The Premises Blog

Jazz Piano Summer School August 20th -24th 2016

January 7th, 2016

Led by Tim Richards, with John Crawford and Nikki Yeoh

This exciting and intensive five-day course is suitable for pianists with some playing experience who wish to learn more about jazz, brush up their improvisation skills, increase their repertoire, and gain experience at playing and recording with a rhythm section.

All students may record a tune of their choice on the final day in The Premises state of the art solar-powered recording studio, with a bassist and drummer provided.

The course is streamed to cater for students of differing levels of ability and experience. You will be placed in one of two groups on the first day. When not being taught by one of the three tutors, practice facilities will be available.

Places are limited to a maximum of 16 pianists, so early registration is advised.

Topics covered

• Jazz harmony and chord voicings
• Blues
• Bebop
• Modal jazz
• Latin/Brazilian jazz
• Improvisation techniques
• Accompanying
• Playing with a rhythm section, etc.

The course does cater for a range of abilities, but participants will be expected to know their major scales in all keys, and to have a working knowledge of basic chord symbols (eg: C7, Em7, A9, Gmaj7, Fm7b5 etc).

Familiarity with some jazz repertoire will be an advantage, although handouts and tunes will be provided to work from.

On some days the group will be split into two streams (beginners and advanced) to enable concepts to be dealt with at a level appropriate for each group.

COST: just £320 (includes finished recording)


Tim Richards
One of the UK’s leading pianists, composers and jazz educators, Tim is best known as the founder and leader of the modern jazz groups SPIRIT LEVEL and GREAT SPIRIT. He has toured all over Europe and released over 10 albums as a leader, the most recent being the trio CD ‘Shapeshifting’ (33Jazz205).

He is also the author of the acclaimed tutors IMPROVISING BLUES PIANO and EXPLORING JAZZ PIANO (Vols 1 and 2) published by Schott Music.

Tim is a jazz examiner for the ABRSM and has contributed pieces to their Jazz Piano syllabus, as well as to ROCK SCHOOL Popular Piano syllabus. He currently teaches jazz piano and blues piano at Morley College (London) and at Leeds College of Music.

Nikki Yeoh
Modal jazz

Nikki came to prominence in the 1990s with her own band INFINITUM, a trio featuring Mark Mondesir and Keith Le Blanc, which has performed at the London, Cheltenham and Bath Jazz Festivals and at the Royal Festival Hall.Her style is contemporary and original.

She is a former member of Courtney Pine’s band and has collaborated extensively with several ‘name’ jazz musicians, including John Surman and Cleveland Watkiss.

A gifted teacher, she has taught for many years at Camden’s Weekend Jazz Workshop, originally under the tutelage of trumpeter Ian Carr.

John Crawford
Latin & Brazilian

John is the UK’s leading Latin pianist and has appeared with most visiting musicians from Latin America as well as running his own bands GRUPO X and VIDA NOVA.

He has lectured at the Guildhall School of Music and teaches the Latin Piano course at Goldsmiths College. His Latin day at Premises is always one of the most popular events of the week.

John’s book EXPLORING LATIN PIANO, a collaboration with Tim Richards, was published by Schott Music in 2010 (book and 2 CDs).

To book, call Julia Craik now on 0207 729 7593 or email:

Chicago Blues Camp Comes to London! August 15th -18th 2016

January 6th, 2016

A fantastic new opportunity for young people is coming to London!

The Blues Kids Foundation (USA) and The Premises Rehearsal and Recording Studios proudly present Fernando Jones’ 2nd Annual Blues Camp in London this summer. Through this exclusive, fun-filled experience young people will learn and perform America’s root music in a week long programme under the tutelage of highly qualified Blues instructors direct from Chicago, the Blues capital of the world. Fernando Jones is a highly skilled tutor, motivator and musician and has been inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame.  In a unique collaboration with our charity he is bringing his famous Blues Camp to London.

Entry is very competitive but places are FREE!  Students will be aged 12-17 and be intermediate to advanced musicians Places are limited to 25 for this year.

Classes will be every morning from 10am – 1pm leading to an afternoon performance on the final day.  We expect great things from this collaboration, come expecting to work hard, learn all about the Blues, improve your music and performance skills and make new friends.


Fernando Jones is a faculty member of Columbia College Chicago (the USA’s premier performing arts and media school) and a  Blues Ensemble director. He’s also an American Bluesman, educator, songwriter and scholar. Born to Mississippi parents on the South Side of Chicago, Jones was inspired by his older brothers, Foree and Gregory, and that inspiration led him to teaching himself how to play guitar when he was four years old.

Jones is a highly sought-after lecturer focusing on music education and literacy improvement whose clientele includes the Smithsonian Institute and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He has received the esteemed Keeping the Blues Alive Award (education).

Buddy Guy said that Fernando Jones is “one in a million trying to get to the bottom of the barrel of the Blues.”

He brings with him to London some of the most experienced Blues tutors in America – this is the very first opportunity that UK young people will have to work with these musicians; a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from the best.

To sign up and for more information call Julia on 020 7729 7593 or email   Entry will be by audition, young people will be asked to submit an audio recording of themselves playing a blues tune from a list we have suggested.  Fernando Jones will make the final decisions from the USA.

The Premises Studios Ltd, 209 Hackney Road | London E2 8JL | Tel: 020 7729 7593 Visit BLUESKIDS.COM for details how to be a Blues Kid or Sponsor. Europe: | USA:

Voice Jams for Young People

July 21st, 2015

Our Voice Jams are some of the best vocal training sessions for young people in London today.  Those of you who’ve been lucky enough to attend one before will know how amazing the improvements to your vocals will be in just a few days.  We work with Clive Brown, one of the most dynamic and innovative choir trainers in the UK and form a choir from all the students attending.  Then we work over the next few sessions towards an roof-raising performance with a full band.

We’ll learn harmony and solo techniques, breathing and posture exercises, teamwork, some great songs and how to perform with a band of some of the best session musicians about.  Plus we’ll have fun and make new friends, all in a professional recording and rehearsal studio where some of your idols may have already worked (see our client list to find out who you might bump into).

The cost for this is just £25 for all 4 sessions.  It’s open to anyone aged 12-18.

