Well, we've put out there in pieces over the years what we're all about but still we come across people still to this day who dont know much about us, our experience, our services, our successes and great artists who continually use and support our great place which is Venombase(sorry it rhymed). We're hoping to keep this blog up to date but as we know all too well, successes take time, trends change and of course time, that all important factor that theres never enough of - for us anyway.
So here it goes, our first blog post and i hope you will enjoy reading and join our mailing list to keep up to date with more goings on. One of the many questions we get is "how did Venombase start?"
Venombase started back in the day when a young lad felt cool being in a band and there were so many genres of music than cereal brands and you could get served with Alcohol by having hairy armpits and bum fluff - Thats goatee hair that looks like a beard for you young ones not in the know. The studio journey was begun by Chris Dulson, a born and bread Stoke-on-Trent lad who was into far too many genres to name, but was ambitious enough to take on the great challenge of starting a music studio business and one which he didnt know would get this far to date.
2006 was the year of planning, planning and more planning to mould a floor layer(not carpet fitter, theres a difference you know) into an entreprenurial businessman and a music studio builder. It started with viewing commercial premises and "walking round like ya already had the money to invest" Chris says. This was typical after Chris worked in Stately Homes, Mansions, and even the houses of owners of Bell Fruit Machines and Waterworld, so you had to dress appropriately and let them take you on tours throughout their land. After getting caught up in the moment viewing premises, when asked for a deposit, the answer quickly diverted to "we gottta see more premises first" Chris quotes. Unit 5a, Castlefield Street popped up and Chris found this familiar as it used to be a kind of studio - filthy one at that where he practiced once with his first bands called Last Man Standing who then changed their name to
The Derivatives. Chris walked in and was even more shocked at how bad the place got. Mouldy walls, stinky bedding and a carpet which was irreparable, was the standard of the business that existed there.
Crazily after looking round at more junk, a blocked toilet, a fridge with an open can of beans gone off inside it, a price was asked for and the deal was done there, so it was thought. An appointment was arranged with the estate agent in around 1 months time to put a deposit down and then a few days later, the agent called and said someone else had put in a higher offer. Disgusted and panicked, Chris then set out to outbid this person once and for all to which he achieved at the cost of clearing the place entirely out. With no money in hand at that time, desperation was setting in and things were still looking very grim. A fight was on with the estate agent to not let the premises go and this continued for another 9 months or so. During this time, a mother of a friend mentioned The Princes Trust. Chris eventually got in touch, did market research and wrote his first business plan. This was part of the terms of a Princes Trust Loan. Little did Chris know, he was also going to be put in a Dragons Den style situation with other business people who would approve or reject his business plan. Research showed at the time that the average cost of setting up a music studio was £20,000 and so the business plan was written around that figure even though an absolute maximum Princes Trust Loan was £3000 at the time. After speaking to the Advisor at The Princes Trust, there was no way £20,000 could be raised and so Chris had to adjust the Business Plan as well as get at least some portion of money to add to the loan. Panic struck again, worry, depression and a "what the **** am i gonna do now?" quote appeared. As old pensioners as Chris's parents were, he had to ask them and as he was always taught - If ya dont ask, ya don't get. Dear Lillian Edna Dulson and Alan Dulson, Chris's Mum and Dad stepped in and said that they had £1000 to give to him and that they didn't want it back ever. "Where the hell did ya get that?" Chris said. Chris's mother said, "it doesn't matter, just take it cuz you need it". After many thanks and chores done around the house constantly, the potential total to setup Venombase was £4000, not even a third of what was first proposed. This was only enough to cover the clearing of the premises and to build 1 rehearsal room. Sounding even more grim now aint it?
The deposit was put down before even being approved for a loan by The Princes Trust. "Panic was still there for sure" Chris says and so the business plan was finished and Chris entered The Princes Trust Dragons Den in 2007! Nerves were ok at first but then Chris was asked a question to which he didn't know the answer, sweat poured, rapid eye movement began and then a stare at his advisor who wouldn't flinch anything back was not proving to be working very well. After a whole lifetime of silence in the room, the questions moved on. Then, another bombshell, planning permission. "What the hell is planning permission?" Chris asked. The Advisor then quickly adjusted the business plan to suit. A few more sips of water, deep breaths and 5 mins waiting in a freezing cold corridor, the business plan was approved and funds were made available with extra conditions like having planning permission and attending a business course to which would pay out £72 every 2 weeks to add to business funds. That payout didn't reach very far as travel had to be paid for and Chris was still paying rent to his parents. A few days later though, the loan was in hand with a bit extra. The Princes Trust advisor has actually secured another £250 as a marketing budget as the original budget in the business plan was quite low. Amazed at the support, Chris told the Princes Trust advisor he would buy him a pint.
Straight to the premises it was with a total of £4250 to begin to build what wasn't even a dream, but a reality that was sure to happen. Attending the boring business course in between working at the premises was a task for Chris for sure as he was never one for classrooms at the time. Around 9 years previous was the last classroom Chris attended as a student at Thistley Hough High School in Stoke-on-Trent. Beginning with the clear out with his Dad, the rancid stuff (which really ate in to the budget) that was in the premises. Organisation was one thing Chris hadn't quite grasped yet as he just got his head down and got on with whatever he needed to do without the distractions of "is the skip coming yet?" Chris's Dad said " and what are we going do now?" phrases. It was as simple as - lets get it cleared and then we can worry about the next bits.
As gruelling the work became, things cropped up that weren't budgeted for like more skips! 4 x 3 ton skips, 1 x 8 ton skip and a load of journeys to the incinerator is what it took to get the place "looking like it should of when leased" Chris says annoyingly. As the budget carried on being swallowed up there was an issue, the issue was that there would now not be enough budget for carpets or flooring! As devastating as it was to an ex-floorlayer, the decision was made to just keep the bare floors tidy as they kicked up so much dust all the time no matter how much ya swept or hoovered em and fingers and toes had to be crossed for people to keep coming back.
Naming the Studio
The name, where did the name come from? Well, the name Venombase actually originated from a Drum n Bass and Old Skool Event that was started to be organised by Chris and a friend of his which was to be put on at a venue called Satchmos in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent years before. They had designed the flyer which Chris found as he was organising his business plan years later. Chris said Venom and his friend said Bass to which Chris said that sounds too common. After thinking again, Chris said Base as in Basement so Venom-base -YEAH! Venombase Studios then just rolled off Chris's tongue which is still quite unique still to this day and so this became the actual name which is recognised around the world today.
The design of the Rehearsal Rooms came from the name as Chris wanted to have customers feel like they were in a Basement rather than a first-floor premises. This was so cool and underground back in the day to jam out in your parents or friends garage or basement if they had one and with Chris's underground background in Djing underground music, it just made sense to create a premises where people can feel like they were nowhere else on earth but in that moment, in that room, with who they want, doing what they love.
Studio completed, budget dried up, it was time to open Venombase Studios doors in August 2007 where the first band came to use Rehearsal Room 1 and make as much noise as they wanted without annoying anyone!
To be continued........