Internationally acclaimed music producer, Ken Nelson, has chosen Elevator Recording Studios in Liverpool in which to record his latest musical project.

The producer who is famous for his work with Coldplay, Paulo Nutini and Badly Drawn Boy  amongst many others, has chosen the Liverpool City centre studio to produce rising star, Callum Beattie’s first album, whose first single ‘We Are Stars’ was recently released.

The team recorded much of the album at Elevator, one of the North West’s oldest and most established recording studios, which is housed in a grade 2 listed former warehouse, which was set up by musician brothers Tim and Paul Speed back in 1997.

Tim Speed, co-owner of Elevator Recording Studios commented: “We’ve had many great artists and producers work and record here over the last 20 years many of whom have enjoyed commercial and artistic success. Bands such as The Maccabees, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Coral, The Zutons and The Fall have all recorded here and producers such as Jim Abbiss and Markus Dravs have enjoyed working here. To have another great producer like Ken Nelson choose us for this project is very exciting. Its been a great pleasure having both him and Callum in the studio.”

Other artists currently using the studios are legendry 80’s band ‘It’s Immaterial’ who are mixing their first album in 20 years as well as a brand new radical punk band called  QueenZee and the Sasstones.

Tim continued: “We have had a diverse range of artists using our facilities here over the years. The studio continues to be an exciting place in which to record. It is a constantly evolving project which moves and changes with new technologies but retains its original relaxed and inspiring environment.”

Tim and Paul Speed also own Elevator in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, a site which helped kick-start the resurgence of the area. Musicians continue to use the grade 2 listed warehouses for band rehearsals and writing sessions, whilst smaller recording studios including Igloo and whitewood also have their home there.

Tim added: “Liverpool has music in its DNA. It’s a musical city and we have been lucky as a studio to have welcomed a diverse range of artists through our two sites. When we launched Elevator in the Baltic, we wanted it to have strong musical leanings and I’m pleased to see that’s still very much the case eight years on.”

SoFAR Sounds at the North Docks

You might not be familiar with the SoFAR Sounds movement, and truthfully, that’s kind of the point. What started as a live music night in two friends’ front room has since grown into an international network of promoters, artists and fans, all looking for something a little more intimate and special compared to your usual live music scene. Think an episode of VH1 Storytellers, sans some mug with an awful mullet and gaudy sunglasses pining for the ‘good times’.

Make Liverpool invited SoFAR into their Atrium for the first time, and such was the secrecy of how they operate that we didn’t really know what was going on until it happened. SoFAR confirm with the venue that a gig will be happening, then they’ll source out acts to perform, then they let the general public know that a gig will be happening at some location with some artists performing, it’s very need-to-know and that’s part of the beauty; you feel like you’re a member of a special club and that all this has been done for you.

First up this evening we had JJ Leone, a Norfolk based acoustic R&B styled singer/songwriter, his style a well-balanced cross between Newton Faulkner, Craig David, with some throw backs to the glory days of 80s blue-eyed soul. As he performed his first track, ‘Gin and Scotch Rain’, you instantly understood the nature of SoFAR; they pride themselves on the audience showing respect for the artists and their craft, and politely ask that all attention be focused on the performers on stage – no phones, no heckling, no rowdiness in general. As a result JJ doesn’t need any amplification of any sort, just his acoustic guitar and his vocals (mic’d only for SoFar’s personal recordings). He gives the audience samples from his EP ‘Rebuild’, as well as what he calls “20 years of hip-hop in three minutes” (Blackstreet, Aloe Blacc, Macklemore et al).

Each artist has a four song set, roughly taking up between twenty and thirty minutes each. The laid-back nature of the setting and evening gives a warm and friendly feel, leading to a more open almost conversational vibe from the artists performing. They delight in explaining and talking us through everything they do, have done, and are doing, and you invest in them for that half an hour, and beyond.

