Ten87 Studios (external link) provide creative workspace for music and sound.They are based in South Tottenham and run 42 studios across three sites.
The first OIF loan enabled them to expand onto the second site in Tottenham, refurbishing a vacant warehouse, creating more commercial floorspace and recording studios, co-working space and event space.
They then received a second OIF loan which was used to finance ten more studios on a third site in the High Cross Centre.
We met with Rob Burn, Producer/Director at Ten87 Studios to discuss how the OIF has helped him.
Why the name?
It’s the speed of sound in feet per second. And it’s also the month and year I was born.
We were coming to warehouse parties in Tottenham a decade ago and we discovered an amazing artistic community here. And what also drew us was the fact this area felt real and detached from the kind of gentrification happening in Hackney. It’s more affordable than other places and it’s very important our clients can get into town quickly. The location of Tottenham Hale/Seven Sisters works really well in terms of transport links and it’s just going to keep getting better. I would recommend that other businesses move to Tottenham 100%.
How did you hear about the Opportunity Investment Fund?
Our landlord – Nick Hartwright from the Mill Co. Project – said, “You guys should have a look at this because I think you’ll be good for it”. So it just carried on from there really.
What has the OIF money been used for?
To get two sites up and running. It was for the fit-out of our second site in Markfield Road and then a third site a short distance away just off Fountayne Road. It’s also covered all of the acoustics and the sound-proofing for the studios.
How have you found working with Haringey Council on the loan and wider business support?
They have been very supportive of what was a pretty major scheme. To be honest it was a bit of a minefield for a producer who has never embarked on any kind of business venture before. So it was amazing to have the regeneration team and the planning team so supportive of what we were doing. And they are always there for us if we need more support.
How did you find the OIF application process?
I found applying for the Opportunity Investment Fund relatively easy. In the past we have had to do various pitches and all kinds of stuff but that wasn’t the case with Haringey Council who were far more understanding.
And the experience was so good first time round you applied for and secured a second batch of OIF money?
Yes! That was used for a third site of just under 3,000 sq foot where we built ten new studios. We opened that in the latter half of last year and all ten are already occupied. There’s a huge demand for studios in London and there are a lot of producers out there who need a musical home so we’re on a mission!
What do you like in particular about the OIF?
The loan is the best way I’ve found of borrowing money. We’ve experienced things moving quite slowly through a conventional lender, and maybe they don’t quite understand the inner workings of a business, but Haringey Council was very receptive and flexible.
The reasons behind it are so positive, such as promoting regeneration in this part of the borough and giving young people a foot on the ladder. From the start the council understood that what we were doing would benefit the wider community, and because of that they were willing to loan us a fairly substantial amount of money to aid our expansion.
Have you recommended the OIF to other businesses?
We recommended it to other businesses including Five Miles, which share a space with us, and I’m always singing its praises wherever possible. In fact I would recommend it to any young business or a business looking to create jobs or start up. It’s an incredible thing and they should definitely check it out.
Tell us some more about Ten87…
Originally I was a producer myself and that’s the reason why I set this business up; I needed a space to produce in. And now the best thing about this job is the people and getting to connect with some of the most respected names in music. I do get a massive buzz out of watching other people that I really respect produce in spaces that I’ve created.
Leases here can run from three months to two or three years depending on the individual’s needs. Actually, we’ve recently been even more flexible so on a couple of occasions we’ve granted shorter leases and we would now consider, say, a month or two months on a rolling contract. So our model is slightly different from the traditional recording studio model of hiring for a period of hours or a few days. This brings the cost right down so people can be here for longer and have continuity over a period of weeks.
We also give priority to local people and give them a discount on the spaces. It’s important to bring a bit of the local community within our spaces.
And that’s our biggest selling point – we’re creating communities of producers. You’ve got all these creative people in a musical village type scenario who are able to network and collaborate. What’s also gratifying is hearing comments from world-renowned acousticians who agree that, for the money they spend, we provide some of the best rooms in London.
So we now have three sites and we feel we really have created a community of music producers. It’s amazing and very satisfying for me personally. We feel we’re providing the best resources for the community, are as inclusive as possible, and we hope the size and scope of the buildings we’re building will act as a catalyst for the wider area. There’s a whole creative movement growing in this area of Tottenham.