by Tammy Moir
February 1, 2023
Electric Lady Studios remains a revered and enchanting space, a beacon of creativity, and a testament to Hendrix’s artistic vision.
Electric Lady Studios, the legendary recording studio in NYC’s Greenwich Village, was commissioned by Jimi Hendrix in 1968. Designed by architect John Storyk and audio engineer Eddie Kramer, the studio was custom-made for Hendrix with round windows, ambient lighting, and a chill atmosphere, a respite from the typical, sterile recording environments of the time.
The only artist-owned studio at the time, Electric Lady hosted its grand opening in 1970 with a star-studded party and saw numerous iconic recordings over the decades, from Bowie’s “Fame” to Patti Smith‘s debut album “Horses”.
Patti Smith recalls in her memoir, Just Kids. “I put on my straw hat and walked downtown, but when I got there, I couldn’t bring myself to go in. By chance, Jimi Hendrix came up the stairs and found me sitting there like some hick wallflower and grinned.
He spent a little time with me on the stairs and told me his vision of what he wanted to do with the studio. He dreamed of amassing musicians from all over the world in Woodstock and they would sit in a field in a circle and play and play. It didn’t matter what key or tempo or what melody, they would keep on playing through their discordance until they found a common language. Eventually, they would record this abstract universal language of music in his new studio. ’The language of peace. You dig?’ I did.”
The studio has had an eclectic and impressive recording history, that would have made Jimi proud, Sonic Youthrecorded The Simpsons ‘Homerpalooza’ there in 96 and The Soulquarians, an experimental black music collective, whose past members include Questlove and J Dilla held sessions there from 1997-2000, producing albums for Erykah Badu, and Common.
The most recent artists to record in the New York city studio are Bleachers, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Cage the Elephant, Adele, Japanese Breakfast, Jon Batiste, Clairo, Taylor Swift, Sunflower Bean, Lorde, Nile Rodgers and St Vincent. Not to mention the incredible Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett session.
Sessions have inspired some incredible imagery, stories and merchandise in Rock and Roll history, from Bleachers merch, ‘Live at Electric Lady’ to bomba jackets with the OG killer font, all the way to live recordings, of which: the Bleachers, who had recorded the song “Chinatown” at the studio in 2020, released a performance video filmed on the roof of the building with Bruce Springsteen is a must watch. Check out some of the best Electric Lady Studios Live music moments below.
View the Electric Lady Project Page
The War on Drugs performs “Thinking Of A Place” 2017
Courtney Barnett performs “Avant Gardener” in 2014
Thom York’s Incredible 2017 performance of ‘Bloom’ taken from the Radiohead album ‘The King of Limbs’.
Japanese Breakfast’s Live in-studio performance of “Better the Mask,” off the Sable original video game soundtrack.
Arctic Monkeys performs ‘Four out of Five’ in 2018