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About Us

about us

Trackdown began as a rehearsal and 4-track recording business modestly called, “The Studio." Founded by Simon Leadley and Geoff Watson, "The Studio" was hand-made, from its mattress filled walls to its sheet metal plate reverb. And yes, we recorded drums in the lift-well - this was the 1980s!

Our rehearsal and 4-track demo clients at the time included INXS, Midnight Oil, The Divinyls, Do Re Mi, The Church, Dragon – the list goes on. We were a rock 'n' roll studio and it was a brilliant time.

In the late eighties we decided to focus on recording. We moved to a hole in the ground under Hutching’s Keyboards in Bondi Junction (it truly was a hole – we dug it ourselves!) and renamed the business “Trackdown." We were one of the first half inch 16-track recording studios in town (using the remarkable Fostex B16 then E16) and the first studio to use Sony’s PCM701 digital 2-track system for final master.

Our clients included a broad spectrum of the Sydney Indie scene – bands such as the The Saints, Allniters, The Castanet Club, Robyne Dunn and The Electric Pandas all crammed into our very cosy studio for some very intimate sessions. One of our clients was a young composer called Guy Gross, who found out about us through Hutching’s Keyboards. Guy was doing some work for his father’s company (Yoram Gross Productions), who specialised in children's animation. Guy offered us the opportunity to move out of the basement. The timing was perfect, as we were growing out of our hole in the ground (and we needed to see the sun again!).

In 1990, Trackdown built a brand new studio complex in Camperdown, within the Yoram Gross Studio building. We also had a new business partner – Iva Davies. Our vision was to grow both as a music recording facility and to enter the film and TV audio post business. For those interested in the nexus between technology and change, this was directly connected to the emergence of Digidesign’s SoundTools software (later to evolve into ProTools). Simon, a very early adopter of technology, realised the potential of digital audio and accurately predicted that this technology would change everything – and it did!

The Camperdown studio started with a traditional Otari 24-track analogue and to this we added the silence of Dolby SR. We were also mixing to 2-track SoundTools. Trackdown was recording bands such as Icehouse, The Angels, Midnight Oil and The Saints, through to Kamahl and Bananas In Pyjamas. We also maintained our connections with the Indie scene.

By this stage we were committed users of Digidesign's ProTools. The moment a stable multi-track digital system was available, we knew we were ready for TV post. Trackdown was the first studio in Australia to use ProTools for TV picture post, the project being Blinky Bill animated TV, Series One. A couple of years later, Simon was also the person behind Yoram Gross moving to one of the first digital animation systems in Australia – Animo. Trackdown was finally on the map - both as a fully professional music facility and as a leader in digital audio post.

This led to another natural piece of evolution – the merging of our audio post skills with our music skills. Soundfirm Sydney invited Trackdown to establish Australia’s first dedicated music editing service for feature films at their new facilities in Fox Studios, Australia. As a result, Trackdown Music Services was born. Simon worked as music editor on Alex Proyas' noir piece "Dark City" at Abbey Road UK. He and Tim also worked in Los Angeles with Baz Luhrmann on Moulin Rouge!, for which Simon Leadley and Tim Ryan received the 49th Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Golden Reel Award in Los Angeles. The film also received a BAFTA for Best Music and Sound.

Following that, long time colleagues Iva Davies, Christopher Gordon and Richard Tognetti were asked to score Peter Weir's new film "Master and Commander: Far Side of the World". Peter had heard the work "The Ghost of Time" that had been commissioned for the Millennium Concert at the Sydney Opera House and wanted the same team for his film. During the recording and mixing of this film in LA, things were happening back in Oz that would have a profound effect on the ability of productions to record and mix scores locally without needing to spend a lot of time overseas.

In 2002, Simon, Guy and Tim ventured into the abandoned Stage 125 at Fox Studios – formerly the venue for The Simpsons’ Virtual Back Lot Experience – and listened to the ambience of this strangely shaped space. They liked what they heard. Quickly, they spoke with Kim Williams (then Head of Fox Studios Sydney) and asked if anything was planned for the space. Simon, Guy, Tim and Geoff thought it could be a great orchestral recording space. They believed the room was a diamond in the rough. Kim agreed that an orchestral space on the lot would be a good idea – but it was up to them to make it work. So, one year and a couple of million dollars later, the doors opened to Australia’s largest purpose built orchestral recording studio – just as the Aussie dollar climbed to its highest level in a decade, making film making in Australia a rather expensive option – d’oh!

Undeterred, we forged ahead by letting the world know what we had, while at the same time still running Trackdown at Camperdown and Music Services in Soundfirm. We also realised our space was great for things other than orchestral recording. We started doing some of the XYZ Network’s MusicMax videos. We recorded several “Max Sessions”, including live performances by John Mayer, Alex Lloyd, and the Whitlams with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In addition, we were doing live events for film and product launches. Through this time we also worked on a range of scores including Aquamarine, Typhoon and Mary Bryant.

Finally, in 2005 a big one came along – Happy Feet! Trackdown not only recorded the full score but also remote sessions for ADR using another new Technology: "Source Connect”. We then moved on to remote recording for film scores such as "Jumper" and "PS, I Love You". 

By 2006 the potent combination of music and audio post skills plus a premiere recording space had finally come into its own. We were on the world map!

From 2006 we have worked on Audio Post and Music on many features including LEGO Batman, Safe Neighborhood, Gods of Egypt, The Moon & The Sun, The Lego Movie, The Railway Man, Walking With Dinosaurs 3D, The Great Gatsby, Bait 3D, Forbidden Ground, Happy Feet 2, The Killer Elite Tomorrow When The War Began, Australia and Knowing. There have also been plenty of television projects too including Please Like Me, Rake, The Hunters, A Place to Call Home and the Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door. 

We have also had the pleasure of working with many talented music artists including Human Nature, Coldplay, LMFAO, Justin Bieber, Will.I.Am, Megan Washington, One Direction, Ryan Tedder, Delta Goodrem, Icehouse, Guy Sebastian, Harry Connick Jnr and many more.

We continue to evolve our technological edge via our dialogue with hardware and software developers, musicians, composers, directors, producers and engineers. So, if you haven’t already, come over and tell us what you are looking for and wanting to achieve. We are sure we can help you!

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