To book just call Julia on 020 7729 7593 or email

London Songwriting and Recording Course

January 14th, 2015

“Thanks for such an amazing course. I’ve learned so much and had so many doors open!  ” Terry.

We’re delighted to be running our 4-Day Songwriting and Recording Workshop again shortly, where we’ll be offering a packed timetable of workshops, recording sessions with a pro band, and masterclasses from some of the most experienced people in the music industry.  Whether you need advice on shaping your lyrics, structuring your songs, enhancing your melodies, are excited by the prospect of making a recording with a professional band or simply want to join a group of songwriters focused on creating a strong personal songwriting identity in a supportive group, this course offers a variety of techniques to enable you to achieve your personal best as a songwriter.

The course will bring out different things in different people, no matter what stage you have reached as a songwriter. Beginners will pick up tips and tricks to get started; more experienced songwriters can address ‘writers block’ or put the finishing touches to material they have been working on independently. There will be opportunities to collaborate and also one-to-one feedback sessions, alongside group work and rehearsals.

We’ll be bringing in the Vice Chair of the PRS, PAULETTE LONG for a special session on “Making Money from your Song” – an essential part of any songwriter’s knowledge.

As well as the masterclass sessions the course will be made up of 3 days of intensive tuition with Helen Reddington, one of the most experienced songwriting tutors in the UK today. On the 4th day you will have individual recording slots in Studio A with a top session band where you will record a track you’ve written during the course.

“Helen is an absolutely brilliant tutor and someone I have the highest respect for.  She is a legend!” Paul

The cost is just £395 including the recording sessions. Places are limited to 10 and we expect this to sell out fast.

“This experience went beyond songwriting and recording and thanks to you, Helen, the whole staff and fellow course-mates this was a productive, artistic and moving educational experience.” Andy.

To book contact Julia Craik on 020  7729 7593 or

The Premises Studios, 209 Hackney Rd, London, E2 8JL.

Jazz Vocal and Recording Course With Ian Shaw

December 1st, 2014

“ The course allowed us to immerse ourselves in jazz and music – it’s the closest I’ve felt to being a recording artist”. Jon,  student.

BBC Award winning jazz vocalist, IAN SHAW and the world famous Premises Recording and Rehearsal Studios will be holding an exclusive FOUR DAY JAZZ VOCAL AND RECORDING WORKSHOP in late 2016.

As well as being an internationally renowned vocal performer, Ian Shaw has, over the years, been constantly invited to lead masterclasses, talks and seminars including the London Jazz Festival, Berklee College Boston, Sage Gateshead and adjudicating the final performances at the Royal Academy to name just a few.  His rapport, as a result of 30 years’ experience in a myriad of studio settings, workshops and mentor sessions with fellow singers, is unmatched. His aim in this workshop is to develop the potential of each student and get the very best performance from the singer, band and engineer, in the highly charged but enormously exciting recording session.

“Ian was so warm, encouraging and supportive throughout the 4 days, this was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

During the course we will embrace all the vital aspects and curves that lead to a confident, creative and assured performance level as well as offering the participants a unique opportunity to record a fully mastered and produced track with a top piano trio in one of London’s leading recording studios.

“The band were great and really made my original compositions sound fantastic”.

The first three days will include the following: choosing material and performance identity; developing a sure technique that suits individual styles; basic ear training; stagecraft and nerves; breathing and support; exploring your vocal range; counting in and good band-leading skills; dynamics and microphone technique; applying Swing, Latin, Funk and Rock ‘feel’ to standard repertoire; rhythmic and harmonic improvisation; singing the blues; good storytelling and connecting with an audience; the difference between ‘live’ and studio singing; basic band arranging skills and liaising with the players.

On the final day you’ll have the unmissable opportunity to RECORD YOUR OWN TRACK IN STUDIO A WITH A FANTASTIC TRIO OF MUSICIANS:  Geoff Gascoyne – bass (Jamie Cullum/Georgie Fame/Van Morrison), Dave Ohm – drums (Gregory Porter/Claire Martin) and Jamie Safiruddin – piano (The Ben Cox Band/G4) with Ian Shaw producing (production credits include Charlotte Church/Jamie Cullum/ Marcella Detroit).

“I didn’t want the course or the day in the recording studio to end!  I loved it so much!”

” Absolutely fantastic…. the incomparable Ian Shaw” Jamie Cullum.

Cost is only £475

Places are limited to 10 and booking now.

Call Julia Craik on 020 7729 7593 to reserve a place or email

We’re Joining the Energy Bill Revolution!

August 29th, 2013

As you may know, here at The Premises we really care about supporting campaigns that help both the environment and society generally. We’ve had huge successes with our solar powered recording studio, our rooftop beehive and campaigns to create a meaningful Feed-In Tariff for green energy generation.  We’ve also worked to encourage small businesses to move their money to ethical banks (which we have done ourselves of course!)

Now we’re joining forces with a great campaign called the Energy Bill Revolution, which has the support of over 100 major charities, unions and businesses. It aims to end the growing issue of fuel poverty in the UK. We were shocked by the statistics – at least 7,000 people die every winter in the UK due to living in cold homes, and high energy bills mean one in four families has to make the choice between heating and eating properly.

To end this, the Energy Bill Revolution is calling on the Government to super-insulate the homes of the fuel poor. The aim is to slash their energy bills, end fuel poverty, drive down carbon emissions and create over a hundred thousand jobs. The campaign wants the Government to use carbon tax to fund the programme. We all pay carbon tax on our energy bills, but at the moment none of it is given back to households. There is enough carbon tax to bring half a million people out of fuel poverty every year!

You can find out more about the campaign at If lots of Premises Members sign the petition on that page it could really help focus attention onto this very important campaign.

The campaign is also looking for some high profile champions to support them. If you or anyone you know fits the bill just let us know and we’d be delighted to put you in touch.

We think this is a vital campaign, and if it succeeds we can create revolutionary changes – and it won’t cost us a penny more!

We’re Switching To An Ethical Bank – Press Release

July 11th, 2012

PRESS RELEASE:  Wednesday July 11th 2012


The Premises Studios Ltd, a world famous studio complex, used by hundreds of stars such as Ronnie Wood, Ben E. King, Macy Gray and Madness is working with the campaign Move Your Money UK to pave the way for small businesses to move their money to ethical banks.

