New Uist business hits the right note

Keith Morrison believes the offer will nurture young talent on the islands and provide adults with a musical outlet.
Keith Morrison believes the offer will nurture young talent on the islands and provide adults with a musical outlet.

A new recording studio on Benbecula has launched a monthly music lesson subscription designed to help youngsters and adults develop their playing skills.

Wee Studio’s Bunker, based in the East Trust’s former nuclear bunker, is offering music lovers of all ages the opportunity to take part in as many lessons – and learn to play as many instruments – as they want for just £10 per month.

Studio owner, Keith Morrison, who used help from Business Gateway Outer Hebrides to secure part funding through the European Regional Development Fund’s Grants for Growth scheme to kit out his second studio, believes the offer will nurture young talent on the islands and provide adults with a musical outlet.

The 33-year-old has already welcomed numerous local musicians and bands to the Bunker to rehearse and record since opening on June 1st, and bookings for studio time are flooding in from students studying music at Lews Castle College UHI.

He said: “The bookings we have taken already shows there is real enthusiasm for the studio, as it provides professionals with a place to record, rehearse and perform.

“Offering a subscription for music lessons also allows us to help local kids and adults develop a love for playing a musical instrument at a cost that isn’t prohibitive.

“I loved my music lessons when I was young, my teacher’s enthusiasm made me want to be the best player I could be, and since having my own children I see how important music is in helping mind and body work together.

“It’s a fantastic, creative outlet, and AJ Macinnes, who runs the Bunker for me, cannot wait to pass on his love of music to those who sign up.

“Opening the studio happened almost by accident.

“Musicians from Uist had been asking me about accommodation so they could travel to my Stornoway studio to record. I suggested I came to them and asked East Trust how much it would be to rent a space.

“I then asked about storage and approached AJ about work with me and it snowballed from there!

“If it hadn’t been for the Trust none of this would be possible, and if it hadn’t been for Business Gateway Outer Hebrides I wouldn’t be in the financial position I am now, as the grant paid for half of the new studio equipment. “Because I’m not from the island, the team also highlighted what needed to be done and what should be avoided. That straight talking approach is invaluable and their advice has been second-to-none.”

Norman MacLean, Business Gateway Outer Hebrides, said: “Keith grew up surrounded by music and although he studied computer programming and gigged at the weekend, his desire to open his own studio never left him.

“In 2008, he first came to us for advice on how to open a studio in his parent’s house and we provided help with his business plan at that time.

“The studio was hugely successful and led him to open Wee Studio in Rigs Road six years ago.

“Throughout that time he has come to us for advice to ensure he is on the right path and to find out what funding options may be available to him.”

As well as offering traditional services to musicians, Wee Studios provides audio and video recording services to TV production companies, local businesses, event organisers and weddings as well as PA hire.

Keith said: “Being quick to adapt has ensured the studio’s success.

“Finding opportunities in new areas such as TV and content production for social media has brought us to the attention of more people and it’s also allowed me to really use my degree, as I am a geek at heart!”

For more information on Wee Studio and Wee Studio’s Bunker visit: website

To find out how Business Gateway Outer Hebrides can help your business: {http:// www.bgateway.com/western-isles|click here} or call 01851 808240.