Vlad – Owner, Managing Director – Small Pond

Small Pond has become one of the most interesting concepts in Brighton of recent times. Coined in 2013 by a gang of friends who had an ambitious plan to not only put on their favourite live acts but release their records, book their tours and film their performances. Since then, their ambitious plans have lead for the development of quite the innovative, exciting company. They have now developed and built their own recording studio and rehearsal space (in an exceptionally DIY fashion I later found out) down on Castle Street – just off Western Road – with state of the art facilities, the finest equipment in the business and the special inclusion of the Neve console.

I caught up with Vlad for a beer and a chat about where Small Pond was, where it was going and how it got here in the first place. He outlined everything from the building of the UK’s most ambitious studio project to the very early days of Small Pond and the legacy of their Royal Mail van. It became clear that Small Pond really is a company with no limits now – their ambitious plans just seem to be growing and growing. So over a couple of beers, we had this chat:

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Kevin Moore – General Manager, The Great Escape Festival & Judge on Indie50

What is your official title and what are your roles and responsibilities?
I am general manager. I oversee the day-to-day management of the festival. We've got our booker, Adam; our marketing manager, Karen; and Lisa, who is our production manager. My role is to make sure everyone is on track with what they need to be doing, hitting our deadlines. I also oversee the festival budget.

What were you doing before?
Before this role, I was the executive producer of The Great Escape. I liaised with all our international trade partners, people like Canada House, all the partners who have international showcases at TGE (The Great Escape), and also our UK-based trade partners, such as PRS and PPL. I also used to oversee the Alternative Escape. This will be my fifth year with TGE.

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Polly Miles and Ollie Thomas – Founders – Acidbox Promotions

How did Acid Box come about as a promotions company in the first place and what made you pick Brighton?
Polly: Erm, well I started after I left college, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to go to university. At college I’d studied multimedia, so TV, radio, film, journalism and all that kind of stuff. I did a final piece for my course where I did a live music show where I put on live bands and stuff. After getting a taster, I tried putting a gig on back in Eastbourne which is our home town and it worked well, so then I did it a few more times and it picked up and then I decided to actually try and do something with it.

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Daniel Nathan – Co-founder & Chairman – Juice 107.2, CEO – totallyradio

Tell me about your background, why and when did you come to Brighton?
I was born and remained a Londoner until leaving University. Got into pirate radio as a teenager in the early 80s. Then in 1989, changes in the law made pirate radio a criminal offence. There was a strong family connection with Brighton and I had just finished a broadcast journalism course, was doing a bit of freelance work and also teaching at Goldsmiths’, my old college.

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Richard Davies – Founder – Twickets

Can you tell us about your career background?
I was a Biochemist graduate, though when I realised that laboratory life wasn’t quite for me I entered the music industry working for EMI and Universal in product marketing.
In the mid 1990’s I set up one of the first digital media agencies. Our clients included Audi, Premier Inn, The FT and U2.com.
When the business was acquired I combined my background in music and digital to set up Twickets.

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Simon Raymonde – Bella Union

Simon Raymonde is an English musician, record-producer and managing director of popular record label Bella Union. Simon is also well known for his contribution, as bass guitarist and keyboard player with the Cocteau Twins from 1983 to 1997.

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Marcus Hamblett – Owner – Wilkommen Records

My name is Marcus Hamblett. I’m a musician first and foremost and I record and perform as a solo artist, as a duo with drummer Tom Heather, and with bands including Sons of Noel and Adrian, Eyes & No Eyes, Emma Gatrill, Rachael Dadd, Rozi Plain and many more on an occasional basis. I earn my bread and butter as a session musician and over the last few years I’ve been fortunate to tour regularly with Alessi’s Ark, Laura Marling, Willy Mason and Bear’s Den. I also produce other people’s music and release music through my label Willkommen Records. We also put on occasional shows in Brighton.

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Tim Cotterell – Centre Manager – Access To Music

What is your job title at ATM, how long have you worked there and what does your job involve?
My job at ATM is to run the centre in Brighton; it involves everything from writing the timetable, dealing with any issues that arise, keeping Ofsted at a safe distance, getting the bills paid, sweeping up and of course, working with students on their music.

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