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Studio Of The Month


Article from International Musician & Recording World, April 1985

Chris Maillard co-stars in The NOMIS Complex. In all major West End cinemas now

No damp, good PA, lots of room... 
must be Nomis

The NOMIS Complex — a blockbusting new thriller from the author of 'The Berlin Syndrome', 'The Monaco Bequest', and 'The Walthamstow Artefact'. Acclaimed by world literary critics as "Possibly the most significant book since 20 recipes for New Zealand Lamb" (Daily Telegraph), "Packed to the tits with sexy, saucy secrets" (The Times) and "Induces instant clitoral orgasm" (Cosmopolitan).

Really? Well, no. The NOMIS Complex is actually a giant and very, very upmarket rehearsal, office and you-name-it-we-can-do-it operation situated in downtown West London, behind the Olympia exhibition hall. Thrilling, possibly, though — particularly if your job is to book large lumps of rehearsal time for superstar bands, if you need a base for your music biz operation, or if you have to showcase an up-and-coming outfit, hire a van, store equipment, borrow some gear... in fact, virtually everything a band needs between the time it's formed and the time it finally falls apart in a welter of outdated haircuts and triple concept albums.

All, that is, apart from recording; for though Nomis has the facilities to take a band right up the threshold of the recording studio, through writing and rehearsing material and thence to arranging it and preparing to play it live, it can't supply anywhere to put the finished masterpiece on tape.

Yet. For well underway at the present is the next stage in the NOMIS plan to do absolutely everything — the extremely posh studio. In keeping with the status of the bands that use the plush rehearsal studios (The Spands, the Banshees, the Durans, Motorhead, Dire Straits, Wham!, The Police, The Clash, and absolutely everybody else that's ever been a megastar), it's going to be a no holds-barred, no-expense-spared affair complete with the by now compulsory Solid State Logic desk, lots of flash effects units with delay times of over three weeks, yards of smoked glass, acres of foot-deep carpet: I'm sure you can imagine the sort of thing.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, as Doctor Who is reported to have said. The NOMIS story needs at least a brief look back (like those short summaries at the beginning of Soap) to bring you up to date with the wacky deeds of those crazy folk at this cute little studio complex...

NOMIS, as the astute amongst you may have already noticed is 'Simon' backwards, a reference to the man who started it all and got the once-tile warehouse, dairy, and wartime store equipped as a rehearsal set-up, Simon Napier-Bell. The famous manager, who now concentrates his energies almost solely on helping Wham! get even richer, was at the time in the market to expand his operation, and therefore found the idea of buying a place where his stable of acts could work out their brain-bursting live shows appealing. He found the premises about a decade or so ago, and it ran with relative success until the early '80s, when it was taken over by a gent called David Panton, now the MD, who took a fine toothcomb to the place and, with the aid of his aide-de-camp David Head, managed to improved its profitability and the range of its services even further.

The building has three floors and a basement, and an immense amount of space length and widthways. However, in its early days it was merely used as a single-floor rehearsal operation, thereby wasting a lot of its potential. Now in addition to the ground-floor practise studios, there are two on the first floor; a myriad of offices let to businesses in some way connected with music; the new recording studio currently under construction; and a basement given over to locked high-security cages where bands keep their gear between tours. With this massive expansion and an additional increase in the number of bookings — now running at an impressive eighty per cent plus — NOMIS is thriving.

The secret of this success, according to its tall, blond and forceful MD David Panton, is quite simple — to give the bands that use the complex the best in service, without getting in their way. So if you're rehearsing, you can ring the reception on the intercom and ask for anything from a cup of tea (from the excellent studio cafe) to a Yamaha DX7 and get it within the hour. But nobody will come in and pester you, either from the outside world (a teenybopper-proof reception area is a must if you've got the likes of Culture Club and Wham! in regularly) or even from within NOMIS itself.

This has resulted in a continual flow of the very top pro bands coming in, and has even reached the point where they are having to refuse such stars as Tina Turner because of lack of space. However, one thorn in the collective flesh has been the fact that bands who keep their gear at NOMIS, write material there, rehearse it there and arrange it there then have to go elsewhere to record it. If bands such as Duran Duran (who were recently in for a short time working on the Bond movie theme) could just pop upstairs and dash the song onto tape, they would do so gladly.

So now the higher reaches of the building are being transmogrified into one of the finest new studios built in this fair land for ages. At a cost so large it couldn't even be mentioned without bank managers all over the country suffering coughing fits, the very spacious new premises are being readied for their function as halls of recording, and hopefully should be readied for use by 1985 sometime.

And plans are being thought about (although not until the studio is running satisfactorily) to diversify even further. But for the time being they're satisfied to cater for every need a megahuge band might have.

But you may have thought while reading this 'what's it got to do with me?' Well, the answer is that even if you're in a small band, NOMIS's policy is to encourage you into the smaller, cheaper studios so that if and when you're an earth shattering success they'll keep your custom. So if you think you can't afford the services of probably the best and most complete complex in music, think again. There's no need to get a complex about your size, when you've got a complex the size of NOMIS's.

THE NOMIS COMPLEX (Contact Details)

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Publisher: International Musician & Recording World - Cover Publications Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

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International Musician - Apr 1985

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Recording World

Feature by Chris Maillard

Previous article in this issue:

> A&HB CMC 24 Mixer

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> Home Taping

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