Premises MD Julia Craik says:

“As a business we’ve always done what we can to act responsibly and we’ve decided that banking with Barclays is no longer a viable option for us.  We won’t be associated with a corporation that appears to act in such a corrupt and fraudulent manner, so we’re off!  We believe this is the best way to force change in the financial sector, as leaving it to the courts of justice and the government just isn’t working.”

The Premises Studios estimates its turnover at around £500k per annum and as Julia Craik points out “If just 100 small businesses with cashflow similar to ours leave their banks then the banks will lose businesses with an annual turnover of £50 million – that’s going to hurt”.

In collaboration with Move Your Money UK, The Premises Studio is therefore urging other small businesses to join them in pledging to move their money and begin the process of switching to more ethical and socially responsible banks and business societies. Since the beginning of this year, Move Your Money UK estimates that an average of 80,000 savers have been moving their money out of the big banks each month. Businesses can pledge on the site here:

Move Your Money spokesperson, Marloes Nicholls, said:

“Following the huge demand from individuals to find out about the broad range of banking options available to them as an alternative to the big high street banks, we are delighted to see an interest from small businesses to move their money too.

The Premises’ decision to move their money comes as no surprise. Local and small businesses have suffered massively from the financial crisis, and recent scandals including the mis-selling of rate hedging, show that the big banks have no care to support the real economy.

The Premises are setting a great precedent for other small businesses who have had enough of the big banks, and their move will raise awareness that businesses, as well as individuals, can take action to build a better banking sector. The impact of small businesses moving their money will significantly help the socially responsible banking sector to grow and strengthen the clear message to the big banks that customers will no longer accept their behaviour. Move Your Money UK is also working now to be able to help charities and local authorities to move their money in the future.”

The Premises are moving to Triodos Bank:  Charles Middleton, Managing Director Triodos UK says:   “We believe that money can be used consciously to support social and environmental change for the benefit of all. We were delighted to support the Premises with their solar powered studio and are even more delighted that they and many others are now thinking about the power of their money to make a positive impact.”

Lisa Stanley, Head of Communications at Triodos Bank, reports that “New business accounts (savings and current accounts) opened are more than treble what they were for the same period (Dec– June) last year.”

Viv Broughton, CEO of The Premises Studios, says “We’re just one of many small businesses who bank with Barclays and we’ve decided that enough is enough. Barclays Bank seems to have become little more than a criminal enterprise engaged in fraud and deception on a grand scale and we want nothing more to do with them. We are therefore closing our account with Barclays and switching to an ethical bank. In doing so, we are urging other businesses who value their integrity, to do the same.”

Julia Craik explains why switching to a sustainable bank like Triodos makes good business sense:

“Once we’ve switched our banking we can tell our clients that any money they pay will be going into a sustainable model of banking and in the current climate this gives us a great business edge.  None of our clients’ studio fees will be given to the fat cats, they will be used in a fully responsible manner – a much better way of doing business all round we think.”

The Premises are also talking to Ethecol Merchant Services CIC, a social enterprise that provides ethical card payment services to a growing number of small businesses, charities and credit Unions.

Businesses interested in moving their money should contact Move Your Money UK on facebook ‘Move Your Money UK’, twitter @MoveYourMoneyUK, or by email: More information about the campaign is available on the website

The Premises Blog giving full information is on their campaign is here:


1. Contact Julia Craik from The Premises Studios 020 7729 7593.  Email: website:

2. Move Your Money UK’s press contact is Louis Brooke. Mobile: 07725 461679 Email:

3.  Triodos Bank press contact is Lisa Stanley. Telephone: 0117 980 9721 / 07983 002013 Email:

4. Examples of other banking options

- CCLA provide high street equivalent banking services to charities, faith groups and local authorities

- Unity Trust offer banking for civil society, social enterprises, CICs, councils and trade unions

- The Cooperative Bank offer business accounts

- Charity Bank provides loans for charities, social enterprises and community organisations

Enough is Enough! We’re Moving From Barclays.

July 5th, 2012

With the recent Libor fixing news coming in on top of the innumerable banking scandals, everyone here at The Premises Studios has decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and we’re switching our business banking.  As many of our clients know, we’ve always aimed to run more than just a business here – we choose to work as a conscious, ethically minded studio complex.  We do what we can to act responsibly and we’ve decided that banking with Barclays is no longer a viable option for us.  We won’t be associated with a corporation that appears to act in such a corrupt and fraudulent manner so WE’RE OFF!

We are switching to a bank we already work with – the excellent Triodos Bank.  Triodos Bank are 100% sustainable, they only lend REAL money entrusted to them by their savers and they only work with people and organisations who are working to make a positive impact – culturally, socially and environmentally.  We’re lucky enough to fall into all three of their categories. Our solar powered recording studio, beekeeping project and campaigning work ensures we meet their green requirements; our registered charity works to provide access and education and is the socially responsible arm of the main studio business and our music studios are VERY cultural of course! (Well most days anyway…)

We’ll be making the changes over the next few weeks and once we have done this you can be sure that anything you pay us will be going into a much better model of banking.  None of your studio fees will be given to the fat cats, they will be used in a fully responsible manner – a much better way of doing business all round we think.

We’d like to encourage more people to join us in leaving the bad banks behind as this is the BEST WAY TO FORCE CHANGE – leaving it to the courts of justice and the government just isn’t working.  If you’d like advice on how to join us in making positive banking choices then we’ve done a fair amount of research recently and are happy to share what we know.

The more people and small businesses that leave the big banks the more it will hurt them – do think about switching – it’s a SIMPLE AND POWERFUL statement to make….

Contact the office on 020 7729 7593 or for more information.

The Premises Wins Music Week Award for Best Green Business

June 29th, 2011

We are delighted to announce that we won the first ever Music Week Award for the Best Green Business.

Launched this year by campaigning environmental group Julie’s Bicycle, the Green Business Award was created in order to recognise the environmental achievements made by companies working in the UK music industry. The criteria used to judge were:

  • The implementation and success of environmental initiatives;
  • Management support and overall staff commitment to sustainability;
  • Methods used to track environmental impacts
  • Relationships with and influence on audiences, customers, suppliers and other clients;
  • New and original campaigns and ideas.

