say, ‘Let’s get this pile out and go through it.’ He had these legal pads, and as we listened he would write down precisely what the instruments should be doing.” But before they could finish the album, Hendrix died while on tour in Europe that September.
Even though Electric Lady was open for only a short time, Kramer has vivid memories of working on music there with Hendrix. The sessions would be like performances in and of themselves: Hendrix would be handling the faders for the guitar and vocals, and Kramer would be leaping around the console trying to keep it all together. “After we faded down, we’d collapse laughing,” he says. It was that experience, both having fun with Hendrix and learning what he wanted from a mix, that has provided the template for how Kramer has mixed all of Hendrix’s posthumous releases.
Charlotte Gainsbourg’s album “Rest,” recorded at Electric Lady, has garnered Pitchfork’s coveted Best New Music accolade. From Pitchfork:
“Songs like these affirm life, even in the face of death. They transform personal suffering into public spectacle. Few things are more terrifying than exposing our bruises to others, knowing that they could misunderstand, or prey on our vulnerability. On Rest, Gainsbourg doesn’t just reveal her pain, but monumentalizes it, lays out a red carpet, and invites people to watch. Her refusal to be sequestered by grief is, quite literally, a death-defying feat.”
“Rest” is the fourth project recorded here this year to receive Pitchfork’s praises, along with ‘Melodrama’ by Lorde, ‘A Deeper Understanding’ by The War On Drugs, and ‘Crack-Up’ by Fleet Foxes. Read the rest of the Pitchfork review here.
This week, Billy Idol announced the vinyl rerelease of the multi-platinum ‘Rebel Yell,’ featuring the classic songs “Flesh For Fantasy,” “Eyes Without A Face,” and “Rebel Yell.” Check out an excerpt from an old article from Mix about the recording of the lead single from the album:
“While working in Studio B, Stevens and Forsey heard drummer Thommy Price thumping away with Scandal, who had taken over downstairs. The duo told Idol they should bring him in, so he did. ‘He was fantastic,’ declares Stevens. ‘He was so perfect. I think the first thing he played on was ‘Blue Highway,’ and I was like, “Thank God we found a guy who can do this!”‘
With Price behind the kit, Idol and his team recorded “Rebel Yell,” but the low-key break in the song was left open because nothing had been written for it yet. ‘This was in the early days of combining dance elements with rock ‘n’ roll, so we always built in 32 bars, not knowing exactly what we’d do in the middle of the song,’ explains Stevens. ‘We did that with ‘White Wedding,’ ‘Eyes Without a Face’ and ‘Rebel Yell.’ We gave Billy a cassette, and he’d go home and come back with something, then we’d just make it somehow work.’
‘I waited for Billy to come up with a genius line,’ adds Forsey. ‘He came in and tried singing on that part several times, and nothing happened. Then we moved to another studio downtown, and I gave him a [Shure] 57, no mic stand, and he just wandered around the studio and sang. All of a sudden, “I walk the ward for you, babe” just dropped out right there, and it was fantastic. It was really one of those moments in the studio where you get the chills and the hair stands up on your arms, and you know you’ve got something really good. Of course, the guitar line at the top of that song from Steve Stevens is fantastic. That whole concept was fantastic.'”
Read the original article here, and grab a copy of the reissue here.
Billboard Magazine had a chat with Zayne Malik while he was working inside our Studio A:
“There aren’t many places in New York, or anywhere else for that matter, that feel as cocooned from the outside world as the live room in Electric Lady’s Studio A. Designed to Jimi Hendrix’s specifications, the curvy space is stocked with shiny vintage gear, faded Persian rugs and a cosmic, wall-sized mural. On this Sunday night in September, a little after 9 p.m., the room’s sole occupant is a slight, strikingly handsome 24-year-old, whose unique combination of global fame and acute anxiety can make life outside of insulated creative oases like this one challenging, and who is currently kicked back on an overstuffed leather sofa, pulling meditatively from a joint and watching the smoke curl toward the sound-deadened ceiling.”
Recently in an interview with Mitch Lafon, Gene Simmons of KISS told the story of producing one of Van Halen’s first demos here at Electric Lady Studios:
“I discovered Van Halen playing in a club and signed them to my Man of 1,000 Faces production company, flew them to New York, produced 15 songs at Electric Lady Studios.
And then when I got too busy I tore up the contract and I said, ‘You guys are free. I gotta go back on tour, and if I have time at the end of the tour I’ll go shopping for a deal for you. I can’t ethically, personally, hold on to you guys while I’m off on tour.’
So I did the right thing. And the guys, of course, got signed right away. And in return, the brothers Van Halen were kind enough to appear on three songs that I wrote when we came back from Japan in 1978.”
