Friday, 5 October 2012


Leicester HQ
38 Charles Street,

Phone: 0116 3196063
Opening Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 Tuesday - Saturday

So a few people I know set up a work place called 'Leicester HQ' on Charles Street a couple of months back, and the guys invited me down to have a nose around and write about what they do for wicked-land.

The whole place is covered in cool artwork.

They describe what they have as a 'Multi-functioning creative hub for the community of Leicester and beyond.' The Basis of the workspace is an art shop downstairs and a recording studio upstairs. They also offer graffiti for hire and do design work on site. They have a gallery space and sell local artwork and T-shirts.

A range of T-shirts designed by local artists

They sell a huge range of graffiti and art supplies, as well as books, stickers, magazines and other bits and bobs. They stock of different brands of markers and spray paint all at really competitive prices. when I was down the staff were telling me they will match internet prices, so you are not paying a premium or getting ripped off. Seriously, for the stuff they sell, it is really really cheap.

The gallery space is really nice, they are currently holding an exhibition of Mono's work, selling prints and originals. The work is hosted until the end of the month, when it will come down and an exhibition of work by Philth and N4T4 is to go up.

The staff were really nice and the atmosphere was cool. They were playing music and kept stressing the lounge culture. They said a lot of people pass through, come to have their lunch there, draw or write some music or just pop by for a chat. They said even though it is a shop, Its always busy with people popping in to come and chill and they are always welcome to come and get creative.

The upstairs is covered in more shower artwork from some top leicester artists. The whole place is decorated really nicely.

Artwork from goonism on the walls upstairs

The studio space is fantastic. It was all fitted out with dimmed lights which gave it a really nice mood, top of the range facilities and equipment. All the desks and sides were full varnished wood, and it just seemed all fresh and new.

They offer studio hire for £20 an hour during their opening hours, but stressed if you ring up and talk to one of the studio engineers the hours are negotiable, and people can book slots outside of those times if they can sort it with an engineer.

During the booked studio time, you can use it as you wish, producers are welcome to come and use the facilities to work on their own stuff, or sit behind the desk with a vocalist in the booth. Also they added that the studio engineers will be on hand to offer as much or as little as you want to your studio time, so someone can guide you through, or help you build your productions, or if you do wanna just get behind the desk and use the time to yourself you are not going to have someone all over your work, getting in the way.

They invited me down and told me vocal a tune working with Chaser, one of their team who specialises in engineering rap vocals. The booth was really nice, all fitted out with fantastic equipment, lovely leather sofas to sink into and had a really nice ambiance to the whole place.

Chaser worked the desk and I was genuinely impressed with what he brought to the tune I had made. The quality of the sound was really crystal clear, and he wasn't pushy at all (something I have found with studio engineers in the past.) He understood it was my piece of music and rather than over produce it and try to make the song a showreel of his capabilities, he just produced a simple yet really high quality production. His input was very professional, and he was a good help. 

If the quality of production he offered me is the standard that the guys at Leicester HQ deliver, then I seriously recommend using their facilities. For £20 an hour, with an engineer to work the desk thrown in, it really is a fantastic rate.

You can listen to the tune we cooked up here, hope you guys are feeling it!

All in all I had a really nice time. Obviously I'm not going to write a blog entry slagging the guys off, but seriously, what they offer is a top notch service and a fantastic communal atmosphere. I got the impression nothing was done by half, and no expense was spared, they really have poured a lot of funds and time into the HQ, and put together a brilliant team to help make your visit a memorable one.

 From the specialist in the art shop downstairs, to the designers who work in house, through to the studio engineers, everyone I met knew their role comprehensively and took pride in it. Its clear to see that everyone involved in the Leicester HQ is proud of a product they have put together, and rightly so. Its the most exciting thing to happen in Leicester for a while.

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