We were up against a very strong shortlist including industry heavyweights The Birmingham NEC, KOKO, and The Sage Gateshead but our solar powered studio A, green campaigning and beekeeping projects took the prize on the night.

Alison Tickell, Director of Julie’s Bicycle said, “The Premises took the initiative to go green well before it became common place, and they were the first commercial studio in the UK to install solar panels.

“Proving that engaging with issues of public concern can be a business win, they used a government grant to speed up their investment payback, and have used their green credentials to give them a marketing edge. They have also successfully campaigned for better renewable power incentives that benefit the music industry, as well as UK homes and businesses more broadly.

“It’s also impressive the way The Premises have used their solar panels and more recent initiatives like their beehives to engage with artists, other studio users and young people in their Hackney community – this is a really important step and its impact cannot be underestimated.

“By seizing the business opportunities while making the ethical choice, The Premises is a powerful example of the opportunities that environmental sustainability offers: an ethical business base that will sustain it into the future.”

Julia Craik, Director of The Premises Studios said, “The Premises Studios are delighted to receive the first Julie’s Bicycle Green Business Award. We aim to combine solid business sense with real environmental action and this award is recognition that our model works. Julie’s Bicycle is a great organisation and their endorsement is a real honour.”

Michael Gubbins, Content Director of Music Week said, “Music Week is proud to have worked with Julie’s Bicycle to launch the Green Business Award, and we consider it to be one of the most important of the Music Week Awards. Premises Studios has set an example which we expect to see followed by a great many other companies, in an industry which is becoming increasingly engaged with environmental sustainability as a core business priority.”

‘Madonna and Child’ at The Premises

March 30th, 2011

UPDATE:  Friday April 8th 2011

The Police* are now investigating the death and arson threats we’ve been receiving in the last few days from so-called MJ fans enraged by the sculpture currently on show at The Premises. (*enraged Sting fans please note, we mean the Met police.)

‘Madonna and Child’ by Los Angeles based artist Maria von Kohler, is displayed in a high window at The Premises.

Michael Jackson fan sites around the world have been orchestrating a campaign against the sculpture. Although the artwork depicts a real event, with no additional comment, they see it as an attack on the late singer.

Viv Broughton, Chief Executive of The Premises, said “So far we haven’t been taking the threats very seriously but a few of them have become quite specific. The level of abuse has been extraordinary so we’re taking a few precautionary measures just to be on the safe side.”

Amongst the blizzard of misinformed blog comments (see below) is the suggestion that big money is somehow behind it. If only. For the record, the artist wasn’t paid and the work is not being offered for sale. It is not a commercial venture. Perhaps we should also say that quite obviously, the comments below are not to be taken as reflecting our own opinions. So try and be nice you lot, or we’ll set Mrs Watkins the studio cat on you.



March 6th 2011

‘Madonna and Child’, the sculpture currently on display at The Premises Studios in east London, has generated a large volume of complaints after it was featured on several Michael Jackson ‘fan-sites’.

Maria von Köhler, the artist who created the work, has issued the following statement in response:

“Personally I am pretty surprised at the overwhelming amount of negative reactions from the Michael Jackson fan base. I am referring specifically to the presumption by many that the piece was created as a negative, judgmental or ‘jokey’ commentary on Michael Jackson and his personal or professional life. This is not the case at all. In fact it is a representation of an actual incident as portrayed by the media, which was inevitably fuelled by a wide public of fans as well as critics of the star. The piece investigates the nature of the relationship between someone of unparalleled iconic status, the media and the public; the frenzy that subsequently ensued.”

Viv Broughton, Premises CEO, has added this statement:

“How can a work of art that is faithful to a real event be construed as an attack on anyone? ‘Madonna and Child’ is as much about extreme fan worship as it is about Michael Jackson. By their fanatical devotion the fans made him into a sort of deity and inevitably he in turn began to behave like one. The sculpture depicts a moment of high drama. It’s certainly not meant to ridicule but neither is it a homage. It works on several levels, like a religious tableaux.”


As regular visitors here may have already noticed, there is a new sculpture suspended twenty feet up on the side of our building. Intriguingly, it’s called Madonna and Child and it’s been installed in our office window. Swedish-born sculptor Maria von Köhler spent six months, first modelling it in clay then, from a plaster mould, it was cast in polyester resin and finished in acrylic and wax.

Various Jackson ‘fan-sites’ are orchestrating a hate campaign against us (see blog comments below) thus illustrating the point that the sculpture is really about fan worship, about treating a singer like a deity.

Maria von Köhler has exhibited widely since she graduated with an MA from the Royal Academy Schools, Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2003. Her work is housed in collections worldwide, including The Zabludowicz Collection and The David Roberts Art Foundation, London. Von Köhler has held solo exhibitions at Seventeen, IMT and The Kiosk Project, London, as well as Seeline Gallery, Los Angeles and Galerie Lieser, Berlin. Other exhibition highlights include: When We Build Let Us Think We Build Forever, BALTIC, Gateshead; Larry’s Cocktails, Gagosian Gallery, London; National Geographic, Faggionato Fine Art, London; RightOn/Write Off, Chapman Fine Arts, London; Fresh, MOCA, Los Angeles; Selected Sculpture, Max Wigram Gallery, London.

One Step Bee-yond! Suggs backs our Urban Beekeeping Project.

March 3rd, 2011

March 2011: Here at London Recording Studios, The Premises we’ve established a hive and a colony of bees on the roof and are now joining with other campaigns to encourage people to look after bees, particularly in urban areas. Madness lead singer Suggs (pictured right, with sax player Lee Thompson and Premises MD Julia Craik) has teamed up with us and we’re delighted to have his support.

London has a seriously declining bee population, which has decreased by around a half since 2008. To help repopulate the capital we installed a hive on our roof a little while back and now, with the warmer weather and sunnier days arriving, the hive is coming out of its winter quiet and the bees are beginning their busy year.

Julia Craik says: “We want to encourage people to look after these gentle but amazingly productive insects. Honey-bees are in danger due to a number of environmental factors including the increasing recent prevalence of the Varroa Destructor mite.”

Suggs, who has been rehearsing with Madness at The Premises, has been interested in bees for many years and says “As experienced urban beekeepers my wife and I know how fascinating keeping these amazing creatures can be and how important it is to look after them in managed hives like the one at The Premises Studios.  Beekeeping is a crucial part of looking after our environment so both the bees and our planet continue to thrive”.