Second on stage were Lukas & King, a two-piece from Brighton/Southampton fresh from supporting Ray Davies. Their sound is an ethereal blending of Americana with Stevie Nicks-esque vocals, which are almost haunting, regardless of the warm setting of the Atrium. The folky country tones bely their Southern-English roots, but not in a negative way. Their sound is very authentic and easy on the ear, regardless of the fact that “people used to say they fell asleep to our songs”. They are hoping to release their next EP in June, and we’re hoping they’ll pay us a visit again when it is out.

Liverpool regards itself as a City of music and entertainment, a rich history that you need not hear from us as we’re all aware of the city’s biggest musical export (of course, Space). It would therefore be criminal to not have an artist representing the City play for us tonight. That honour fell to She Beat, a solo indie-pop artist with a folk twang (an accidental running theme of the evening). She Beat harks back to the heady days of the Merseybeat sound, her stripped back cover of Beatles standard ‘She Loves You’ evidence of this, alongside some stylistic nods to Billy Fury amongst others. She comes across as a hopeless romantic, her songs full of optimism, whilst referencing an underlying melancholy, opining that “even Dolly Parton said ‘you can’t have rainbows without rain’”.

Our night is rounded off by Black Mountain Lights, a ‘fifty fingered’ modern-folk combo from the Wirral, who produced some very dramatic rough-round-the-edge sounds, whilst softening those edges with some clean slide-steel guitar and five-part vocal harmonies. The best way to describe their sound is modern day sea shanties, which considering their heritage and some of their song titles (‘Submarine’ and ‘By the Sea’ in particular) is very apt. There is a brooding to their music, and a somewhat understated menace, characterised as “audio Nordic crime dramas” – all full of grisly murder and black humour. That’s what true folk should be, classic tales of foreboding and danger set to haunting melodies, and Black Mountain Lights delivered it in spades.

If you joined us at Make. North Docks for SoFAR then you know how excellent an evening this was, if you missed out, then make sure that you are ready next time, but don’t tell ‘em who sent you…


Redbridge School Christmas Song


Songbird pupils at Redbridge High School in Liverpool have set their sights on a Christmas number 1 slot!

Releasing their own Christmas song, the specialist school which caters for 120 pupils aged 11 to 19 who have autism, severe learning difficulties or profound and multiple learning difficulties, are looking to top the charts.

The brainchild of Redbridge teacher, Pete Chadwick, who has a musical background, the whole school soon got on board with the exciting initiative. The song was recorded in well-known Elevator Studios in Liverpool where owner Tim Speed offered use of the facilities and resources free of charge.

A group of 10 including 5 pupils and 3 staff recorded the song which is a classic Christmas ballad with two musical friends helping with the recording

Pete Chadwick explained: “At a time of reductions in public sector funding schools are beginning to struggle to provide the same level of resources as they have in the past, particularly so for schools that provide for pupils with complex special educational needs.  We wanted to look at a new and different way of raising funds and support for the school and our shared love for music took us down this route.”

The record, entitled Message of Christmas is set to be published by Liverpool based publicists, Ditto, who have waived their usual fees and will place the track onto all of the usual download platforms and is available to purchase from the 1st of December.

Pete continued: “We’ve had so much support for our musical venture and would like to thank everyone involved, particularly Tim at Elevator and Mike Murphy of Ditto. Hope University in the form of talented MA Film Studies student Charlotte Hall made and produced the video to accompany the track and Katy Johnston a music student at BIMM Institute put down great lead vocals. Minimising any expenditure means that we have more chance of raising more essential funds for the school.”

Tim Speed, Director at elevator added: “This is a fantastic and ambitious project by everyone at Redbridge. Were happy to get involved and support them – here’s to hoping they get the number one spot!”

The song is soon/now available to download on iTunes and other download platforms whilst the video can be viewed on Vimeo, YouTube and the school website.

Paul Cronin Headteacher added: “The school is hoping to raise as much money as possible.  Last year our after school programme to provide additional activities outside of school hours cost £16,000 alone to run.  We do not have the funding any longer to do that so to be able to reintroduce the after school provision would be fantastic.  We are also fundraising to enhance the grounds of the school to meet the needs of our pupils with physical disabilities and pupils with autism in particular.  The target for the project is £25,000 but we would like to raise much more.”

