Indie Of The Month: Tazma Studios – Go With The Flow
By Stella Nicholls
Photos supplied by Tazma Studios
One evening, towards the end of summer, I found myself walking around an industrial-type area after dark. Strange place to be walking, you might think, especially late at night but there was method in my ‘mission’. One of our distributors had broken his hand, and so I was ‘doing my bit’ and helping deliver the Grow Magazine to the Pinhoe area. Go Grow! I’m all about Team Spirit and lending ‘a hand’ (excuse the pun) but as I walked along in the dark, I did feel a little bit nervous. It was lonely and quiet and very dark, with no signs of life.
Suddenly, I heard the unmistakable strains of live music playing from one of the buildings nearby, it was really good, and I felt comforted knowing that I wasn’t alone. There in the darkness like a ‘beacon of light’ was Tazma Studios and what I had heard, was a band rehearsing. I was both intrigued and encouraged and the experience helped me to keep going (after I had dropped a magazine through their door, of course). I wanted to find out who was behind my ‘late-night musical encounter’, so I googled them (as you do) and got in touch with Tom Adamski, the owner and founder.
A talented creative, Tom’s background is in 3D visualisation and graphic design. Although he started out ‘flipping burgers’ when he first arrived in the UK back in 2004, he was keen to find more creative work and so spent his spare time making use of the local library’s free internet access to send out his portfolio to Exeter businesses.
Tom says he was lucky to find work at an advertising agency initially, before landing a role as a 3D visualiser at an exhibition company in Marsh Barton. He loved working there and stayed for almost ten years as an Exhibition Stand Designer, before leaving the company two years ago to go freelance.
Although Tom enjoys a lot of success as a freelance designer, he felt there was something more that he wanted to offer – a business that didn’t just “pay the bills”. After five months of looking, Tom found the ideal space in an old building that used to form part of a dairy. He saw the potential, a place to pursue his dream and add two of his other passions to his repertoire – music and photography.
A keen musician himself (he studied classical guitar and piano as a child), Tom plays bass guitar and is currently involved in a few musical projects. Having played in various bands over the years, he’s rehearsed in plenty of different studios and rehearsal spaces but found many of them lacking. When conceiving Tazma Studios, Tom says he wanted to make use of his experiences to build the perfect “creative hub” – a friendly place where musicians, artists, photographers and designers could meet, be inspired and get creative; with the only limit being their imagination. So far, all the bands and artists who rehearse there are very happy. (Tom says he’s even had bands come from as far as London to collaborate and rehearse with local musicians).
It’s been “all hands-on-deck”, since opening the studios; with Tom working hard to build the studios from scratch. With some help here and there from his friends and girlfriend, he’s done most of the renovation work himself – a steep learning curve that’s included carpentry, painting and decorating, building and soundproofing. Tom tells me that he draws inspiration from his father, who started a printing house in Poland back in the eighties and kept it going during what was a really tough time in the country’s history. His Dad still runs the business successfully to this day, Tom explains proudly.
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Tom, he’s covered the cost of the business himself, saying he “jumped in and just went for it” with the savings he’d accumulated. The first few months were a rollercoaster of stress and DIY, but he says that he’ll always remember the moment of incredible relief when he opened the music studio and thought “yeah, this is it!”
One of the challenges Tom faced during the build was soundproofing the studio for the benefit of his neighbour. He says that he did a lot of soundproofing inside both their offices but it just wasn’t keeping the sound in. At this point, Tom holds his hands up and admits this could possibly have been due to the number of heavy metal and doom metal bands that he’d welcomed in to test it out! He explains that luckily, due to a head office decision, his neighbours moved to a different location. When I asked if anyone else had moved in next door, Tom chuckled and said that he’d just signed the lease to take the space next door – he’s developing it into more studios. I like the way you think, Tom!
The onsite photography studio ties in well too, as bands often need photos to promote themselves, and so make use of the studio during rehearsals. Tom also has plans to expand further and has just invested in specialist machines that’ll enable him to make and design customised T-Shirts for bands and artists.
His fourth studio is still in the “planning” stages, he says that he’s in no rush to get things completed, preferring to “go with the flow”. He says it’s something that he’s learned and admires about the British: “to relax and enjoy each moment – the day to day”. He’s certainly not resting on his laurels though and says he’s always figuring out new ways to improve the facilities for his creative guests.
Tom says the best part of the business is that he meets some amazing people – a natural by-product of being a ‘creative hub’. One of the most rewarding moments is when a new band walks into the studio and says, “Wow!”
He keeps a friendly line of communication open with the many musicians and photographers who use the studios and tries to accommodate any needs – such as further equipment. He loves to feel part of the creative process and hear the great sounds that come from the rehearsals – he says with a smile, “English music has always been the best”.
Alongside his creative endeavours, another of Tom’s passions is that he loves to travel. His favourite place to visit is Nepal, he explained that although they have access to the internet and many have Smartphones, they seem to lead a more balanced lifestyle. He says,
“You could walk there for a few hours without a mobile signal, without headphones in and it’s beautiful.”
Tom adds that he’d like it if we could all be a bit less dependent on social media and the online world, saying,
“You don’t need to check what everyone else is doing all the time. Live your life and do your own thing.”
You can find more info about the studios and how to get in touch with Tom on the Tazma website.