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Hackney Council have officially withdrawn their threat to remove the painting of a giant rabbit on the side of The Premises Studios.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!
4th November 2010
John Hegley has written a poem for our campaign! Very lovely and like a Haiku in its short simplicity:
can we grabbit?
If it disappears
it won’t be into a hat.
Let us hope that
Hackney Council has ears.
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!
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.
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
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?
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.
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
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