Interview: Stephen Gilchrist of Brixton Hill Studios on their Record Store Day Festivities

Brixton Hill Studios, just around the corner from The Windmill, has played host to a wide range of Joyzine favourites over the past few years as both a rehearsal space and recording studio, and is also home to Brixton Hillbilly Records, who’ve released tracks by the likes of Hurtling, Hot Sauce Pony and Gaygirl.

On Saturday 21st April they’ll be holding their second annual Record Store Day music market, with a range of stalls and live music performances.  We caught up with studio boss Stephen Gilchrist, himself of many a Joyzine favourite (Art Brut, Stephen Evens, Hot Sauce Pony, Local Girls and many, many more), to find out what they’ve got in store.

Give us a quick introduction to Brixton Hill Studios – what do you do, who’s involved & how long have you been going?

I started out tentatively in 2011 and the studio was  born out of necessity. I was fed up with badly maintained spaces that smelt of damp and cat wee that had crap equipment so took the plunge and rented my own space that I could rehearse, write and record in. To make myself a bit back on the rent I started to rent time to local bands which then snowballed and I found that I could not get time in for myself and that a rehearsal studio was something that Brixton sorely needed.  However, it took about a year and a half to find somewhere due to the current obsession with property development reducing the number of industrial properties available and the prices shooting up as everything is now a potential block of flats and cash cow for a few lucky people.  Finally we opened our doors in 2013 with 3 rehearsal rooms and now we have 5, a recording studio and 3 production rooms. We also hire out backline (that’s amps, drumkits and other instruments), we have Technics decks and CDJs with mixers to hire along with some PA. We also store gear for bands.

We are really lucky to have a team of friendly and enthusiastic musicians as staff. Everyone who works here is aware of what makes for a happy and creative environment and have a good working knowledge of the studio. We have two amazing engineers, Nick and Alessio who run the recording side as well as working day to day at the studio.  Nick is responsible for the day to day running of the studio and knows every band and client who comes through our doors.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t  love him to bits. I am also lucky enough to have my wife Caroline (from Hot Sauce Pony) who organises back office and community outreach and my best mate Jen (Macro from My Bloody Valentine/Hurtling) working here so it’s definitely a friendly and family type vibe here. Many of our regulars will be familiar with Rudy, our back Labrador who is the official studio dog and biscuit supervisor.

Stephen performing in his solo guise Stephen Evens

Not being a record store, what made you decide to get involved with Record Store Day?

The whole point of record store day seemed to be an exercise in appreciating the independent record store in your town and it seems to be extended now into a general appreciation of music in general and where does it all begin?  In places like ours, so some of the staff thought that it would be a swell idea to throw our doors open to the public one day a year and also invite the musicians who grace our studio and their record labels to take up residence for the day and sell their wares.  What ever you buy in those record shops starts in a place like this so why not let people have a sneaky peak?

What will be happening on the day?

Like I said before, we have invited bands, record labels and other musician friends to come and set up shop in the studio for the day so they can sell their merchandise, back catalogue and also to sell any pre-loved music gear.  There will be liquid refreshment provided by our good friends Stir Coffee and the Chunky Buddha food stall plus our friends and musicians.

Who will be there selling & playing?

The market side of things will be open from 11am – 6pm and we’ll have stalls from Damnably Records, Blang! Records, Onomatopoeia Records, Jed from The Damned, Debbie Smith, Tsa Tsa Sapien of Meatraffle, Ooberfuse,  Sally Young from Ut, KJ Adams, Dog of Man, Fear of the Forest, Arch Garrison/NSRO, Spiral Feathers and of course Brixton Hillbilly.The live music starts at 12.30 with a set from Hurtling, and we’ll have performances from Ooberfuse, Mal from Spiral Feathers, Bad Parents, Joe Buzfuz, Fear of the Forest, Tsa Tsa Sapien from Meatraffle, KJ Adams, Gabi Garbutt, Phill Rambow and Arch Garrison.

Check out some of the artists performing at the market below:

Full details of the event and more information about Brixton Hill Studios can be found on their Facebook page:

Interview by Paul Maps

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