Evergreen Studios: Engineer Laurence Anslow shares insight into the legendary studio's renovation
April 12, 2024

Evergreen Studios: Engineer Laurence Anslow shares insight into the legendary studio's renovation

Laurence Anslow is the chief engineer at Harvey Mason Jr.'s Evergreen Studios (https://www.evergreenstudiosla.com). The studio began its life as a 740-seat movie theater in 1940, and later became a premiere recording space, where artists such as Frank Sinatra, Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand, Stephen Sondheim, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey recorded. Numerous classic film and television shows also made use of the facility, including Back to the Future, When Harry Met Sally, Urban Cowboy, The Blues Brothers, Star Trek The Motion Picture, Friends and Dallas.

Recently, the studio underwent a considerable upgrade, bringing it up to today’s standards, and another round of renovations and updates are planned. Anslow, who recorded the score for the new film Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, shared with Post insight into his overseeing the studio’s upgrades. 

How did you get involved in the project of rebuilding Evergreen Studio with Harvey Mason Jr.?

“Before coming to the United States, I worked at Air Studios in London. It was there where I met Harvey on a project for Netflix called Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. He had come over as the executive music producer for the project, and we worked very well together. I think Harvey was particularly impressed with my work ethic — he commented on how I didn’t leave when I was tired — I left when the work was done. Toward the end of the project, Harvey mentioned that he was rebuilding Evergreen Studios in Burbank, CA, and asked if I’d have any interest in coming over to the United States to help put it together. Harvey was one of the finest producers I’d ever worked with, and I’d always wanted to come to the USA, so I jumped at the opportunity. I spent 2020 putting my visa application together, and when it was approved, I got on a plane.”

What were the conditions of the existing facility prior to your work?

“Evergreen Studios had historically been associated with some classic scores and records, however, in recent years, the facility had fallen into disrepair. There was goodwill in the community for Evergreen, but there were severe limitations as to what could be recorded there. The old Neve console was becoming increasingly unreliable. The microphone and outboard equipment included some rare gems, but many had developed faults. And the cabling and wiring had deteriorated beyond use.”

What needed to be done to bring Evergreen Studio to its updated state?

“Harvey had already started work by replacing the Neve with a brand new 72-channel SSL Duality Fuse console, as well as installing new monitor screens, commissioning a custom wooden credenza for the outboard gear, and adding a brand new studio couch. When I arrived, I got to work immediately with studio designer Paul Cox on the patch bay. I updated the working specification to accommodate larger ensembles, allowing for more inputs across multiple machines. 

“I installed 5.1 ATC monitoring for surround sound; PTZ and SDI video cameras for visibility; and started to send the existing gear off for repair. We were able to salvage eight of the old Neve 31105 mic preamp modules, which are now racked as a centerpiece in the credenza. I bought 100-plus new microphones from manufacturers such as Neumann, AKG, Schoeps, Sennheiser, DPA and Royer. Score mixer Bruce Botnick was selling his microphone collection at the time, and I was able to make him an offer on behalf of Evergreen. As such, we now have the Botnick microphone collection, including three original Neumann M50s, three AKG C12s and a U47 with a VF14 tube. 

“I replaced the seating with 50 brand new RAT Stands Opera chairs for the musicians. (I’ve actually just bought 10 more due to increasing session sizes.) and brought in new LED music stand lighting from Manhasset. I also had brand new LED lighting installed in the live area and control room, allowing for full brightness or soft dimming capabilities. I put in an Aviom system for individual musician foldbacks, as well as a traditional cue system, which can be used with either the console or our external monitor mixer. I replaced one of the isolation booth doors with heavy-duty glass, and installed monitors and bar counters for ease of communication. 

“Evergreen now has three excellent isolation booths, as well as the live area recording space. We recently finished recording with a 55 piece orchestra, our largest session yet. What’s unique to the space, however, is the versatility of instrumentation we’re able to accommodate due to the acoustic nature of the live area and the choice of isolation booths available. Recent projects that we've recorded at Evergreen include Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Candy Cane Lane, Miraculous - Ladybug & Cat Noir, Bruised, Luckiest Girl Alive, Bob Marley: One Love, The Watchers and Netflix’s upcoming film The Piano Lesson.”