Matt Ritchie is a local businessman and musician from Sheffield. He and business partner Dave O’Hagan recently launched Hybrid³, a creative studio space at Heeley Business Park that helps bands and artists to rehearse, record and release their music. As well as providing a space for existing bands, Hybrid³ will be introducing a number of […]

Matt Ritchie is a local businessman and musician from Sheffield. He and business partner Dave O’Hagan recently launched Hybrid³, a creative studio space at Heeley Business Park that helps bands and artists to rehearse, record and release their music. As well as providing a space for existing bands, Hybrid³ will be introducing a number of exciting projects and workshops for young, budding musicians in the community.

A lot of your friends and family were involved in the creation of Hybrid³. Would you say it’s a community project?

Yeah, it’s very much a community and family project. We’ve had a really good team helping us, from people who’ve invested time and money to bands who’ve said they’d come use the space before we’d even built anything.

One of the most interesting things about Hybrid³ is the people who’ve helped build it. Our joiner, Lyndon Hobson, was a sound engineer and member of Sheffield band In The Nursery, and his apprentice, Robin, used to be a teacher at Darnall Music Factory. Our electrician was Chiv from local band Bison and his apprentice was Henry from KOG And The Zongo Brigade. Our studio architect was my business partner Dave’s dad, Marcus O’Hagan, who used to manage The Human League and built the Leadmill, The Human League studios, Axis Studios and the Steel Works. Dave is also our studio engineer and wiring specialist, so there’s been this link between musical people, which is really nice.

Was it important to have the studio in Heeley?

Apart from being somewhere I can walk to, we chose this location because Heeley is such an up-and-coming area. We like what’s going on around here with places like Haggler’s Corner, The Brother’s Arms and the Heeley Development Trust, and it seemed like the sort of space where we could build something that would last. I’ve got a lot of musical contacts in this area, so I’ve always had a creative network.

What services do Hybrid³ provide?

We plan on founding a social enterprise, which will teach music-orientated community projects to children and young adults in the local area, teaching skills, sound engineering, song writing, instrument making and laser cutting. We also do radio production and have a BBC radio producer working with us.

In terms of services for bands, we’ll soon be offering three levels of recording. We’ll have ambient microphones installed in the ceilings, which you can plug into your iPhone and upload your recordings to Soundcloud, ethernet recording, which means every room will be connected to the computer network in the studio, and then there’ll be an audio wiring network, which means you’ll be able to record from any room. Bands can simply plug in their laptops and mics and record themselves. It’s a good standard of recording and it’s easy to do. We’ve also got a full studio with mastering facilities on the way.

Who practices here already?

There’s Limit Break, who’ve been here from the start and who have provided lots of support for the project, Airwolf, KOG, who are off to Glastonbury, Little Glitches, who are pretty influential, and my band, The Cajones.

KOG And The Zongo Brigade performed at your studio launch party. Will you be doing more events like this?

We’re going to pick carefully, but we’d love to have more parties. We had a Sofar Sounds gig here, which was really nice, and we’re going to have a Hybrid³ stage at This Is Heeley Festival, which is happening alongside Tramlines.

Why do you think creative spaces like these are so important for Sheffield?

Sheffield’s been a hub for the creative industries for a long time and I think one of the stand-out things about Sheffield is that it has this great music scene and supports the arts. It promotes small businesses, it promotes creative people and it’s a really good thing to be a part of.

hybrid3studios.com

Phoebe Seymour