Paul continued “The whole school community is excited about this project, pupils in particular!  We have to be as creative as we can be in order to maintain the rich range of activities and opportunities that we know benefit our pupils so much.”


Ditto Music’s Record label in a Box

Elevator based Ditto Music is celebrating far reaching success on the first year anniversary of its latest musical product, ‘Record Label in a Box’.

With hundreds of unsigned acts buying the ready made music publishing package, the success of Record Label in a Box (RLIAB) supports Ditto’s continued international growth and international expansion.

Record Label In A Box is described as the entire infrastructure to start and run a record label as a business.  Matt Parsons, director at Ditto explained: ‘We help you start your music career and stick around to help at every step.  Start your business within 24 hours, then quickly and easily sign artists with no legal fees. Onward you get mentoring, funding and contacts assistance, events to attend – everything you need to succeed in creative industries.’

Launched in 2010 by brothers Matt and Lee Parsons, the music publishers relocated from Birmingham to Liverpool, citing the lack of musical inspiration in their home city and the excessive costs of London living as prohibitive, visiting Liverpool during Sound City and making the move soon after. With two staff on board, Ditto took on small offices initially within Elevator Studios and have continued to expand in the past six years, relocating within the grade 2 listed warehouse where they now employ 18 people.

Matt added: “Being in the Baltic area is a brilliant for our business, working around like minded creative business, many of whom we have collaborated with. It’s been great to see the area grow and thrive and Elevator sits at the heart of everything that’s happening here. We’ve moved around the building as our needs have changed, and we can see more growth ahead so we’ll pack our bags and take the journey up or down a floor again!”

Ditto now have offices across the world including Nashville, San Diego ad Texas as well as Melbourne and London. Each office provide label services now so we have in-house radio pluggers, PR, social media team, allowing them to take on bigger clients.

Tim Speed, director at Elevator commented: “Ditto are a great part of the Elevator community  and are incredibly representative of what the building is about. Housing and supporting creative brands and businesses is what Elevator do and we are very proud of what Ditto have achieved in such a short time . Their journey has been pretty inspiring and they continue to innovate and take risks as was the case with Record Label in a Box.”

Ditto have published music for 85,000 bands worldwide and launched over 17,500 record labels. Media interest is gathering momentum with The Times, off the back of reviewing the company, set up their own label and have released music. Matt added: “Our growth has been incredibly holistic and natural and we’ve diversified when we’ve seen opportunities. We love what we do and that certainly helps!”


Tim Speed, Managing Director of Elevator Studios, is supporting the companies marketing manager, Alex Kelly, with a move to the city’s north dock where she is set to replicate the Elevator concept in this emerging part of the city.

Along with business partners Kirsten Little and Liam Kelly, Alex has secured a long term lease on two vacant warehouses set adjacent to the Kazamiers’ latest incarnation, the Invisible Wind Factory.


‘Make Liverpool’ has been described as, ‘a place to play, make and fix; bring an idea and take away your invention.’ Open to members, residents and the public, the 18,000 sq. ft. facility will host a range of events and courses, also offering permanent creative space, upon official launch in September.

Alex has worked with Tim for several years, simultaneously launching her own creative hub within Elevator (alongside Kirsten and Liam), ‘Ninety Squared’, which is home to an eclectic mix of media and creative businesses. Honing and developing a successful working model there, the trio now aim to roll the concept out on a grand scale at their new site in Regent Street,

Tim will support Alex and her business partners by offering advice and mentoring as well as overseeing some aspects of the project management.

Tim Speed, Managing Director of Elevator said: “Elevator was one of the fist buildings to undergo a full regeneration programme in the Baltic area in 2007 and its launch undoubtedly helped kickstart the rebirth of the area. Today, the area is incredibly popular with a combination of creative, media, musical, and tech businesses as well as leisure and retail schemes, which is brilliant. Naturally, inquisitive minds will be looking at what and where’s next for the city and the north dock is a really interesting area. When Alex approached me to discuss her venture I was really keen to get involved.”

