We spoke to AudioActive’s project manager, Tom Hines, about their huge campaign to provide new, improved facilities and equipment where young people are considered artists.
Brighton and Hove is a vibrant hub of culture where artistic endeavours are cherished and nurtured from a young age. Although not all young people are fortunate enough to access the arts for themselves, be it for financial reasons, home environment, or mental health.
AudioActive is a music organisation providing young people with a platform to engage in music production and technologies within contemporary urban culture. The charity offers workshops in rap, digital music production, and session space for musicians to achieve social change through music.
“I can already imagine the vibe when it’s a hive of activity.”
In 2019, they will reach their tenth year of bringing music production and performance into the lives of young people. The charity works with up to 1,000 young people every year across Brighton and Sussex.
AudioActive has been offered a space of their own in an unused building in Brighton. The building is in need of a total revival to become Bottega Rooms; fully functioning music rooms for young people to thrive in. Currently, the organisation are based all over the city wherever they can find space to use facilitated through close relationships with other youth and community groups.
Project manager at AudioActive, Tom Hines, highlighted how although they enjoy having a presence across the whole city, the new space will allow the team to create more polished material: “Most of the time spaces are unsuitable for recording, in terms of acoustics and background noise, so we’ve had to find creative workarounds in the past. One of the rap workshops we do is currently in a room that’s decked out for Minecraft workshops, which is a running joke in terms of kids referencing the game in their lyrics.”
The organisation has kick-started the campaign by setting up a Crowdfunder page to raise £27k to go directly towards transforming the space. This includes funds for materials, making the space safe, and equipment such as Macs for the computer suite, microphones and a PA system for rehearsal and studio rooms.
AudioActive’s patron, Rag’n’Bone Man, is featured in the campaign video praising the charity for giving young people the confidence to achieve their dreams in music. They create environments for musical talents to thrive and for young people to collaborate in various workshops.
“The alumni have gone on to be familiar faces in the Brighton Hip Hop scene.”
Tom outlined how various projects put on hiatus due to lack of funding will now be easier to expedite, such as ‘Room To Rant’ – young men’s group and ‘Equaliser’ – a music production group for young women. “There are also teenagers in challenging circumstances that are reluctant to engage in certain settings, for whatever reasons, but this space will provide an authentic music-making environment that will hopefully be more appealing.”
With music technologies evolving constantly and government cuts to the arts and culture budgets, it can make it difficult for youth groups to stay afloat. “I think the main impact we’ve noticed is getting fewer referrals for our targetted work as there are fewer professionals in the sector and they’ve got much bigger caseloads nowadays”, Tom said.
Tom explained how the unstructured environment at AudioActive offers young artists the freedom to explore whatever they want to do: “The rap sessions have always been popular and well regarded. I guess that’s because lots of the alumni have gone on to be familiar faces in the Brighton Hip Hop scene and come back as teachers a decade later.”
“This space will provide an authentic music-making environment.”
Bottega Rooms will also be available for the wider music community beyond their free workshops: “We have affordable but high spec rehearsal rooms on site and many of the studios have been taken up by our practitioners so there will be plenty of extra hands on deck for our sessions too.”
AudioActive cherishes authenticity, innovation, collaboration, and quality when engaging young people around Brighton in music. These passions will be hugely reflected in the Bottega Rooms project: “There’s a great atmosphere in the building already just from having our affiliates in helping out so I can already imagine the vibe when it’s a hive of activity.”