Originally hailing from the home of fish, Grimsby, The Audacious Art Experiment are everything that Sheffield's creative scene should be celebrating. They've taken the spirt so romanticised in the city's history – DIY, breathing life into disused post-industrial spaces, amateur electronics, and an all-inclusive attitude that is open to anything and everyone – and created their own world with it.
It's rare that an evening goes by without something going on at The Audacious Art Space, the heart of TAAE's operations. A green door down a nothing side-street on the fringe of the city centre hides an amazing amount of activity: a recording room, an exhibition space, a music lab and a record label that has put out superb releases by the likes ofCowtown, Championlover, Nope and art-noise-wtf project Trans/Human.
TAAE recently celebrated their tenth year of existence and show absolutely no signs of slowing down any time soon. Get yourself down to the city's best kept secret for a taste of something different.
We spoke to Loïc Tuckey, a TAAE cod-head and one half of the band Che Ga Zebra.
How would you describe TAAE’s work?
TAAE is a record label and arts collective. I am one member of a larger group of people who all contribute by releasing records of musicians we like and love. We organise events and exhibitions and try to ensure we can be a place where more obscure happenings can take place in an inclusive and fair environment.
What is TAAE’s ethos in a sentence?
Be excellent to one another.
What inspires you?
Essentially my greatest fear is that the sorts of events we and our peers hold will become less practical and more difficult to continue. I see incredible people down our place, ambitious young men and women who are ravenous and willing to perform in the kinds of environment we offer. When I see similar places around the UK or hear reports from some of our bands and members on other DIY venues, I am incredibly proud. The people, the wider collective who offer an alternative to pubs, clubs and awkward promotion inspire me more than anything else. The more warehouses, squats or redundant factories that can be turned into places for performance and creation the better.
What’s your workspace like?
Our workspace is extremely modest. It's hidden away down some shady street, with one small window, an electronics laboratory, a rehearsal room and an office, of sorts. We have a social room with a SNES and a dartboard with three darts, two working. There is a microwave that my nana donated and a kettle with no apparent owner. The sofas pull out and we sleep on them on long nights writing and recording music. Due to the lack of natural light being inside is both timeless and weather-less. The hottest day of the year feels no different to the coldest and there is no way of guessing the time from sun down to sun up. It's my favourite place in the world and without it I wouldn't be the man and musician I am today.
What do you love about Sheffield?
Its serenity and its accent. I'm not from round here and an afternoon on the Moor is still an education in dialect and pronunciation. I also am a huge fan of a bike ride and Sheffield is a wonderful city for that. It's very calm and in the evening I find I can cycle for ages without being around many people. The city's pot hole situation is rather frustrating though.
What would you do to improve the city?
Ultimately I want to see an area of Sheffield developed into an alternative to the Division and West Street areas, with more opportunities and affordable units for independent business. Yes I want to drink, yes I need some new clothes, yes I'm probably gonna stay out all night, yes I am hungry and yes I want to go to modest events. But I don't want to be in the same three-kilometre radius every damn night, I don't want another Sainsbury's, I don't need another Costa Coffee, Gregg's should not be an option and a sports bar is not the only place I want to play pool. I worry that from above, Sheffield looks a bit like a Lego town. However, improvement on that scale can't be achieved by me alone as I simply don’t have the wherewithal.
- Words by
- Greg Povey