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Abbey Road Mixing Desk Used By The Beatles, Pink Floyd Finds New Home In Aus

2 February 2023 | 11:07 am | Mary Varvaris

Inside the first-ever Australian museum to host a recording studio.

(Pic by Mona/Jesse Hunniford)

Frying Pan Studios has opened at the Mona museum on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania. Mona is officially the first-ever Australian museum to host a recording studio.

"What happens when a museum acquires a piece of music history? Why, they build an entire recording studio around it, of course," producer, studio designer and sound engineer Chris Townend said in a statement.

The centrepiece of Frying Pan is the historic REDD.17 console, which lived at Abbey Road Studios, London, from 1958 to 1980. David Roper, of Crumpler fame, bought the console in 2014. Alongside audio product designer Lukas Glickman, the pair formulated the studio idea and developed it further with Brian Ritchie, Artistic Director of Mona Foma and Music at Mona.

Townend continued, "It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to design a fully functioning recording studio inside a museum. Mona is an artistic cave of wonders, with music such an integral part of the experience—from city-wide festivals to intimate gallery gigs. 

"Frying Pan artists will benefit immensely from the surrounding inspiration, ridiculous location and abundance of equipment, both historic and hi-tech." Townend knows what he's talking about, too, with production credits spanning from Portishead, Silverchair, Violent Femmes, Daniel Johns, Augie March and more.

The brand-new studio is named after its location opposite and contains views of Frying Pan Island. Keen musicians can enter the space from one of the museum's underground tunnels.

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David Walsh, Mona owner and founder, added: "Frying Pan is the essence of Mona. The major product will be music, of course, but made in an environment redolent of passion and daring. There will be many failures and some triumphs. Because we value risk, and humanity, and the glorious desperation of creativity, we will be proud of the work of Frying Pan’s denizens, however it is received."

Frying Pan was funded through a RISE grant and Mona's support team. Book your session at Frying Pan here.

In a recent interview with The Music, Brian Ritchie shared his excitement for a "what" rather than a "who" at this year's Mona Foma festival. He said, "It’s the old TAFE building, which is now called the reunion district in Launceston. So we're taking over an entire Old TAFE, building and populating it with artworks throughout what used to be the classrooms, after party and what used to be the library and concerts in both the Quadrangle and also in a couple of other kind of found weird spaces.

"Like, there's one called the punk bunker, which I'm really excited about. It's exactly what it sounds like. It's a concrete bunker that we're putting punk and metal bands into. And we're doing something similar in Hobart, called The Party, which is our after-show in Hobart, which will be taking place in what used to be the printing area for the Mercury newspaper when the newspaper was all in one site. Editorial was upstairs and then down in the bowels of the newspaper office, they print the newspapers and do all that production aspect of it, and that's what where the party is going to be. So, it's an industrial found space that's really unusual and full of little nooks, crannies, and weird experiences."