Interview by Maria Elena Paganini
–When we talk about one of the best recording studios in the world, we talk about the quality of the equipment and of the sound engineers, but I suppose that for your artists it also becomes home, a place where you take your time to compose the latest cords and make your sound mixes.
–Quite so, in PKO our objective is to offer artists the opportunity to create a quality product in agreeable surroundings with the best of the best. Our aim is to make the client feel comfortable whilst he builds what will become the realisation of his dreams, which is a very delicate matter. And we encourage him in all this with our experience, our savoir faire and our good will, we provide everything we have in our power to help the client.
Apart from our professionalism, it is important to note that our Studio is situated in a unique environment, a quiet residential area. It is in the municipal area of Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, and offers a great number of features so that all needs are met, whether they are leisure, food or hospitality, since at PKO we also have a cosy and luxurious hotel amongst our installations, which offers every detail imaginable.
In this way all the artist has to worry about is his work, since, as you rightly say, as far as everything else is concerned, it is as though he was at home.
In this way, we have made our own dream come true in the creation of PKO STUDIOS, so that you can make yours come true as well.
-How long has PKO been in the music business and I would like to know more about its advanced technology.
–Our studio has been under my management for some 11 years now, and in the same buildings, but years ago it started up under the management of the producer J.R. Flórez.
As far as technology goes, at PKO we have the best brands in the professional audio market (GML, Manley, Solid State Logic, API…), you cannot find system consoles with the quality ours have in this country (SSL 9072 J Series, Neve VR48, Legendary Neve 8014..). We have the best Vintage equipment (Urei, Pultec, DBX, Telefunken, Neve), mythical Reverb (EMT: 248, 250 and 262), AD/DA converters (Apogee, Prism Sound, Lavry, dB Technologies..), the best microphone systems (Neumann, Manley, Beyer, DPA, Brauner..) and, what is more valuable still, the facilities to record, mix and master in analog tape with 24 tracks in 2” and ½”, as well as having Protools DH in all our controls.
We have a weekly maintenance service so that all our equipment is always in top condition.
With all this equipment and luxury installations, PKO is one of the most outstanding studios in the world, both on a technical level as on a human level. But above all, and this is most important, we are constantly expanding and we will continue to improve so that we can always offer the best.
-Tell me about your engineers, I know that you have a Grammy or two.
-Our technical engineer is Caco Rejogo, a Galician who is now living in Madrid, who, after having worked in various recording studios, arrived at the PKO STUDIOS in 2006, brought in by José Ramón Flórez to work in his production studio, and he is now the chief engineer of the studio.
Since then and up till now he has worked with producers such as Red One, Peter Walsh, Cheche Alara, Javier Limón, Jacobo Calderón, amongst others. In B.S.O. such as Enredados and Disney’s Frozen. With engineers such as Andy Bradfield, Peter Walsh, Trevor Muzzy, Óscar Clavel, Óscar Vinader, Bori Alarcón, Juan González, Pepo Scherman…With artists such as Michel Camilo, Dhafer Youssef, Alejandro Sanz, Lady Gaga, Enrique Morente, Yasmin Levi, Ainhoa Arteta, Chucho Valdés, Tomatito, José Mercé, Raphael, Hombres G, Rosendo, Miguel Bosé, Malú, Melendi, Pablo Alborán, Buika, David Bustamante, David Bisbal, Manu Tenorio, Andy & Lucas, Random Thinking, Pasión Vega, Pastora Soler, Edurne, Soraya, Sergio Dalma, Estopa, Abraham Mateo, Tamara, Auryn, Paulina Rubio, Marta Sánchez, Carlos Baute, Macaco, Dani Martín, Antonio Orozco, Bertín Osborne, Kill Beats, Leiva, María Dolores Pradera, Russian Red, Fey, Ismael Serrano, Angy, Beethoven R, Innocence, Carlos Marín and many other clients of PKO Studios.
As you say he has received two LATIN GRAMMYS, the first one was in 2010 with Buika’s record “El Utlimo Trago”, a BEST TRADITIONAL RECORD as MIXING ENGINEER and MASTERING ENGINEER, and in 2015 he was the winner of the LATIN GRAMMY for the BEST FLAMENCO ALBUM with the record “Entre 2 Aguas”, music by Paco de Lucía, as MASTERING ENGINEER.
Apart from these awards he has received various nominations, including DOUBLE NOMINATION for the LATIN GRAMMY FOR THE BEST ENGINEERING FOR AN LBUM as MIXING ENGINEER and MASTERING ENGINEER of the record “Promesas de Tierra” by Havier Limón; DOUBLE NOMINATION for the LATIN GRAMMY for BEST ENGINEER OF AN ALBUM as MIXING ENGINEER and MASTERING ENGINEER for the record “Astrid Asher”; NOMINATION for the LATIN GRAMMY for the YEAR’s BEST ALBUM and FLAMENCO for the record “Con Sentido” by María Toledo as RECORDING, MIXING AND MASTERING ENGINEER.
-National and international artist have visited your fantastic installations, from Plácido Domingo to Lady Gaga. Can you tell me whether any of these geniuses have any particular mania?
–As I already said when I answered the last question, our list of clients is very long, and we try to treat all clients the same, without exception.
And yes, it is true, that the great stars do have their particular requirements.
For example, Lady Gaga came with her personal entourage and brought her own chef, but although she may seem to be a very eccentric artist her behavior and requirements were quite normal. And this seems to be the general attitude, the artists come to work and to feel at ease, and they don’t have too many manias.
But then, yes, some of them do, for example Malú, she is very superstitious about the colour yellow and in one of our recordings we had to remove everything of this colour, including cables and the technician’s T-shirts, which just happened to be yellow on that day.
–Do you specialize in any specific type of recording?
–At PKO we record, mix and master all types of music, and we can guarantee that, whatever it is, the result will be 10 out of 10.
We have recorded Flamenco, pop, rock, jazz, classical music, electronic music, etc. any type and genre of music that you may think of has been recorded in our studio.
Also as far as musical variety is concerned, and groups, we have recorded everything from a single voice to a Big Band live.
–We know that your installations are considered unique in Europe, but what is the daily routine like for an artist who comes to record at PKO?
–Well, from the moment he enters our establishment, we do everything we can to make him feel at home.
We look after every detail, from personal attention to the last technical detail.
The artist has total freedom to be able to record, listen to the mixes, create and develop his dreams.
What is the difference for an artist when he chooses this particular studio?
The difference between our studio and the others is without doubt quality. If you come to PKO you are guaranteed that the result that you will achieve will be spectacular.