“I also think it could be helpful if the developer has an interest in music, they don’t have to be a musician themselves, but if they have an interest then it could help the conversation.”
Wale is currently a student at Warwick University where he is studying Management in Business, but he is also establishing himself as a musician, as his songs currently feature on platforms such as Spotify. He has always possessed a natural ability to be creative and from a young age was intrigued by experimenting and recreating music which he has now turned into a career goal for himself since 2014 when he first started releasing music.
How would you define studio space?
To me, studio space is a space where you do your craft – a space facilitated to make doing that craft easier. It’s also a place where you find inspiration and keeps the creativity flowing and that can be the case with various types of studios; whether it’s an office space, a record studio, or an artist studio. There shouldn’t be any creative obstacles in your studio. My bedroom at uni is currently my studio and whilst it’s good because it’s accessible, it can sometimes be an issue because it’s not a dedicated space, so I have to pack away and set everything up every time I want to use it.
What would be the most important elements of a studio space to you?
I think sound quality is really important – I’ve been in a lot of situations where it’s been hard and for some reason, it’s just always been something I’ve cared about. That links with good quality headphones, as good quality headphones equal good quality music. Also, space allows for creative ideas to be put down; ensuring no delays, hurdles or obstacles – making it so that your equipment is just ready for you to go without any plugging in or anything like that.
Have you been actively looking for a studio space?
No I haven’t – right now, I’m using my own equipment and that’s great for me as I can keep it forever it’s mine, so far I have got a small keyboard, laptop and a mic. I’m of the mindset that I have no money, so I won’t be able to really afford a studio at the moment. A decent studio in London can cost around £20 per hour, which is good but then you don’t know how long you are going to be in there for, so it can either add up to be really expensive or you can waste time booking it out if you need a lot more time to be creative. Some of the programs I would like to use are really expensive though, which can hinder my music a bit, but I believe I can still do my music to a high quality.
I do feel like I’m missing out a bit as for example, when I set up the mic, it is based in a certain location as the acoustics matter – panels would really help with that but I don’t have any yet. I could possibly start looking for a new space after uni if I can afford it, but I do really like the idea of building my own little empire of a studio filled with all of my own equipment.
Would you ever think about moving outside of London for good?
I think I would consider it after uni, but its not something I will directly approach straight away. Id like to find a small office space to convert into a studio – if I could find that in London then that would be cool. I would also like to find a house and turn it into a studio, but house prices are really high. I believe I can always find a way to create studio space, whether it’s in a room or wherever. It would be good to have a studio in the same place I live, but in an external space.
Do you feel as though you’d miss out on London’s art scene if you moved?
Yeah, but not to a massive extent. The opportunity to network is great, it’s all about who you know as well as you can connect and collaborate. Also, being able to go to small shows in London is great, and with South-London specifically, I feel like musicians are proud to be from there, so it’s like a community.
Do you believe London has an impact on your music?
Yeah I do, but in a weird way as I don’t think my music is regional from a stylistic perspective, like I feel like it can be enjoyed from all over.
In regard to inspirations, I would definitely say I’m inspired by London. I believe the music scene in the UK comes from London so it makes you proud to be from there.
What do you think the future of studio space in London will look like?
I think that studio spaces could increase, as from a business standpoint it would make sense. On the other side of things, I think the popular studios where people are name-dropping who works there could put people off as it stops people creating… I’m not sure actually.
What conversations do you think could be opened up between developers and artists?
Convincing them to actually invest – illustrate to them how many people really need or want studio spaces within London. It is helpful in so many ways – it helps keep people off the streets and acts as a safe space for people to create music. I also think it could be helpful if the developer has an interest in music, they don’t have to be a musician themselves, but if they have an interest then it could help the conversation.
Do you think because of the rising cost of studio spaces, that could impact the art community?
Interestingly no, I don’t because the music industry is now appreciated more than ever – we don’t need gatekeepers like record labels to do this – it’s much easier now to get your music out there and create a fanbase. You can view studio spaces the same way, you don’t really need them to be able to create music; the dynamic doesn’t change. Not having a studio space will not stop people from creating music, it will just make them stop renting out spaces.
There is always going to be a community of musicians who are in the same boat. If the prices of studio spaces become so out of reach, then there will be a community around that and will make the options so clear – people studying or living at home with their parents – they can come together and get a studio space together as you wouldn’t want to invite random people to your house, but if you had a dedicated space, then it’s comfortable and would make it much easier to create music collaboratively.
Do you think that because of artists moving further and further out of the city, that the art scene could become more underground?
In terms of music, I think most of it is underground anyway. The UK is narrow in what is considered as mainstream anyway – if you aren’t a big name then you are underground. It is quite concerning actually and disappointing, as it can be quite limiting, but because of that, I don’t think the music culture will be affected, but it could potentially dilute the culture of London as a whole.