blog category created 20 February 2022 written by Taka George

Start Together Studio


I am nominating Start Together Studio in Belfast, run by Rocky O Reilly. He has built up a studio that will celebrate 15 years in 2022 and over that time it has become one of the most highly respected in Northern Ireland while remaining accessible, open and supportive to musicians. Rocky doesn’t just run a studio, its integral to the music sector and community in NI. He makes time to get to know the musicians he is working with and what their needs or ambitions are both inside and outside the studio. He invests in sound, equipment and talent. Rocky has brokered and facilitated many collaborations over the years, from community projects to high level clients (Hannah Peel, Iain Archer, Gary Lightbody), he works at all levels and he has mentored and opened up the studio to other producers and engineers. He inspires young people and has the respect of some of the biggest names in music and production. He has produced some of the best new music to come out of NI.

2022 is a celebration of 15 years of Start Together Studios in Northern Ireland (NI). Founded on an obsession and passion for music, built on being accessible and inclusive, and having created a safe space for all musicians, Rocky O’Reilly has delivered record after record tailored to best serve the songs. Start Together is the go-to studio in NI offering a wealth of recording and production services, including live performance filming. Most of all, it offers experience. Rocky and team have worked with big names from Universal, Dirty Hit and Domino to local acts as well as NI Opera, BBC Radio Ulster and NI Music Prize. The team has a passion for the good that music can bring to the community and believes music can offer a positive set of skills and perspective. This has driven the delivery of their 100+ community workshops. Most recently, Rocky led a pioneering mentoring project for dozens of aspiring artists through lockdown, working with Hannah Peel, Iain Archer & Linley Hamilton.

‘Start Together’ is a studio run by Rocky O’Reilly a passionate producer who has won the confidence and gratitude of a local music community for a facility that offers expertise, encouragement and professionalism. Rocky is obsessed by the sounds he can squeeze out of our digital world but also what can be extracted from an analogue age that included oscillators, early Moogs, Rolands and SSL desks, all of which are on hand. He becomes that other trusted member of the band immersing in their music, listening to their ideas and offering his own creativity and guidance to the project. The Studio hosts big names and also those at the beginning of their journey. It’s a studio that loves music and will argue over an appropriate Telefunken or Neumann mic depending on the job. The studio has also become a training ground for new engineers and will work with every genre of music from punk to folk and most recently the Ulster Orchestra (National Symphony Orchestra) – They must be doing something Right!

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