“Founded by Jimi Hendrix in 1970, the Big Apple landmark still operates in the heart of Greenwich Village as one of the oldest working studios in the city due in part to its cool aesthetic, which partner/GM Lee Foster describes as “late-’60s futurism meets midcentury modern.” Stevie Wonder and Blondie are just a few of the acts that have recorded at the location, while Foster’s stewardship has helped reawaken the space in recent years with artists like Ryan Adams and St. Vincent gracing its rooms.”
We are proud to announce the release of Fleet Foxes new live 10″ vinyl EP called ‘The Electric Lady Session,’ out on Black Friday, November 24 at selected independent record stores. The EP contains four songs recorded live during their WFUV session here in Studio A. To find a participating independent record store near you, visit recordstoreday.com. Thanks to Nonesuch and WFUV for making this happen.
Annie Clark talks about her upcoming St. Vincent album, recorded in part here at Electric Lady Studios, with The New Yorker:
“Most days, she got up at sunrise, took a Pilates class, and then headed to Electric Lady, to work past sundown. She had dinner in the studio, or else alone at a nearby restaurant, or in her room. A book or an episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and then early to bed.”
Fleet Foxes has announced the release of their new album “Crack-Up”, produced by Robin Pecknold and bandmate Skyler Skjelset, which is out June 16th via Nonesuch Records. Much of the album was recorded here in Studio A and D. Read more about the upcoming release here or enjoy their brand new lyric video below:
Lorde released the first single “Green Light” on her upcoming album entitled “Melodrama”, co-written by Jack Antonoff and partially mixed and recorded at Electric Lady Studios. Read more about her process and influences here, or watch the video below.
Ryan Adams announced in an Instagram video that he will be hiding “golden ticket”-style vinyl recordings in box sets of his new album “Prisoner”, available for purchase February 17th. According to his website, “12 randomly selected box sets will contain a one-of-a-kind solo acoustic 7″ of one of Prisoner’s 12 tracks recorded direct-to-vinyl in the vintage Voice-O-Graph booth at Electric Lady Studios. Only one single of each song exists and only one run of the Prisoner: End of World Edition [box set] will ever be pressed.”
This Tidal film is a rare look into J. Cole’s studio process while he was recording his LP entitled ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ in Studio A. Released December 9th, this was Cole’s fourth consecutive album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Watch the documentary via Rolling Stone here.
We won’t try to say it better than The New York Times, so please check out this article on Lady Gaga’s inspiration and journey to “Joanne”, her latest album recorded and mixed at Electric Lady Studios.
Recorded and mixed at Electric Lady, ‘Ash & Ice,’ by The Kills is out today on Domino Records. The album was co-produced by John O’Mahony, engineered by Phil Joly, and mixed by Tom Elmhirst. Check it out here.
“Recreations of classic albums are curious things, but Patti Smith’s live performance last year of Horses, was by all accounts a spitting, powerful affair and marks the launch of the famed studios’ Electric Lady Records vinyl imprint.” – Read more @ Pitchfork
The Kills announce new album “Ash & Ice,” and also share new video “Doing it to Death.” Produced by Jamie Hince, co-produced by John O’Mahony in Electric Lady’s Studio A, and mixed by Tom Elmhirst in Electric Lady’s Studio C. See video below:
“Cry of Love,” (Track Records) was released 45 years ago, March 1971: a posthumous release composed mostly of songs he recorded in 1970 with Eddie Kramer at his new studio, Electric Lady, as sketches for what was to be his follow up to “Electric Ladyland.”
“The Cry of Love gathers the final essential recordings of one of rock’s true giants and reflects his legend at the same time it faithfully expands it” – Ultimate Classic Rock. Read full article here.
HBO’s “Vinyl,” created and produced by legends Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger, Terence Winter, and starring Bobby Cannavale and Olivia Wilde, shoots and records original music at Electric Lady Studios. Newsweek says:
“Scorsese set the tone in Vinyl’s quest for authenticity. Location manager Kip Myers used many historic buildings, shooting at the Brill Building (a renowned home to music industry), the Chelsea Hotel and Electric Lady Studios, which guitar shaman Jimi Hendrix built. Vinyl also recorded its original music there.”
Catch the premiere of Vinyl on HBO February 14 at 9pm EST.
David Bowie’s first ever no. 1 single in the US, “Fame”, was written and recorded at Electric Lady in 1975. Today, Bowie’s Blackstar has become his first ever no. 1 album (US) on the Billboard 200 chart and was mixed by Tom Elmhirst at Electric Lady in 2015. Congratulations, David, and thank you for bringing your genius to our door for both achievements.
Adele’s historic “25” sells 3.8 million copies in its first week, destroying the previous record for first week album sales and representing 41% of total albums sold in the U.S. last week. Nine songs, including the hit single “Hello” were mixed by Tom Elmhirst in Electric Lady’s Studio “C”.
