Still Ill Studios – the brainchild of Alistair Burns and Paul Collins – hosts both rehearsal rooms and a community of musicians that sprung up on Faircharm industrial estate, beside the river Soar. While it already feels an intrinsic part of Leicester’s cultural fabric, it wasn’t an easy journey, as Al explains…
“The business plan for Still Ill had been knocking about for about five years before the ball finally started to roll. The main problem was location, we couldn’t find anywhere with enough space in a relevant location to the city centre. Finding Faircharm was a good day! It’s a bit like Portmeirion’s urban cousin. There are loads of creative businesses around there that have been really useful in the early stages, and a real sense of community spirit to make it a bit of an unofficial cultural hub in Leicester.
“We signed the contracts and started building Still Ill about two years ago, expecting a three month build, but that soon tripled. It’s amazing how many Homes Under the Hammer episodes you can watch as a student, but still make the mistake of underestimating building times. The doors were officially opened in September 2015 and we haven’t looked back.”
The community that surrounds the studio is vibrant – with By The Rivers, Courtney Askey, Echolocation and countless others calling it home. This sense that bands don’t exist in isolation was integral to what they were trying to create.
“Leicester has a lot to shout about musically,” Al enthuses, “and the community of musicians, promoters, festivals and venues is a real benefit to the city. A big part of the business plan at Still Ill was to focus on creating a community spirit that got bands communicating more and not become ships passing in the night. I think the mix between residential bands and our hourly customers really brought this all together and the place always seems to be full of life now.”