Suburban America this ain’t. It’s all good and well when Dave Grohl says the best way to get your band going is to take over your mum’s garage and be all DIY, but the harsh reality of Hong Kong is that having sufficient space, and understanding neighbours, is often the stuff of pipedreams in our crowded little city.
So, what to do? You and your crew are willing, talented and love playing but don’t have anywhere to practice. Well, worry not. Hong Kong actually has a plethora of spots that cater to most budgets that’ll let you practice, play and even record to your heart’s content. Get out there and make it happen!
Hong Kong’s best practice rooms and studios
The Rolls Royce of Hong Kong studios, having provided premier recording and practice facilities for many years with three purpose-built studios with top of the line gear.
Avon uses classic analogue equipment supplied by Funky Junk and cabling and wiring assemblies from VDC Trading (aka, good shit). Also, fun tidbit, this is the studio where Blur began work on their recent Hong Kong-inspired album, The Magic Whip.
As well as offering services such as sound recording, mixing, live-stream broadcasting, space rental for shooting and tape and sound file transfer, the staff are extremely professional and happy to help you out with whatever you need.
Call 2813 5668 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing
A one-stop shop if you’re starting fresh and you and your bandmates don’t have a set of spoons between you all. Camel doubles as a music store and a studio, so you can in walk in with barely a pot to piss in and walk out with a double-platinum album.* Considering the equipment and set-up they have, detailed below, this studio suits a burgeoning metal band quite nicely. *disclaimer – that may not happen.
Large room: $90/hour daytime, $120/hour after 6pm. Comes with Mesa boogie rectifier solo guitar amp/LaneyVH100R guitar amp/Marshall JCM2000 guitar amp/Peavey Mark6 bass amp 3x15+2x10 cab/ Yamaha CVP105 digital piano.
An affordable, relatively well-equipped space in Kwai Fong. These guys are worth mentioning as they will lay down a fairly basic recording for you with some editing and tweaking for only $200-an -hour. Amazing if you’re looking to put something together in the early stages of your band’s bid for world domination.
If you feel like your band’s missing something and you want some professional advice (even on the basics), Noisy Room’s a good call. As well as offering all the usual stuff, they offer band exercises, professional recordings and a variety of workshops if you feel a need to do some scrubbing up.
Studio: $140-$200/hour with mic, drum kit, guitar and bass.
Drum practice room: $60/hour
With its spacious, sound-proofed and stylishly-furnished studios (which all come equipped with WiFi and a metronome), furnished with either a Yamaha U-series upright or grand piano, One has become a lifeline for budding musicians in the city who aren’t just guitar and drums obsessed. The studio is also an incredible resource for those looking to improve their abilities as you can request teachers from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta to come give you a lesson.
Standard room: $80/hour.
A popular rehearsal studio for many local bands. The room sizes here are relatively small but the rates are good and the studio provides all the equipment. Very useful if you’re wanting to squeeze in a cheeky practice after work.
Small band room: $100/ hour.
Medium band room: $120/hour.
Large band room: $150/hour.
Piano room: $20/hour.
The decidedly professional set up at Red Sound accommodates a raft of services from music recording and mixing and arranging to TV commercial voice-over recording and editing to CD projects for musicians and bands. Every room comes equipped with dozens of mics by top manufacturers.
$500 an hour for recording.
Mixing from $4,000, vocal edit/mix $800 per song.
Call for price on song arranging / drum + guitar recording.
Taking things in a slightly different direction from the others on the list, Sky Productions are one of the best in the city for commercial recordings. With a client list that boasts the likes of HSBC and Ocean Park, these guys are great if you’re looking to put together some video or audio content for your company in a state-of-the-art recording studio with cutting-edge audio editing software and mastering facilities for all formats.
Contact studio manager Chris Fong for pricing on 9222 9145 or email email@example.com.
This tasty space in Central can be used for both recording and rehearsal. What makes it great is that it’s equipped to handle any kind of band with a full live room for tracking instruments; a 5.1 enabled room; and a whole host of plugins that can be easily patched into the desk to give your sound that extra bit of depth. Stacked with loads of guitar/bass amps, drums and percussion, a keyboard and an upright piano, This Music Studio can house any combination of bands, even a 12-piece jazz band.
Rehearsal room: $500/hour.
Recording room: $4,500/day, excluding engineer’s fee.
As well as running some of the best recording studios in the city, Zuk are well involved in the live scene, often organising and producing gigs for both local and overseas acts – they’re a great posse to be around when starting out. With eight different studios in their two Mong Kok locations, you can’t go wrong here.
Cheapest studio: $70-$120/hour daytime, $140-$220/hour nightime.
Drum practice room: $50/hour.
Get a feel for Hong Kong's live music scene....
Burgeoning; aspirational; crap; brilliant; severely limited – the conversation surrounding live music in Hong Kong often descends into hyperbole, no matter who you speak to. True, it’s a disappointment that our compact city of seven million people isn’t home to a more relentless, all-encompassing live music scene the way it should be. We’ve covered the trials and tribulations of Hong Kong’s underground venues before.But don’t think for a second that there’s not a lot going on here. There’s a company of dedicates powering the scene on a daily basis, like these five scene stalwarts, and a slew of great live houses still hanging on. These are the venues and live music nights built by such champions. These nights are happening every day or every week and they’re all worth your time.