Since I last wrote an update like this a year ago, a lot has happened and so I thought it best to give an update on the situation down here and what’s actually going on and as per usual address some of the questions and persistent rumours which are going around Staffordshire about the studio. I also realise that not a lot has actually happened of late with the expansion and consider this warrants a bit of explanation.
Firstly, as everyone should be aware, Phoenix Music Shop closed down in 2017. The shop no longer exists. I was never affiliated but was a tenant of the shop and I plan to try to reopen a brand new music shop within the studio in the future.
For my own part, after the shop closed down, I cut a deal with the owner of the premises in the same year to manage the entire building and take on the empty shop unit as expansion space for the studio.
Since September of last year then I have been working on preparing the premises for use as a studio according to the plan laid out below. However, things have not entirely gone according to plan.
Firstly, as per usual, I restate that I am NOT CLOSING.
What has happened is that things have become persistently more difficult over the last year as people across the country are under pressure with lack-of-custom and of course this means less money coming into the studio.
This has had some unfortunate effects as it has meant that the expansion efforts effectively slowed to a crawl in April this year after the completion of the build for Live Room 2 as I had to make cutbacks and I did not have the financial freedom I had previously enjoyed to complete the refurb. I effectively ran out of financial manoeuvring space. Along with this lots of general crazy stuff happened which made things very difficult.
I decided to take action a couple of months ago to end this situation and the first thing I did was to physically move to Stafford to give me more time to focus on the studio and my work.
I have also recently upped the amount of work I do outside the studio in order to help finance things.
This week I took on new loans to help pay for completing the refurb.
Since I no longer have a business partner or staff, I decided that more help was necessary so I recently hired a part-time handyman (Carl) to help get the job done who is a great guy and whose help and knowledge has been invaluable.
All of this comes at a price and if I have been difficult to get hold of, then it is because I have been often working 5 – 8 hour days at another job on top of being at the studio for another 8 hours a day.
This has been a very difficult time to say the least. All small businesses in Stafford and across the country have been suffering and ultimately we’ve all had to work harder to make things happen.
I’m happy to say that the expansion is once again pressing forward again with some renewed vigour. So here’s some information about the plans and where we’re at.
Studio 2 is a large, custom built live room (many thanks to Dereck Virgin who did the bulk of the work on this and Lee Farrington for his plastering expertise) which has been designed from scratch to be acoustically near-perfect.
Once decorated and opened for use the backline of Live Room 2 will comprise:
- A Yamaha Stage Custom Kit.
- A Vox Valvetronix AD100VT 2×12 Combo
- A Vox Valvetronix AD50VT 2×12 Combo
- A Peavey 300W Black Widow Bass Combo
- A Mackie PA System.
I’m hoping to get studio 2 opened by August ( about 4 months late but hey ho…). We’ll be painting it and decorating it over the next couple of weeks now that my financial situation is a little more certain.
Control Room 1
Anyone who has ever recorded or taken lessons at Phoenix Music Studio will remember how small the control room used to be.
This has always been, frankly, a consistent problem for lots of reasons and we decided to demolish the old foyer and absorb the space into Control Room to expand it. This should mean that eventually it will be another near perfect acoustic space (once fitted with the planned suspended ceiling). It’ll also be far less cramped and a more open space which will be far more comfortable to work in and we’ll be getting rid of the awful blue carpets which we inherited with the lease of the business units and generally decluttering.
The remodelling work here has been difficult because we’ve had lots of oddities such as glass doors and a window and a raised plinth and a cellar stairway to contend with but we’re getting there now and this should be completed within a few weeks all things considered.
Live Room 1
With the completion of live room 2, a more medium-term plan will be the upgrading of Live Room 1.
To do this and to bring the acoustics of Live Room 1 up to standard with the other rooms, we’ll be partitioning it into a vocal booth and a smaller live room.
This will improve the acoustics and also give more flexibility for recordings and rehearsal use.
Taking the broad view, the blueprint for my plans looks like this:
This should serve to give people an update with where things are at and hopefully progress should step-up a gear from this point forward.
If all goes to plan then will be launching a sale in the coming weeks to celebrate the opening of the new facilities and I’ll give everyone updates as soon as I get them.
Thanks for everyone’s support and solidarity. This means a lot and I’ll have more news for everyone soon.