Jordan Day Williams (BSc Sound Engineering 2018) has an impressive catalogue of awards under his belt with his company Cobra Music Studios. Based in the heart of Newport, the recording studio specialises in choral, orchestral and brass ensemble recording alongside audiobook production.
We met with Jordan at the studio to ask him all about Cobra below!
Hi Jordan! Please introduce yourself.
My name is Jordan and I studied BSc Sound Engineering at the University of South Wales, Cardiff Campus. I started in 2015 and graduated in 2018 and now I run and own, Cobra Music Studios.
Tell us about Cobra Music Studios.
Cobra Music Studios is a recording company of two halves we are a studio based in the Riverfront, Newport, South Wales and here we record everything from string quartets, brass ensembles through to audiobooks and podcasts.
The recording side we mainly focus on is classical recordings because there's lots of other studios around that recording everything else so, classical is our kind of niche. On the audiobook side of things, we work with lots of publishing companies in London and across the board to bring local authors and narrators into local studios. We are the main studio for the likes of Penguin and Hachette - which are two of the biggest audiobook companies in the world.
The second arm is location recording so we work with choirs, orchestras and brass bands all across the UK and we have a mini version (of the studio) that goes out on the road in flight cases and then we record in places like churches, cathedrals and big spaces.
What are some of the positives of being an entrepreneur?
The great thing about being an entrepreneur is you can control your own time-frame, calendar, your schedule, you can do everything by yourself. And equally, if you want extra people in, if you want to grow your business or stay solo, it’s literally as free as you’d want it to be.
Where would you like to see Cobra Music in 5 years’ time?
The audiobook side of things is going huge so everybody is listening to podcasts and audiobooks – that could be on a train, in the car etc. It’s literally such a huge market! A lot of people are going to production companies in London for audiobooks where the price of recording is 3 or 4 times more than what you pay to record here. So, audiobooks would be a great place to be and in 5 years’ time who knows where that’ll end up.
What is your favourite type of productions to record or what has been your favourite project you’ve worked on?
Recording with choirs, in churches, is the most magical thing ever. You walk into a church or a cathedral that you’ve never seen before and you kind of look around and go ‘wow!’ and then it’s yours for a day, weekend or how ever long the recording process is. Being able to then go in with loads of gear and set up some great equipment, you just get amazing people who come and make amazing music. It sounds incredible at the source but bringing it back to the studio to edit it is even better.
What advice would you give to someone looking to have a career in the music industry?
The music industry is extremely hard to get into. There’s so many people trying to fight for the same jobs but once you’re into a job, it’s great, because that job will probably last you forever.
If you look at the likes of theatres - once you’re in as a theatre technician you’ll stay there generally until you retire. You’d probably have a nice comfy job where you meet people and know the space well so you wouldn’t move on, which is great because you have a job for life but equally people coming into the industry e.g., those fresh out of university or school or anything have a hard time getting into it
Unless you’re creating your own pathway to do something through self-employment, being an entrepreneur, creative starter, whatever you want to class yourself as – it’s really tricky. So, I guess being open minded to opportunities and finding a niche/different way into something is how to succeed.
The first two years of doing anything here, a lot of it was just free work to get the name out and build up a brand. When you have a brand word of mouth is such a huge thing. For example, I’ve had a company come in just because somebody who has used me previously, recommended me. It’s always a case of you give and take what you can.