Keane star’s creative space in Suffolk attracts Adele, Mumford & Sons and Ed Sheeran
PUBLISHED: 09:58 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:23 01 July 2018
PA Archive/Press Association Images
There’s a remote east Suffolk spot where, apart from the sound of rabbits, deer and the occasional Apache helicopter whizzing by, you might just catch the sound of a chart-topping rock band.
The brainchild of rock star Jesse Quin, the bassist from Keane, Old Jet is an already flourishing hub packed with talent.
Tucked away in Bentwaters Park, the space – kitted out by Mr Quin, who lives with his wife and two children in Woodbridge – is attracting a host of big names.
While the Beatles turned to the houseboats of Kashmir in India for creative inspiration away from the crowds, Old Jet’s musical clients are turning to Suffolk. They include the likes of Adele, Mumford & Sons, Noah and the Whale and Bastille.
Although he grew up in nearby Framlingham, Mr Quin says he’d initially only planned to stay in Suffolk for six months when he and his wife first came down from London with their one year-old daughter.
“The Suffolk that I grew up in was so disconnected to the rest of the world and it was beautiful, but it just felt like if you were working in the arts or music, you couldn’t live here,” the 36-year-old said.
“The internet has changed things. Coffee shops in Woodbridge feel straight out of Hackney now, it just feels much more connected to the rest of the world. We started thinking ‘actually this is really nice, let’s stay a bit longer and see what happens’.”
Four years ago, when Mr Quin first set his eyes on what would become the Old Jet’s main building, he fell in love with it straight away.
Although it was derelict at the time, the father-of-two saw the building’s potential, and set out plans to make it more than just a workplace, but a place for creatives to mingle and support each other. It has a shared lounge, kitchen and even a library.
“We hold social lunches, and we try to make it as much about people as it is about their work, because if you do that, then the work takes care of itself,” Mr Quin explained.
The 1,000-acre Bentwaters site holds a certain nostalgic sentiment for the 36-year-old, who recalls visiting it as a child when it was still operational.
“For kids in Framlingham, going to the base was the most exciting thing ever,” he recalls. “You’d see the A10 tank-busters flying over your garden and people here driving around in pick up trucks and going to Burger King, which seemed really exciting at the time. It still feels like that now when I’m driving around the base on my way to work – like it’s top secret and I shouldn’t be here. That feeling adds this sense of Old Jet being slightly mysterious, rather than just another business park.”
As a singing teacher, Mr Quin’s mother bestowed musical talents not just on her son, but also on another famous Framlingham resident – Ed Sheeran. “I remember him always turning up to our house with these little EPs he’d made that sounded like Damian Rice. But really good,” Mr Quin recalls.
Ed Sheeran is an occasional visitor to Old Jet, and has rehearsed in the Hush House, a 5,000 square foot soundproof hangar. These days, Mr Quin rents the space out from another owner for a day rate.
Other Old Jet tenants include the founder of The Eden Project Peter Hampel, the illustrator Brie Harrison and Jason Carter, who hand prints T-shirts at Old Jet for his surfing and skating clothing company Hoax.
“Having different creative people doing different things means that you can bounce ideas off each other,” explains Mr Carter. “It makes for a great atmosphere.”
Mr Quin now has a waiting list of 35 to 40 people wanting to move into Old Jet’s offices and studios. He’s currently transforming one hangar into a new residential recording space, complete with a kitchen diner, living room and four bedrooms.
“The idea is for bands to be able to come over from the States or elsewhere and stay over here,” he said.
One of Old Jet’s hangars is used to store Keane’s own gear, although the band haven’t released an album since 2012.
“We (Keane) took a big break because everybody started having kids and stuff and we wanted to be at home,” the rock star added.
For the first time in five years, Keane will be performing publicly together this summer at Battle Festival – but does that mean they’re back together?
“There are more rumblings now than there have been, so its quite possible we’ll be doing stuff again soon,” he adds.