Bristol-based DJ/producer Batu sends word of a new community access studio he’s founded in his city. It’s a reminder of the value this kind of space can have – especially right now.

All of music has been hit hard by the pandemic – starved not just of venues to play, but also the connections, friends, care, and casual conversation that feed music and musical skill. Think especially of the next generation, who are starting out in the midst of this disruption.

Anyway, even without that context – having a free access space can be hugely useful to a community. (See also Detroit’s Portage Garage Sounds, as we covered last summer.)

So it’s really excellent to see First Light Studio in Bristol, UK. Not only is it founded by the excellent Batu, but other talent is providing support and workshops. That includes the terrific electronic experimentalist Hodge, the trio Elder Island (talking pedal effects), all-female/non-binary collective Mix Nights (Danielle, Em Williams, and Daisy Moon) doing DJ workshops, and Sir Hiss bringing UK Rap / Grime knowledge to a production workshop. They’ve got support from Dr. Martens Presents series, as Doc Martens gives support to grassroots culture.

Our friends at Novation have ponied up for some gear, as you’ll guess at if you look at the shots, plus those essential DJ tools the Pioneer DJ CDJ NX2s, PLX-1000, and DJMs. Plus there’s a couch, also important. Oh, and sonic treatment but – again, couch.

Batu in the new studio.

I was always a fan of public access or community access TV and radio, a concept that thrived in the USA in the days of terrestrial broadcasting. Even though we live in the age of bedroom production and Internet access, it seems we still need spaces to gather, spaces to democratize access to technology, and places to meet and learn. I hope we see more of this kind of community effort.

And of course, if you’re in Bristol, you can apply – and check out the workshops! Just do share what you make, even a little before you get famous.

Don’t know Batu? Well, gosh. Don’t sleep; it’s brilliant.

Batu · SYX