Open now for bookings. Launch party on 5 July 2014.
Interview by Jason Guest
Hi both. What was it that gave you the idea to open your own rehearsal studio?
Josh: We had both finished University at the same time and started brainstorming some ideas of what we could do with our time that we would enjoy, whilst deciding what we wanted to do for the future. We both had this ambition of one day opening our own studio and offering up lots of different services. I have a degree in Music Technology, whereas Adam has his in Media and Communication, so we wanted to put them together and potentially create a hub where both could be done together.
How long have you been planning and working on the studio?
Adam: Around about a year now. We finished Uni sometime last May. We were initially going to run lessons from our bands lock up, which in hindsight sounds ridiculous. The place is a functional bombsite, so to take young students there would have just been trouble.
We got in touch with Matt Hickinbottom who used to run it as Post Office Studios, which was where we used to practice, to see if he had any work that me and Josh could help with, or perhaps take the rehearsal room off his hands and run that side for him. We got lucky as Matt told us he was moving elsewhere, so potentially the place was free.
We picked up the keys in the first week in October. The Sunday night, before we went down for our first day on the Monday, the whole building was broken into and ransacked. Windows and alarm systems were smashed, so it was kind of a ‘what have we got ourselves into’ feeling. It opened our eyes though, as we worked with the charity who own the building in making it as safe as possible, and we wouldn’t bring anything of value down until it was fully secure.
I read elsewhere that you applied for a grant for funding. Who was that with? And did you think it would come through?
Adam: Yeah, we applied to the Arts Council. Once we registered the company name, we went to meet lots of different business advisers and different courses and stuff. Everybody told us it was a bit of a waste of time to apply as ‘nobody gets it.’ I was meeting a guy every two weeks to discuss the business, and when he found out we got it, he couldn’t believe it. He had been working with me on how to start the business with zero budget. It dramatically changed everything; it meant we could look to buy some of the best, rather than recycling old equipment we have stuffed up in the attic.
The studio is in former Post Office Studios. What made you choose this location? Did you consider anywhere else?
Adam: When we first discussed where we could do it, we always thought the Post Office was perfect but unattainable. It is too big, and would therefore but too expensive. But it is run by Wednesbury 2000, a really helpful charity who took a chance on me and Josh due to age and passion for the project.
We are based in the vaults of what was the Old Post Office in Wednesbury. No one really knows how old it is, but it stood as a bunker in the second World War and parts of it haven’t been touched since, so renovation was really tough. We have to give a massive thank you to Gary Evans. He is a retired council worker who gave us his time every day for about seven months to get the studio work done. The guy is quite literally a miracle worker, if nothing else for putting up with me and Josh for such a long time. We occasionally had to remind him, we are musicians and not builders, hahaha!
What equipment is available?
Adam: At the minute, we have a stunning Gold Sparkle Gretsch kit that I love. We bought it from Arcade Music, in Cannock. I went in for something else and left with that kit; it’s had a lot of compliments since. We also have two Tama kits from Headstock Distribution for teaching on. Set up face to face, to learn and mirror each other.
Josh: In the rehearsal rooms, guitarist are treated to a Laney Lionheart 20w head and cab or it’s Blackstar counterpart the HT-50. For guitar lessons we use Roland cubes and have a few guitars which we can loan out to our students.
Other than rehearsal space, what else are you offering at the studio?
Adam: At the minute we offer rehearsal space, guitar, bass, and drum tuition. We do guitar set ups and string changes etc… We have started working towards setting up the recording part as well. Once we get the desk, we will be open for bands to come and record with us. We also have a 300-capacity venue above us in The Old Post Office, so we will be looking at putting some events on there soon.
When did/do you open for business?
Adam: We opened at the start of May, but still had some tweaks before it was finished. So we are officially open now, but we are having a launch party and open day on 5 July. So from 1pm everybody is invited down to take a look around the studio, try out all of our equipment and come and watch some of the best local talent around. Check out our Facebook page for the acts.
How do you plan to balance your work between the studio and Liberty Lies?
Adam: With great difficulty, haha. Nah, it was partly the reason why we set up the studio. We can kind of dictate our own working hours and find cover if needed. A band like Liberty Lies doesn’t really work if all five of us have nine-till-five jobs.
Josh: Especially over the last year or so, we haven’t changed our gigging habits from long weekend runs, to a lot of short tours. So we won’t really be disrupting students every week.
What do you have in mind for the future of the studio?
Adam: We just want to keep growing. We are very keen to hear feedback from people. We are going to be setting up the second practice room shortly as well. I’d really like Splinter to become a brand, and incorporate all different types of media, whether that’s audio, visual or something else.
Where can we find details for booking etc.?
Josh: The place at the minute is our Facebook page. We can bookings direct through there, or you can find all of our contact details on there to call, text, email, tweet us or whatever way you’d prefer.
People are more than welcome to come and take a look around. On 5 July, the doors will be open to have a nose around. If you can’t make it, just drop us a message and we can arrange a viewing.
WS10 7DF Wednesbury
Phone: 07969 908342
WS10 7DF Wednesbury