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CHAINES - Summer Studios Blog

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This summer, we opened our doors to welcome 20 up-and-coming artists of all genres for a free week-long Summer Studios residency. Artists enjoyed accessing dedicated rehearsal studios and facilities, as well as one-to-one sessions and clinics with music industry professionals. Meaning, while we were not staging concerts at Sage Gateshead during August due to maintenance work being carried out, our building remained full of incredible music. Starting in the Music Education Centre, reverberating around our glassy concourse and even entering backstage during video shoots. We were bursting at the seams with new, innovative sounds from these artists – taking (perhaps too frequent!) breaks from the office to listen in.

With over 80 applications this year, one of the 20 artists selected for this brilliant opportunity was CHAINES (Cee Haines). CHAINES is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and multimedia artist based in Manchester, who writes surreal and fantastical electronica and electro-acoustic music. During their time with us, they documented a day of their residency…


Saturday 13 August 2022 – Summer Studios Diary Entry // CHAINES

Seeing folks share their music gets my creative mind going, funnily enough. That and what I like to call the “post deadline chill”. After we’ve gushed over triumphant performances and beautiful compositions, after we go for a drink by the river, after we’ve talked about music, and how we got here, and after we’ve explained to the Londoners what a chicken parm is… After all of this, there’s a fertile calm that blossoms out of the joy we get from all of this.

After a full week of collaborations and musical investigations with the excellent GBSR Duo and a delightfully unexpected collaboration with Liza Bec (Summer Studios artist) where I played a blackboard and chalk (yes, really!) I am bushed. I have a gentle morning and start working at Sage Gateshead at about 11am with a packed lunch and some ideas from playing the piano at 9pm the night before. Adele (Artist Liaison at Sage Gateshead) helps me find a USB compatible MIDI (Musical Instrumental Digital Interface) controller and I get to building a synthetic instrument rack in Ableton (audio-mixing software). Through experiments with GBSR Duo earlier in the week, playing the teylin (a small Welsh harp, similar to the clarsach) and seeing how many sounds can be gotten out of a giant cymbal, I’m feeling the need to create a MIDI instrument that combines these tones.

Ableton (audio-mixing software)
CHAINES - Ableton (audio-mixing software)

I play around with layering a variety of synthesised acoustic guitars, and layer that with a mallet struck instrument (a modelling synth), an organ, and some piano (Ableton nerds will see from the screenshot that the piano only works in the lower half of the keyboard – just needed a subtle boost to the bass).

I record some MIDI improvisations with this new set up, and eat my packed lunch. After some corridor conversations over coffee, I decide that I’d like a quick walk around town, and end up coming back around two hours later! Newcastle is gorgeous, and I ended up wandering around the beautiful cathedral church of St Nicholas after climbing through the ruins of Newcastle Castle.

Tyne Bridge - connecting Newcastle and Gateshead
CHAINES - Tyne Bridge
Newcastle Castle
CHAINES - Newcastle Castle

When I’m back, I get to recording some vocal experiments to see what might pair well with what I did in the morning. I don’t know if I’ve quite found what I’m after yet, but I’ve got lots of ideas, and I’m so glad I’ve made what I think is a strong start. Uninterrupted time in a great space has been such a blessing.


For audiences, for artists, for the North, for the long-term.