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Local producer abandons big city for Plymouth
by James Watts
A Devon musician and producer has turned his back on London life and returned home to Plymouth to make a creative space and share his skills with local musicians.
Joe Biddle is no stranger to the Plymouth music scene.
After working with big names in London, Joe's turned his back on the big smoke to develop a new space in Plymouth for artists to develop their skills.
He's produced, promoted, performed and been a DJ from an early age in the city and now he's back to set up a different kind of studio.
Hitting all the right notes: Joe at his Piano
It's due to open in January 2008 and aims to help musicians polish their song writing skills.
Joe began his journey into music working behind the scenes at a Plymouth night club at the tender age of 15.
At 17, he picked up the guitar and within a few short years he was running local recording studios before buying his own Edge Studios, which he ran in the city centre for four years.
A new challenge prompted Joe's move to London, recording at live gigs for artists including Shaun Ryder, Billy Bragg, Hard-Fi, Ms. Dynamite and Babyshambles.
"After a year, I felt being in London was a soulless experience in a lot of ways," said Joe.
"I just wanted to come back to my South West. You walk down the street and there's always someone that you know.
"I was speaking to a friend in London who's looking to get back to Plymouth. He told me that even after seven years the guy in the corner shop still doesn't smile at him."
Pianos and paintpots
Joe says his latest venture is not strictly a recording studio. The emphasis will be on song writing and pre-production. It will be a space where people can collaborate and have their tunes nurtured and recorded.
"It's not going to be the sort of place where I say anyone's welcome to come in and help themselves but if I see people that I like, I'll bring them in and get them involved in writing," he said.
The studio so far
Joe's set his own opening deadline and after five weeks the former shell of a building has already undergone soundproofing, structural work, wiring and some decorating.
An assortment of instruments, recording technology, floral wallpaper and a goatskin rug make an eclectic mix - but the dust and building materials show there's still much to be done.
Despite the workload, Joe remains enthusiastic. "Plymouth is dangerous," he said with a wry smile referring to the city's vibrant nightlife.
"It's a very social place to be and I'm here for good now I think."
last updated: 10/12/2007 at 12:17
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