“Our focus is to encourage and motivate youth”

Zeal Studio a first for Wellington

2002. In the heart of Wellington City [in New Zealand] is the first semi-professional recording studio in the city managed by Christians, says FX Audio Manager Mat Barnes. Youth center Zeal’s latest development is FX Audio, a recording facility for college students and young bands so they can venture confidently into the music industry.

Zeal is a non-profit community facility for youth events and activities that began in 1999 and is managed and operated by Christians. It was set up between the Body and Soul Trust and Wellington City Council to provide a centrally located, safe, social environment for young people, who come from a diverse spectrum of styles and sub-cultures of youth.

“We’re trying to come across as a place that we want to help youth from the ground up at a basic and simple level like telling kids they are good at something. Our focus is to encourage and motivate youth,” says FX Studio Manager Mat Barnes.

The new recording studio initially looked like it would cost $150,000 and one year ago when Mr Barnes took charge of the project, which much able assistance from technician and friend Mat Black, he knew that price would not arrive on his doorstep. Starting from nothing and chipping away at finding resources resulted in most of the building materials being donated from about thirty businesses and half of the recording equipment was funded by the City Council and other organizations.

Mr Barnes says they want to provide a place that was unbelievably cheap and where bands could take home their recordings, listen to them and subsequently assess their performance, ability and ironing out flaws.

Commercial rates for using studios usually cost $50-$100 per hour, but they are charging $15 per hour because affording industry services such as studios is always an issue for young bands. FX Audio want to provide demo quality recordings. They will also offer work experience.

As many young bands cannot play at a big event or pub, mainly because of financial considerations, FX Audio provides an environment which gives them experience in performing and offers mentors to work with them.

“The whole purpose of the studio is that one-on-one environment of being able to encourage them, give them some skills and show them what is out there in the industry.”

Main priorities now are debugging any faults in the wiring before all systems are going and providing services for a lot of bands that are keen to record. The official opening is in about March.


By Peter Veugelaers.

Published 2002, Challenge Weekly.


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