Upcycled Sounds

Audio projection for music, film & documentary. Founded in Paris & now based in a recording studio in East Oxford, UK. 

Projects

We're at the heart of many local music projects: a record label, 3 day music festival, new local venue, many gig series & international folk & electronic music residentials.

Record Label

Upcycled Sounds Records features our favourite productions. Our current roster features 11 artists across prog, jazz, pop, electronic & folk genres.

Ethos

Upcycled Sounds is committed to ethical & eco-friendly practice. We partner on many projects which share our values & operate our studio on a reduce/reuse/recycle policy.

About Upcycled Sounds

Upcycled Sounds is an independent audio production company founded in Paris and now running from a recording studio in East Oxford.

They have numerous albums, EPs, live sessions and soundtracks under their belt as well as sound recording and designing for feature film, theatre and documentaries. They’ve worked for the BBC, Pinewood Studios and Lucas Studios and have partnerships with DPA, Sennheiser, RME and Bubblebee Industries.

The current production team, Nicholas O’Brien (sound engineer, producer) and Hannah Jacobs (musician, producer).

When not off round the world recording, they love their home music scene and are at the heart of a range of local music projects: a 3 day music festival, the new venue set up at Tap Social, Tandem Collective, multiple gig series, an international folk music exchange programme and an electronic music residential.

Praise for our work

Delicious poise… and adventurous production

BBC Radio 6

The thing about working in a studio with a great team – in this case local label Upcycled Sounds – is that such a talent can flourish, explore sounds and arrangements… and produce something extraordinary

Nightshift Magazine

So much thought and imagination has gone into the arrangement

 Fresh On The Net

 

Team

Niko Bio Shot

About Niko: sound engineer, producer, multi-instrumentalist & serial event organiser

I’m Nicholas O’Brien a trained sound-engineer/producer, a self taught multi-instrumentalist and a reluctant serial event organiser. I have a 1st Class Degree in Audio Production and over ten years experience recording and producing everywhere from world class studios to to the Himalayas and Warsaw sewers! I’m always dreaming up new ideas and experiments for creative production and have a huge collection of field recordings and weird sounds from my travels. I play guitar, piano, clarinet, drums, bass, ukulele, flute and bouzouki.

Bio

I grew up on the outskirts of Paris in a tri-cultural family, switching between French school, my Mum’s southern Italian food and Dad’s English/Irish folk songs. Whichever county I’m in, I’m at home when creating sounds and music.

I played in various rock, prog and experimental bands in Paris and Oxford whilst getting my 1st Class Degree in Audio Production, and ended up organising a lot of events. They spanned from pop-up concerts on the street, in thrift stores or in an abandoned swimming pool (later used by Foals for their iconic video) to gig series, festivals and a 2 week sell-out residency in Oxford’s OVADA.

I then set up ‘Record and Ride’, a 5 month cycling and recording project around Europe. The project was sponsored by RME, Sennheiser and Lyon Outdoors, and led me to record musicians weird and wonderful places including the Warsaw sewers and an ex-Cold War spying station.

Returning to Oxford, I wanted some way of bringing all the interesting artists I’d met together and celebrating cross-cultural exchange. This sparked the co-founding of Tandem Festival, a three day festival celebrating cultural diversity and engaging new audience in social and environmental issues. Six years on, the festival is going strong and is now part of the wider Tandem Collective which is running multiple exciting projects, including a publication, an international music exchange camp, gig series and electronic music residential.

Throughout these projects, I maintained a busy freelance sound-engineer life working on location and in various studios. I’ve done sound-design for national radio, feature films and theatre; recording and producing loads of musicians; and sound recording for documentaries in the Himalayas, Cambodia and India.

Since 2018, I’ve been running Upcycled Sounds with Jakes, bringing together all these projects under one roof. In the last year we’ve set up a recording studio in East Oxford, started a record label and done 7 releases, founded a electronic/folk music residential, put on a 5:1 surround system installation and had our work featured on Radio 6 and by Lucas Studios.

About Jakes: musician, producer, arranger, composer, PR manager.

I’m Hannah Jacobs, a musician, producer and composer. I’ve been doing music all my life and have written and produced for a broad range of styles, from bands to orchestral commissions to a Star Wars soundtrack project for Lucas Studios. I manage Upcycled Sounds Records, working with artists on branding and PR. I play keys, accordion and sing in various bands, including my main project, Limpet Space Race. I’m happiest when experimenting with music and sound.

 

Bio

I’ve been hitting piano keys from as far back as I can remember, jamming out to 70s records with my dad and writing soundtracks and songs for various terrible childhood projects. Music has always been my lifeline – I was born with various crazy immune problems which continue to get in the way of literally everything. Music gives me energy when my body lets me down and I’m passionate about its power to connect people and cross cultures.

From state school background and with a bunch of medical stuff to juggle, I worked mega hard to get the highest Grade 8 piano result in my county at 17, and then wound up with a 1st Class Degree in Music from Oxford Uni. I spent most of my degree freaking out about the poshness and Western classical focus. I decided to stick it out, crashed lots of anthropology lectures and ended up doing a thesis exploring rap and violence during the Arab Spring and setting one of Obama’s climate speeches (so edgy) to music.

After uni I worked in a prison, did marketing for various sustainability projects and founded a organisation addressing food inequality, sustainability and health. I then became a Director for Tandem Collective, a organisation using arts for social change and Marketing Manager for Tandem Festival and an international folk music exchange project. Alongside this I was exploring jazz, writing music and founding a feminist sea shanty project.

Since 2018 I’ve been working for Upcycled Sounds as a producer, arranger, writer and performer and loving every minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethos

Upcycled Sounds is committed to ethical, eco-friendly practice. For example, along state-of-the-art studio equipment, we also build kit from reclaimed materials (our baffles are built from the remains of a Tandem Festival stage made of old floorboards!), fix up old gear and can even fit a professional recording set up on a bike! We facilitate clients to make ethical choices, such as local, ethical food for sessions, eco merch options and links with local artists. The music industry is often a wasteful and cut-throat place, and we want to change that!

We are selective about our partners and prioritise organisations in line with our ethos. We are involved with a number of projects using the arts to to create social and environmental change, including Tandem Collective, Good Food Oxford, Himalayas to Ocean, St John’s Orchestra and Ethno England.