Harnessing the power of music to engage traditionally hard to reach young people who have fallen out of formal education is what SupaJam is about. As well as opening the doors to their third specialist music college in Brighton last year, they have also expanded and upgraded the music technology and recording facilities across all campuses.
“[Students] are experiencing huge benefits from using these game-changing Audient products.”
“All three bases now have a range of Audient products which give our students access to a superior quality of sound,” says SupaJam’s Music Production & Studio Coordinator, Sam Coppins, who oversees the studios in Kent, Canterbury and Brighton as well as offering mentoring to students. “They are experiencing huge benefits from using these game-changing Audient products.”
Established a decade ago in Kent, SupaJam’s Swanley base now hosts Swan Studios – the “mother-studio” as Sam describes it. “It houses our pride and joy, the ASP4816. This console is hugely valued by our students and creates opportunities for knowledge, experience and access to the commercial studio industry. We have also expanded the I/O of the desk by connecting its 8 sub-group buses to an ASP880 via ADAT, which gives us the option of using 24 inputs during recording.
“We also use a similar combination of ASP880 and iD44 in our studios at Brighton and Canterbury, which serves as an expandable rig for smaller recording sessions,” he continues, pleased to have the option to record larger groups, so more students can get involved.
When it comes to the console, he cites the bus compressor, the EQ and the inline formation as stand-out features for him. He adds, “I love the way it looks! I love the way it sounds too and the way it commands a sacred creative workflow environment.”
It is exactly this environment that encourages students with social, emotional or special educational needs, or those unable to succeed in mainstream education, to get back on track. All signs point to it working.
“I love the way … it commands a sacred creative workflow environment.”
Joint CEO and co-founder of the unique enterprise, David Court agrees. “SupaJam has been really successful in engaging young people who have fallen out of mainstream education and progressing them into university. Over 80% of our leavers went to higher education last year, the majority to continue with their passion for music and music production. Our focus next year will be to help secure lasting employment in the wider music industry for those that don’t progress to university.”
Whilst music is at the heart of the entire operation, each facility has its own speciality. Canterbury focuses on podcasting and broadcast radio, Brighton hones in on music journalism and photography, whilst Swanley specialises in live performance and recording. All bases have the opportunity to interact with each other.
Sam continues, “Our Logic suites across all three bases are proudly peppered with iD4s. This is particularly cool because it bridges a connection from the students recording at their desk, to the ASP4816 console in our main recording studio. The connection is the sound quality, and the talking point is the Audient Console Mic Pre, which serves as an inherent learning opportunity during each lesson.“
“Our Logic suites across all three bases are proudly peppered with iD4s”
The mic preamp is the very same discrete circuit design found in Audient’s flagship recording console the ASP8024-HE – a fact that didn’t escape Sam’s attention, when commenting on the 8-channel mic pre, ASP880. “The preamps and DIs on these make everything else sound rubbish,” he asserts.
Just as important is how the students themselves feel about the new Audient kit. “It’s very easy to use, clean and just sounds great straight away,” said one. Which is handy, as 97% have used Audient products at SupaJam, and 80% the ASP4816 console in Swan Studios.
David reflects on the last few months. “SupaJam continues to grow and offer opportunities to those young people that have previously struggled in mainstream education. Our base in Canterbury has doubled in size this year with over 60 students and of course our new base in Brighton – launched in September 2022 – gives us a whole new catchment area to support.”
A student on SupaJam’s new Audient kit: “sounds great straight away”
Brighton seems to have been an excellent addition to their enterprise. “Brighton has been huge for SupaJam. Our home is so big it housed the Canadian Army before D-Day. It even has a massive bomb shelter running under the garden and main building! At the moment we’re focused on establishing Brighton within the local community and making sure we provide the best learning environment for wonderful young people.”
Here we are ten years on and SupaJam Education is a long way from its humble beginnings as “a bit of philanthropy in a dingy, flooding basement in Tunbridge Wells” as described on its website. With tireless work, the original seven students have grown to over 200.
David and SupaJam’s other joint CEO and co-founder, Nick Stilwell continue to set their sights high, clear on the direction for the education provider. “It’s about understanding how we can establish ourselves across the whole of the UK and maybe even internationally.”
Audient is in awe of what you’re all doing at SupaJam and wishes you every success.
It was Audient’s Bryn Wildish who helped SupaJam source all their Audient gear. “From the first time I visited Sam and Nick at SupaJam to discuss their requirements, I could see what a great project this is. It’s really gratifying to be involved and see our products put to such great use.” If you’re interested in discussing how Audient’s products can benefit your UK project, give Bryn a call on 01256 381944 or drop him a line.