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'Slice of Heaven' studio fails owing $183k

NZN 13/04/2017 Jonathan Underhill

Marmalade Audio, the music and post-production studio whose output included Dave Dobbyn's 1986 hit with Herbs Slice of Heaven and Telecom's Spot the Dog campaign, failed owing just $183,000, the liquidators' first report shows.

Wellington-based Marmalade ceased trading in 2016 and was put into liquidation last month.

Shareholder and director Sarah Taylor, who took over the business in 2007 after her father Grant Taylor died, told the liquidators that the company was unable to pay its debts after the loss of a number of key clients.

Creditors include Marmalade's landlord, the ACC, ASB Bank and the Inland Revenue Department.

Liquidators Colin Owens and David Vance of Deloitte said they were continuing their investigations into the Marmalade's financial affairs using company records, according to their first report, which was released this week.

The liquidation brings the curtain down on one of New Zealand's most notable studios.

Set up by DJ Rocky Douche, a former NZ broadcasting Corporation technician, Marmalade Studios, as it was then known, went on to record music for Shona Laing, Sharon O'Neill, Dave Dobbyn, Shihad, Fur Patrol, Bic Runga, the Bats, Bailter Space, Netherworld Dancing Toys, Greg Johnson Set, the Holidaymakers, Margaret Urlich, Jan Hellriegel and Annie Crummer, mostly during its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.

Less well-known, except in the world of advertising, was its work making radio and TV advertisements and picking up film industry work that saw director Peter Jackson and actors including Stephen Fry, James Nesbitt, Richard Armitage and The Hobbit star Martin Freeman walk in the front door.

Recalling the making of Slice of Heaven with Herbs, a number 1 hit in 1986, Dobbyn said Marmalade "was a great studio".

He told the Dominion Post in 2012 that he remembered it vividly "because we were getting filmed at the same time as recording".

Ashtrays "were scattered around the smoke-filled room, while makeup artists worked around recording."

In the 1990s Marmalade built a separate business to service the advertising industry and in its heydey it made such memorable ads as Spot the Dog, the Vince Martin ads for Beaurepaires and high-profile campaigns for clients including Lotto and Cadbury.

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