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.
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.
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.
Hello all, it’s Stephen here., alleged chief cook and bottle washer at BXHS. I’m here to tell you about a benefit show we are hosting with our pals Jo Spratley (from Spratley’s Japs) & The Windmill in Brixton this month in aid of the legendary percussionist Tim Quy who played with Cardiacs throughout the 80s.
Cardiacs are one of those bands that can be filed under the “music’s best kept secret” category. A band that some might describe as pure marmite. You either find them unpalatable or you cannot resist chomping down on their sonic delights at any given opportunity. Like the legendary Velvet Underground, Cardiacs did not sell a great number of records during their time but pretty much everyone who bought one formed a band. Their influences can be detected in bands as diverse as Blur & Radiohead and artists such as Mike Patton of Faith No More and er….Steve Davis (he’s not just about snooker, y’know, Steve knows his psychedelia. Check out his band The Utopia Strong).
Tim has been fighting cancer of the mouth, tongue and jawbone the past 2 years. Despite receiving first class treatment from the NHS for his condition, being unable to work has left him in somewhat of a financial hole. Therefore a small number of friends, family and devoted fans have been organising fundraisers to help Tim with his ever amounting costs to soften his financial stress so he can get on with the important business of recovery.
A BIT ABOUT TIM
Tim’s contribution to Cardiacs sound was the pure fairy dust upon which they separated themselves from many of their contemporaries. The mixture of xylophone, catchy cowbell rhythms, big bass drums and china cymbals held aloft, Tim’s percussive acrobatics brought to mind the skills of Ruth Underwood or Ed Marimba (aka Art Tripp III) of Zappa and Beefheart’s bands respectively. More like a small orchestra than a rock band, the classic era of Cardiacs were utterly unique and Tim’s place in it utterly essential.
Cardiacs have been my Elvis, Beethoven and Captain Beefheart, all rolled in to one for as long as I can remember. The first time I heard the opening bars of their song “To Go Off & Things” being played at me (when I wandered into their gig by mistake aged 14) my first thought was “I didn’t know we were allowed to do this?” It was the first time I witnessed the rule book being given the 2 fingers, an attitude that has stuck with me to this day.
Not every band’s success can or should be measured in record sales, venue capacities and award ceremonies. Whatever one may think about the musicians life it is rare that is accompanied by much in the way of financial reward. Which is why something like this is important. There is no safety net for those artists who’ve not made it to the big time, should they fall foul of life’s cruel fates. So this is one reason why we are behind this event 100%. If there is even a minuscule amount we can do to support those people who have inspired us, entertained us and kept our hearts full of love for music, then count us in. We are a music community and we support each other because we know that there are things more important than money….that said, please give generously and come along on the 15th.
Due to the ever increasing costs of being situated in a popular London borough, coupled with an imminent rent rise, a price review is essential to our survival.
We have not increased our prices in Studios 1 & 2 since February 2016 and in Studios 3, 4 & 5 since March 2017. We will endeavour to keep our prices as reasonable as possible whilst being able to continue to deliver the high level of service you expect from us.
We have published the prices on the rates page and we’ve posted them up around the studio, as you might have already seen. We are still offering full backline in our premium studios (1&2) but are now only able to offer 1 guitar amp in our standard studios (3, 4 & 5). However we are only charging £5 for a standard amp per session if you need to double up.
There is some good news. We’ve managed to make some savings on the weekend evenings meaning that you can try our premium studios at knocked down prices or get a 3 hour session in one of our smaller rooms for the price of a round!
We thank you for your understanding & look forward to serving you for many years to come & continuing to make this a hub for our local music scene.
Welcome to another round up of what some of the lovely bands who frequent our rehearsal rooms are up to.
Firstly we’d like to send our condolences to those in our community who have been affected by the untimely passing of Jack Medley. Beth from Madonnatron has been integral in setting up a gofundme campaign to help with Jack’s funeral costs, and also posthumously releasing his album, Charlotte from Madonnatron also created the wonderful artwork pictured below that was on display in The Windmill for his memorial gig on Sunday May 26. Amazing to think this painting was just a piece of wood in our car park a few days ago!
Also on May 26, our wonderful boss held the first of his monthly residencies at The Betsey Trotwood. ‘The Curates Egg’ beheld an afternoon of cracking talent including music and comedy from Kate Arnold, Benjamin Louche, Andrew O’Neal, The Stephen Evens Band and Terre de Lune who, as I write, is recording songs with Stephen and Nick in the studio. Next one is June 30th when the pub will again open especially on a Sunday for your listening and laughing pleasure.
Releases-wise we look forward to June 7 when Dinosaur Pile-Up’s ‘Celebrity Mansions’ album is unleashed on an unsuspecting public, they recently announced a few small shows to mark the launch before they play at Download Festival. Go. See. Hear. Love,
Also in your record shops is the new Madonnatron album ‘Musica alla Puttanesca’. We were very touched to have a thank you mention in the sleeve notes, plus our very own Alex plays trumpet on the album!
We raise a glass to lead singer of Les Futiles and regular visitor to these hallowed halls, Paul Killengray, in honour of his upcoming wedding in June, we wish you love, luck and happiness on your special day, and all the special days to follow with the lovely Lou xx
And if you’re OK with it, I’d like to raise a personal glass to my dear Dad who passed recently. He was a big fan of music, and mischief – in healthier times he was always up for a natter over a whisky (or three) with me and my bandmates.
He woulda loved you lot, almost as much as we do x
Brixton Hill Studios (“we”, “our” or “us”) promises to respect any personal data you share with us, or that we get from other organisations and keep it safe. We aim to be clear when we collect your data and not do anything you wouldn’t reasonably expect.
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