5 of New Zealand’s Best Recording Studios

The reason we decided to run NZ Week, first and foremost, was the amount of world-class music we had heard coming from the Land of the Long White Cloud. But of course, behind every great release is a great recording studio.

As we dived further into the NZ music industry and those people who made its wheels turn, we found out they were no exception to this rule. Read on to find out all about five of the most happening recording studios in New Zealand.

The Lab – Auckland

the lab auckland
Photo: The Lab Recording Studio

Nestled in Auckland’s Mt. Eden is The Lab, a recording studio boasting a handsomely sized live room and one of the more drool-worthy equipments lists you’ll come across.

Owner Olly Harmer has been with The Lab since 2003, an award-winning engineer who takes it upon himself to maintain and repair the studio gear. When he has some spare time outside of building amps and microphones, that is.

A recent output was Lizard Tears, the excellent debut album from Marlin’s Dreaming, and in the past The Lab has hosted Tim Finn, Scribe, The Naked and Famous, Lawrence Arabia, and heaps more.

The Sitting Room – Christchurch

the sitting room christchurch
Photo: The Sitting Room

The Sitting Room boasts the claim of being Christchurch’s last and only large-format recording studio – consider our ears pricked. Actually located just south of the big smoke in Lyttelton, here you’ll find a home studio vibe with the kind of sounds bigger setups would kill for.

We first came across The Sitting Room after hearing Julia Jacklin recorded her self-titled debut album there, and it’s been nothing but praise since then.

Roundhead Studios – Auckland

roundhead studios
Photo: Roundhead Studios New Zealand

Conveniently located near the beating heart of Auckland, Roundhead Studios was opened by Neil Finn in 2007. It features two spectacular live rooms; The Brick Room and the sunny Studio A – pictured above.

Endorsed by everyone from Johnny Marr to Kanye West, it’s a worthy stopover for internationally touring artists as well as a top-notch joint for Auckland locals. The Adults, HIGH HØØPS, Drax Project and more have recorded there in recent times.

The Stomach – Palmerston North

creative sounds the stomach
Photo: Tony Gendall

The Stomach is the home base for Creative Sounds Society, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to home-grown music and arts. For 30 years they have run events, provided recording spaces for musicians, and otherwise given a platform to those who deserved it.

Also a venue and rehearsal studio, The Stomach boasts a well-equipped recording studio that won’t destroy your entire album budget in one swing. As a registered charity, they also offer discounted rates to unwaged or student artists, as well as artists based in the local Palmerston North, Manawatū, Horowhenua, Whanganui, and Rangitikei regions.

Blue Barn Recording Studio – Wellington

Photo: Blue Barn Recording Studios
Photo: Blue Barn Recording Studios

Blue Barn Recording Studio is a boutique studio located in central Wellington, helmed by James Goldsmith. Find yourself a band based in Wellington and you’re in for a pretty good chance they’ve come through these doors.

Recently, projects from Mermaidens, Miss June, Kane Strang, and Drax Project have made it through Blue Barn for mixing, mastering or to lay down a release. With little to no self-promotion, it’s become somewhat of a Wellington mainstay.

Happy Mag’s NZ Week is a new initiative spotlighting New Zealand as one of the world’s most exciting cultural hubs.
Special thanks to NZ On Air Music for supporting Happy Mag’s NZ Week.