Having established itself over five years as one of the key moments in the London art/music calendar, Secret 7” is now in residence at Sonos Studio for 2016. The concept is simple: Secret 7” presses 100 copies each of 7 tracks by the world’s very best musical talent and invites a global collective of creatives to create unique sleeve artwork for each record.
All 700 singles will be exhibited at Secret 7”s new home, Sonos Studio in Shoreditch, London, from 8 April – 1 May 2016. After the public exhibition comes the excitement of the sale, which will take place on Bank Holiday Monday 2 May this year. Music fans, art connoisseurs and collectors alike are invited to buy the singles for £50 each. The only catch is that the buyer won’t know who the record is by, or who has designed the sleeve until they have parted with their cash. Therein lies the secret …
All of the profits from the sales will go to Amnesty International UK, this year’s charity beneficiary.
We caught up with the founder Kevin King to hear more about the exhibition which includes designs from Anish Kapoor, Paul Smith, Stanley Donwood, Robert Beatty, Leif Podhajsky, George Hardie and Pete Fowleramong the 700 total artworks.
How did you end up bringing Secret 7″ to Sonos Studio?
I first heard about the exciting plans for Sonos Studio at the 2014 exhibition at Mother London in Shoreditch. We knew it wouldn’t be ready quite in time for our 2015 show, so we kept in touch and revisited it last summer when planning our 2016 show. Even back then it was still a bit of a building site. I remember we donned hard hats and high vis jackets when we were shown around, but even though it was still a work in progress, the way the team communicated the vision for the space was really exciting. I was familiar with some of the people they were working with to bring it to life too, like the architects Brinkworth, so I felt confident it’d be a special home for Secret 7″ once finished.
You’ve been in residence yourself here for four or five months now, what’s the vibe like for working?
Our team has been working in the space a few days a week since December. It’s been really valuable to experience the space in terms of planning the exhibition — working in close proximity to the Sonos Studio team, showing contributors our new home, seeing how the public interact with the space and discovering the many nuances of the building. It’s in the same neighbourhood as our charity this year, Amnesty International UK, which has been a bonus too.
“Quite simply, if I were to build our own permanent home for Secret 7″ it would look a lot like Sonos Studio.”
Why is Sonos Studio such a great space for the exhibition?
Quite simply, if I were to build our own permanent home for Secret 7″ it would look a lot like Sonos Studio. It’s a lovely place to spend a lot of time in – something you need to properly experience 700 works of art. The space is also really flexible, the listening rooms lend themselves perfectly to Public Records, and we used the workshop to host sleeve-making events throughout January and February with Pete Fowler, The Counter Press and Collage College – it’s something we’d always wanted to do, and I’m delighted that a number of sleeves made in the workshop feature in the exhibition. Plus we’re able to host a sleepover (!) for Max Richter’s 8-hour album and the discussion around artwork for music will feel like it’s taking place in the comfortable setting of your front room.
What’s happened to the sleeves that were sold in previous years?
Most of the 2,800 records we’ve produced to date are unaccounted for. This year’s 700x will leave our home in a whirlwind few hours on the final day, 2 May, and find new homes. We photograph everyone with their purchases and try to put as many buyers in touch with designers via their details on the authentication slips. The designers really love to know who locked eyes on their one-of-a-kind creation and bought their artwork. We do have a lot of lovely people who have been coming to purchase our records since the first year in 2012. This year we’ve been profiling a few of them on the blog of our site, and will feature a few more before the end of the show – some have quite the collection now!
Secret 7” Agenda
Fri 8th April: Opening Day
Sat 9th – Sun 10th & Sat 16th – Sun 17th April: Public Records Record a live performance straight to vinyl. Engineers cut your 7″ on site as you execute your audio masterpiece in real time. Truly one-of-a-kind, just like the sleeves in the exhibition. RSVP by date:9th–10th–16th–17th.
Tue 19th April: Sleepover Experience Max Richter’s 8 hour opus Sleepas a sleepover playback at Sonos Studio. Enter the ballot to win one of the 10 places.RSVP HERE
Thu 21st April: Tom Vek hostsArt of the Songpanel discussion. Tom Vek and a panel of guests explore the role of artwork and art direction in the ways music is experienced today, and what role it can play in the future. Part of theD&AD Festivalof Art & Design
Mon 2nd May: Sale Day First come first served, get in the queue early!