Updated: Aug 26, 2021
What happens when you take five musicians and give them a load of tools and building materials? Eventually what happens is that they build the Hive Rooms. What’s that saying about putting a bunch of monkeys in a room with some typewriters...?!
The basic idea was to build rehearsal spaces that we would happily pay to go to. Somewhere clean and tidy, where the staff can manage more than a grunt when you arrive - but overall, great sounding rooms where we could just get on with the business of rehearsing without having to worry about whether the PA system will work properly. A relaxed musician is a productive musician, after all!
So we acquired the premises, an old sign printers factory, and set about gutting the place. And I mean gutting. There aren’t many jobs as satisfying as destroying entire walls, and being encouraged to kick holes through plasterboard (wearing steel toecaps of course). Everything had to come out, walls, ceilings, gantries, toilets, the kitchen, offices, until we were basically left with one giant open space. Slowly but surely walls were rebuilt according to the plans, outside door ways were blocked up and replaced, floors were laid; we even built an upstairs (I always wondered how an upstairs was made, and now I know!) Throughout the building process we must have used the entire planet’s supply of plasterboard and rockwool insulation.
Eventually we set an opening date (which we ended up pushing back to allow ourselves a bit more time!) and spent the next few months working every hour we possibly could, making sure everything was just right. Everything that could be handmade was handmade; doors, baffles etc. It’s true to say that on opening day, 7th of May 2017, we were running around like headless chickens, putting the finishing touches to everything. We were still installing the gear in the studios at the eleventh hour (literally - we opened at 12pm)! But once potential clients, friends and family started to arrive to see the finished product we were just running on adrenalin. We showed people round, talked to them about our plans for the future (of which there are many!), drank some well earned champagne and just generally breathed a collective sigh of relief. That night....much Indian food was consumed.
Since then, the Hive Rooms has gradually grown in reputation as more and more bands have booked in to see what we’ve got to offer. The comments and reviews we’ve had from our bands, both to us in person and online on Facebook, Trustpilot and Google, have made all the hard work worthwhile. They love the cleanliness, the tidiness, the equipment in the studios (courtesy of
Ashdown, Pearl, Blackstar, DB Technologies and Allen & Heath) and the friendly and welcoming vibe. They also love the free tea and coffee - imagine that, musicians loving free stuff!
Phase 2 was completed in June 2019, which included our Tour Production Room (or the Live Room as we call it), a new reception, larger on site shop and a few smaller rooms for teaching. We’ve hosted video shoots, live stream performances and tour production rehearsals from the likes of The Darkness, Cats In Space, Andrew Roachford, Nik Kershaw and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown among others, all with a steady stream of our regular musicians and bands who book in week after week. Our first recording studio, Studio A, has undergone a revamp and refit which has lead to more and more bookings for everything from drum tracking, full band recordings and voice overs.
As the third (and final!) phase nears completion (despite Covid, lockdowns and various restrictions) it’s great to look back at a project that began in 2015. If you’ve not been to the Hive Rooms yet, then what’s keeping you? Come and check out what these particular monkeys with typewriters have done.