I begged and pleaded with the man behind the counter. He began to cave. I was going to be moving some boxes that very weekend and that was exciting. Maple Studios was known in the local area as the place to be if you wanted to be part of the music scene, and Glyn Morgan was the man who ran the joint.
I joined the rest of the team, Glenn Raymond, Rob Sherred, Ian Pack (Promoter).
Set upon an old railway siding, Maple Studios in the Grainger Road Industrial Estate was my work home for many years. The corridor, a very long, very narrow corridor, is split into two halves. A red floor raising to about hip high and then white above that. The scuff marks along the mottled walls gave clues as to the type of life the building has had.
Studio 2 was bright orange. It was painted orange at some point in the 1990’s when the band Vitro had setup a permanent studio for themselves. After they moved out, nearly everyone who wanted to rehearse wanted studio 2. There became a point when far too many bands were asking for studio 2, and as good parents we decided to paint the rest of the rooms orange just to stop the arguments.
The rehearsal studios were busy all the time. Every evening there were all sorts of bands in from post-hardcore to country; the music scene in Southend was alive.
The thing about being the centre of the music scene is that people assume you know everything there is about everything there is. If you catch my drift. We’d get all sorts come in at random times of the day with all sorts of bits of equipment that they had been given or dug up from somewhere. At some point I remember someone bring in a old Eight Track stereo recorder. I’d never seen one before.
Maple Pro Audio
Maple Pro Audio, surprisingly you find out, is the Pro Audio arm of Maple Studios. What is pro audio some of you will be asking. It’s the big speakers and all the kit that goes with it at all the gigs, concerts, festivals, Christmas markets, Firework Displays and all that jazz…
We’d do any gig. For about 4 years we did the New Years Eve event at the local fire station with a covers band called Jackie Wilson Says. Always went down well with the girlfriends. Then there were festivals, not the ones you all know and love, ones like the Thurrock Music Festival where the stage was 2 curtain-side lorries parked next to each other with the curtains pulled back and a big hole in the middle.
You know what, it was fun! I learnt a lot. I gain a lot of knowledge around PA electronics and system engineering. Getting my head round the fundamentals of Live Sound. Talking of which, do you know what the speed of sound is? 343.2 meters per second! And that’s way that’s on one of our T-Shirts.
TT Promotions was a part of the business that ran along side the Pro Audio business. Originally, I believe, it was started to deal with all the bookings for The Maritime Rooms before moving to The Esplanade. This was long before I got involved. Around 1998, The Esplanade closed its door to live music and became a proper chain pub that served food instead of rocker. This is when the move to Chinnerys happened.
At some point I began to run some of the local band nights. Many on a Friday, I think. I decided to try and brand them up, cause that’s what you do with a club night. I called the night ‘Burnt’, with a backward R, I thought it sounded like Nine Inch Nails.
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Live Sound Engineer, Writer, Author and Creator of Audio Architect Apparel Dave Swallow
Born with all the correct fingers, toes, arms and legs into the cockle-picking town of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, Dave Swallow spent his formative years surrounded by the many delights a British Seaside town has to offer. Or at least this seaside town; The world’s longest pleasure pier, for example, mud and the inability to sound a consonant, which is very much an Essex thing but it’s South Essex that really take it to another level. Leaving school, minus a tooth (cousinly inflicted), was a daunting prospect. Dave hated salt water, so cockle-picking was out, and he was about as gangster as Harry Potter… [click_here_to_read_more]