Sam Thomas is a musician, producer and owner of a home music studio, and office — both available to rent in London.
Sam not only rents out his studio, but also acts as an in-house producer for other musicians in need of his technical experience: a commodity particularly sought-after in the industry.
Sam proves deftly economic with his space, with movable scaffold stands, an adjustable laptop desk, alongside an accessible display of instruments. The space is properly sound-treated, and crucially provides a quiet space to record to a professional standard. All necessities for getting that studio-quality album sound.
HotPatch speaks with Sam about his unique offering, and how he’s making the most of his talent and space.
What originally gave you the idea to rent out your home studio and dining room as a workspace?
I was working part-time jobs for years to support myself at the start of my music career and then one day came to the realisation that I’d accumulated enough gear and experience to ‘go it alone’ and start a ‘mini’ studio out of my tiny garden office.
I originally thought I’d just rent out the space itself but I’ve found that the vast majority of people are looking to work with a producer, so I’ve since ended up doing a lot of production work for a good few years now. I moved recently to a bigger and better place in Leyton with my girlfriend, and not only is the studio an upgrade but we have enough space to rent out our dining room for co-working during the day now too.
As a musician yourself, how important is it do you think to find the right space to record and produce in?
It’s very much part of my personality to make my surroundings as nice as I can, I’m a massive neat freak and love everything to be as ergonomic and hassle free as possible, so that has always extended to my music setup too. I guess a lot of musicians work ‘on the fly’ but I love being in a familiar space that I know really well and feel totally comfortable in. I also hate people hearing a work in progress, so it’s a real luxury to have a room that I can make as many weird noises as I want in without being overheard!
What are some of the most important inclusions in a home studio?
It’s not a very glamorous answer but now software is so good the vast majority of production can be done on a computer, especially electronic stuff. Recording live acoustic instruments and vocals well requires a quiet and acoustically treated space though. I’d say second to the computer the best speakers and audio interface you can get your hands on are pretty crucial, and again the speakers ideally need to be in a well treated space so that you know what you’re hearing is ‘accurate’ and will translate well across as many devices as possible. Everyone’s different but in my experience mixing on headphones doesn’t turn out well compared to mixing on speakers. Also I’d say spend as much as you can afford on a high quality and diverse microphone or two and branch out from there.
In your own studio, there seems to be a lot of little personal touches. What are some of your favourites?
I’m pleased with the laptop stand that I made, It’s an arm that pivots at two places so that I can move the laptop from instrument to instrument and easily press record etc while I’m playing. The laptop sits on a rubber-painted wooden dish with holes for wires to poke out at the sides so that I can put all the hard drives etc etc that I need neatly underneath, I really hate clutter! The keyboards all pull out away from the wall on their scaffold stands that I made which also makes life a lot easier, so they tuck away when not in use. The general idea is that everything is really accessible and always set up as much as possible so that nothing breaks the creative flow.
For other musicians who may be starting off, what do you think are some of the advantages in renting equipment and space like yours, over building your own studio?
Building up an arsenal of expensive equipment and the experience to know how to get the best out of it takes a long time, so until you feel you’re at that stage it’s great to be able to go and try things out with someone like me — I think it’s important as a producer to teach people whatever they’re interested in about gear etc as you go through the process of making music together, so they can go on to make informed decisions about improving their own setup.
I learned so so much from working with the guy who produced my first album. Alternatively though getting into the nitty gritty, technical side of production understandably isn’t for everyone, so for musicians that want to focus on just the music hopefully a space like mine will enable them to do that, with me filling in the technical gaps or adding extra instruments they don’t play themselves etc.
Do you have any advice to other owners of studio/home space?
I’d say if people have got to the point of owning their own studio then it isn’t really for me to offer them advice, everyone does things differently which is the beauty of working with different people.
Where can people find you if they’re interested in seeing more of your work?
My website is samthomasmusic.com
Are you that person “looking for music studios near me?” Or for music studios to rent in London?
For any further questions, please do reach out to us in the comments below, online or on our social media channels: