Water tank transformed into experimental music venue


Pic: Anastasia Shub

Café by day and experimental art space by night, Silver Road is a new and innovative venue opening in Lewisham.

This is a venue unlike any other: built inside a former water tank, the unique space on Silver Road in central Lewisham is set to be a creative platform for experimental music.

The founder is Lia Mazzari, 30, who is oiginally from northern Italy. Also a musician, she was inspired to set up her own business by her studies in sound art at London College of Communication, and her time as a barista at Café Oto in Dalston, which is known for experimental music.

“In Café Oto I was thinking: ‘Am I going to be a barista for another four years or am I actually going to try something, risk something?’” she said.

After opening on October 22, the venue has already held two sold out gigs featuring Rie Nakajima, Pierre Berthet. Radionics Radio and Viewfound.

Before setting up Silver Road, Mazzari attempted to host a couple of musical shows in south-east London, where the lack of infrastructure at the time made it difficult to bring her vision to life. This prompted her to launch a space of her own where creatives from the local community could “try things out”.

Mazzari said: “I might have a broader knowledge in experimental music scene, but when it comes to dance, theatre or performance art I am not as knowledgeable, so I am really happy for people to approach me.

“The acoustics are really different there, so you can’t just have a rock concert inside. People have to figure out a way to work with that. The tank is like an instrument itself,” she added.

She received a grant from the The Mayor’s Crowdfunding Programme on Spacehive, and the University of the Arts London, which was enough to implement the major renovation.

It took over 48 hours to drain the 230,000 water tank, which was used as a sprinkler system for a nearby warehouse, and a further six months to get rid of the water on the bottom completely.

Some creative requests were quite bizarre.

“People asked me: ‘Can we just fill it up with water again and make underwater shows?’ It took me half a year to properly drain it, of course I am not going to put water back in there!” recalls Mazarri, laughing.

“I hope to have this space for a while, because it could be quite exciting to see what people can do with it.”

Details of the upcoming events for Silver Road will be released in November. Among big artists on this list are Joe McPhee, American Jazz multi-instrumentalist, and Charles Hayward, a founding member of The Heat, an experimental rock band.

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