On November 23, Jose Cuervo celebrated the launch of their new tequila, “Reserva de la Familia’s The Rolling Stones Tour Pick Collector’s Edition” in our Studio A. The limited edition bottle honors the pivotal role Jose Cuervo played in fueling The Rolling Stones’ infamous 1972 North American tour, which was dubbed the ‘Tequila Sunrise Tour’. Legendary photographer Bob Gruen took the stage to reminisce and offer an inside look at what it was like to be on one of the most publicized tour’s of all time. To read more about the night head on over to The Examiner.
Patti Smith performed her landmark debut album Horses for a packed Studio A in celebration of our 45th anniversary last night. Says Billboard, “…the intimate concert from the peerless rock icon was full of more life, fire and spit than practically any other show I’ve ever seen.” Read more @ Billboard.
“D’Angelo said, ‘We’re going to Electric Lady…it has the blessings of the spirits. We have to go there. It’s only right.'”
From 1996-2002, the Soulquarians, also known as Questlove, D’Angelo, Common, Erykah Badu, James Poyster, J. Dilla, Bilal, Q-Tip, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli, took up residence in our studios for what would prove to be a defining period in music. Read more about that magical time @ Red Bull Music Academy.
Ryan Adams brought down the house in Studio A Live Tuesday night in celebration of the release of his new self-titled record “Ryan Adams”. His interview, like the man himself, is one we’re not likely to forget. Catch the intimate discourse on pinball and record-making today, September 12th, or look for it on the archives at WFUV.org.
Lana Del Rey’s sophomore album, ‘Ultraviolence’, features tracks “Cruel World,” “Pretty When You Cry,” and “Guns and Roses,” co-produced by Lee Foster for Electric Lady Studios; Recorded in Studio “A” with Electric Lady Chief Engineer, Phil Joly, and Assistant Engineer, Vira Byramji.
“She uses the word to sing about physical aggression, but the ultimate violence seems like it would be erasure, silencing, negation, the stuff you don’t hear about because it’s an absence by nature…. That negative space is its own kind of violence. Lana Del Rey steps into the shadows it leaves. She has power there, whispering old secrets, giving voice to characters who never got to speak for themselves… She is exactly the villain our history needs.”
Electric Lady is proud to have participated in the making of Coldplay’s sixth studio album, ‘Ghost Stories.’ Produced by Paul Epworth, tracking for portions of the album took place in Studio A and our API tracking suite during July of 2013.
Read more about Coldplay’s fourth-in-a-row # 1 album here.
Soledad O’Brien interviews Def Jam founder Russell Simmons in Studio A. Russell speaks about his philanthropy and finding enlightenment all while continuing to work in, and shape, today’s ever-evolving Music Industry.
Electric Lady hosted overdub and mix sessions for Arcade Fire’s fourth studio album, Reflektor — produced by James Murphy and released today. Mixed entirely in Studio “C” by resident friend and client, Tom Elmhirst (with additional engineering by Ben Baptie), the album marked our first-ever sessions with the band and re-introduced David Bowie to our facility for his feature on the title track.
“The music is all. People should die for it. People are dying for everything else, why not the music.”
— Lou Reed
Reed recorded the albums Sally Can’t Dance (1974) and Coney Island Baby (1975) at Electric Lady. In 2012, he returned to Electric Lady for what we now know was his last recording, as featured on Metric’s “Wanderlust” from their 2012 release Synthetica.
Thank you, Lou. You are forever in our hearts. You are forever in our ears.
We’ve officially arrived: Pleased to announce that you can now find Electric Lady on Instagram and Facebook, sharing everything we find interesting, relevant, and musically joyful. Stay up to date on new projects, historical findings, and our favorite music here:
The Clash recorded two consecutive albums at Electric Lady, one of which was their 1982 release, Combat Rock. It was the band’s best-selling album of all time. We recently found rare footage of the band recording at Electric Lady with engineer, Joe Blaney. Watch below:
This week, surviving members, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, joined Portlandia’s Fred Armisen to discuss and compare the rivaling histories of The Clash and Ian Rubbish and the Bizarros (Armisen’s well-loved SNL character) in a spoof documentary short for one of our favorite websites, Funny Or Die:
This summer U2 recorded their version of “This Is” for Aslan singer, Christy Dignam in the intimate setting of our Studio “A.” The filmed performance was later premiered for a live audience at “A Night for Christy” – a fundraiser event to assist Dignam with the medical treatment needed to fight his rare form of blood cancer.
We’re honored to have been featured on Mix Magazine’s October cover (2013), available in print at select stores, as well as on their website. The article delves into our history and current going-ons, checking in with the talented engineers who work under our roof.
Check out what they all have to say about Electric Lady culture here:
Electric Lady is no stranger to musical greatness, but when the elusive genius we all know as Prince showed up unannounced, we nearly lost composure. There have been many invitations over the years to draw the man to the studio, but, true to form, Prince appeared on our doorstep on a random Saturday afternoon, plugged in, and gave us an unforgettable two days in Studio “A”. Prince, if you’re reading this…please come back often.