Elbow’s Guy Garvey joins fight to help save Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios: “Liverpool can’t lose this jewel”

"A place that feeds the creative soul with its history and culture"

Elbow’s Guy Garvey has joined a list of new names speaking out to help save Liverpool’s iconic Parr Street Studios.

The recording studio, which has seen the likes of BjorkGrace Jones, Coldplay, Motorhead, Stereophonics, Blossoms, Justin Bieber and Rihanna record there since its opening in 1991, is under threat from developers who want to turn the area into luxury apartments unless officials step in.

Speaking about the possible closure, Garvey said: “Liverpool can’t lose this jewel. Parr Street has to be preserved. It’s one of the few precious cathedrals to music creation and production left.

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“With Ben Hillier, Elbow made our first two records at Parr Street Studios – and those records remain the most original intricate and soulful that we’ve made. We discovered what we do there. It shaped us for the career to follow and was quite literally the time of our lives. The excellent design of the studios is only one element. It welcomed us in to the heart of the great city of Liverpool. A place that feeds the creative soul with its history and culture.

He continued: “Nigel Godrich once compared losing these places and the passed down art of high-end studio production to losing painting or sculpture. These places make music better. Love music. Love Parr Street. Parr Street’s history alone should be enough to protect it. What will be lost to future generations if it closes is incalculable. It’s priceless.”

Parr Street Studios – Credit: Getty

A group called the ‘Friends of Parr Street Studios’ has now also been set up to help support the venue. The group, which includes many musicians, have submitted a formal application to Liverpool City Council to consider the studios as a “community asset” – a building with cultural importance to both the city and the music economy of the UK.

Others voicing support include The Liverpool City Region Music Board. Made up of 18 local members and observers from across the music industry, the Board was formed to “support and grow the music economy in the Liverpool City Region, and to give music businesses and communities in the Liverpool City Region a stronger voice in local and regional decision making.”

In a statement, they said: “Parr Street Studios is a cherished and vital part of Liverpool’s music eco-system. Beyond that, it is a studio with global recognition and, as such, enhances Liverpool’s reputation as a music city.

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“As part of Liverpool’s artistic history and legacy, studios are an essential part of our ecology and crucial to the continuing success and growth of Liverpool’s music sector. Parr Street Studios was purpose built. It is not something that can be replicated elsewhere.
Beyond that, the internationally recognised brand of Parr Street is something that has taken 25 years to build. This would be destroyed overnight.

“There are many other buildings within the city that have undeniable cultural value and are protected as a result. Parr Street Studios should be recognised with the same importance.”

Elsewhere, further support came from Travis‘ Andy Dunlop, The Lightening Seeds’ Ian BroudieBrian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe, Public Image Limited’s Jah Wobble and Echo and the Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant.

Dunlop said: “I’m gutted to hear about the plans for Parr Street Studios…Not only would it be a blow to the Liverpool musical community…but a blow to the UK musical community also, as it is a world class sounding studio. Studios are so much more than just the gear and the flashing lights, they embody a spirit that is engraved into their very soul from the years of great music made there, and Parr Street has one of the best spirits.”

Broudie added: “It’s a shame that a city like Liverpool, with its fabulous musical and artistic heritage, is so quick to throw away the jewels of its culture while they are still creating wonderful treasures and inspiring new generations. Parr Street Studios is another example of this and should be guarded fiercely.”

The studios, along with music venues Studio 2 and Attic, are at risk due to a planning application which has been submitted by Liverpool-based contractor PJ Percival Construction to Liverpool City Council. The application states that the contractors are planning to build a hotel and 114 apartments as part of a six-to-eight-storey development.

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