W hotel’s dedicated sound suite offers visiting artists and first-timers alike the chance to create in a professional studio right in the heart of the Seminyak resort.
Bali is a very popular destination for musicians touring throughout South-East Asia and Australia, particularly those coming from as far out as the USA or Europe. It is a convenient place to stop in during a tour and as such has become a prime location to see world-class DJs and other artists.
Back in 2016 the W Hotel in Seminyak inaugurated the W Sound Suite in response to the number of visiting artists who wanted both the comfort of a luxurious hotel during their stay and a space to create new music as their inspiration strikes.
Tucked underneath the W’s foyer, the Sound Suite itself is a work of art. Everything from the lounge to the main control room and live room is purposefully designed and inviting. As I walked in I was greeted by Damian Saint, Sound Suite’s Music Curator. His calm demeanor and laid-back personality instantly put me at ease and turned a Q&A interview into a friendly banter. I probably took up more of his time than I should have, but he never showed it.
Damian and I spoke about what makes the space so unique. The truth is there are very few hotels in the world that incorporate a sound studio for visiting artists, and as music is a core part of the W experience it made sense to create a space in-house that minimizes the amount of travel time an artist on tour has to spend. “The concept comes from having these artists who are struck by inspiration in the middle of the night and wanna work on something,” Damian explains. “So they would write in their rooms or have small speakers set up and that could disturb other guests. We wanted to create a space where people could work on their music that was available around the clock whenever something sprung to mind.”
W Bali was the pilot project, and it has since expanded to Seattle, Hollywood, and Barcelona. “W Bali has the most constant flow of artists coming through, which comes down to destination,” Damian continues. “Not only is it right in the heart of Seminyak but also globally, like a trade route really. Artists tend to tour in the summer, and so when it is winter in Europe or America many go and tour in Australia, stopping in Bali to or from the tour.”
Artists typically fly in and out within a day or two, leaving little time for R&R. Visiting a studio to record anything during this time also means more travelling, and their schedules tend to leave little time for them to get to know their local promoters. “Maybe you take them out for dinner but you don’t get to know them very well, but the sound suite has been a great relationship builder,” Damian explains. “When they stay for more than a day they hang out and you get to know them properly.”
The Sound Suite is a 50-square-meter space that comes fully equipped with several keyboards, mics, mixers, DJ setups and a live room where people can record acoustic and electric sounds. The space is comprised of a control room, a lounge, and a live room with access to a garden that can double up as an event space. The nearest room sits three meters above the Sound Suite, with tons of sound insulation between them. The space is sound proofed to the point that nothing short of a jackhammer outside the room can disturb the artists within.
The space itself is also open to the public. According to Damian not only can anyone who is willing come and use their facility, they actively look for lesser-known or amateur artists to find new talent. “The most frequent kind of guests we have aside from guest DJs are in-house guests for DJ lessons,” Damian says. “It’s not just a room for DJs. We have recorded bands in here, done voiceovers for CNN, Channel News Asia, meditation podcasts. This is a creative hub for musicians, DJs, radio shows, podcasts, and our in-house guests get 50% off. It is a fully-functional, fully-versatile studio that is open to anyone that wants to use it.”
The Sound Suite is very popular, and as such requires booking in advance. With famous musicians such as Deadmau5, Chromeo, and Nightmares on Wax making use of the space, you best believe the Sound Suite at W Seminyak is more than capable of catering to your every need.
Part of what makes the Sound Suite so special is Damian himself. As an approachable, friendly, and experienced artist, Damian often sees recurring artists that are booked to play in other venues visit the Sound Suite in their down time. “Sometimes these other venues don’t like that, I’ll tell ya,” he says laughing.