I’m climbing up a flight of stairs and my eyes are immediately drawn to a glorious row of guitars lining the wall. The ones I can identify, at most, are a Fender Telecaster 62, a Fender Bass Telecaster 51, a Fender Jazzmaster and a Duesenberg vintage, no less. It’s Cocoon by Rockarolla’s (previously known as Rockarolla Studio) very own wall of fame, considering how legendary guitarists Keith Richards, Andy Summers, Jimmy Page and Kurt Cobain had played the likes of these once upon a time.
An impressive jamming studio of over 1,000 square feet with recording facilities to boast, Cocoon by Rockarolla is Yishun district’s newly refurbished gem (or jam?) and is managed by Hassan and DZ. It had previously shared a space with Rockarolla Barber Studio, founded in 2017 by Isk and Allyn, but in late 2021, upgraded to a better location up at A’posh Bizhub. Hassan began running the studio in 2019 and DZ joined just as the relocation happened. Now, local musicians and bands like Shirly Temple, Madmän and so many others can continue pushing out slick tunes and sick beats in the new and expansive space that comfortably houses 12 people.
The Magic at Cocoon
Step into the room and soft indigo hues illuminate the area to reveal a beautiful Ludwig 6-piece drum kit. Know if you’ll be playing blues, jazz or rock music today? Pick between the studio’s Vox and Fender amplifiers and help yourselves to the guitar pedals which are also readily available. When asked about how long an average jamming session typically is, Hassan and DZ both chime, “3 hours.” However, they share that most bands don’t spend the entire 3-hour block jamming because of how tiring it can get.
“Traditional jamming studios don't have a (common area) where you can socialise and mingle”, DZ explains. “We’re musicians ourselves so we understand what bands need. For those who smoke, they need an outdoor area too so we turned our rooftop balcony into a lepak lounge.” This he says with a sparkle in his eyes before breaking into a laugh. Standing cocktail tables and sleek black bar stools line the spacious balcony while under a large gazebo tent, hammocks by Airmocks invite you to recline into that perfectly relaxed position. Within the industrial estate, low-rise buildings also mean an unblocked view of the sky from the lepak lounge, perfect for watching the sunset.
A Bar Above The Rest
The recording services offered by Cocoon include tracking and dry-mixing. Open 24 hours every day, both Hassan and DZ will always be at the studio as long as there’s a booking. It’s to ensure that every band has a smooth and bangin’ good experience. Need help setting up? You’re all sorted. Looking for a refreshment? Help yourself to the refrigerator which they try to restock regularly. What about production assistance if you’re recording? There’s a team of reputable sound engineers you can rely on.
“If you’re recording with us and think that any of our available guitars is better suited for the sound you’re trying to achieve, just ask us. We’ll gladly let you use for your recording”, says Hassan.
When they’re not managing the studio, the duo are part of a 7-man band called Madmän with a newly-released single, BOLD, available to listen on Spotify. Not surprisingly, the single was recorded at Rockarolla and produced at Cocoon so if you’re hoping to sample the excellent sound and production quality of the studio, give the song a listen. I also really enjoyed its accompanying music video which was released on the same day, Friday, 13 May.
At an affordable studio rate of $30 to $40 per hour, you’d be a mad man to not give Cocoon by Rockarolla a go. Resident bands that have a fixed jamming slot, for example, on Thursday evenings, also enjoy certain privileges such as instrument storage (guitars, guitar pedals, cymbals, snare drum, drum pedals, etc.) and special rates. “To us, they (resident bands) should always feel at home,” Hassan emphasises.
“Who are you listening to on Spotify now?”
Hassan: “The Carpenters”
DZ: “The last artiste I listened to was Frank Sinatra but I’m quite genre-fluid because I like punk rock too.”
Humility And Community
I’ve read stories of how local jamming studios had to survive the COVID-19 pandemic so when I asked how saxophone and drum-playing Hassan and DZ kept Cocoon afloat, they joked, “Everyday just vacuum the place.” Coping mechanism or not, it’s no doubt that they worked extremely hard at their full-time jobs the past 2 years to make sure that they could tide through this storm.
DZ observes that first timers who’ve never used a jamming studio before or even touched music equipment would understandably find the space intimidating and become more self-conscious. But he promises that they’ll be taught how to operate the amplifier as well as learn tips and tricks for a better jamming experience. As a jammer had once affirmed, “It’s the first time (that) I’ve been to a jamming studio with sound engineers to help at no extra charge.” To Hassan and DZ, it’s all about creating a community spirit to encourage fellow musicians to always help one another. It’s precisely this humility and earnestness that have won my admiration and respect for Cocoon’s philosophy.
Contact Cocoon by Rockarolla at 9225 9864 or [email protected] to make your booking or enquiry today! Check out their social media pages too and give them a follow! Links down below!