Looking at the music of Dutch rock band Focus, started in the late sixties by Thijs Van Leer (b /31/03/48) with Jan Akkerman (b 24/12/46). Van Leer still performs and records under the name today (official site here). Akkerman's site here.




Sound Techniques

Focus have used a limited number of recording studios over the years.
The first two studio albums were recorded mostly at Sound Techniques (Moving Waves partly at Morgan Studios) and the third and fourth at Olympic B, both in London.
The core tracks that appear on the album Ship of Memories were recorded at Mike Vernon's studio in Chipping Norton. For Mother Focus the band recorded in Los Angeles. Since that time studio recordings have been made in Holland and Belgium at EMI Hilversum, Studio Spitsbergen in Zuidbroek, Peptide Studio in Vuren and for the last two albums at Fieldwork Studios at Schoten in Belgium.
Sound Techniques began its life as a recording studio at 46a Old Church Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 in December 1964, when it was set-up by Geoff Frost and John Wood as one of the early independent sound recording studios in the UK.
Previously a milking parlour, the Studio was on three floors. Entry was by a small door within a rusty steel roller shutter. At ground level was something resembling a garage with a cobbled floor. At the far end was a manually operated lift. To the right of this lift was a narrow entrance leading to a set of quite wide white concrete stairs. These led to a small, again, concrete landing, with an entrance to the studio on the first floor. The floor had a gentle slope towards the lift access at the far end. The slope was there so that when the cows were hosed down, the slope would drain off the water. There were two stairways up to the second floor.
One led to the control room, the other to the office. This, second staircase was handmade from Dexion angle iron.
Over the next decade some of the best UK folk and folk rock artists recorded at Sound Techniques, and undoubtedly produced some of the best records of the era. Artists that recorded there included: Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull, Steeleye Span, Incredible String Band, The Pentangle, Judy Collins, John Cale, The Yardbirds and The Who.
During the '60's and '70's, the Sound Techniques studio enjoyed unqualified success at the top-end of the music business as did STL's manufacturing division. The company produced a pioneering range of audio recording desks including the System 12 mixer which was one of the first ever compact desks in production, and was exported all over the world.
The studios closed their doors in 1976 and over the past 39 years, Sound Techniques has diversified into both Television Production and Information Technology.

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