Our Creative Vision
We are a collective of creative companies and individuals who collaborate & co-mentor. We share resources and ideas. Our collective vision is to promote, inspire and create work we’re proud of and assist others along the path. Extraordinary work has emerged from CCCH across several disciplines. Globally respected work of the highest calibre. Major artwork, popular Google collaborations and chart topping music amongst the long list.
The hub was formed organically as a de facto collective sometime in the 1980s or possibly earlier. No one is quite sure. For sure, the magazine ‘Overall There is a Smell of Fried Onions’, the precursor of Left Lion, was based here. And our once resident goths, Trev and Mark, set us firmly on the darkside global radar back in the 80s and 90s. They’re now part of our extended virtual community. CCCH has always been a very broad church. Inclusive before anyone realised that might even be a thing.
We formalised our tenants’ association in 2013 under imminent threat of eviction from our landlords Nottingham City Council, who still haven’t delivered on their subsequent promise, live on BBC TV, to invest a little in these beautiful grade 2 listed buildings… and give us the security we need to allow us to invest in our business units.
We’ve had zero funding to date, so truly sustainable. Actually, we did win a £50k bid from Scape/D2N2, but several years down the line we’ve still not seen our landlords translate this grant award for the buildings into the intended bricks and mortar improvement works. To date our expertise in the infrastructure of various creative disciplines and in mentoring creative SMEs, continues to be overlooked. This may simply be because expertise is generally sought from those who have successful relationships with funding bodies, rather than success in just being solvent startups & SMEs… or self-sustainably being an artist. Strange but true.
So we get on doing what we do – making great apps, backends, art, music, clothes, designs, podcasts, video, websites etc that get paid &/or get noticed. We specifically (mostly informally) mentor young people, graduates and creative startups. Sharing savvy business skills and high level creative practice CPD alike. Some of our members have long experience in FE & HE – at De Montfort University, Nottingham College, Nottingham Trent University (Confetti) and the University of Nottingham.
We understand graduate retention better than most. Our graduate & lecturing members know the structures & vibe that helped keep us here. Those structures were in dreadful decline even before the SME/arts craziness that 2020 brought. Of course, we also have creatives who just get on… without ever getting on the HE treadmill. Quals are not an indicator of creative impetus or even potential. In our sectors you’re only as good as your last output.
We firmly believe that Nottingham would be all the better for more demonstrably independent organisations like ours. Our amazingly creative city needs a diverse biome of indie, corporate, retail, hospitality, offices, creatives & the businesses that defy categorisation to survive & thrive post pandemic. Creative Culture can’t be bought, it can only be nurtured. The monoculture zoning of our city into student, tourism, retail and creative street-silos is now a real liability in ways few wanted to hear. As in nature, monocultures are always extremely vulnerable to change. We’ve been saying that for many years now. And we’d be happy to get involved with helping advise on structuring how things go forward in Nottingham if any organisation wants to reach out. We know a lot about what it takes to start from nothing, survive and then thrive. About wits & agility, reinventing and repurposing, finding affordable ‘business’ accommodation, sharing, borrowing, crashing, pooling, selling, blagging… and slipping between the ever morphing infrastructure cracks.
Affordable studio space is a shockingly rare commodity in Nottingham – especially music studios. But there’s so much dead or dying retail space with the units above them given scant regard unless they can be sold for student flats. These were once classic mixed creative zones. Crucial ‘beachheads’ of ad-hoc and really affordable rental. That’s exactly how CCCH started. Essentially our units above the shops were unlettable to anything other than … well us and our predecessors! The noisy, messy, erratic-hours ones that will put up with very basic space close to the city centre.
Problem is now these spaces are ‘curated’ they are either prohibitively expensive or simply non existent. We need a return to letting basic, legal-standard creative spaces at low prices with contracts that flex to include sharing and potentially high turnover rates as folks genuinely try their best … and sometime fail. There are no guarantees – just opportunities.
Expensive co-working spaces with a swanky reception & their own beer pong are not necessarily creative hubs. Topdown corporate-style hierarchies don’t fare well in this sector. Flat, peer-leadership that encourages development way beyond the limits of the nominal leaders & mentors is far better. But many of those who seem to want to lead the line in encouraging creative startups simply don’t have experience of this flat management and mentoring style; and they don’t seem to want to reach out and partner with anyone except those with , eg Arts Council or big-biz chops.
The result for many years has been, essentially, varying degrees of what have been referred to as ‘vanity projects’, that result in pricing startups out of their overly formal round-peg-square-hole spaces. Sure there are some successes too, like Sneinton Market. But in short, as far as encouraging a groundswell of creative startups goes, herding cats ain’t a sane business strategy. Disruptors are a huge potential asset, not upstarts to be boxed n coxed into current prescriptive business orthodoxy. It takes nouse to facilitate a future which is not necessarily a new level of the same game…
We are currently exploring ways to open doors. To initiate a substantive discussion with the council and other relevant partners about how we might move forward sustainably to achieve reasonable security for our enterprise and our lovely buildings. The security that all businesses need to facilitate investment. So that we can plan our future… and help Nottingham & its creatives.