We have partnered up with a great organisation, The Golden Company, who work with local young people from diverse backgrounds, providing them with opportunities to learn sustainable business skills and take an active part in running the enterprise.

One thing anyone with outside space can do to help the bees is to plant bee-friendly flowers; these include Chamomile, Sweet William, Foxgloves, Chives, Sage, Borage, Cornflowers and Dahlias.  To many people’s surprise, urban honey is often far tastier than country honey. We planted a little garden up on the roof but the bees will fly up to 3 miles to collect nectar and the parks and gardens of city environments provide them with a huge variety of flowers resulting in more complex flavours in the honey.

A little known fact is that bees sometimes communicate to each other through “quacks” which are always in G#.  Julia says they hope to record this noise some time soon!

Save the Rabbit

November 8th, 2010

8th November 2010

We’ve Saved the Rabbit!

Hackney Council Back Down over Giant Rabbit

Hackney Council have officially withdrawn their threat to remove the painting of a giant rabbit on the side of The Premises Studios.  More than two thousand people signed a petition in one week objecting to the Council’s enforcement order.

The 12ft giant rabbit is one of several spectacular pieces of street art that have appeared in the east end of London by internationally renowned artist ROA. Last year Hackney Council caused widespread outrage by painting over a large Banksy artwork in Dalston.

The petition to ‘save the rabbit’ received an astonishing amount of public support in a short period of time. At one point names were being added at a rate of one per minute and the topic trended on Twitter. Local artists, schools and residents all lent their support to demand that Hackney Council drop their threat to the painting.

“We’re delighted that Hackney Council have recognised our campaign and we’d like to thank everyone for all the amazing support and work to help save our rabbit” say the Premises owners Julia Craik and Viv Broughton. “It’s a beautiful piece of street art that everyone loves and we’re very glad it’s here to stay.”

Thanks again to everyone who has helped us – this shows that with public support we can really change things – a great result!

Julia Craik

4th November 2010

John Hegley has written a poem for our campaign!  Very lovely and like a Haiku in its short simplicity:

This rabbit
can we grabbit?

If it disappears
it won’t be into a hat.
Let us hope that
Hackney Council has ears.

John Hegley

International street artist EINE lends his support to our campaign.


“There is a rabbit on Hackney Road, that’s right a rabbit not a knife wielding gangster, but a rabbit painted by a Belgian artist called ROA.  The owners of the wall granted permission, the locals love it, school children adore it, visitors photograph it yet Hackney Council think it’s a blight on the environment and want it painted out.  Please sign the petition so we can force the Council to sit down and have a meeting where for the sake of street artists, their fans and the hundreds of people who visit Hackney every week to see this great art movement in the flesh, we can try to change their policy of removing street art”. International street artist EINE lends his support to our campaign.

Blog Post 26.10.10

In an act of remarkable stupidity Hackney Council are demanding that we paint over a beautiful piece of street art at our London recording studios The Premises. The artwork is a beautiful painting of a rabbit painted by the famous Belgian street artist ROA which he created on our wall a couple of years ago. It’s been there ever since and is the joy of local residents and the destination of many street art tours that take place through London.

In a similar fashion to their stance on the wonderful Banksy that Hackney Council painted over in 2009, saying it was the policy of the council remove all graffiti regardless of artistic value, they are demanding that we paint over it and if we do not they will do so themselves and issue us with a bill for their work. Describing the hugely popular rabbit as “ a blight on the environment” and “ detrimental to the amenity of the area” they have issued a legal notice giving us 14 days to remove it.

We will, of course, NEVER paint over the rabbit and are protesting strongly. We’ve started a petition and today we trended on Twitter with our #savetherabbit campaign.

Help us save the ROA rabbit by signing the petition here

We’re posting all our correspondence to and from Hackney Council – Updates are here.

If you’d like to do any press coverage or help us out call Julia Craik on 020 7729 7593. It’s more than just this rabbit, it’s their entire policy we need to change, street art is a great addition to Hackney, brings people into the borough, promotes London as a great cultural centre and Hackney Council need to realise how much people identify with this aspect of their borough’s identity.

Anthony Doll’s Blog, The Secret/Double Life of a Studio Manager/Music Nerd Blog

Over the past 25 years The Premises Studios have opened their doors to a vast array of different artists from all corners of the globe. Here is a small snapshot of  just some of the artists who have graced the studios with their music throughout the years.

(Click the link to see and play our playlist through Spotify)

Happy 25th Birthday!

Nina Simone - See-Line Woman – Album Version/Stereo
Sun Ra – Where Pathways Meet – Unreleased Acetate Mix
Tony Allen – Secret Agent
Osibisa – Sunshine Day
The Skatalites – James Bond
Jazz Jamaica – Double Barrel
Os Mutantes – Baby – 1971
Laura Marling - Made By Maid
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Swimming Song
James – Hymn From A Village
The Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next To Me
Polarbear – To Touch The Red Brick (From Held On The Tips Of Fingers)
Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Music For A Found Harmonium
Florence + The Machine – Kiss With A Fist
UNKLE, Thom Yorke – Rabbit In Your Headlights
Hot Chip – I Feel Better
Kid Creole And The Coconuts – Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy
Jack DeJohnette – Sorcery #1
McCoy Tyner - Lee Plus Three
Sun Ra and His Solar Myth Arkestra – The Satellites Are Spinning
The Skatalites – Don’s Memorial
Roy Ayers – Red, Black & Green
Fleetwood Mac - Oh Well!
Arctic Monkeys - Teddy Picker
Chrome Hoof – Nordic Curse
Klaxons – Golden Skans
The Kooks – See The Sun
Art Brut – Modern Art
The Horrors – Sea Within A Sea
Simian Mobile Disco – Hustler
Rihanna - Rude Boy

I’m delighted to share with all the Premises members my definitive Spotify playlist to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Premises Studios where I work in London’s now uber-fashionable East End.. Except it wasn’t always so – I remember when I first came here as a youngblood muso, it seemed to me to be the back of beyond!

