Matt Bellamy and Neiman Brown are the co-founders of Novacane Studios, a purpose-built high quality recording studio in South London. I recently caught up with the pair to find out more about their business and their journey as entrepreneurs.
Hi guys, how are you doing, great to have you on YHP?
Hi Joseph thanks; it’s a pleasure to be here.
Can you kindly introduce yourself to the YHP readers?
We are Neiman and Matt, owners of Novacane Studios - a professional recording studio in South East London.
How did you both get into business? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship as a child?
Matt: In my teens I was lucky enough to see my father start up and develop his own business successfully, which drove me to pursue similar success with my own venture.
Neiman: My inspirations were a variety of Motown artists like the Jacksons, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and many more. They filled me with the desire to pursue a music career the stories of Berry Gordy starting Motown Records sparked me with the ideal to create my own recording studio.
Who were your inspirations growing up and why?
Matt: My inspiration was my parents who constantly pushed me to better myself, even though I could be lazy!
How did you guys meet each other?
We met at university, where we were both studying undergraduate degrees in English.
Why did you decide to start a business together?
Neiman had set up his own home recording studio soon after leaving university, and I was impressed at how well it worked on a relatively low budget. Being a singer and rapper himself, Neiman could use his studio for his own music. About a year ago during a random conversation, the idea of expanding this into a fully-fledged business came about, and we jumped at the idea. Having been close friends for several years, a business partnership seemed like the logical route to take. We had large networks of friends and people in the industry to take advantage of, which was an added bonus.
So tell me a bit more about Novacane?
In a nutshell, Novacane Studios is one of a new wave of recording studios. There are relatively few new studios opening in the UK, indeed many have closed, due to the increase in home studios and bedroom set-ups. To counter this, we decided to include several usually separate mediums into the recording experience, such as artist promotion, music videos, and photo shoots (to name but a few). In this way, we can be a ‘one stop shop’ for all the client’s needs.
What were you doing before you founded Novacane?
Matt: I was working in a primary school, as a Teaching Assistant, whilst teaching dance classes part time.
Neiman: I was working part time in retail /music artist/ and an amateur boxer)
What was your biggest challenge during the starting up phase?
Our biggest challenge was promotion primarily because there are so many other studios out there offering some of the same services, so we just had to utilize a method that would make us stand out from others.
How have you been able to fund the business?
We were lucky enough to have access to professional advice that enabled us to secure a business loan, as well as dipping into our own pockets. Without the amazing mentors we’ve had around us we’d have either wasted all our money by now or have been caught up in red tape.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
We have focused on quality rather than quantity. We’ve bought top end equipment and built superb acoustics that rival even the biggest players in the music industry. In this way, we can guarantee the client’s music will come out sounding the best it can. We also focused heavily on branding and advertising, creating a sleek corporate brand image that sets us apart from the competition. Also, advertising heavily online and flyering at music events has helped us immensely.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Receiving compliments about the quality of the music produced in the studio. Making industry contacts have also been a highlight for me as I am a music artist myself so I get the chance to collaborate with people I never would have met if my business never existed.
What can we be expecting from your company in 2012?
A lot of media coverage, radio airtime, and some big hits!
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Network with others and surround yourself with smart, positive, driven people. Listen to advice, and do your research.
2. Be prepared to make mistakes; just make sure you learn from them.
3. People will mess you about if you let them, so don’t give them the chance.