Island Music Studio Aims To Attract Global Stars
1st December 2017
A new residential music studio in the Outer Hebrides is set to capitalise on its scenic location and high-end technology to attract both UK and international recording artists.
Black Bay Studio has opened for business on the island of Great Bernera just off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis.
Accommodated in an old fish-processing factory at Kirkibost pier, with stunning coastal views, the new venture has been supported by a grant of £71,552 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) with match funding from the EU LEADER programme.
Established by Pete Fletcher, who moved from Nottingham to Lewis with his wife and two children in 2015, Black Bay Studio aims to attract world-class recording artists to the Outer Hebrides. Already a producer with a successful track record in the UK music industry, Mr Fletcher believes that his studio management and production experience, combined with an impressive contact book, will help to make Great Bernera one of the most exclusive music recording destinations in the UK.
The £262,360 project has seen the internal redevelopment of the former fish factory into a high quality recording facility with accommodation included on-site for visiting artists. It is anticipated the business will employ up to five people within three years, and provide training opportunities for local young people in areas such as sound engineering and studio management.
John Macdonald, account manager with HIE's area team in the Outer Hebrides, said: "This was a well-researched project with an impressive potential customer base. It’s a unique opportunity for the area. The creative industries sector is very important in the Outer Hebrides, where there is a strong cultural element to much of the activity, and this helps to support a vibrant music scene.
“Both HIE and Alex Smith at XPONorth have worked closely with Pete to bring this ambitious project to fruition. We believe it will prove a very positive addition to the island’s creative network and will help to raise the profile of the Isle of Lewis and the wider Outer Hebrides within the international music industry. There is still much to do, but the foundations are there - and the vision is there too."
HIE has a long history of providing support for the creative industries and anticipates that the new studio, particularly given the profile of the bands and artists likely to be visiting and recording at Black Bay, will make a significant direct contribution to the local economy in what is considered a fragile area.
Reflecting on the studio opening, founder Pete Fletcher, said: “There are two parts to the business: mixing and mastering files sent to us, and working with the bands that come here to record. The ambition is to increase the number and the stature of bands that come here.
“To attract major artists, the studio needed to be something really special. We have a superb location, and now we also have the technical recording facilities too. We’ll continue to improve the other elements to create a world-class residential recording studio. It’s been hard work getting to this point, but with the excellent support and encouragement from HIE and LEADER we got there, and I’m delighted.”