Brixton Hill’s ‘Guitar Repair Guy’ and all round good egg, Jimi Scandal speaks to John Clay about where we were, where we’re at now and how you can have a say in the future of Brixton Hill Studios…oh and what a great boss Stephen Gilchrist is! It’s an interesting read, giving a detailed account of just what happened with our landlord, and the work we are putting in to finding ways to combat the ongoing rent increases and keep the studios open.
Want to get involved? – please take our short survey, your opinion will really help us in our endeavour to establish a rent controlled building that will house us and other arts projects>>
Thanks again to everyone who signed the petition, shouted about us, or shared the plight of our potential closure with the wider world. We are very happy that this public pressure led to a negotiation with landlord Jerry Knight at Lexadon and that we are able to continue to provide a service to the music community of Brixton and beyond.
Unfortunately, the rent has still risen an eye-watering amount – this, along with rising costs and inflation, means that we are forced to raise our prices to stay afloat.
We hope you understand and appreciate you continued support.
Below are our new rates plus a few points worthy of mention:
STUDIO 3 – Will now include 2 combo guitar amps in the backline.
STUDIO 1 & 2 – Will have a PA/monitor upgrade, PLUS up until the end of December we are trialing a new 4.5 hour weeknight slot in these rooms – 6.30pm-11pm / 7pm-11.30pm.
ALL STUDIOS – For the whole of October we are offering 20% off the weeknight 9pm-midnight slots in all the rooms.
Anything you book in before October 1st 2023 will be charged at September 2023 prices.
COMING SOON – BXHS Loyalty Cards – More on that to follow
The rent will continue to rise year on year, so we are actively looking to find a long term home With the help and advice of Lambeth Council, Music Venue Trust and Sister Midnight we hope to find and fund a community owned property that will be used for arts purposes in perpetuity, which can house Brixton Hill Studios and other arts groups and practitioners at a low rent. This could potentially benefit our customers as costs would reduce considerably and we’d be able to pass those savings on. Please help us in this venture by filling out our quick survey>>
Due to a larger than anticipated rent increase at the end of our 10 yr lease, it means we can no longer afford to stay at the premises at 126 Brixton Hill.
We broke the news to everyone on June 5th, 2023. Since then we have been totally overwhelmed with well wishes, offers of help, social media sharing, petition signing and shouting about the cause. Patrons, friends, local residents, local councillors and supporters of the arts have really got behind us, and we feel very wanted here! Thankyou x
We have been working with lots of helpful people and trying to get the landlord to negotiate, as yet however, nothing has been resolved, but we remain hopeful that although we may not be able to get the landlord to reduce his rental price, we might be able to extend our lease for enough time as to find other premises in the area.
Jimi Smith started a Change.org petition on Jun 6th which ran for 10 days and garnered 5,800 names in just 10 days. Support came from people who rely on the studio, bands who come here to rehearse such as Black Midi, Shame, Berries, Dinosaur Pile Up, The Dust Coda and Big Joanie, to Brixton residents and and organisations such a the Brixton Soup Kitchen and our favourite local venue, The Windmill.
Along with food critic and jazz musician Jay Rayner who rehearses here, we also had signatures from industry friends Graham Coxon (Blur), Charlotte Hatherley, Jim Bob (Carter USM) and legendary Bowie producer Tony Visconti.
Radio DJs also got involved including three who are hugely influential in promoting new music and often play bands who rehearse here – John Kennedy at Radio X and Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson from BBC 6Music.
We’ve had a quite a bit of interest from the media, from BBC Radio London to the Evening Standard, South London Press to Brixton Buzz, we are grateful to the journalists who listened and got the story out to the wider audience. Here are links to some of the articles:
Our friend Aggie Branner from the band Balamuc made this short fly on the wall film about the studio > #savebrixtonhillstudios Definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already.
Amazing to see so many of you get involved, we appreciate all the shares, likes and comments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It has also been lovely to see some of you posting memories of good times here at the studios, or sharing videos of your rehearsals, or taking your pic in front of our iconic shutter.
Our patrons are the best! We appreciate you so much, and we will do our best to make sure we continue to offer a space for you to make music in Brixton.
Ever wondered how Brixton Hill Studios started 10 years ago?
Agnes Branner from the band Balamuc has made a short fly-on-the-wall film, narrated by BXHS boss Stephen Gilchrist. The film charts the history of the studios, looks at who’s using the space now and explores the #savebrixtonhillstudios campaign as this thriving hub of the South London music community faces the threat of closure.
We are extremely grateful to Agnes for her time and talent in putting this film together, we think it is great, we hope you enjoy it too. If you would like to keep up to date with progress of the campaign/closure/future plans/how you can help then please join our Facebook Group: Brixton Hill Studios Preservation Society
It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I write to you confirming that South London’s favourite “playground” for adults is being threatened with closure at the end of the Summer. We just about made it to 10 years but more astoundingly we managed to navigate a pandemic and multiple lockdowns (and not without your considerable support and the financial input from the Arts Council of Great Britain). We managed to survive when many of our brothers and sisters in the industry didn’t. Unfortunately the one thing we can not compete with is an astronomical rent rise.