I was living in Notting Hill Gate at the time but the relentless grime and seediness of the rehearsal rooms (that we could afford) in our  “endz” eventually drove us to seek greener pastures on the far side of town and we discovered one of London’s great secret musical gems..


Blur, Suede and Elastica were all firmly established regular rehearsal bookings, part of the furniture so to speak. The story goes that various Brit-pop luminaries may have even done the odd day’s labouring and helped build some of the foundations for our original recording studio but it was the other names on the studio day-board that fascinated me- legendary, near mythical American and African artists, some of whom I knew through reputation only (Roy Ayers, McCoy Tyner, Jack deJohnette etc), others I had had the pleasure of experiencing first hand (Sun Ra and Nina Simone) and unbelievably, here they were rehearsing in the studio next to us!

Peter Green

Peter Green

My good friend and band-mate Dave’s finest musical hour (by his own reckoning) was when he was sitting in our room on his lonesome knocking out some country-blues type stuff on an acoustic guitar and an elderly afro-American gentleman stuck his head in the door and complimented him on the quality of his finger-pickin’…..It was the Ra himself!!

Doesn’t get much better than that – anyway, onto the playlist itself.  We start with the late, great Nina Simone and a track that is sometimes better known in its re-incarnation as a Masters at Work re-mix. This is the (stereo) original and still the superior tune – La Nina’s vocals slide across the beat like molasses on warm pancake, and the groove.. Sorry Kenny and Louie – you boys did a great job with the re-mix but the original still knocks spots off anything that has come along since.

From there we move onto Tony Allen, Fela Kuti’s drummer, the originator of Afro-Beat and a veritable human dynamo of rhythm. This is one of his solo pieces (w/ band) and if you like the funk, check the licks he lays down on this tune!

Now to Osibisa – these guys have been around since time began, fusing African and Caribbean beats and melodies from the mid to late 60s onwards, laying the foundations for world music as we know it and having a sizeable number of chart/pop hits along the way – this is probably one of their best known tracks and I had the pleasure to hear them play it recently as I listened in on one of their rehearsals. Yes – they are still going strong, with original members in tow.

Kate (& Anna) McGarrigle

Moving right along we come to Jazz Jamaica – brainchild of Gary Crosby (O.B.E), incorporating some of the best young and old players around on the U.K Jazz and Blues scene and I remember a particular rehearsal when they told us they had a special guest musician coming along.. Mr Earnest Raglin of Skatalites! So you have the cream of the U.K in concord with one of Jamaica’s founding Dons of Ska/Rocksteady. Pure musical dynamite.

Os Mutantes turned up out of the blue one day – we do a lot of work with the Barbican and they have brought us some amazing artists over the years but to keep a low profile they don’t always tell us the musicians’ names. So, I’m in the studio with this band, helping them with their sound and they start playing this song (“Baby”) and then the penny dropped.. It was near as damn the original line-up of the Mutantes. Could’ve knocked me over wiv a fevver, guvnor, cor blimey, apples’n'pears etc . Well, I did say we was based in the East End..

So now – to 2010. We were pleased as punch recently when Laura Marling graced our studios, bringing her current band with her (the majority of whom also double as Mumford and Sons). A lovely spring day and the dulcet tones of our favourite princess of Nu Folk drifting thru’ the building…

Speaking of Folk Royalty, one of the other great musical collaborations that the Barbican have brought to us was the Daughters of Albion concert of a few years back and on that memorable occasion there was Kate McGarrigle, Norma Waterson and Vashti Bunyan sharing the stage in one of our big, showcase rooms

Anyway, this song is of Kate’s (and Anna’s) best-loved tracks  – the perennial “Swimming Song”

“This summer I did swan dives
And jacknifes for you all
And once when you weren’t looking
I did a cannonball
I did a cannonball..”

R.I.P Kate McGarrigle (1946-2010). And thanks to Mr L Wainwright Esq. for the wonderful, life-affirming lyrics

Sun Ra

Sun Ra

Now, the band James were one of the biggest live draws in the U.K and Europe in their heyday and they’re not doing so bad now since they reformed in 2007 and started booking into our fine establishment – selling out arena tours, outdoor Festivals and the Hoxton Bar’n'Grill ! That was a little secret, warm-up gig but I remember their crew loading out the better part of their production rig to go half a mile down the road to this tiny Shoreditch venue that was rammed to the rafters that night. Anyway, this is one of their earliest (and finest) efforts, “Hymn from a Village” – I heard this late one night on John Peel’s show and went and nabbed the 7″ vinyl from Rough Trade Portobello Rd the very next day. Which Tim (singer) graciously signed for me when the band did their first batch of rehearsals here after re-forming – Schweet!

The Last Shadow Puppets and the Arctic Monkeys both came to us by association with another long-term resident of these fine Premises – James Ford, one half of Simian Mobile Disco (along with Jas Shaw), hot young producer extraordinaire (Florence + Machine/Peaches/Arctic’s/played drums and produced the L.S.P.s).

These two have been regulars here since their days in the band Simian, who later evolved into S.M.D around about the time that James Ford founded the “Trial’n'Error” label and started his path along the road to becoming the world-renowned producer his is today. Brian Eno popped his head into the studio for a cup of tea and a discussion with Simian regarding their debut album – that’s the kind of random stuff that happens here on a (semi) daily basis. Almost surreal, one might proffer?


Nina Simone

Hmmm – like a chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table.. Don’t even get me started on “Nurse with Wound”.. Steven Stapleton hasn’t been here to my best knowledge but David Tibet has, with Current 93, as has Simon Finn (another Durtro artist) and weirdly enough, Simon ended up mixing in our Studio B with Vic Keary, who had recorded his original folk/psych masterpiece “Pass the Distance” for his label Mushroom Records (the original Progressive rock label, not to be confused with the Australian label which came much later) in 1970!! Vic’s association with us is through his company Thermionic Culture, who build some of the finest valve outboard that this country has to offer but the strange circles within circles that exist in the small world of music and life in general I suppose led him to work with Simon again 30/35 yrs later in our prestigious Mix facility – like I said, random stuff.

A few musical mavericks now. Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Mr August Darnell is still going strong, still Zoot-suited and booted and as charming a gentleman as ever passed through our doors. “Annie” is still their biggest and best-known tune but it was a close call between this song and another number recommended by Julia Craik (our M.D), “Off the Coast of Me”. Very lovely, summery ballad, check it out if you’ve not heard it..

