Written by Hayley Scott 28/04/2016
I'm Hayley Scott, a music journalist and DIY music promoter based in Leeds with plans to open a new DIY music venue, record shop, cafe and bar in LS6. Leeds has long been a city that’s fostered a music scene that is as vibrant as it is often overlooked. That’s somewhat changed lately: as ever, beyond the mainstream things are kept quietly underground, but Leeds is increasingly cited as a city that’s synonymous with DIY music, and it’s this attitude of doing things on your own terms that’s keeping our music scene alive and well.
It’s important that we have the spaces to help the scene thrive, which is why I’ve made the decision to start a new venture that does exactly that. We already have places like Wharf Chambers
, which we absolutely must keep supporting, but you can never have enough of these types of spaces, and a lot of people are in agreement that Leeds needs something that’s more than just a venue and bar or practice/rehearsal space; something away from the City Centre and more near the heart of where it's actually all going on.
Partly inspired by Glasgow’s Mono
– a café and bar, record shop and venue in one building – the aim is to first and foremost create a space around the LS6 area of Leeds that champions local talent. These days it’s rare that a business can survive on selling things like records alone, so as well as a small shop selling second hand records, books, fanzines, and local band merchandise, it will also be a music venue for putting on shows, exhibitions, club nights and other events, as well as a café/bar for people to come and go as like they, open all day every day, for people to meet like-minded folk, hopefully in turn forming bands as well as friendships.
The record shop will have an in-store label that gives shelf priority to the unknown - people who might otherwise struggle to get their music released and distributed elsewhere, and I want to make it easier and more cost effective for promoters who don’t make profit from putting on gigs. We’ll work closely with promoters and bands to help make things happen.
There will be fundraising events to help with that, but everything will be run on low budgets and strict self-sufficiency. There is nothing fancy or overly ambitious about it, the aim is not to make a new hipster hangout with expensive looking interiors and overpriced beer. The aim is to work within our means and make all sorts of ideas become a reality without money being an issue.
I’ve set up a Crowdfunding campaign
to help kickstart the business. All money raised will be added to what funding I already have, and go towards the cost of securing a space, equipment, furniture and buying in people’s record collections. We don't even have a name yet, but that's not important for now - we want to find the perfect place for it first.
The name is likely to be inspired by my favourite defunct record label Sarah Records
, though: as well as being synonymous with the kind of cut-and-paste self-sufficiency that I've always admired, it also has somewhat of a reputation for going against what was expected at the time and doing things anyway despite a very dismissive few. More than anything, though, I love how it was about being part of something, and participating in something they cared about. That's how I feel about this project - so let's make it happen.