Curtis Hatton, owner of Collingwood’s high-end recording complex, Studio Truth, graduated from SAE Brisbane in 2009. He completed the Diploma of Music Industry, which reshaped his ambitions and paved the way for what followed.
Prior to his enrolment, Hatton’s dream had been to pursue a career as a famous rockstar or a full-time musician.
“Initially I thought the course was going to be beneficial to my own music that I was writing, but I ended up enjoying working on other peoples’ music more,” he says. “I just really fell in love with the craft of it all.
“I was very young at the time – would’ve been 16 when I went to the SAE Open Day – and so around that time I was coming to the realisation that [a career as a famous musician was] going to be really challenging.”
Studio Truth is an offshoot of Studio Truth Brisbane where Hatton worked for five years under the auspices of owner, Tyson Ruth. Working side by side with Ruth – who he describes as a mentor – was essential before Hatton could really start thinking about founding his own studio.
“SAE was fantastic at teaching me all of the skills that I needed, but there is still a difference between the practical knowledge and dealing with musicians as business people, which is very challenging,” Hatton says. “Being able to sit under Tyson, who’s also actually an SAE alumni, was just fantastic to see how that side of the business worked and also just learning from him as well. It hugely shaped my future.”
Located on Wellington St in Collingwood, Hatton is not just the owner of Studio Truth, but also works as a producer and recording/mix engineer. The studio launched in 2016 after Hatton made the move to Melbourne on a whim.
“I’d never actually been before, not even to visit, but I’ve never looked back,” he says. “A huge thing that was crazy to me – and still is – is that I moved from a city where we were putting out some of the top audio recordings and [were one of] the top five studios to now where there’s more than ten studios in the suburb where I am. That blew my mind.”
The Studio Truth website stresses the team’s goal to make musicians feel at home from the moment they walk through the studio doors, understanding this is the way to summon the strongest performances and guarantee value for money.
“Working in studios up in Brisbane, I worked in some bigger studios as well and of course I worked at SAE, which is beautiful, and then I also worked at some home studios and everywhere in between,” Hatton says. “Through that, I found that when musicians were their most comfortable is when we got the best performances and that was what made the songs the best they would be.
“So we’ve got it feeling a bit like a home. My partner, who’s incredible at interior design, has got all the homely aspects you would think of – lovely rugs and soft lighting. In terms of the actual studio itself, it’s made so that technical thinking doesn’t come into it as often as other studios. If you’ve got an idea, we want to be able to hit record and make it happen in a minute. Whereas sometimes in other bigger studios, although it’s amazing what they’ve got on offer, it can take a bit of technical thinking to make that actually happen.”
Hatton is one of a team of four engineers working at Studio Truth, all of whom have a genre speciality – Luka Janicijevic looks after hip hop and R&B, Toyah Hoetzel focuses on electronic and dance, and Hamish Keen’s forte is post-production and scoring.
And Hatton? “I do a lot of pop music, which I’m obsessed with,” he says.
Studio Truth is located at 6/166 Wellington St, Collingwood. SAE’s Melbourne campus is located at 235 Normanby Rd, South Melbourne. Explore the institution and apply for one of their many creative media courses via sae.edu.au.