Shaun Ponsonby and Graham Smillie get a guided tour of Sefton Street’s beautiful new rehearsal space, who offer Planet Slop readers an exciting opportunity.  

Phil Dolan has played in numerous bands throughout the city – he is currently the drummer and creative force in The Soul Rays. So when it came to opening a new rehearsal space, he was adamant to right what he felt were the wrongs in the spaces he has rented in the past.

RPM Studios is one of the most musician friendly spaces we have seen, taking care to make life as easy as possible for rehearsals. “You tend to find that if you have a two hour rehearsal booked, you’ll waste half an hour just setting up,” he tells us. “I wanted to make it so that people could just plug in and get going.”

Indeed, looking at the individual rooms, most seem to be equipped with everything except guitars; full backlines, a PA, amps, even a full drum kit. What’s more, the rooms are kitted out with LED lights to add a little bit of extra mood.

And it’s all reasonably priced – just £8.50 an hour gets you everything you need in one of the 16 rehearsal rooms, with the price lowering if the full set-up isn’t necessary. You can also rent a room for £350 a month, with the freedom to decorate said room however you like, and hire out lock-ups for equipment storage.

RPM is based on Sefton Street, right outside of the Baltic Triangle. The building was derelict for over a decade when Dolan took it over, and it cost around £120,000 to renovate.

But it was money well spent. Having been in many a rehearsal space in the past, we were expecting a traditional gloomy succession of rooms, run by a man whose soul has been crushed.

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What we found instead was a pleasant atmosphere; relaxed, friendly, colourful and – above all – sanitary(!). It is a place where you can comfortably hang out as much as you can buckle down and play. Posters from vintage gigs hang on the walls, and instruments have been cleverly recycled as furniture – check out the old piano repurposed as a kitchen or the drums used as lampshades.

There is even going to be a “Liverpool Wall” – where bands using the space can bring their own photographs and posters to go up alongside the vintage gig posters of legendary bands.

Not only that, but it has 24 hour access, is fully wheelchair accessible, and has state of the art security and designated loading bays to make life as easy and comfortable as possible for the artists using the facilities.

Perhaps most importantly, though, any work within the studios was carried out by a local business. Nothing was brought in from outside of the city, from the loft insulation to the manual labour, a fact that Dolan is particularly proud of; “There is a knack in Liverpool of getting people from outside of the city to come in and do all the work“, he says. “I’m so glad that we only gave work to locals. It’s like giving something back.

During our little tour, one room was being used as a recording studio by Sam Pierpoint and Liv Springer from Soundback, who kindly let us in for a moment to see the studios in full swing, but also proving how flexible the rooms are. Not only are they equipped for band rehearsals and sound recording, they have also proved more than sufficient for dance and drama.

It is genuinely refreshing to see so much care being taken, whether that is in regards to set up, technical practicalities or even just simple aesthetics and customer care. And Planet Slop are thrilled to say that Phil has a special offer for two Planet Slop readers. Scroll to the bottom of the page to read more.

Pictures by Graham Smillie 

Slop Comp

To celebrate the launch of the space, RPM Studios have very kindly offered Planet Slop readers an exciting competition; two lucky winners will receive their first two hours of rehearsal at RPM Studios absolutely free. All you have to do is like and share the posts below on social media. Triple your chances by sharing them all!

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