Located in the woods on the north side of Nashville, MOXE is a newly-opened creative retreat and recording studio helmed by multi-instrumentalist and producer Jordan Brooke Hamlin.
In the center of the building, looking down on the picturesque live room sits a 40-input Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console. The first twenty-four mono input channels are accompanied by twenty-four Shelford 5052 mic preamp/EQ modules, and eight additional stereo input channels complete the package.
According to Hamlin, finding the perfect console was a lengthy journey. “We spent a year or more designing a different, custom console build, and all of a sudden, that plan fell apart. In a moment of feeling discouraged about losing so much time and energy, I called my friend Aaron Hedden and he immediately knew what to do. Twenty minutes later, I was on the phone with Josh [Thomas, general manager] at Rupert Neve Designs, and all the testing and deliberating and comparing of the past year crystalized…in that moment, I knew that the 5088 was the right desk for us.”
Designed, owned and operated by all women, MOXE is “a bit of a specialized place” according to Hamlin. The building contains not only the large central live room, but a variety of isolation booths and “reverb rooms,” each with its own distinctive sonic character.
“Most every room in the house – including the tiled master bathroom, dining room and foyer – is wired and ready for any idea. It’s been interesting to see what types of artists, engineers and producers have been drawn to this studio; I’ve been so thrilled to see that the people who are into it have the same wonder-filled relationship that I do with MOXE.”
“The console sounds pretty dreamy. I particularly love the first blush of hearing the initial sounds of a project come through the desk. With the 5088, I’m doing so much less work ‘correcting’ sounds, because they’re coming in sounding great – and somehow cohesive – from the start. That really frees me up to spend time on more creative decisions in the sonics rather than compensational or reparative. But when I want to really color it, it already has some pretty interesting and exciting paths to do that too.”
One of MOXE’s first large projects was a new record for Lucy Wainwright Roche, where Hamlin and other collaborators “holed up” in the immersive space and lived in the studio during tracking.
“Sometimes that means vocals at 5:30 am, sometimes it means tracking in pajamas, and sometimes it means morning coffee in the hot tub in the woods. So much of the process of making and releasing a record feels like an overwhelming and uphill battle, so any time we can carve out moments like that, it’s total magic for me.”