Seb Roachford (Polar Bear, Electric Ladyland) has been coming here since his days in a great band called “Menlo Park” – coincidentally, the ex lead singer of which has just released his first solo album, Harper Simon – the son of Paul, who I believe may have made one or two records himself with a guy called Gerald? No, Art – definitely Art, because he went on to found a profitable chain of restaurants?

And the Penguin Café Orchestra, a wonderfully eccentric, very English musical ensemble of note who released their first music under the auspices of.. Mr Brian Eno’s “Obscure” record label! This is “Music for a Found Harmonium”, one of their best known pieces and probably coming to a mobile phone advert near you soon (if it hasn’t already been used, which it probably has..)

Phew – who’s left? Rapidly running out of blather here.. Hot Chip – lovely guys, supremely talented kings of U.K electro pop. This is one of the best tunes off the current album and if you haven’t seen the video for this track yet – FIND IT! It’s out there on the World Wide Interweb somewhere and is worth 4.40 of anybody’s time.. P.S. – probably NOT one for you if you are of a nervous disposition or a huge fan of “Blue”/”Westlife” or have ever been a big boy-band fan/follower

So much good music, and now some more, Chrome Hoof, current mask-wearing champions of Psychedelic/Motor-rik weirdness and the owners of the huge shiny, silver skull that sat in our reception for the better part of a week before we figured out who it belonged to and that the reason it was here was that they couldn’t physically fit it in their cage.

Chrome Hoof

The Art Brut/Everybody Wants To Be In The French Resistance axis, Peter Green and his Friendly Friends – Peter only came back into the musical fold two years or so ago but he is playing up an absolute storm nowadays and I still recall the moment when they did their first little showcase/warm-up gig for an invited audience in our studio A2  (Pete and I were doing sound, keeping an eye on things etc) and they dropped “Oh Well” and “Albatross”. I was just gobsmacked – there I was, standing in a room with an audience of no more than 35/40 people and watching PETER GREEN play two of the defining moments in his career as one of the giants of British blues guitar.. I subsequently went on to work with the band again for some live dates the following summer and can now add “Peter Green’s guitar technician ” to my illustrious C.V

Good times, I really did enjoy standing at the side of the stage watching/listening to Peter play “Black Magic Woman”, “the Stumble” etc – and getting paid to be there!

The Klaxons and the Horrors and the Kooks – the youngbluud vanguard of Nu British pop and three of the nicest bands that you could ever hope to come across in the course of your working day. Still legendary are Joshua 13’s marathon tea making skills, all the while regaling us with strange tales of Geoff Barrow’s near-mythical Atari laptop (!). Faris does have a small fixation with changing the name of his band on the Studio day-board – think that he may have wanted them to be called “the F*$ks’” in another life? The Klaxons and the Kooks have spent so much time here over the past few years or so that we have considered renaming certain favoured rooms after the bands

Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Penguin Cafe Orchestra

And so to Rhianna – one of the most spectacular entrances/exits in the history of our fair building – she was over for the Mobo Awards and I think this was before the release of “Good Girl Gone Bad” and the ubiquitous “Umbrella” but she was already a platinum selling artist in the U.S., even though she hadn’t quite crossed-over here in at this point. This didn’t stop her arriving at the studio in a FLEET of people-carriers, blacked out windows, Security personnel in front and behind, two or three guys coming in first to clear the way for her Pop-ness and then her sweeping thru’, straight into the room for a warm-up rehearsal before the awards that evening. Yes indeed, this is how a TRUE star should roll!!

We stood back in awe and admiration at the military precision of her entourage/team and the sheer presence that the girl was able to project in a 20/30 second encounter – and as she swept past us on the way to her room, was that a flash of a smile and a little wink that I glimpsed. Wait – is that the alarm clock?

Oh no – day dreaming again. O.K – the very last word, I promise! So Rhianna is one kind of star, the bright and shiny 21st Century version but the thing that brings us the most pleasure here are the encounters with true, musical LEGENDS. I touched upon the late, great SUN RA earlier in this piece and I have been fortunate enough in my life to have seen the Ra and his Arkestra perform on a number of various occasions but after he passed from this earthly realm in the mid 90s I thought that Interstellar musical magic was lost to this world..

Of course that is forgetting Mr Marshall Allen and the wonderful gentlemen who make up the current incarnation of Ra’s Solar Myth Arkestra. These guys are still travelling the globe, spreading the word and conjuring the weird’n'wonderful tones of space blues and swing that were Sonny Herman Blount’s legacy. I was especially fortunate to see them play again just a few weeks ago at Cafe Oto in Dalston, just up the road from the studio and these lovely jazz geniuses played for FOUR hours (2 two hour sets, twenty minute break in-between) preaching the gospel of Love, Peace and Inter-galactic/planetary Harmony.

R.I.P Le Son Ra – Long Live the Arkestra

And that’s it – a potted history of a great studio, told by some incredible music and amazing musicians. Happy 25th Anniversary to The Premises Studios! Long may you provide a home and meeting point for some of the best musical conversations on offer. Peace Out – Anthony Doll x

The Premises @ the House of Commons

April 20th, 2010
Julia Alan Simpson

The Premises MD Julia Craik with Alan Simpson MP

Our lovely solar panels have been keeping us warm and toasty over the winter months, allowing us to get down to business without having to give a second thought to the ‘varied delights’ of London weather. But across the country, there are still people that cannot keep themselves warm, and with Government targets set to  eradicate ‘fuel poverty’ by 2016, there is still a long way to go in the fight to overcome the issue. Which is where the Parliamentary Warm Homes Group comes in.

Established as an Associate Parliamentary Group in 1998, the Parliamentary Warm Homes Group plays a key role in maintaining awareness of fuel poverty in Parliament. With an ever growing membership of cross parliamentary support from MPs, Peers and key industry associates, the work of the group is essential to ensure that everyone is able to keep themselves warm.

Part of their work tackles poverty in general, but a lot of work focuses on the need for greater energy efficiency and taking steps to ensure we are consuming heat efficiently and with a greater sense of responsibility. In terms of the bigger picture, it’s a win-win situation, allowing us to reduce emissions whilst saving money and ensuring that people on low incomes do not have to view heat as a luxury.