Yep, that’s right we are being priced out of our home.
It’s been a rocky road to recovery but in recent months we’ve seen the studio reaching full capacity as everyone from the pros, weekend warriors and the rising rockstars of tomorrow have been eager to create again. We are proud that from the very first day we opened our doors we’ve experienced a diverse range of artists, bands and performers, all from differing backgrounds and influences. Many of you have also become friends and comrades too. There are multiple associations and partnerships we’ve made including our favourite venue, The Windmill and local music charity Grounded Sounds who do essential work educating and engineering music related opportunities for the local youth population. BXHS is more than an industrial unit with some amps and drums stuck inside it, we’ve become a part of the community, a community it has been a pleasure to serve and support for the last 10 years.
As well as rehearsals we have made some fantastic records here, not only on tape and digital but there was also the time someone insisted we mixed their songs on to cassette. We’ve put on some unforgettable all dayers, Christmas parties and put out a few records of your awesome tunes. We held open days and band merch markets. We’ve housed music teachers and their aspiring students from the get go, making sure everyone has somewhere to make noise. Some of us remember the opening night party where we received a surprise visit from Pixies’s Black Francis. For many of us this place has been a constant in our lives since the days it was a single room studio at the back of Unit 2.
So what are we going to do now?
We are doing everything we can to keep BXHS running. If not here then at a new site. Even if we have to shut down for a little while we shall let you know with as much notice as possible so you can make alternative arrangements. It’s a big old job to dismantle and rebuild somewhere else. We only have 4 months in which to find somewhere suitable that is also within budget and sustainable for the next 10-20 years.
But this is something we need, right?
The few people we have shared this information with have already asked “is there anything we can do”? For now you can sign up to our mailing list (see below) and join the Brixton Hill Studios Preservation Society on FB. All progress will be posted there before the wider socials.
In the meantime if you would like to share some pictures and stories of your times here at BXHS please do so on our socials or tag us in in your stories and posts. All the emotional support given to us helps us to fight the good fight and, in every sense, go into battle.
With restrictions now lifted, we are happy to reinstate our smaller studios (4 & 5) as safe to use for more than one person. With the new addition of air exchange units, we’re ready to open these rooms to bands again.
You can book your band sessions now on jammed. For those wanting to book at the solo rates, these are still available, please email us or book with us over the phone [020 8674 3065] and we can book you in at the reduced one person rate.
Studios 4 & 5
Before the pandemic we operated these studios as full band rehearsal rooms, but due to government guidelines about Covid-19, we felt unable to open them safely to more than one person. Now that restrictions have been lifted and having made some modifications to the air flow systems in these smaller rooms, we now feel confident to open them up for band bookings again. We even have some nice new amps and microphones to go with the original small scale drum kits in these rooms.
Due to their size, these rooms are better suited to groups of three, but we have had more in there in pre-pandemic times. If your troupe doesn’t need the drums, we are always happy to take the drum kit out to give you more space, but please give us some advance warning that you need the kit removed, and also be aware that due to the fast changeovers, this may cut in to your rehearsal time by 5 minutes or so. Just head on over to our booking app>> JAMMED to select, reserve and pay for your rehearsal. The new rates for these room are:
Studio prices as of May 2022
We are keen to continue to allow solo sessions to be booked in advance, and at least until we review in July, this will apply to both our quieter times AND our peak times which are weekday evenings and weekend daytimes. In this transition period you will be unable to make a reduced rate booking via the Jammed booking app, instead you will need to call 020 8674 3065 or email us to book at the reduced rate:
Solo/Drum/DJ/Teaching rates as of May 2022
In addition to this, If you want to book a solo session in advance on the week evenings, you will have to take a slot of either 6pm-9pm or 9pm-12am (or 6pm-12am). This is so we can allow two bookings per evening in each room and make the best use of the space. As always, you are welcome to ring up on the day to see if we have space available for a solo session, at which point there may be more flexibility on start time and length of your session. We will always try to fit you in where we can, it’s just a case of figuring out the best way to make use of our spaces.
We will still be offering the solo rate to teachers.
New DJ/Solo Room
If you want to book a shorter time slot in the evening in advance, you can also use our new DJ and solo rate room – please be aware this is upstairs and does not include a drum kit. It does have a small vocal PA, but this room is designed to have quieter occupants such as acoustic instrumentalists and singers.
As always, a massive thank you for bringing us your custom. We hope you still enjoy coming here and being creative, understand why we have taken these decisions, and can be patient with us while we try to work out the best way to get back up and running to full capacity. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions/feedback.
As we mentioned here last year, we received a Culture Recovery Fund grant from Arts Council England. This not only meant we could stay open for musicians who need a facility where they can work, but we have been able to acquire top notch equipment for a range of new services, which we are implementing over the next few months at a 50% OFF INTRODUCTORY DISCOUNT.
