Recording at the Epic studio in Magdalen Street, Norwich.  Photo: Bill Smith

Video and photo gallery: Epic Studios aim to put Norwich on the musical map with free sessions

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
9.00 AM

Epic Studios is planning to put Norwich on the global music map. Reporter David Freezer spent some time at the Norwich TV studios to find out more about its bold plans.

The Epic studio in Magdalen Street, Norwich. Jonathan Thursby.  Photo: Bill SmithThe Epic studio in Magdalen Street, Norwich. Jonathan Thursby. Photo: Bill Smith

Successfully moving from Norwich to London has long been a difficult task to master for musicians, but a Norwich television studio is hoping it can help to bridge the gap.

Many bands and solo artists have tried to make their name in the competitive music scene of the UK’s capital and not been able to translate their success from the thriving Norwich music scene.

Epic Studios, formerly the Anglia Television studios, in Magdalen Street, has grand plans for the future and its owner, Jonathan Thursby, is hoping local musicians will come and find out more.

The latest Epic Raw sessions, offering free opportunities for local musicians to have a professional-quality video recorded, have just taken place.

Jonathan Thursby at the Epic studio in Magdalen Street, Norwich.  Photo: Bill SmithJonathan Thursby at the Epic studio in Magdalen Street, Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

In the same studios where programmes such as Trisha and The Wright Stuff were once filmed by Anglia, artists such as Phoebe York and Matt Watson were able to perform in front of Epic’s cameras.

With Mr Thursby directing proceedings from the production suite, using all his experience of years working on Top Gear, the artists end up with a professionally-lit video recorded on four cameras.

The video is then edited and added to the Epic YouTube channel, which now has just under 150,000 video views and is building a catalogue of Norwich talent which can be watched from anywhere in the world.

Mr Thursby, who grew up in Norwich and attended Norwich School as a youngster, said: “I want to put Norwich on the map of the world. Since we started doing this, I couldn’t quite believe that there was this much talent out there.

Matt Watson recording at the Epic studio in Magdalen Street, Norwich.  Photo: Bill SmithMatt Watson recording at the Epic studio in Magdalen Street, Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

“You get all the programmes now like The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent which are all about making good TV rather than the talent.

“So we want to keep it as simple as possible and back to basics to show the raw talent.

“Not many people know what we do, though, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do – get the word out there to as many people as possible.”

The Magdalen Street studios started out in life as a bowling alley in the 1960s, before Anglia took it over in the 1970s.

More than £4m of public cash was ploughed into the studios after Norfolk County Council and the East of England Development Agency stepped in to set up a creative industries “hub” after Anglia left the studios in 2006.

Mr Thursby’s company Extreme Videos then struck a deal in January of this year to take on the studios as the county council looked to cut costs.

Epic employs 10 people and there are 50 to 60 people based in the buildings, with various media enterprises also renting office space.

With editing suites, a dubbing theatre, conference space and a second TV studio, Epic has the flexibility to host a whole range of entertainment and has already hosted comedy nights, concerts and even boxing nights in quick succession.

One of the big additions set to bring even more fresh life to Epic will be Norwich’s Access To Music course, which is leaving its King Street base of over 10 years. There are already Access To Music classes being taught at Epic and its full prospectus will be based there from 2013.

It is another link which should strengthen the Epic offering further, with Access To Music’s students having access to the technology on offer – such as the Epic Raw events.

Mr Thursby added: “We have been running the Epic Raw events for six months and it can mean early starts and late finishes for our staff, but when you see the finished product and you know that you are helping to put Norwich on the map around the world, it’s nice to be a part of that.

“This is our fifth Epic Raw and we do eight bands each time so that’s already 40 bands that we have hopefully helped and will hopefully want to come back here.

“We had (comedian) Frank Skinner here earlier in the year and he loved it. He said it was his favourite studio outside London and that includes Manchester.”=

There will be another Epic Raw in December, when organisers are hoping to do a Christmas special, before the sessions will continue at a rate of one or two a month.

For more information, call 01603 727727 or go to www.epic-tv.com

- To see Dumbfoundus performing in one of this year’s earlier Epic Raw sessions, see the video above, or see the full Epic YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/epicnorwich

- For full gig listings for next weekend, see Friday’s Going Out supplement, inside Friday’s Norwich Evening News, and visit the what’s on section at www.eveningnews24.co.uk

- Have you got a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or david.freezer@archant.co.uk