The History of Appletree studios

The cupboard, compact and bijou! (1985)

The cupboard, compact and bijou! (1985)

30 years... Wow and yet such humble beginnings! To be honest Appletree studios started in 1984 when I was still at secondary school I took over the broom cupboard with my 8 track machine, recording school mates in the garage.

Then in 1986 I obtained the "Enterprise Allowance Scheme" funding, then after adding 3 new rooms, a Control room, Live room and Rest room, ( also my cupboard was changed into a vocal booth ! ) I started the studio as a commercial venture.

The next major hurdle was finding a name for the studios, so whilst in the studios orchard nestled amongst apple trees, eating an apple, sat against an apple tree with apples all around me the name came to me... "fridge magnet studios"!! This name lasted about 2 hours and then in a moment of pure inspiration "Appletree studios" was born.

Appletree studios Control Room (1987)

Appletree studios Control Room (1987)

The keyboards !! Enough to keep Rick Wakeman happy (1987)

The keyboards !! Enough to keep Rick Wakeman happy (1987)

The first ever band paying to use the studios facilities was a Witney punk band "The Rejected" with a beautiful rendition of there classic "Kill the Bill"... and I was off.

The next 2 years brought in many "cool" bands and artists and I worked my socks off, loving every minute of it, then whilst playing a game of football, I got kicked in the eye, had a brain haemorrhage and got blinded for 2 weeks, then after regaining my sight in hospital, I got the chance to play drums for a covers band in Alaska for a few months.

When Mullets ruled the world! (1988)

When Mullets ruled the world! (1988)

 Rehearsing before Alaska. (Witney, 1988)

Rehearsing before Alaska. (Witney, 1988)

 The hideous perm, performing in Alaska University. (Fairbanks, 1989)

The hideous perm, performing in Alaska University. (Fairbanks, 1989)

Whilst there, I lived in a major Alaskan recording studios "Northern lights studios" Fairbanks, famed for being the worlds most northern studios, I got to play session drums for some "biggish" artists and learned the recording ropes a bit more. I left the UK with long hair and came back with a bad perm!!

 Producing members of Kagagoogoo (1992)

Producing members of Kagagoogoo (1992)

When I got back to the U.K after leaving the studios in the capable hands of a friend the "Oxford scene" exploded, and being one of only three Oxfordshire studios at the time, had a busy time keeping up with all the work, many of the big Oxford bands came in too, it was so great to be part of that, in fact, now it appears I am the longest running studios in Oxfordshire.

Life was busy recording up until 1994 when I decided to move out from the mixing desk and played guitars / vocals with my own band "As if..." We played a few gigs, got noticed, got signed and recorded our début album which did really well (We even beat U2 and Cliff Richard for album of the month in a major music magazine) and started touring extensively up and down the country and in Europe, building a good following and playing such venues as The Scottish Exhibition Centre, Bristol Coulston Hall, Chatsworth House, Headlining the Kingston festival, The Greenbelt festival and 100's of other prominent music venues.

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"As If..." Before headlining at the Scottish Exhibition Centre. (Glasgow, 1999)

Inside the S.E.C. (Glasgow, 1999)

Inside the S.E.C. (Glasgow, 1999)

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 Location recording, Keeping it reel !! Analogue recording (2003) in the venue used for the film \

Location recording, Keeping it reel !! Analogue recording (2003) in the venue used for the film "Emma"

It was getting harder to work all week in the studios with artists and then go out playing in the evenings....the rock and roll lifestyle started to take it's toll (!!) so the band took a bit of a back seat after 4 albums in 2003.

And yet Appletree got busier and busier (I've been really blessed by lots of long term clients who keep coming back and along with new clients and producing / music writing, I can honestly say I've hardly ever had a day off !!)

Rehearsing with the models. (Milan, 2005)

Rehearsing with the models. (Milan, 2005)

In 2005 I got asked to help arrange some music for the Milan fashion week (I've always been a fashion statement!!) and got to perform the music at the Milan fashion show with the main writer and Butch Thomas (Sting's Sax player) it was all chauffeur driven limos and posh frocks.

Performing with Butch Thomas (Sax). (Milan, 2005)

Performing with Butch Thomas (Sax). (Milan, 2005)

The Primark stand at the Fashion show!! (Milan, 2005)

The Primark stand at the Fashion show!! (Milan, 2005)

So from then to now the studios have remained really busy, engineering and producing all sorts of bands and artists, I've also done a lot of writing music for T.V and adverts over the years too, including most recently a major L.G Mobile Advertising campaign: LG "the Tourist" and. LG "Chic"

LG "the Tourist"

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LG "Chic"

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Also work for Prada / Jil Sander

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Still Rocking out with \

Still Rocking out with "As if" (Kent, 2010)

So 25 years, so many changes, Analogue to Digital, being a Drummer to being a Guitarist / Keyboardist. From having long hair to permed hair to not as much hair(!!), and so many great clients, some who have been there from the beginning to brilliant new young artists who come in the studio and blow me away.

One thing is for sure; I still love recording, producing and engineering artists as much as ever... here's to the future.

Phillip @ Appletree