Bywyd Studios open their doors in the heart of Cardiff Bay

Bywyd is a new venture that opened in the heart of Cardiff Bay last week. After a well received open weekend providing potential clientele an opportunity to visit the studio located at the Douglas Buildings complex. It is clear that a lot of work has been put into this cosy music production venture. With high ceilings, a wooden floor and plenty of light, the studio has a warm and welcoming feeling. 

The space is situated on the second floor surrounded by a cluster of small creative businesses ranging from music production to meeting rooms. The studio is an open plan design with a monitoring set up and a fully equipped live room which includes a full drum kit, a large range of keyboards and other noise making oddities available to add the essential sparkle to your productions. There is also separate spaces for vocal recording and amp isolation.

Bywyd is a partnership between Leone Vuetivavalagi and Tom Westgard who met at the USW whilst studying MSC in music production and audio engineering. Their work ethics and philosophies resonated enough to start up a musical partnership and studio space. Originally in the now closed Abacus next to Cardiff central and then a brief flirtation with the Coal Exchange before the historic building was sold to be turned in to a hotel. The duo found their gear in storage for a few months whilst they waited for the perfect place to become available. 

Their motto ‘where the science of sound meets art’ is a clear indicator of attention to detail and a willingness to embrace creative approaches to recording and mixing. The services they offer range from simple tracking sessions right through to realising full album projects from conception to completion. Just by meeting and talking with Leone and Tom it’s clear to see an enthusiasm, energy and approachability that makes the stressful process of choosing the ideal space for your creative projects that little bit easier. 

Alongside the studio, Bywyd will also become a platform for artists to release their music to the world. Bywyd records will begin releasing very soon with the band Them Dead Beats set to be the first followed by singer songwriter Eleanor Brown. 

It looks like the new studio space is off to a flying start with many musical projects already in the pipeline.

EMW: What made you want to start a music production space in Cardiff? 

B: The reason we wanted to start a music production space was that we both cut our teeth in the Atrium recording bands and would do anything we could to cover up those un-inspiring four white walls, fluorescent lights and grey carpet by bringing in throws, different colour LED lights, oil burners and even a kettle! 

After a few successful collaborations we realised we both approached music production and engineering from a similar place and decided to continue that relationship in the future. 

We had looked at the possibility of using other fine studios in Cardiff but found a lot of closed doors.

We were approached by chance by Victor Frederik who offered us a space at the Abacus. We jumped at the opportunity and whilst we hit a few hurdles we still managed to keep working towards a goal, of having our own studio.

Even whilst we were learning to do basic carpentry and juggling jobs and other commitments we found we worked well together bouncing off each others enthusiasm for music and the possibilities that lay ahead.

EMW: What can you offer to prospective clients? 

B: We offer a range of services as a studio, but as a production/engineering duo we are really trying to push artists/bands to create records that w ill also see the light of day, by  setting up the label, since we know it can feel like a daunting prospect when it comes to releasing a record.

Working together we are able to accommodate many genres and tastes giving our clients a service which is not easy to come by. We do our best to be as creative  in our approach  as the music we are working with,  from recording techniques to finished mix and production.

EMW: What do you believe musicians are looking for when finding creative spaces to realise their projects? 

B: We both believe the environment in which you are recording has as much of an impact on the performance as anything else we have worked hard to create a space that reflects this ethos. We wanted to create a space that compels artists to be creative and allows us to work with them in such a way that there are no barriers whether that means technically or in communication. Trust is a big part of the recording process and for us that means not only being technically proficient but serving the song at all times, taking care to make sure that the emotion that created
the song is conveyed through the speakers once it's recorded and being played back.

EMW: What can we expect from Bywyd in the near future? 

B: In the near future we are starting production deals for three more albums and a couple of
EP's as well as looking to build a group of solid reliable session musicians in the local area that we can call upon to work with us on projects.

We are also bringing in a group of students to see how a n  open studio functions and to show a musicians studio. 

We look forward to bringing you more exciting and new music in the future.

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