Rocky Lane, Aston, Birmingham

Connections Arts on Rocky Lane Aston (middle right)

Connections Arts

Connections Arts was a government funded urban Afro-Caribbean project offering basic tuition within the Arts and Multimedia sector.

It contained a primitive but funcional 8 track recording facility and a course, I, Simon Parkes, was lucky to get a place on since at the time the course was full.
But with thanks to the persuasive manner of my then close friend, and DJ, Double Zero (AKA Roger McKenzie), he managed to secure me a place.
This was my FIRST taste and use of PROFESSIONAL electronic music equipment!

Connections Arts (behind this building) – now a church.


Equipment List

  • C-LAB Creator Sequencer
  • Atari STE 1040 – 1mb RAM
  • Korg M1 Workstation
  • Yamaha FB-01 FM Sound Module
  • Alesis HR-16 Drum Machine Module
  • Casio FZ10M Sampler – Rack-mount
  • Studiomaster 24ch Mixing console
  • Tascam 8 Track 1/2″ Reel to Reel Multitrack
  • ART Multiverb Multi effects module
  • Alesis Midiverb II effects module
  • Drawmer LX-20 Dynamics Compressor
  • Shure SM58 Microphones
  • Several 48 Way Patch Bays and Looms

Simon Parkes Involvement

It wasn't until I offered my ‘electronic’ services to the course tutor Michael Turner and Assistant, TC Shore to rewire the studio ‘properly’ that I managed to gain the personal studio time needed to start completing my early demo cassettes…..and MUCH needed practice using equipment I could have only dreamed of at that time in 1988!

Working together with my friend and music partner, Roger Mckenzie (AKA Double Zero – from Birmingham's own pirate radio station…. PCRL) we managed to create a few primitive tunes.

On completion of the studio wiring I still managed to secure studio time with obtaining my first local business advert consisting of composing music to their corporate presentation video, the company was called ‘SCAN’ security.

Slowly learning keys and sounds together with studio engineering and its technology!



East birmingham College

One Day College Course

During the time on the course there was one day a week spent at the now demolished,

East Birmingham Collage…..Here we had to join a multimedia course since they didn't offer a dedicated sound engineering course but, thanks again to my electronics background, including a studio build and rewire under my belt, I stumbled upon a locked room which contained professional studio equipment which just had not been wired up!

After negotiating with the music tutor I was given sole access to the studio room IF i rewired it……and once again I could learn more on equipment, enhance my skills and make more demos!

Once both courses came to an end I managed to get a position within another home commercial studio setup, AKA, Music Machine!

John Purser @ Music Machine