The Copperfield Story

The Copperfield Recording Studio and Copperfield Records history started in the early 1960’s when the owner (David Gibson) built his first recording studio in what was an old retail shop in the Sydney, Australia, suburb of Hurstville.

David Gibson was both a musician, having played piano in his own rock group (The Wanderers) and a qualified electronics engineer and it was his knowledge in both these areas that made him decide to enter the music recording industry.

The Hurstville studio was called “Top Spot” studios, but was far better known as the “egg carton” studio, as its sound deadening was achieved by the hundreds of cardboard egg cartons that were glued to the studio’s walls and ceiling. The studio was also famous for its vocal booth --- the shop’s toilet, complete with flushing bowl.

David not only designed the acoustic treatment for the studio, but also designed and built all the electronics, including the tape recorders and console.

This studio, although only relatively small in dimensions, recorded many of the top Australian artists of the early 1960’s, including one group who later became one world’s most popular groups.

The studio also saw the birth of its own record company (Top Spot Records) and the first of many record releases on the Top Spot record label, the first release being “Tossin’ and Turnin’” by the Sydney group The Cyclones. This recording reached the top of a number of local radio charts.

In 1966 the studio had outgrown its Hurstville premises and as the recording of radio and television commercials was becoming a major part of the studio’s business, it was decided to move the entire business closer to the Sydney CDB. The business re-located to a new building on the fringe of the CBD.

The new studio, situated in Surry Hills, was physically one of the biggest in Sydney and was quite capable of holding a symphony orchestra. The acoustics of the studio were again designed by David and was designed on the premise that the best recording environment would be to undertake a recording in the middle of (say) a 1000 acre cow paddock. To this end, the studio was designed on the principle that it effectively had no walls.

The end result of this acoustical design/treatment resulted in a studio that could not only do justice to a live orchestra, but could handle the loudest of “pop” groups, including groups such as “Radio Birdman” (possibly Australia’s first Heavy Metal group)

It was also decided to change the studio/business name to something very modern and trendy and as a result the name, Sound66 Recording Studios and 66Sound Records was chosen. This new name drew a lot of attention especially from Advertising Agencies and resulted in a considerable increase in this form of recording business.

A number of artists were released on the 66Sound label, among which were The Creatures, whose 45rpm release MONA resulted in considerable Australia wide air-play, the Creatures being most famous for their wild stage make-up and antics.

However, the name Sound66 and 66Sound in 1967 caused the business considerable concern as suddenly the business had gone from being a very “hip”, “with it” name to something that was now dated.

As a result it was decided to look for a very good and strong business name and after much searching, the name Copperfield was chosen and both the studio and record label had their third and final name change.

In 1971, the studio moved for a third time to new premises in the centre of the Sydney CDB, moving to the PACT building, on what is now the start of the Sydney Darling Harbour precinct. It was from these studios that most of the best Copperfield Records material was recorded and released, this included recordings featuring artists such as Bernard Bolan, The Thirty Day Wonders, Aidan Nolan, The Abbey Jazz Band, Benny & The Jets, etc. The studio also was responsible for recording material for many of the top Australian recording artists of the era, as well as a number of film and television sound tracks.

In 1990, the business re-located to the Queensland, Gold Coast area, where it diversified to include the undertaking of live, Front of House sound for major events and clients.

Over the past few years, to ensure that it remains a leader in sound recording, the business has purchased new top of the line digital recording equipment, including a digital console, multi-track recorders, master stereo recorders, etc and is soon to embark on the construction of a new “state of the art” recording studio. It will however retain some of its famous analogue recording equipment, for those clients who prefer the “analogue sound”.

An exciting new phase is about to begin with the signing and imminent release of a number of CDs featuring some new Australian artists, from a number of different music genres.

Copperfield is proud to be able to say that after more than forty years serving the Australia recording and music industries and along the way, fostering numerous Australian recording artists, it is still able to call itself an Independent Australian Record Company.