Alex and her partners are carrying out much of the work themselves at the vast warehouse space, drafting in friends and family at weekends and evenings to help make the transformation.

Alex said: “We’ve had so much support and enthusiasm for the scheme, it’s been amazing! From practical hands on lifting and ripping out to seed money from the beautiful ideas Co, the response we’ve had has been overwhelming. The support we get from Tim, however, will be different, and will be based on his experience with Elevator and later, Camp and Furnace. He can help guide us through the red tape and bureaucracy that we will undoubtedly face and support us as we grow and develop Make Liverpool for years to come.”

Working with partners, Make are currently investing in core equipment, offering facilities for woodwork and welding to 3-D printers, laser cutting and CNC milling. Make already house printing equipment, large scale production space and a gallery, alongside an events space.

Alex added: “In the future, 40% of all workers will be freelance, many of whom will be looking for flexible space which they can use in a way that suits them. We see Make as a huge asset for north Liverpool and the city in general and are keen to hear from anyone interested in join us or working with us.”


Tim 2

Creative hub, Elevator Studios, based in Liverpool’s fast developing Baltic Triangle, has collaborated with one of its tenants, IT Answers, to offer what is believed to be the fastest internet connection available in the city, to fellow businesses in the area.

IT Answers is utilising ‘Dark Fibre’ that exists in the cabling that serves Liverpool’s traffic information network, and runs directly underneath Elevator, to bring superfast broadband into the creative hub that provides more than 90,000 square feet of space to Liverpool’s digital and creative community.  Using new microwave technology,   IT Answers and Elevator are offering to provide this mega fast service to other businesses and residential premises in the area, enabling them benefit from connection speeds up to one gigabite per second.

Tim Speed, Managing Director and Co-founder of Elevator said: “IT Answers is one of our tenants who are undoubtedly making waves in the IT sector in and around Liverpool. We began discussing the issues surrounding internet access, particularly in our area, which is made up of a high percentage of online creative businesses. For many of these businesses, bandwidths and fast broadband speeds are critical, and from a series of conservations we came up with the perfect solution.”

The microwave technology that IT Answers and Elevator provide can create links up to a 50km radius, with Camp and Furnace, the first to make the connection and benefit from a super-fast internet connection.

Tim added: “This service has only just been launched and Camp and Furnace have been quick to take us up on the offer. It’s great that we have been able to use the technical expertise of one of our tenants to launch this brilliant service that should have a real impact on the surrounding area.”

Andrew Hilton, Managing Director of IT Answers added: “From a technical perspective, media and online companies can struggle to access an internet connection that’s right for them. Main providers can only offer speeds of around 300 meg where we reach speeds of over three times that at a fraction of the cost.”

Customers able to benefit from  the link will find that past problems with slow download and upload times are gone and that this new service will enable users to upload all media formats in rapid time.”

The service is now available – for further information visit http://www.itanswers.com

Arena art auction in the Baltic Social

Arena - Alex

Arena Studios will be holding their annual art auction at Elevator Studios in Liverpool’s Baltic area.

The event will take place from 7.30 onward on Thursday 21st July 2016 in the Baltic Social, set on the ground floor of the grade 2 listed warehouse and creative space on Parliament Street.

The auction will showcase pieces from artists based across the city with over 50 works going under the hammer on the night. Works of art range from watercolours to abstract pieces and sculptures. With attractive guide prices and low reserves, there are pieces available to suit a range of budgets and artistic tastes.

All funds raised on the night will be put back into Arena Studios, a registered charity, who occupy studios on the first floor of Elevator building.

Sarah Jane Richards of Arena commented: “This is a brilliant annual event that allows us and lots of our friends and colleagues to showcase our works with some amazing local talent on display. We’ve run the auction for several years and it continues to grow in terms of interest, contributors and momentum – we’ve had lots of enquiries and expect a packed house on the night!”

Arena Studios is dedicated to providing affordable studio spaces for artists, designers and illustrators. Art work for the auction will be displayed in Arena’s gallery on the first floor of the Elevator building during the week prior to the auction.

