A photo of a group of people standing in a music recording studio in Lady Margaret Hall

Two rarely-used rooms at the top of the Kathleen Lea building have been transformed into a new recording studio and “live room” for LMH students to explore and expand their musical talents. The Tower Studio was officially opened on 25 April at a reception that brought together the current and former LMH students who made the project possible.

The idea for the studio originated with LMH undergraduates Aris Sabetai (2021, Music), Francesco Reni (2019, Classics and Oriental Studies) and Anastazie Towers (2021, Maths and Computer Science). Noting a lack of resources for music practice and recording across the university, they put forward a proposal to create some sound-proofed spaces in LMH where they and others could practice their music. Impressed with the idea, Domestic Bursar Bart Ashton worked with them to expand their proposal into a fully-budgeted music studio and live room, identifying what it would take to turn the idea into a reality. 

Thanks to generous support from LMH alumni Julian Nott (1980, Music) and Simon Pennock (1979, Physics) a previously under-used space in LMH has been transformed into a fully-equipped and sound-proofed recording studio. The live room includes a full drum kit, vintage tube amplifiers and a PA system with mixer, all built on a raised floor and soundproofed to prevent disturbance in the rooms below. The control room allows recording capabilities up to 12 channels and runs on a Mac Monterey system with recording software and third party plug-ins available for all LMH students, as well as top range monitor speakers. 

To mark the opening of the Tower Studio, Aris and Francesco performed stripped-back versions of ‘Zurich’ and ‘Pariahs’, two of the songs they perform with their band, Mount St. Helen

Francesco, Aris and Anastazie hope that the Tower Studio will help nurture the creative talents of future LMH students. As Aris says: “Numerous bands and musicians have kickstarted their careers through finding like-minded musicians at college or university, whether it be setting up a string quartet, a band or experimental recording project. I hope that our contribution to establishing a recording studio and live practice room in LMH will not only expand the musical culture of the College, but further help encourage prospective students with interests in modern music to apply here.”

Photo of two young men with guitars sitting in a music studio space about to perform

Watch Mount St. Helen

With their band, Aris and Francesco recently produced "Mount St. Helen: Live and In Conversation (Live from The Simpkins Lee Theatre, Oxford)" using equipment from the Tower Studio. You can watch this on YouTube via the link below.