Delivering Top 40 hits for the likes of Nicki Minaj, Alessia Cara and Demi Lovato requires the perfect creative space, one that uber-producer Warren “Oak” Felder dubs “the spaceship.”
Part of a 3,000-square-foot Sherman Oaks home, the subterranean music studio offers an ideal balance for Felder and his artists — blending the comforts of home with cutting-edge recording gear to create “a space that helps inspiration strike,” he said, “and also gives the capability to act on it.”
Shelves line two opposing walls stacked with books — mostly fantasy, science fiction and a lot of Tom Clancy — which serve as a library for relaxing breaks on the couch, baffles for soundproofing and sometimes even as musical inspiration.
“When I read books I imagine the music scores, and I was sitting here reading some heavy Robert Jordan book and happened to think of a really cool chord progression,” said Felder, 38. “So I recorded it and I played it for Demi Lovato, and ended up writing the song ‘Only Forever.’”
A plethora of cozy seating options help him ease artists into creative conversations. Such was the case when writing “Everything Is Yours” with singer Kehlani. The pair sat and got comfortable, she opened up about a personal situation and he persuaded her to turn it into music.
As for the four-foot Darth Vader action figure ominously looming in the corner — “it’s a symbolic way for me to intimidatingly stare down any bad energy that comes into the space… and I am a huge Star Wars fanatic.”
Why is “the spaceship” so special to you?
It’s an amalgamation of the two things that I think are most important — being comfortable, but also a workaholic.
How would you describe this space aesthetically?
A family man's spaceship. I'm still a kid at heart, so I want to feel like I'm in a spaceship when I'm at work, and somewhere you could instantly feel comfortable and have a full conversation with someone. People that I never met before come and have a therapy session in the first hour because everyone is put so at ease.
The lighting in here is great.
These are Phillips Hue lights, so every light in this room can change to whatever color. Right now they're purple and blue because I used to play the video game “Halo” as a kid and a lot of the ships used this lighting scheme. But lights sort of subliminally change people's mindsets, and red is the color that stimulates creativity for most.
What homey essentials do you need in here to support the perfect session?
The little rug underneath my desk. It's not real animal fur, it's synthetic, but it is so comfortable. Whenever I start tracking a vocal, I take my shoes off and I put my feet on that rug, and it's the most comfortable thing in the world.
That's a heavy-duty desk.