Hi! I’m Jay Dean and I am the owner of Dubrek Studios in Derby.
My journey of sound and electronics began at a very early age. My parents had become fed up of me taking apart all the toys that made noises, so at the age of eight, they marched me into our town’s Tandy electronic shop and asked them if they could teach me how to put them back together again! A year later, I could etch PCB’s and I had made a simple Stylophone type synthesizer. The Stylophone was originally made by Dubreq (and were the inspiration for the name of my studio) and are now available to buy here: http://www.stylophone.com/
I had also been raised on a steady diet of The Beatles, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. This combined with discovering John Peel meant that I was set on a path where electronics and music have collided ever since. First I bought a tape Portastudio to record my friends’ bands and this was swiftly followed by a guitar, a set of my homemade effects pedals and a copy of ‘Isn’t Anything’ by My Bloody Valentine.
After my Electronics degree at Warwick University, I started building up my collection of recording equipment, funded by production jobs for bands and working in a record store. I eventually ended up in Derby working as a DJ and promoter at The Loft. Here, myself and my colleagues formed relationships with fledgling labels Domino and Chemikal Underground booking acts such as Mogwai, Arab Strap, The Delgados, The Pastels, Idlewild, China Drum, Pitchshifter and countless others.
During this time I recorded several singles released on 7″ vinyl for Derby based bands Lazer Guided, Twinkie and my own group, Cato, on my Eight-track Portatudio. Playing with Cato introduced me to working with Pete Bassman from the legendary 80’s indie band Spacemen 3.
Pete had created a studio and rehearsal space in Rugby in which I spent many weekends playing with guitars and sounds. This place sparked the idea of a multifunctional facility for Derby; a community hub for everyone to use, meet up and create new music.
During my years as a promoter for The Victoria Inn, I booked many up and coming and established acts including AFI, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, The Libertines, Snow Patrol, Biffy Clyro, Miles Hunt, The Buzzcocks, Idlewild, JJ72, Less Than Jake, MxPx, Reel Big Fish, Man or Astroman, Beach Buggy, The Fall and yet more countless others. The Victoria Inn had a disused outhouse at the rear which I converted into the first incarnation of Dubrek Studios and this became home my band FixitKid and a whole set of noisy guitar bands.
Being a technical reviewer for Music Mart magazine also enabled me access to a whole host of new technology and recording equipment so everything was in place to take the leap and set up Dubrek Studios as a ‘proper’ business.
In June 2002 Dubrek Studios opened its doors on Monk Street in Derby. One year later it was moved to a much larger premises at the top of the mill building on the same street and stayed there until 2016. The studio was home to Derby bands Lost Alone, The Swarm, Komakino, In Flight Program, Beyond This Point Are Monsters, Felusia End, Laguna Sunrise, Skies in Motion, FixitKid, You Judas, My Psychoanalyst, These Waves, Directions and The Speedkings amongst others.
A wealth of amazing producers have also passed through its corridors; Gil Norton, Paul Draper, Brett Anderson. I produced two live recordings for XFM in the live room, one for Joan As Police Woman and the other for Lords. The amount of records released from Dubrek-produced sessions is bewildering and to be honest, I’ve lost count. From small to mid-sized independents to majors such as Sony and Warners, we’ve worked for them all!
The new facility on Becket Street was opened on 1st April 2016 and was constructed by myself, along with some amazing volunteers. Double leaf wall construction coupled with double sealed doors for every room provides superior sound isolation. We’ve retained many of the buildings original features while creating a modern artistic space where creativity can thrive.
The café hosts a variety of workshops, art exhibitions and other events, along with providing a great selection of beers and awesome coffee. Our garden space supplements this with an outdoor stage and seating. This has included crafting events, bookselling, djembe drumming, spoken word, jam nights… we’re always interested to hear new ideas and encourage individuals to host their own evenings with our support.
The studio live room is large enough to hold a band and audience of 50 people under normal circumstances and has played host to bands from all over the world including Bike from Brazil, 10,000 Russos from Portugal and Jaguwar from Germany, alongside some amazing British artists such as Part Chimp, Bivouac, and Sly & The Family Drone.
The 20 foot high, panel absorber ceiling provides excellent acoustics for all kinds of music, while the room’s character can be tailored with moveable absorber walls. A separate booth, or ‘dead space’, is used for drier recorded sounds such as voiceovers. This space is large enough to fit a drumkit if required.
This room is home to some choice pieces of analogue equipment supporting the main Protools recording system with monitor control by Audient. Main monitors are Tannoy Super Red amplified by a Quad amplifier providing uncoloured audio to the listener. Sessions are tailored to the need of the project and can be a band recorded live or instruments multitracked individually. We also record voiceovers (the BBC One Show is a client), mix projects recorded elsewhere and dry hire to other producers and engineers.
The aim has always been to provide the most comfortable environment possible for artists. We want to capture the best performances we can and an inspiring space coupled with an atmosphere of creativity and experimentation has enabled us to make some truly wonderful records.