Monday, July 15, 2024
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Where the magic happens

ANN/THE STAR – When thinking about producing popular musical anthems, Khairafik Khairudin from the.koncept.lab immediate comes to mind. Over the past years, a music producer known as Rafik hailing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has collaborated with Malaysian stars such as Anuar Zain, Adeep Nahar, Altimet, Mimify, and Ayda Jebat just to name a few.

Rafik has also composed scores for films like Eva – Take me as I am in 2022 and Bisikan.

Recently, Rafik and a former radio DJ, voiceover talent and wife Dilly unveiled their newly renovated music studio at their family home in Damansara, Petaling Jaya. The studio, adorned with custom-built furniture and fixtures by Rafik, represents their long-held dream to create the perfect working space.

“A studio that is uniquely ours,” shares Dilly.

The 3.65-metre by 8.22-metre music studio boasts a separate lounge area, a small gallery featuring some of Rafik’s Transformers and Star Wars collection, a control room and a vocal room-cum-office.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

What’s striking about the studio is the cosy yet functional atmosphere, which touts a keen attention to detail. Each area has been measured and calculated by Rafik to ensure the best use of space that allows guests to enjoy its features.

Take the main area, for example, where a comfy sofa greets guests as they enter through the main door. A one-way window gives those inside a clear view of the outside and another glass partition separates Dilly’s office area with the main lounge.

A practical coffee corner with a floating high table below the one-way window lets guests enjoy a cup of coffee during meetings.

Khairafik ‘Rafik’ Khairudin and Dilly in their custom-built music studio. PHOTO: THE STAR
Main control room where Rafik creates music. PHOTO: THE STAR
Dilly’s own office space at the new studio. PHOTO: THE STAR
A glass partition within Dilly’s office space looks into the lounge area. PHOTO: THE STAR
Dilly recording her voiceovers. PHOTO: THE STAR

“We were getting more work especially after we got married in 2019. And he was always saying what if we had this or did that so I said why don’t we just do it,” said Dilly.

“We wanted a certain look for the studio where everything is thought through even down to the trash bin. Every piece has to look like it was part of the aesthetics. We like the industrial look but we wanted something that felt warm and cosy.

“As a voice over talent it took a bit of time getting used to working with him. Because of the fact that when I go to other studios to record, they usually have a studio booth that I go to in a separate room which is soundproof. It’s not as intimate as this. So I’ve come to appreciate doing my voice over work without having any barriers.

“When we discussed expanding the studio I asked for my own office, a space to call my own. In the previous studio I didn’t have one. So if I brought my laptop there wouldn’t be a comfortable place to do work.

“But now I have my own office space where I can do most of my work comfortably – my very own lady lair,” said Dilly.

MAKING IT FUNCTIONAL

During a block party near their home, the couple met Simon Grote of Grote Builders who eventually became their studio builder. The wall demolition, structural walls, and ceilings were done within a couple of weeks.

“Once that was done, it took us three months to set up the studio,” said Dilly.

“The finishing touches were pretty much DIY. We used whatever we had from the previous studio and the rest of it we shopped around from Shopee, Mr DIY, Ace Hardware and Ikea.”

Due to space and costs constraints, they opted for drywall insulated with rockwool.

“This was a more practical method and was easier to build. Rockwool is a mineral fibre often used for sound proofing. In fact some of the acoustic panels in the studio also have rockwool,” said Rafik, who hand-built the acoustic panels among others.

Having worked with other studios and even helped build some throughout his career, Rafik had insights into what was needed to create a professional music studio.

“I may be marked by others for saying this but equipment doesn’t matter. What matters is your skill and how you set it up,” said Rafik.

“You can have similar results with a MYR10,000 studio as someone who builds a MYR100,000 studio. It depends on how you do it. You can have a mid-tier microphone, audio interface and computer workstation which allows you to have the same results as other big studios.

“To me, acoustics is much more important than sound proofing. It’s two different things that not many people know about. The foam you see here is not soundproof, but they are acoustic treatment to avoid too much echo and to have some dry environment to record your vocals. The walls are supposed to be soundproof,” he added.

According to Dilly, the toughest part of creating the studio is the wooden panel in the control area.

“It’s an aesthetic feature of the space of course. It has a wow factor so when you come in, it’s the first thing you see. And also since it’s made from wood, it acts as an acoustic treatment as well,” she said.

“It also acts as a rear wall diffuser, when the speakers from the front of the control room emits sound it will be travelling to the back of the wall and the back of the wall is one of the most important aspects of any recording studio where you need absorption and some diffusion to have a more natural sounding environment for the audio engineer, which is me,” added Rafik.

“When I’m in the centre of the control room, I’m just listening to the speakers and not to the room.The design of the studio is practical for us and is just nice for everything with how the acoustic works.

“It is a really good environment to record vocals and music in as this is a fully functional professional studio. The basics are the same regardless of how big or small the space is. The only difference is that the location is at a home,” added Rafik.

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