Meet the Tenants: Chris Branch and Tom Haines, Directors at Brain Audio

CategoryMeet the Tenants

The Brain Audio team is all about creative flexibility. The audio post production studio is making waves working with Netflix, Dreamworks, and the BBC, bringing a unique blend of artistry, agility, and experience to their state-of-the-art studio at Design District.

We sat down with directors Chris Branch and Tom Haines to talk about inspiration, motivation, and what’s next for Brain Audio.

Design District (DD): Hi Chris and Tom! Let’s start with an overview of Brain Audio.

Brain Audio (BA): Brain Audio is an independent audio post production studio creating music and sound for moving image. We work with an international client base from our sound studios at Design District. Our multidisciplinary team includes sound designers, musicians, composers, foley artists, producers, and mixers working on high-end sound and score for film, television, interactive, and animation.

DD: What makes Brain Audio unique?

BA: Everything we do is geared towards creative flexibility. Brain Audio is artist-led, and every project is approached with its artistic demands at the fore. This artistry, combined with our agility, experience, and incredible facilities, is something that larger post studios can’t offer.  An example of this creative flexibility is a current project we’re working on, scoring and sound designing an epic fantasy animation for Netflix. It’s unusual that a production of this size would have sound and score produced under one roof; in our industry, music and sound are typically kept at arm’s length from each other. In this case, Brain Audio simply asked the question: Why?

The creative possibilities arising through the music and sound teams working side by side are manifold. This gives the production a creative spark and workflow that ignores traditional methods. 

DD: What inspires and motivates you?

BA: We’re lucky to have a team that not only shares our art-first workplace vision, but also has a diverse field of experience. We’re constantly sharing knowledge and challenging one another to hear and make from different perspectives.

Inspiration is at the core of our business. Outside of Brain Audio studio hours, concerts, gigs, films, and art are consumed in vast quantities. We’ve always held the belief that if we’re not creatively nourished, we can’t make good work.

DD: What have been Brain Audio’s biggest achievements so far?

BA: Lots! Brain Audio has recently worked on interactive projects with Marvel Studios, television soundtracks for the BBC, and podcasts for the BBC and Audible.  Some of the recent films we’ve worked on the cinema sound and score for include Steven Eastwood’s The Stimming Pool and Georgina Starr’s Quarantaine.

We also have a long term project with DreamWorks, working on the sound and music for their global channel branding, and are currently working with Nexus Interactive to produce the immersive sound and score for a major new XR release on meta. 

You can hear our work on all major streaming platforms and read more about it here.

DD: What about any hurdles?

BA: We’re in competition with larger, less maneuverable and more established competitors - the supermarkets of the post production world! We offer a genuine alternative to these companies. And although the business in the UK has started to diversify from Soho and Shoreditch production locations, we still have a way to go to bust the myth that things sound better when they come from an expensive postcode.

DD: Brain Audio is committed to balancing commercial work with art practice. Why is this important and how do you achieve it?

BA: Brain Audio feeds artistic projects by using resources and knowledge built up through 25 years of commercial work. Often the most creative risks are taken on independent productions; this is where change happens first. 

Brain Audio supports artist-led projects that may otherwise fall short of access to top-flight audio facilities and expertise. We believe in a symbiotic and nourishing relationship between artistic and commercial projects.

DD: Your studio has had an incredible fit out! Tell us more about it.

BA: Our new facilities in Design District, build by Smart Studio, comprise four studios and an open plan production space. Studio A is a large Dolby Atmos mixing theatre; Studio B is a versatile recording space large enough for six actors, a string quartet, or a foley session; Studio C is a smaller recording space; and Studio D is set up as a smaller Dolby Atmos mix room. The rooms and main production space are all networked so we can record from, and to, anywhere.

Central to our studio layout is our large open plan production space. This was inspired by working with animation studios and developers over the years - we love the atmosphere of a production floor full of animators working side by side and the synergy that can bring to projects. We’re interested in the idea that the people making audio work are not always shut away in sound proof boxes. So, if it's appropriate for the project in hand, we work together (often on headphones!) in the main production space and use the specialist studio monitoring environments as and when we need to. 

The studio spaces are available to hire for film and television sound design, scoring and mixing. We also facilitate the recording of voice for animation, podcast and film (ADR and voiceover). Our services also include foley, editing, mixing, podcast and radio production alongside film, TV, Immersive audio and XR content creation.

DD: Tell us about being part of Design District.

BA: Design District is a great place to work with a friendly and supportive atmosphere. We’re still new here but the opportunities to collaborate with other tenants are already presenting themselves. And at the end of our working day we enjoy playing ‘guess who’s performing at the O2’, based on the demographic of the crowd that's heading in!

DD: What’s next for Brain Audio?

BA: We’re so excited for Meta to launch the XR app we’ve worked on for the past 18 months at South By Southwest in March this year. We’re also mid production on the sound and music for a major new Netflix animated series set for release in 2026. 

We can't wait to start hosting talented people at our new facility for sessions and collaborations as we head into spring and summer!

If you’re interested in working with Brain Audio or want to check out their state-of-the-art studios, contact them here. You can also keep up to date with them on Instagram

If you’re inspired by the creative businesses making Design District their home, why not join them? Find out more about Design District here.