So what’s new?
Well for starters, a shiny new Audient ASP8024 HE mixing console and new monitors in our remodelled control room. Plus we are halving our normal recording by rates for the next few months, to help musicians get back on their feet during this time of financial strain. Whether you’re after digital or analogue recording, we can get you the perfect sound for your tracks.
Audio Transfer and Digital Archiving
We now have the gear and people-power to take your music from physical format to digital (or different physical) format. So those demos you mastered to DAT tape, rehearsals you recorded onto MiniDisc, sessions you recorded to 2″ tape can all be lovingly transferred to WAV to be backed up on to a hard drive, or given a new lease of creative life in your DAW set up, or worked on here in our studio. We can even archive rare vinyl from your beloved record collection. Book now and get 50% OFF. Learn more…
We can help you finish that song you’ve been struggling to mix, or get rid of extraneous background noise on a track. We can even take your stems and run them through any of our collection of vintage amps and synths recording them with your choice from our range of microphones. All you need to do is send over the files… Get in touch today to claim a 50% DISCOUNT. Learn more…
We’ve also become the proud owners of a some RØDEcaster Pro integrated podcasting production consoles and professional broadcast quality Audio Technica AT2035 microphones, which go together to build two portable podcast studios with all the whistles and bells. Record here or hire them out (subject to deposit) to use in your own workspace.
No matter how or where you record your podcast, we can edit it here at Brixton Hill Studios so you can get the most professional sounding audio – we can even write the theme tune! And remember, all packages are currently HALF PRICELearn more…
Brixton Hill Broadcasting
We’re also working on our very own podcast episodes, we’ll hopefully be chatting to some good friends of the studio who can help out with advice for musicians, from DIY releases to online shows, from gear recommendations to working from home. If you have any burning questions get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to find the answers.
There are other plans afoot too, but we’ll get on to those another day. For now – go peruse our new websitewww.brixtonrecording.com and let us know how we can help.
We hope you’re all doing well. We’d like to thank you all for your kind messages over the last few months. It’s been difficult for everyone, especially those in the Arts sector, and we really appreciate your support.
We would like to THANK YOU all for adhering to the guidelines, so far there have been NO OUTBREAKS IN ANY UK REHEARSAL VENUES.
We understand that some of the restrictions we have put in place have taken some adapting to. So to encourage everyone to come and use the studio, we are trialling a new booking system with revised rates. This means you can book ANY STUDIO YOU LIKE FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIKE for ultimate flexibility. You can try Studio 1 during the day for just an hour to run through a set for £15, or Studio 4all day for drum practise from only £7.50 per hour. It’s up to you.
New price rates per hour
We are adapting the studio as new advice is received and are working on some new and exciting innovations to our services, thanks to the generous help we have received from The Culture Recovery Fund. We shall be unveiling these shortly so WATCH THIS SPACE!!!
*Payment will be taken online at time of booking, we are also waiving our 48hr cancellation policy , however please be mindful and let us know as soon as possible if you won’t be attending your booking
Frequently asked questions:
Does my booking have to start on the hour? – No, if it is available you will be able to book on the half hour, or finish on the half hour, or even book for 3 and a half hours etc.
Do I still have to book a 3 hour slot in the evening? – No, you can book as many hours as you like in the evening. Evening rates start at 6pm.
Can I call you to make a booking? – You are welcome to call us and we can check availability for you, but the booking will need to be made and paid for online in advance.
Can I pay for my share of the rehearsal separately? – Not yet, but our new booking system jammed.app are working on it and we hope to have it in place by the end of 2020.
Can I still hire cymbals and/or a bass guitar? – Yes, you can book anything you need for your session and anything you need from our pro shop too, like strings, picks and drumsticks at the time of booking.
How many people can rehearse per room? – At the moment restrictions are still in place. On our new booking system brixtonhill.jammed.app you can see the capacity available in each room. Currently the maximum per studio is: Studio 1 – 5 persons Studio 2 – 4 persons Studio 3 – 3 persons Studio 4 – 2 persons
Are you still offering recording? – Yes we are and our two fine engineers, Nick Howiantz and Alessio Costa are available to make your hits come true.
Will bookingsalready made stay the same or change to new pricing? – Bookings made on appointed are already paid for and will stay at the rate they were when booked.
We are beyond delighted to share the exciting news that we are one of the 588 cultural and creative organisations receiving a Culture Recovery Fund grant from Arts Council England on behalf of the DCMS and HM Treasury.
The funding is a lifeline that will mean not only are we able to keep operating, but we can also upgrade and enhance our services to keep up with the changing landscape of the music industry.
We thank our loyal customers for their support over the last few months, we are so pleased we can continue to provide you with a place to create and hone your craft. We hope to encourage more musicians from the local scene to come and make the most of our rehearsal and recording facilities and we embrace the opportunity to remain a supportive hub for the live music community as it recovers.
We’re also busy working on plans to engage a wider audience of music consumers, supporters and enthusiasts over the coming months.