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Inside new South London venue Peckham Audio

“If you’re calling your venue Audio it can’t sound shoddy,” said venue founder Jake Farey

Talk Show charming the crowd at Peckham Audio. Photos by C Faruolo.

Peckham Audio opened in October last year, a 220-capacity music venue based in Rye Lane, Peckham with a d&b sound system that has already received much acclaim. Started by those behind popular South London venues Bermondsey Social Club and The Four Quarters, the founders used their learned experience to establish a newer, more diverse kid on the block with a high-end sound system.

First and foremost, it was designed to fill the gap in Peckham’s live music scene. Here, we chat to the venue’s co-founder, Jake Farey, about the inspiration behind opening the new venue and the importance of sound to success…

What inspired you to launch a new venue?

The major reason behind launching Audio was the fact that Peckham hasn’t had a dedicated live music space, whilst being one of the coolest go-to parts of London. Plus, South London in general only has a handful of well spec’d venues, so to be able to launch another venue with a bigger capacity was an exciting prospect. Everyone involved is a huge music fan, and you have to be passionate about music as it’s a tough game! Alongside that, there’s an enormous sense of pride when bands and fans walk in, see the space and hear the PA in action.

Are you applying your experience with Bermondsey Social Club to this venue? How is it different?

Bermondsey was a different model, slow and progressive. More of a blank canvas. We concentrated on club nights, corporate events, birthday parties, etc. Then I decided to push the live side of things a few years down the line when we could afford a new PA. With Peckham Audio, it was straight into a live venue/ club with a bigger budget. It feels like Audio is the result of the past decade of my experience within the music industry. I’m also a promoter, I’ve tour managed and worked on merchandise for a big band so I’ve been to hundreds of venues across the world. Going to so many, you naturally pick up what’s done well and Audio is all of the good ones rolled into one.

How is the venue different to others in the area?

It’s one of probably two or three venues in South East London that is a dedicated live music space. Omera was designed with live in mind and Corsica is a bit more club-like. Of course, this is just my opinion. I was speaking to someone the other day and he said it’s great to have somewhere in Peckham that’s not just a pub with a stage in a corner or a warehouse with poor sound.

How important is sound quality to your venue?

It’s the most important thing. Investing in sound saves on the marketing budget when you launch. The industry talks, and if someone says it sounds great everyone knows it, and vice versa if it sounds awful. Luckily, word has quickly spread that the sound is unbelievable in Audio. This helps with getting the calendar full and the buzz going. Plus, if you’re calling your venue Audio it can’t sound shoddy.

You’ve got d&b loudspeakers – what is the sound system set up?

We’ve got two d&b Vi10P speakers, which sound so clean. As the roof is so low they hang pretty close to the dance floor/pit, but the PA is so good you can be close to them and still talk. Plus, it’s not deafening, which helps. We have two d&b B2 subs under the stage and a d&b 30D Amplifier in the rack room.

Why did you go with d&b?

I’ve got d&b at Bermondsey and settled on that as my friend Mani from Encore pushed me towards them and I trust him a lot. I had tried out a few different systems and been to many venues – as soon as I heard the system fired up I knew it was the one. It sounded amazing in a railway arch and Audio is a basement, so the sound is even cleaner.

What’s the venue’s target audience? What sort of music styles do you focus on?

We want to appeal to everyone here in the South East and beyond. We’ve had indie bands, dark melodic synth acts, a real mix so far. Last week we had our first experience of the South East Jazz scene with Hector Plimmer, then the same night we had Kris Baha perform a live techno show. I’m into a lot of genres from doom to techno so I don’t want to pigeon-hole it to one sound.

What strategies have you got in place to help the venue stay afloat in the current climate for small venues with inflated business rates?

We need to be diverse with our bookings and have two nights on in one night at the weekend. Currently, we have a gig on a Friday, then a club night after that. As soon as the band finishes we encourage people to stay for a drink during the change over. The next plan is to launch a comedy night or spoken word on a Saturday and then go into a club night after, as well as open the doors on a Sunday. It’s the only way you can survive in today’s climate.