Frying Pan is Mona’s recording studio and it was built to house and appropriately venerate the legendary REDD.17 mixing desk.
Legendary and worthy of veneration because it lived at London’s Abbey Road Studios from 1958 to 1980, in Studios One and Two and later the Transfer Room. In that time it was used to master everything at Abbey Road, including records by The Beatles and Pink Floyd. It was even used to create the special tape effects for ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by The Beatles, which experts cite as one of the pioneering recordings of rock as a mature art form.
From Abbey Road, the desk went to Toe Rag Studios in Hackney, where it was used on albums by The White Stripes and Tame Impala, among others.
The desk was then acquired by a guy named David Roper who, among other things, is friend to Brian Ritchie, Mona’s artistic director of music and summer festival Mona Foma, and bassist for Violent Femmes. They presented the idea for a recording studio to David Walsh. The rest is (almost) history.
‘What happens when a museum acquires a piece of music history? Why, they build an entire recording studio around it of course’, says Christopher Townend, Frying Pan executive producer and sound engineer. We’re calling it Australia’s first recording studio inside a museum until proven otherwise. A space to make art, surrounded by art.
Frying Pan is the essence of Mona. The major product will be music, of course, but made in an environment redolent of passion and daring. There will be many failures and some triumphs. Because we value risk, and humanity, and the glorious desperation of creativity, we will be proud of the work of Frying Pan’s denizens, however it is received.
If the studio is in use when you visit, you can peer through the window and watch the creative process in action.
Read more about Frying Pan, and how to get cooking, here.