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In 'challenging' times for the Irish music scene, an old school recording studio is managing to keep rocking

Waltons on George’s Street is gone, and this Temple Bar studio has also had to adapt to survive.

Image: Sun Studios

THE RECENT CLOSURE of the iconic Waltons music shop would have been felt by the many hundreds and thousands who frequented its doors since its opening on Dublin’s George’s Street in the early 1990s.

The guitars and other instruments covering the walls would have been recognisable to even those who hadn’t visited the store – thanks to the film Once, which has a scene where Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova sing Falling Slowly in the shop.

Leaving its iconic city centre location – in favour of a flagship by the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, and selling instruments online – was mourned by many but it is not the only recognisable Dublin music site that is changing.

Another music locale featured in Once is Temple Bar’s Sun Studios, where the pair sing When Your Mind’s Made Up. It is a recognisable fixture of that part of the capital, with its hall of fame of famous musicians looming over Temple Bar.

temple bar studios Iconic Irish musicians on the side of the building in Temple Bar Source: Google Maps

The studio is still going strong, but just like Waltons which has had to change to “evolve and adapt” to the changing times, it has done so too to keep the studios alive.

Sun has been the venue for the recording of some well-known music over the last few years, including Irish musician James Vincent McMorrow’s haunting cover of the Steve Winwood song Higher Love.

Source: James Vincent McMorrow/YouTube

It was also where Rihanna recorded the vocal to the song Love The Way You Lie.

Source: EminemVEVO/YouTube

It provides space for budding musicians to sample a studio setting, with this effort from a band called Inhaler (featuring Eli Hewson – he has a famous dad).

Source: GarageLand Ireland/YouTube

With the difficulties for bands making money in this day and age well-known, and artists looking towards alternative means to make money, this studio in Temple Bar has expanded beyond its traditional offering.

Still a functioning recording and rehearsal studio, the venue also now hosts a rock’n'roll tour as it aims to pick up Dublin’s tourist trade, featuring a museum with memorabilia from Phil Lynott and others.

Steve Caffrey, the manager of the studio, told TheJournal.ie: “The industry is more challenging now but the creative music scene is still booming. We like to see this as our responsibility to be more flexible.”

Attached to that then is music venue the Button Factory and a sound training college, and spokesperson Laoise Keaveney said that opening the museum was the best way to supplement that and keep the studios alive.

“The wall of fame has for years been a tourism attraction and the team wanted to give a genuine musical experience for visitors to the area,” she said. “History was and is created here, and it gives people a chance to see that.”

Caffrey added that it was important for music institutions around the capital to act creatively to keep their operations going – from studios to shops to venues – as they are a part of the fabric of the rich story that is Irish music through the decades.

“Through this flexibility, we help pave the way for up and coming musicians and to keep a historical location such as this one inspiring creativity,” he said.

Read: ‘The Celtic Tiger was ridiculous – it was a moment that needed to be dramatised’

Read: Challenging the music industry: ‘We’d get a cheque in the post for 10c’

About the author:

Sean Murray

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