Win, win, win. What a concept. But these are surprisingly difficult conversations to start by sustainable outsiders like us with an arts scene that appears to be largely inward facing…
Our Creative Community
amillionsons had Nottingham’s first top 40 hit since Paper Lace back in 2002 with their track Misti Blu feat. Chaka Khan, sister Taka Boom & brother Mark Stevens. Produced mixed & mastered at Sirkus, CCCH. 2022 sees the release of their complete rework misti blu 22, after their label, Warners, failed to account to them for 20 years! Their critically acclaimed first LP was championed by movers & shakers like Pete Tong and can currently only be streamed from Youtube or from their website. Find links there too for their Spotify & Soundcloud profiles where bigger releases, new & unreleased, or rare and unavailable work can be found. ..
Bad Vole Music is the business name for Micheal Wynne. A qualified mentor and music teacher, Mike has over 20 years’ experience of working in the music industry as a professional live musician and as a producer. He specialises in percussion, music technology recording and mastering, composition, performance, music industry, employability and educational mentoring
Bambino music is a deep house record label
Boom For Real. A production company operating out of Sirkus, CCCH. The vision of talented producer and musician Ashwin Balu, and home to artists such as J Littles, Moneysworth & Snowy
Borrowed music is a deep house record label
Chris Pickup is an artist whose commissions have included City University, London, and the The Northern General Hospital, Leeds
Chisomo Music, home to multi talented Chisomo Thipa and operating out of Sirkus, CCCH. He holds a Music Technology BSc & a Masters in Marketing from De Montfort University. He’s also a keyboard virtuoso and specialist in Urban & Gospel production
Crazy P are a dance music band, DJ & soundsystem ensemble with an extensive and classy discography and a large international fanbase. Founded in 1996, they’re longstanding CCCH members. Cofounder Chris Todd is treasurer of the association
Da Sunlounge is a DJ and house music producer.
Dealmaker records started life at CCCH in 2003 with help from the mentoring scheme run by the musicians and producers at Sirkus Studios The label has morphed into the stuff of Nottingham legends – Scorzayzee amongst them. GagstaWraps enyone?
Derek Hampson is an artist based at Wollaton Street Studios here at CCCH. He’s also an academic, writer & curator with an interest in philosophy; particularly the work of Martin Heidegger
Denise Weston was a founding member of Oldknows Studio Group in Nottingham and was involved in setting up and curating exhibitions at Oldknows Gallery, an artist-run exhibition space. She works from CCCH as a practising artist and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Denise’s work is included in both public and private collections, including the Bibliotheque Nationale Paris & Arts Council England
entuition embeds creativity into the project management and communication strategies of community, educational and environmental initiatives
Floating Point is the ident of freelance interaction designer / creative coder Brendan Oliver, who was based at CCCH for several years. He is now works out of Primary, another awesome creative hub at Canning Circus. major gigs for Google & Disney are just the start of the story….
full beam productions working out of Sirkus Studios is the front of house management for Simon Paterson’s independent musical endeavours. Associate Prof of music at the UoN, he’s much more than just a damn fine bass player.
Head Kicks Records is an independent deep house record label
Hhymn are a Nottingham-based band composed of Ed Bannard and Simon Ritchie who first got together in early 2008. They have Gained plaudits from the likes of Tom Robinson (BBC6) and Matt Horne, who booked the band for his ‘Session’ in London
Inland Knights are house DJs, producers and label owners Andy Riley and Laurence Ritchie. Resident for many years at CCCH and still part of the crew
Kaos corsets is a fashion retailer, established in 1992, dedicated to creating a range of affordable and beautifully designed basques, waspies and corsets. All their stock is individually hand made in the UK at Kaos’ Nottingham studio at CCCH
KJAMM provides pro mixing & mastering services plus a record label specialising in launching new & upcoming talent. Home to Karl Robin Junga, CCCH Chair. Operating out of Sirkus Studios . He’s a seasoned veteran of work on tracks for Bowie, Electronic, Gong, New Order, Nightmares On Wax, … & Nottingham’s very own Broxtowe boy Whycliffe. Recently busy mastering & mixing upcoming talent like Nottingham’s J Littles & Rudi, Sheffield’s Lee McMahon (LPMC), LA based Roze McQueen, and labels and artists across the globe.