With this in mind, we happily made our way over to a reception at the House of Commons the other week, signing London recording studio The Premises up as an associate member of the Parliamentary Warm Homes Group. It was a great chance to rub shoulders with MPs such as Dianne Abbott and Simon Hughes and celebrities including Garry Neville and to meet up with old pals like Friends of the Earth and pledge our support for the important work the Group does.

We find ourselves in great company, with Associate Members made up of plenty of key stakeholders in the energy sector. From local councils and charities to power companies, we are now proudly standing alongside a whole host of companies and groups including Friends of the Earth, Help the Aged and the Centre for Sustainable Energy.

And with befitting efficiency, we even managed to get a pic with the Group’s chairman, Alan Simpson MP.

The Sanctified Traditions of Rock ‘n’ Roll

April 6th, 2010

1 – Support Bands – Redistribution of Rights (AKA Stealing the Headline Act’s Rider…)

rock and rollAs well as managing The Premises Studios, a top London Recording Studio I also work as a Tour Manager.  In this position it has recently it came to my attention, that some of the greener, younger, fresher bands have begun to lose respect for one of the more sanctified traditions of rock and roll; demolishing the headline act’s rider to the last drop. There are several ethical considerations to address before you may feel comfortable with what would commonly be known as theft. Here’s a few crumbs from the table.

Think of this in its simplest form, mathematically. You are being paid £100 (if you’re lucky) for supporting a band at a sold out show, where the ticket price is £20 and they’ve given you three guests. There is sadly only one way to redistribute the wealth.

Here’s the method.  Go say hi to the headliners, they were once in your position. Sit in their dressing room for a bit, grab a water. Don’t ask, it’s expected. Take notice of what is on offer. This is of ultimate importance; look for premium beers, bottles of spirits and bottles of wine. If the booze hasn’t arrived, settle in for a conversation with the drummer about his favourite records and wait. It’s coming.

You will soon be approaching a crucial time for a taste of what is to come, the headliners’ dinner. Now, while the cat’s away eating, the mice will play so, get stuck in. Upon their return you will be onstage.

Next, you’ve come off stage, the headliners are well fed and ready to begin their own rituals (more on this in weeks to come) and this is where you should retrieve a few well hidden bottles of beer from the rancid couch in your support band room AKA the cleaning cupboard and make good with the stale sandwiches that are rotting away in the corner. This is your time to shine; they will be preparing to go onstage. Go and thank them briefly for having you on the show, all the time checking for a rider restock.

It’s stage time! This main window of opportunity has arrived! Rejoice in the knowledge that you know where the band is, how long they’re going to be there and that their entourage will be busy. Salut! This one is on me.

Here is a little advice that should not be taken lightly; Always have a soft drink to hand. This way when the promoter rep / TM / Roadie comes in during the show, you can ask if it’s OK to grab a beer. They would be heartless to reject you. When they are gone, grab a bottle of vodka or whisky. Enjoy (responsibly).

Now comes the best part, the crestfallen look on a Rock God’s face when they are met by a dry band room. To them it may appear like an empty ice bucket, fridge and table but you will soon begin to see it for what it is: a sanctified rock tradition, older than the headliners themselves.

The world is at peace.

Our Solar Campaign Pays Off Today!

April 1st, 2010

Over the last couple of years we’ve been working with Friends of the Earth on a renewable energy campaign. Today we see the results as the Government introduces its ‘Clean Energy Cashback’ Scheme, also known as Feed-in Tariffs (FITs).

Basically, this scheme rewards householders and businesses that generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources.  As you may have seen from our previous blog post, we do this ourselves using solar panels on The Premises Studios’ roof.

It’s something that’s been attractive to our clients.  Lily Allen used the studio for her last album (‘It’s Not Me It’s You’), and said “Having worked at the Premises solar powered London recording studio I have experienced how clean and green renewable energy is. I fully support giving people a renewable energy reward for the power they generate. It’s good to be green!”

The Klaxons said of their time in the studio “we’re proud to back the We Support Solar campaign for Feed-in Tariffs. We use The Premises solar powered recording studio and we know how important solar power is to the delivery of a low carbon UK.”

In a nutshell, the Feed-in Tariff scheme is a fantastic incentive to anyone thinking of installing renewable energy technology on their building.  The scheme guarantees them a minimum payment for all electricity generated by their system.  They also get another payment for any of their electricity that they ‘export’ to the national grid.

And there’s not only that income to think about, but also the savings made by using the electricity generated on-site.

It is estimated that at current FIT levels the average household could make around £1000 a year in savings and income, so, on an investment of £10,000 to install solar panels you could get back approximately 9.7% per year. That’s a pretty healthy result.

We’re delighted this has finally been passed and the campaign has been a success!

Why Solar Power works even on a rainy night in Hackney

March 26th, 2010

london recording studio solar power panelsWe set up our main recording studio, Studio A, to be fully solar powered when we built it in 2005 and since then it’s been a dream to run.  The array of 18x200W Photo Voltaic panels up on the roof pump electricity into the main power supply of the building throughout the year needing no particular attention, they supply any excess to the National Grid, an excess we get paid for, they’re even self-cleaning.  If only everything in life worked so well….

We do however get a lot of queries about “what happens when the sun goes in” and there is a misconception that solar won’t work in rainy old England.  It’s not quite like that however as it’s more a matter of give and take to the Grid.

This is how it works: When we first started we did an audit of how much energy Studio A would use over the course of a year and this was estimated at an amount that 18 PV panels would be able to make on flat, south facing roof such as we have.  Turns out this was actually an overestimate so we are able to supply firstly Studio A, then the power is taken into the other studios in the building (so your rehearsals here may be solar powered) and anything over is exported out and into the Grid thus greening the entire national system.  On a sunny summer morning before things get going at The Premises Studios the panels will be pumping out far more energy than we need so it’s exported away.  By nightfall there when there’s no more light things automatically switch around and we take all the energy we need from the Grid.  On long summer days it works out that we make more energy than we use so we actually have a revenue stream sitting up there on our roof.  Solar Power works, it really does.

Here are the figures:

Total Electricity Generated to 25.3.10:  12197 kWh

Total Carbon Emissions Saved:  5244 kg

And increasing every day…..