Shai and Wayne Hirschen are a local sound engineering duo that take their art very seriously. They‚Äôve worked with some of South Africa‚Äôs top musicians and bands, and continue to strive towards creating work that amalgamates with and transgresses international sound standards. We got to hang out at their beautiful studio, Dreamspace Recording Studio, one day in Woodstock and asked them some questions:
10and5:¬†Where is your space?
Shai at Dreamspace: We’re located in a beautifully restored building in Woodstock called Buchanan Square, just opposite Ogilvy.
10and5:¬†What about the area appeals to you?
Shai: Woodstock is becoming the media hub of Cape Town, and with the urban renewal in Woodstock there is a great sense of community. It’s fresh, hip, and arty too. It also has a strong history which gives it culture.
10and5:¬†What were you doing before Dreamspace Recording Studios?
Shai: Before Dreamspace Recording Studios, Wayne (my brother) and myself played in a band called Merseystate professionally.
10and5:¬†What made you want to open your own recording studio?
Shai: Initially, being in a band ourselves, Wayne and I strived to record ourselves in order to make our own records. As time progressed we found ourselves composing scores for TV & Radio Commercials and now we run a full Audio Production facility catering for the film, advertising and music industries alike.
10and5:¬†What is an average day like in studio?
Shai: Arrive at the studio around 8am, get the coffee machine going and power-up all the machines that make the beautiful sounds. Have the most amazing fresh deli-meats and cheese spread with a smoking hot flat-white, and prepare for the day ahead of session bookings, and sound design. After the morning batch of clients have been treated like kings and queens and leave with a grin from ear to ear, we head down to La Botega, an Italian restaurant situated in Buchanan Square, for lunch. Then back to the studio for the afternoon rush, and then we cap off our famous Friday afternoons with a late afternoon glass of red wine, with the last booking slot 5pm-6pm (a slot hotly contended for amongst the surrounding ad agencies).
10and5:¬†What have been your favourite projects to work on?
Shai: We have been working on various amazing pieces of work, most recently a very awesome but top secret campaign for the “Shuttleworth Foundation” as well as Vodacom. Gazelle’s latest offering is coming to a head and all 11 tracks of it sounds AMAZE-BALLS! Locnville’s latest album as well as Ard Matthews of Just Jinjer too. But something topping the cake at the moment is the upcoming “The Plastics” singles, sounding extra international!
10and5:¬†Who designed/decorated the space? Was there a concept?
Shai: Wayne, our father and myself designed, conceptualised and purpose-built the space with a mothership vision. The goal was to build a creative space, where musicians and advertising agencies could marry their products to create a forward-moving proudly South African industry to compete with anywhere else in the world on an international level and be a contender.
We have 2 Control Rooms, one dedicated to Music & Composition and the other to Audio Post Production, in between we share a tracking room where our baby grand piano resides. Each control room has its own adjacent Voice Over / Vocal booth, for capturing the talent in isolation. The entire space is completely sound proof to the international code of sound-proof spaces, and is acoustically correct for true reference of an accurate final product.
10and5:¬†What‚Äôs your favourite corner or feature?
Shai: The entire place!
10and5:¬†What music is playing in your space?
Shai: Currently the new RHCP album “I’m with you” and sometimes 5fm in the very distant background in our reception area.
10and5:¬†What will your walls never see?
Shai: Hate, Racism, Cruelty.
10and5:¬†Any exciting projects in the pipeline?
Shai: Many, watch the website¬†www.dreamspacerecording.com
Photos by Wayne Hirschson.