Photo (c) Ellen Doherty

In May of 2015, Bristol MC Blacksmith woke to find that the studio he shares with Carasel had been broken into. Years worth of work, as well as most of their equipment had been stolen, leaving the two artists with no hope for the future. Here, Blacksmith tells us about that morning and how the city of Bristol saved his music career…

It’s never good getting multiple missed calls/messages but that’s what happened when I saw Carasel had been trying to get hold of me one Saturday morning in May of last year. As soon as I’d picked up the message that our music studio had been broken into overnight my heart sunk and I raced down.

On arrival we discovered that the building we operated from had been targeted and our studio had essentially been cleared of the majority of our equipment… a Mac, Adam Monitors, Keyboards, Synths, Drum machines, Microphones etc – equipment it had taken years to accumulate, as well as the hard drives with the majority of 18 months work.

Like a lot of independent musicians and producers we’d always operated out of home set ups, so to finally have our own dedicated studio set up was a dream that, in an instant, had been flipped into a nightmare. I’d personally also suffered the loss of my father the previous year, something I was still coming to terms with and the studio at the time was certainly some what of a release for me.

“…to finally have our own dedicated studio set up was a dream that, in an instant, had been flipped into a nightmare”

We had Police officers and C.S.I officers down to the scene of the crime to dust for prints but unfortunately whoever was behind the break in covered their tracks; to this day we are still none-the-wiser as to who was behind the robbery and I doubt we will ever know. Whilst we were waiting for the officers to finish their enquiries we put a brief post out via social media that almost instantly lifted our pretty crushed spirits.

I suppose it’s a bit of a cliche to say how ‘incredible’ the Bristol music scene is and how there really is a sense of community in this city but it’s a cliche for a reason… it’s true! Within almost minutes of a brief post of the break-in other artists including Danny Byrd, DJ Die & S.P.Y were reaching out offering us equipment as well as hundreds of people sharing our post for awareness, something that certainly helped lift our mood at the time.

“There really is a sense of community in this city”

I also have to thank anyone who shared our more detailed social media posts of the full stolen equipment list, as we racked up thousands of shares and it really helped bring awareness to what had happened and to our ‘Backlash’ event.

Our next step was to plan our next move and our first thought was to go to what we know – to throw as big a party/fundraiser as possible and hope that the great city of Bristol and further afield would get behind us. We teamed up with the folks over at Fundsurfer who helped us get our campaign website up together and we were fortunately offered the legendary Thekla for free hire to stage our event – I can’t thank them enough!

“We managed to put together quite possibly the biggest line up the Thekla had ever seen including Roni Size, S.P.Y, Fred V & Grafix”

Once we had a date and venue locked in the next step was artists for our party… we reached out to various DJs and MCs and through their generosity (every artist offering to play free of charge) we managed to put together quite possibly the biggest line up the Thekla had ever seen including Roni Size, S.P.Y, Fred V & Grafix, Gotsome, Gorgon Sound, DC Breaks and many more.

Alongside the incredible generosity of the artists involved we were able to offer a huge raffle prize through our fundsurfer which included prizes of signed shirts from Chase & Status, vinyls, guestlist to club nights across the country and shedloads of free clothing all donated from various Record Labels/Promoters and the local clothing heroes Recreo Clothing. Huge shouts to the Recreo family and all the record labels – MTA, Hospital & Ram for their prize donations.

“Since the event we’ve managed to rebuild our studio completely and welcome a new member to the studio crew”

The night itself ‘Backlash’ has gone down as a bit of a legendary party and we really can’t thank everyone who came and who helped us pull it off enough. The atmosphere on the night was electric as our headliners hadn’t been announced and there was a real buzz from the anticipating ravers. We had a queue going around the block before doors opened and we eventually managed to sell out the club – something we hadn’t expected and truly blew us away!

Since the event we’ve managed to rebuild our studio completely, welcome a new member to the studio crew – large up N3gus – and get the wheels in motion for a productive 2016. We collectively lost over a years worth of work from the break in (always back up your work kids!) but are now fully back in the swing of things. Look out for my solo project in the summer of 2016 as well as various production work lined up including stuff for Chase & Status/MTA Records’ Knytro & Jurassic 5’s Marc 7. Carasel is working on his next project as well as building up and branching out the crew’s AFT record Label & club night & N3gus will be dropping new material through his ‘power of 3’ imprint.

There’s no better way to end this then by simply saying Bristol we love you and can’t thank you enough for getting behind us when we needed it and representing like only you can!

Check out ‘The Moment’ from Carasel ft Jman and Blacksmith right here: