25 years ago, Quincy McLean and Helen Marcou opened what has come to be a monumental space in the Melbourne music scene. Functioning as a rehearsing and recording studio, Bakehouse also does it part for the arts scene by displaying art installations throughout the rooms and the exterior of the studios. The pair are both extremely passionate and committed to the Melbourne music and arts scene. McLean and Marcou displayed this during their creation of grassroots movement SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) which had a turn out of 20,000 protestors. To celebrate the life of Bakehouse and its importance in Melbourne, we asked Helen Marcou to reflect on her most memorable moments at Bakehouse.
Beginning as a rehearsal space for Quincy McLean’s own band Blue Ruin, the once called York St Studios became available to the public. “He (McLean) just took it as somewhere to do his own recording and rehearsal and after a while started taking other bands in, you know to help pay the rent and it became a little bit of an institution after all of those years”. Some of the early artists through the doors of Bakehouse included Grant McLennan from The Go Betweens, Rob McComb from The Triffids and The Dirty Three“.
Christening the studios for their first public rehearsals was Thanks For Coming, Marcou explains “they did disband after about 10 years and they all became acupuncturists and publicans, however, revisited the studios for a reunion recently. Following on from them was Frente!, a long relationship built on Marcou’s fellow employee at the time. Cosmic Psychos visited pre-Nirvana tour and The Avalanches of new and old are included on their impressive list of guests.”
Reflecting on the most memorable moments of Bakehouse, Marcou relives hosting MC5. “They came through just after Rob Tyner and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith had passed away, however, had Mark Arms from Mudhoney, Deniz Tek from Radio Birdman and Evan Dando from The Lemonheads filling in”. Making such an impression with an old red carpet sourced by McLean used upon entry, Bakehouse received a Christmas card from MC5 shortly after.” Also on the most memorable list, visits from an original member of The Velvet Underground, John Kale and Cat Power. Marcou explains the studios taking the shape of “a little French village during the occupation” when Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds come through.
Finally, Rob Halford of Judas Priest talked more than just music with Marcou. “Rob Halford and I have a similar interest in art so we spoke about that for hours and there’s a really sweet video on Instagram that the guitarist posted of Rob singing ‘The Halls of Valhalla’ making a cup of tea with a selfie stick.” If only we all had Rob Halford singing in our kitchens; but future plans for Bakehouse are set to be entirely different. Immersive theatre and smaller listening parties in their creative space ‘The Scrap Museum’ are on the to-do list. “We’re doing a lot more stuff in the scrap museum and it’s been great watching that room evolve and people just love using that space”. Also elaborating on the release of their book ‘The Bakehouse Project’, the pair aim to continue supplying a creative space for musicians and celebrate local art that is emerging in Melbourne.
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