14 Records

14 Records


In my most recent article, I focussed on how local business Dr.Um were emerging from the restrictions of the last few months. In that piece, business owner Victor Guillamon talked about positives he was taking from the local music scene, one of which was how the large rehearsal room at 14 Records was now being used again.

Consequently, it seemed an useful idea to ask 14 Records owners Matt & Gemma Waddell about how the situation was looking from their perspective

Quite apart from the detail they gave me, what pleased me was their optimism. One could be entirely forgiven for feeling frustrated over the lack of opportunity to play, teach, record etc as one normally would, let alone suffer the practical issues of lower business & income. In their case however, they are buoyant over the developing possibilities & are clearly enjoying the challenges of finding new ways to work with musicians: after seeing their business of ten years being threatened by having their premises taken from them, overcoming that & moving on, the current set of circumstances is to them much more easy to deal with they told me.

As Victor reported, their large rehearsal space is open & already in good use. The space is entirely suitable to permit bands to work together at safe distances & the room is steam cleaned after each session. The smaller rooms obviously are not as appropriate for groups but if you are say a duo, do contact them as it should be possible to accommodate you.(As with all their services, please contact them via the details you'll find on https://www.14records.net)


Matt has been busy on production projects which do not need artists to be present: mixing, mastering etc and producing using material sent in online. However recording in their studio has recommenced: principally at the moment solo artists to work around the social distancing issue & as entry from outside is direct into the (steam cleaned) studio & Matt isolated in his booth, no contact is possible. Artists such as Bob Cooper, Ross Darby & Abz Winter (the latter as part of an exciting project to be revealed) have already recorded there under the current regulations.

Even more to my (pleasurable) surprise, 14 Records managed to create a video for The Session's "Denver Hill" single during lockdown & providing artists are looking for an outside shoot, this is something else they are excited to be back doing.

Tuition clearly brings its own issues & like Dr.Um, 14 Records have successfully tried online teaching and have now found ways to appropriately deliver on the premises, which is clearly a boost for the many young musicians they had been working with. Please do discuss your needs with them.

One of the reasons 14 Records can feel optimistic about moving forwards is that they have certainly not put all their eggs in one basket: their diverse set of activities has allowed them to work during lockdown & be able to progress the various elements at different speeds as needed coming out of it. Some work, for example helping with social media & online presence, or commercial composition was ideal for the last few months. Others, such as providing PA services for festivals etc will necessarily have to come back on stream later on, probably after all the above is back up & running near full capacity.

Finally, Matt & Gemma also help people write material: ranging from artists wanting a hand with songs to those who are not musicians but want to create a song for personal reasons & can supply the content & theme but need someone to turn that into lyrics & someone to set it to music.

As I say, they are (in their own words) "glasses half full kind of people" but like Victor they have their concerns about how musicians can reboot their careers & above all about suitable venues can survive closure & start operating again under the very necessary systems to protect the health of musicians & music lovers.

In the meantime they tell me that their message is "we're still here, waiting for you when you are ready: it will be nice to see people". Their main regret is that the customary 14 Records cup of tea & biscuits is on hold for the time being.

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