For a lifetime, the South Coast of England was in a comatose state and littered with cracks – waiting for gold to climb in and expand. Where venues and clubs were once open seven nights a week, moving from strength to strength, there was nothing, and within that nothing you exclusively grew up or grew old by the ocean – romanticising a life spent closer to the living, and only retreating to the sea-side once you’d exhausted places to run to.
However, over the last three years, the South-Coast limbo-town of Bournemouth has seen radical change. With only a few creative spaces left to the town’s name, hanging by a thread, there was enough room for art, music and community to be given a new home. Andy Blanchfield and Luke Griffiths recognised this potential upon meeting at Arts University Bournemouth, with the pair connecting over a mutual despair of the lack of excitement on-the-sea.
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“We met while studying Graphic Design,” speaks Luke. “And after heading to a few club nights, we figured that there wasn’t much going on in Bournemouth, so we decided to put on our own monthly-ish thing. We wanted to put on a weekly night, but with the lack of a supporting scene, it was way too difficult.”
“We were just DJing at first, but we got bored of that pretty quickly. Eventually, we felt we could do more, so we added some live bands to the night. At first, it was just local bands – putting on your pal’s band and that sort of thing, but once we felt we could do this, we started to think of how we could develop it, and TRNS was born.”
In its short, three-years of life, TRNS has evolved from live-series to artist collective to record label - pushing local talent and attracting the attention of international bands such as Fazerdaze, Surfer Blood and Elvis Depressedly, who have all made efforts to make Bournemouth a tour-stop thanks to Luke and Andy’s love-child. Beginning as an unattainable desire to reinject life into what was once a near-dead music scene, TRNS went on to feed off their own unexpected success and expand wherever room allowed it.
“We took chances booking bands that we had no connections with at all – rad bands that we were really excited about, and managed to convince artists from all over the world to stop by our peculiar little night. It was amazing to us that we were getting away with it! We’ve been to a lot of empty shows, so we wanted people to get as excited about the fact that these bands were making a stop at TRNS as we were.”
“For us, it was about leaving an imprint on the audience. We wanted Bournemouth to experience these incredible acts, and for these acts to experience how vibrant of an audience Bournemouth can be.”
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Speaking of the community that has gathered around TRNS, George Appleton, frontman of sugar-pop darlings Honeymoons, highlights what the eclipsing night has done for the South Coast. “Bournemouth is far from a hub of creativity - despite the obvious presence of the Arts University, and thus, people find themselves in need of congenial company. TRNS has created an environment in which people can find just that.”
Heather Sheret of Post-Heather adds, “My favourite thing about TRNS is that it quenches the thirst for live music that wasn't met when I was growing up in Bournemouth. Playing a TRNS show is truly mind boggling. People dance, crowd-surf and genuinely enjoy themselves more than the seemingly saturated scenes of London and Brighton. It used to be such an upward battle to make some unpolished noise in Bournemouth, but the TRNS family wanted to show the brilliance in that.”
However, quickly following the anniversary of what has become a local attraction, Luke and Andy announced the end of TRNS – simply titling their final club night ‘RIP Transmission’.
Speaking to TRNS’ importance, but the equal importance of progression, Luke demystifies the end of this era. “We feel TRNS in its current form has run its course. We want to keep running shows, but with myself moving to London and Andy to Leeds, we’re spreading across the country. I guess the aim is to remain an independent, live music collective - providing high energy, intimate shows around the UK for upcoming national and international artists, and if you end up horizontal - crawling across the ceiling, then that’s even better, right?”
Speaking of the end, TRNS-veteran and Yoofs alumni Michael-James Dent adds, “It’ll never really die. They’ve proved that it can be done.”
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Words: James Musker
Photography: Rowan Allen