The Littlemen are DJs Steve and Guy, who have been DJing on the UK free party scene, clubs and festivals since 1993
Mowgli Wild Boys. Well they’re wild, but they’re currently resident in one of our studios – to be heard working on their eclectic material into the wee small hours. Expect them unleashed ‘pon a post pandemic live music apocalypse. Actually, their broader identity is a colabing collective of talented lads & lasses with more insider knowledge on the local taleways than anyone should store in their grey matter. Thus a fantastic resource to the others at CCCH in more ways than just plumbing and drumming, which they’re also ninjas at…
Mobiletrax is a dance music record label
Myna music is a deep house record label
Nina Smith is a professional vocalist, recording artist, vocal coach & artist mentor. Now launching the careers of some of Nots”brightest talent. She worked out of Sirkus, CCCH for a while, and was even the cleaner there for a stint. She still comes back regularly for mastering services for her work.
Positive Divide is DJ/producer and vocalist Steve Lee. Originally from Liverpool, he now lives in Nottingham and works at his studio, which is situated in the Wollaton Street Studios building
Artist, producer and engineer Leon Bailey of Recharge Audio launched from Sirkus Studios and is now making big waves down in the Bristol creative community. Mixing & mastering hot new output. Still in close touch & one of several links within the hub to the cultural force that is the Bristol scene.
Rob Greco works out of Event studios at CCCH and is qualified to teach guitar at all levels. He’ s highly experienced at helping people of all ages and abilities to learn to play guitar. He’s also a qualified IT specialist with SEO skills
Ron Basejam is the alter-ego of UK producer James Baron, well known as the co-founder of uber-discoists Crazy P. Ron Basejam has become a code-word for a certain brand of detailed, pristinely produced disco-tech music. Full of attention to detail, serious low-end heft, and distinctive, idiosyncratic sampling.
Sirkus Studios is a cooperative of musicians, producers and artists established in 1997. It offers highest quality professional production, mixing & mastering. A studio that rips up the recording rule book by putting musicians first. With a long credit list of top artists and record labels.
Wholesome Fish were established in 1998 and comprise (at least) four great singer/songwriters, accompanied by a host of traditional instruments (fiddle, harmonica, accordion, banjo and guitar (to name but a few) and underpinned by a cooking rhythm section, Wholesome Fish create music to DANCE to. Their influences span a world of tastes, from Celtic and gypsy-rooted folk through to Cajun, bluegrass, boogie-blues and punk
Wollaton Street Studios is an artists’ cooperative with internationally acclaimed output
Zola Day Music is owned and managed by Kate Rounding. A multi-instrumentalist, composer, studio engineer and musical educationalist, Kate is also an animateur, using music to bring people and national, local and international communities together. She worked out of Sirkus Studios for many years and still collaborates with CCCH members regularly on music and education projects with national organisations such as Youth Music.
Our Indie Biome
The Dragon. Awesome boozer since the 80s. West-side cultural hub par excellence. Open late and at the bottom of the hill – a real gravitational advantage as the evening wears on. Aunit keeps us sane and offers great ale & gardening tips alongside being one of Nottingham’s most prolific lemon slice collectors. Fantastic hospitality. She runs a tight ship and makes short shrift of idiots..without a bouncer in sight. All part of an evening’s entertainment.
Focus Gallery was established in 1971 and was one of Nottingham’s most respected and well-known places for beautiful and unusual art and crafts. It was situated on Derby Road and featured a wealth of fresh talent and long-term exhibitors
The Hand & Heart is a pub and restaurant on Derby Road, Nottingham. It features excellent live music, good food and ale, and the opportunity to dine in one of Nottingham’s many caves if it’s open 🙂
The Craft Studio teach creative craft and sewing workshops and sell fabulous fabrics. They are also the only official Annie Sloan stockist in Nottingham. Visit their lovely shop at 60 Derby Rd or online at https://www.thecraft-studio.comcuriosities
The Monkey, oh sorry the Organ Grinder to non locals. Very mixed crowd, great local ales and a large suntrap rooftop beer terrace big enough for a herd of cats to swing their tails
The Music Inn. Great for sales & those sustainable repairs and a proverbial stone’s throw from us. Where else we gonna buy our guitar strings?
Tough Mary’s Bakehouse. Urban sourdough warrior. Mary helps to sustain our creative brain cells and environment alike
Mel’s team at Soul Hairdressing have been keeping some of our hair on for years. All the goss and handy for some rocket fuel as well if our coffee runs out. Get yer best boogaloo barnet on mi ducks.
About to cgange hands after decades. Located on Derby Road, Windblowers has offered the largest selection of Sheet Music and Wind Instruments in the Midlands. All of their staff are friendly, highly experienced and knowledgeable plus they have their own fully qualified instrument repairers who offer specialist attention to your instrument. Invaluable for our music sisters & brothers at CCCH
The Worm That Turned provides garden consultancy, design and installation, as well as retailing creative garden supplies. Stuart is also a top bloke