Resident Interview: Kingsley of In-spire Sounds
At Aristotle Lane, we’re so lucky to have such inspiring community oriented organizations nestled in to our building. We love seeing the work they have done and continue to do in the face of unprecedented odds. We’d like to introduce you to some of them, let you get to understand a bit more why we try and make spaces available for the people who are really making a local impact.
The first blog of this series is by Kingsley of In-spire Sounds. In Aristotle Lane, his recording studio is a great little space overlooking the front of the building. It may not look like much from the outside but it’s got real soul and a great view. Kingsley works tirelessly to bring opportunities and music to kids and young people across Oxfordshire.
In around 2013, myself and a group of mates, who were all making music together, formed Inner Peace Records: a small Hip Hop collective with around 9 artists who all shared a similar ethos of positivity. By coincidence, most of our members are involved, at least in some way, in activities like youth work and community development, Alongside our love of music.
We often worked with each other on youth work projects as well as creating music together and performing shows. Our style of music relies heavily on oldskool production methods and analogue equipment and as one of the producers in Inner Peace Records, I had always had a studio setup at home, but this was far from ideal.
When Makespace was still in its early stages, I attended the meetings and I saw what a great resource it would be to my local community in Jericho, as well as to Oxford as a whole. I seemed to share many of the values upheld by its prospective community and wanted to be a part of, and help shape, what I saw to be a vital and much needed resource; I believe that projects like this are vital to sustaining people and their livelihoods, whilst converting the abundance of empty into a source of life for small organisations and startups.
When I saw the opportunity to open the studio at Makespace I realised it could provide an opportunity to bring together the music making and youth work already happening by individuals of Inner Peace.
I wanted to take the ethos and messages that we portray in our music and youth work, focusing on inspiring change in young people’s lives and so came up with ‘In-Spire Sounds’ as a way of symbolising our goal to help young people associate with the positive ‘dreaming spires’ image of this city.
We wanted to provide a professional, yet affordable space to support musicians as well as a youthwork facility that helps marginalised groups and increases access to music for typically excluded groups.
Makespace has not only allowed me to exist but also to grow. Taking away the financial burden of traditional spaces, and allowing flexibility that has been invaluable to myself as a start-up business. It’s important to recognise Makespace as a community of people and ideas as well as a concept or an organisation; Not only did they help with the financial strain of lockdown, the community was quick to react and provide support as friends.
I like the mix of organisations and creative people, the buzz around the building and the conversations you have with people in the communal areas of the building. I also love our location next to the canal and the outdoor spaces. I’ve worked with a couple of residents on editing sound for their projects. I have also received advice and help from residents, sharing ideas and perspectives.
Inspire Sounds have loads of things planned for the future, but most notably we are doing our biggest youth work project yet, ‘Inspiring Change Through Music’, which provides 200 sessions with young people in marginalised groups e.g young people at risk of drugs and exploitation. These sessions focus on every element of making a song, writing lyrics, making beats, producing and recording, and making music videos. We will be working with existing youth groups, council services, and charities to provide 5 weeks of holiday groups, 121 sessions, and targeted group sessions.
We are also working with a ton of really great up and coming artists, in order to record, mix and master their work and we are set to see the release of some incredible albums.
If you’d be interested in working with Inspire Sounds, recording music or helping support their youth work, contact Kingsley at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.inspiresounds.co.uk/ to learn more.