• Nikos Papanikolaou

Nicola Mazzoli put everything into his music dream, and he won

Credits: Nicola Mazzoli

London is full of bands. Some of them are promising, some others not. Having a band or be passionate about music doesn’t have to do with professionalism necessarily, but mostly about expression. But musical expression needs space – the so-called studio. And in London, it is hard to find a decent studio at a reasonable price. This motivated Nicola Mazzoli, along with some other musicians, to create their own studios from scratch. Literally.

By Nikos Papanikolaou

Mazzoli is passionate about music. Originally from Italy, he has been a member of several London bands, and he also has a solo project. He invested all of his savings – earned from his day job in Eurostar – to create a space where he and other musicians in London could play their music without being ripped off. That’s how Cargo Rooms were created.

“The whole idea came up after years of carrying our own gear from one studio to another. We realised that we wanted a place that we could jam and leave our gear there. When we are in the mood, to feel free – to go to the studio and play our tunes, without thinking the whole carrying part,” says Mazzoli, 30, one of the Cargo Rooms Studio owners.

Credits: Cargo Rooms

Cargo Rooms have been built by musicians who have experienced the struggle of trying to record, then play a gig, and try to make some money out of their music. Unfortunately, a decent music studio in London is a luxury for many. And since it’s almost impossible to jam at their flats – because of the landlords and the flatmates – it makes it impossible to practise.

“I was kind of desperate. I couldn’t find a place to jam; everything is really expensive. I’m not in a band to share the cost; I’m solo. And since music is not my main source of income, I have to spend the money I’m making from my day job. So when I heard about Cargo Rooms from a musician friend of mine, I was excited. It’s a place where I can actually go, jam, record, and not feeling stressed about the cost,” says Gabriel Rodriguez, 24, an amateur musician and a barista at an independent coffee shop in Crouch End.

Since the studios opened, in 2018, in North London, some of the UK’s best bands – such as Wolf Alice and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – have used the studios to practise or record, proof that their investment is paying off. But Nicola, it’s about creating a space for the musicians who struggle, as he did in the past.

“It’s not about the studios; it’s about the people. It’s a place not only to jam, but also a place to chill, have a good laugh, and create the atmosphere you need to create some good music,” says Michael Ba, 23, a musician in London.

Mazzoli will keep working in Eurostar. He remains humble. Passionate about the music and willing to give a hand to the struggling musicians, will still think of ways to innovate and stop people from abandoning music because it’s not affordable. Music is affordable and fun if you find the right people.