Skip to content

Uncovering the history of an iconic Sheffield music studio

In this story

Explore the people, themes, departments and research centres behind this story

Press contact

Emma Griffiths

Contact us

For help with a story or to find an expert

Email: pressoffice@shu.ac.uk
Phone: 01142 252811

On social media

 Twitter (press office)
 Twitter (university)
 Facebook
 Instagram
 YouTube

23 June 2022

Uncovering the history of an iconic Sheffield music studio

A documentary about the iconic music studio which recorded early demos from bands which became The Human League, Pulp and Def Leppard will premiere at Sheffield DocFest 

Press contact: Emma Griffiths | e.griffiths@shu.ac.uk

Recording equipment at Studio Electrophonique
Still from 'A film about Studio Electrophonique' by Jamie Taylor

The film by Jamie Taylor, a member of staff at Sheffield Hallam University, will tell the little-known story of Ken Patten, a car mechanic who built a recording studio in his council house in Handsworth in the 1970s.  

Ken Patten’s ‘Studio Electrophonique’ recorded early demos from bands who went on to become The Human League, ABC, Pulp, Heaven 17, Clock DVA and Def Leppard. 

Jamie was inspired to make the film after finding out about the studio in a book about Sheffield music by Martin Lilleker called Beats Working for a Living and discovering that people around Handsworth had grown up unaware of the story of Ken’s mysterious Studio Electrophonique.  

On July 5th, in collaboration with senior lecturer Ron Wright and the Creative Media Team at Sheffield Hallam University, there will be a mystery bus tour around some notable and mythical Sheffield music locations culminating in a screening of the documentary. The tour guide will be Nick Banks of Sheffield pop legends, Pulp. 

Jamie, who works in widening participation at Sheffield Hallam, said: “The idea of investigating this mysterious lost story of British pop became such as fascination that I started filming our attempts to crack open the secrets of Ken’s creative world. 

“Ken’s studio was massively influential. The atmospheric soundscapes he recorded for The Future in 1977 gave Martyn Ware, Adi Newton and Ian Craig Marsh the belief to form The Human League, Clock DVA and Heaven 17. Vice Versa’s first EP was recorded by Ken in 1979 and was played on Radio 1, spurring them on to future stardom as ABC. The tape recorded by Pulp at Ken’s in 1981 was handed to John Peel and was responsible for the band being offered a session on his prestigious show.  

“This list doesn’t begin to do justice to Ken’s work over the years with loads of local bands who may not have hit the big time but who trusted Ken to do his best with their £15 studio fee and their fragile creative visions.” 

The film features Sean Bean, who lived around the corner from Ken’s studio, with appearances from Jarvis Cocker, Stephen Singleton, Martyn Ware and Adi Newton. 

This will be the second time Jamie and his team have premiered a documentary at Sheffield DocFest after his film The Campaigners, about a season in the life of Woodseats Working Men’s Club Sunday league football team, screened there in 2019.  

The documentary, A film about Studio Electrophonique, will premiere at the Showroom Cinema on Saturday 25 June. 

Jamie is a Schools and Colleges Programme Manager at Higher Education Progression Partnership South Yorkshire (HeppSY) based at Sheffield Hallam University. 

In this story

Explore the people, themes, departments and research centres behind this story

Press contact

Emma Griffiths

Contact us

For help with a story or to find an expert

Email: pressoffice@shu.ac.uk
Phone: 01142 252811

On social media

 Twitter (press office)
 Twitter (university)
 Facebook
 Instagram
 YouTube