Alex Kelly, of Elevator commented: “We have some incredible talent in Elevator, be it artistic, creative or musical, with some brilliant pieces coming from the residents of Arena. We’re really pleased that as long standing tenants, they’ve chosen to continue to use the versatile space contained within Elevator for their next auction which I’m sure will be a huge success.”

Maurice, of Arena added: “Arena auction nights have always been exciting and the atmosphere electric, as the bids rise higher and higher. We’d like to invite anyone who’s interested in art to join us, for what I’m sure will be a brilliant night!”

Virtual reality lifts Elevator 

Tim 1Virtual reality innovation studio, vTime, has expanded its growing operation at Elevator Studios, taking additional office space at the Baltic-based creative hub.

Formerly known as Starship launching in 2013, the company initially secured 2500 sq. feet of studio space before eventually taking the entire floor. As growth came fast and thick for vTime, the team grew rapidly, and the following year they took an additional floor at Elevator. The recent expansion includes the new top floor space, secured under a long term lease to a total of 6,000 square foot.

Tim Speed, managing director and co-founder of Elevator commented: “Elevator naturally attracts business from within the creative sector due to its location, layout, general vibe and environment. vTime chose to launch their business from Elevator and have had huge success during the past three years. We’ve been able to support them through their expansion, offering varied and flexible space, that’s been aligned with their growth.”

Elevator is home to a number of games companies including Ripstone, Catalyst and Lucid and is recognised nationally as a regional hub for the sector. Tim continued: “We have some really incredible companies housed here from within the games sector, who are naturally gravitating towards Elevator. With 90,000 sq. feet and super-fast broadband, we are able to be incredibly flexible in the type of space we offer, working with small start-ups to large internationally recognised businesses such as vTime.”

Led by senior veterans from Evolution Studios and Sony Studio Liverpool, the multi-award winning firm is headed by Martin Kenwright – CEO, and Clemens Wangerin – MD. Clemens commented: “Elevator has been the perfect base from which to launch and develop our business. We were keen to be in the Baltic area and the Elevator building. In our view, Elevator was one of the centres that helped kick-start the regeneration of the area. It is a wonderful building that has retained its original features and integrity, giving us the room to expand, whilst offering us the perfect environment in which to be creative.”

The new office, boasts wonderful 360 degree views of Liverpool, and will now be used by the senior management team at vTime.

Threshold V

Threshold Festival – Five years going strong!

Threshold saw its fifth year of the three day grass roots music and arts festival in the Baltic triangle. The focus of the festival is grassroots music, visual arts and performance. You won’t get the usual Liverpool bands; it’s something different and a good opportunity for creative people to collaborate on projects.

Some of the best bits we got to see:

Resident bar The Baltic social hosted one of our resident bands, the Mono L.Ps as their headline act on Friday night. We caught The Fire Beneath the Sea and the AMAZING Nubian Twist in the observatory on Friday night as well.

Back to the Observatory on Saturday for Mersey Wylie and the Soul Rays. In and out of unit 51 all evening for the Astral Coast stage, then on to 24 Kitchen Street for some hipster dancing.

Sunday was Art Day! We went to check out ‘The Where’s my horse’ exhibition, a collection of amazing work from Tim Devas, in resident art studio Ninety Squared. We then spent the afternoon in the Liverpool Craft beer space. Sunday evening we had a windy time watching the brilliant Seafoam Green in Constellations then warmed up back at the astral coast stage in Baltic Creatives unit 51 Cafe, where we watched the fabulous Black Mountain Lights.

Despite the windy wet weather we had a brilliant time, well worth the £20 for a three day ticket. BARGAIN… except for all the money we spent on beer!

Going Up…

Originally posted on Kooky ©:
A stone’s throw from the heart of Liverpool city centre, the Baltic Triangle was once a degenerate area, lacking inspiration. The last few years however, have seen something of a renaissance, transforming it into an incredibly exciting hub for creativity, attracting musicians, photographers, artists and entrepreneurs alike. Perhaps the most inspiring…