The Princes Trust have been helping young people to achieve their dreams since 1976 when the Prince of Wales decided to battle the rising rates of unemployment in the UK by actively creating new and tangible opportunities for young people. This year, marks the 40th anniversary of The Princes Trust.
Using his Navy severance pay of £7,400 to fund several community initiatives, the Prince set up 21 pilot projects in the UK all with one goal in mind: To positively enhance the working lives of young people aged 16 – 24 and contribute to the UK’s economy.
In 1983, the Enterprise Programme was launched, and within three years, over 1,000 young people were being supported in starting up their own businesses. The years have seen the trust grow from strength to strength, shown in the positive ways their programmes have transformed the lives of young people.
One local Bristol musician and sound engineer is preparing to take on the world with the support of the Princes Trust and a start-up loan he has received to get his creative endeavours out into the wider world.
Harry Harding, 28, and from Bedminster, has been playing the drums since he was just 7 years old. Deciding to pursue a life of music was not a difficult decision for someone who has established a reputation as both a professional musician (in Cornwall, in Bristol and worldwide having toured recently in Europe with Ruarri Joseph’s new musical project, William the Conqueror) and a knowledgeable sound engineer and producer.
Offering a genuine service, from every stage of the recording process – from the initial demos through to the mixing and the mastering, HCH Studios is both affordable and accessible. With appeal across a broad spectrum, there will be options to build up the sound-scape you desire, with the base rate starting at just £90 per track.
“I listen to what musicians are trying to say in their songs. Being a singer songwriter myself, helps to tune into the recording process.”
“My rates are in line with the day rates of a studio but that doesn’t include the extra musicians. That’s where it will be more cost effective because it’s an all-in-one service.” Harry explains.
Securing a loan of £5000 from the Princes Trust in 2015, Harry has been able to create a bespoke recording studio based at Firebird Studios on Brislington’s Emery Road, with every penny invested into ensuring the best in equipment. Although essentially an internet based business, which will ensure global reach and client base, the service will be wholly personal – with an emphasis on customising the approach to suit the individual needs of each customer.
“I listen to what musicians are trying to say in their songs. Being a singer songwriter myself, helps me to tune into that, when it comes to recording the music.” Harry says.
Having built up many musical opportunities both in his university town of Truro in Cornwall, as well as here in Bristol, Harry has decided to take the initiative and expand his professional skills and expertise to create his own business with the help of The Princes Trust.
“Working with the Enterprise Scheme with the Princes Trust has been brilliant. I had the idea of having a space to record in, but it wasn’t until early 2015 that I started thinking about getting a loan or a grant. I looked at a few business launch enterprises and stumbled upon The Princes Trust but dismissed it, thinking I was too old. The Business Enterprise Scheme though, was fine for me, up until the age of 30. I did a 4 day workshop at the beginning of the scheme to learn all about the do’s and don’t’s of business.” Harry explains.
Assigned a mentor, Harry was given the tools he needed to start his own business, from the inner workings of an effective business plan to budgeting, marketing and online and social media. Working alongside course leaders Hannah Tracey and Bobby Beaumont and his steadfast mentor Keith Treslove, they were able to devise a strategy to give Harry the best chances of securing the much needed loan from The Princes Trust.
“When I’m playing with any singer songwriter, it will always move me.”
Not quite a Dragon’s Den scenario, but not a million miles away from it, Harry faced a panel of eagerly anticipating Princes Trust folks who would ultimately decide the fate of his venture, HCH Studios – to be developed within the already active Firebird Studios in Brislington.
“The great thing about it, is I can build my own room from scratch. Everything will be made to measure to create the best possible environment to record in. My friends and family have all rallied around for me in support of the project, and we’re all really excited about where it could lead in the future. Special mention to my Dad who has been an amazing support in the construction process. Thanks pops!”
“It’s going to be treated and sound-proofed properly. My Dad’s a carpenter, he’s had a lot of experience, so he’s been amazing. He helped me draw up the plans.” Harry explains.
Apart from his newly acquired business acumen, Harry is a musician with intuition and empathy – and when he gets the creative bug, there’s just no stopping him!
“When I have ideas I do just go for it. I become consumed in the music and it totally takes over me! It’s hard to fight that.” Harry says.
Essentially, Harry focuses on producing an authentic sound which he aims to reflect in as natural a way as possible. The key to this, is all in the set up of the microphones at the beginning of a recording session, as Harry explains:
“I grew up listening to old 60s and 70s stuff – there were huge limitations back then in the recording sense. There’s a lot to be said for few mics and good sounding instruments and a good sounding room. For me it’s all about finding what fits the song, whether it’s a natural roomy sound or a close and modern one. I keep the whole process as open as possible to the client to make sure everyone is happy with the result.” Harry adds.
“Ethan Johns, and his Dad, Glyn developed this mic technique for recording drums – it’s all in where you place them, so that you get a really nice stereo sound. It’s very natural.” He explains.
Harry’s active involvement in Bristol’s live music scene sees him hosting his own open mic night at Cafe Grounded cafes within the city, and he can regularly be seen playing live in venues such as No 1 Harbourside. Having written, recorded and produced his own EP, Harry is able to look at a musical project from every angle – from the emotional resonance to the technical awareness. Ultimately, though, you’ll want to choose HCH Studios for Harry’s genuine passion for music as an art form and an honest expression of what you want to say:
“When I did my own EP I had to wear two hats – musician and producer. I am completely emotionally involved in everything that I do. When I’m playing with any singer songwriter, it will always move me. Music is an expressive thing so you can’t just switch off from it.” Harry says.
Stay tuned for the brand new opening of HCH Studios open for business from May 2016.
For more information: www.hchstudios.com
For Harry Harding’s website: www.harryhardingdrums.com
Special thanks to Charlie and Naomi Evans, who both run Firebird Studios who have kindly enabled Harry to build HCH Studios in the roof space of the building.