Few music venues have the lineage that Barcelona’s Buena Onda Social Club has. Starting life back in 1979 as Estudios Carbonell, Centro Integral de Sonido which was an analogue recording studio that focused on the sound of the film industry. A joint collaboration between the famous Catalonian actor, theatre director and photographer Manuel Gausa and Carbonnell that resulted in a creative space that has stood the test of time. Unfortunately, the purely analogue recording studio was perhaps not for the digital age and sadly ceased to operate in 1995. Being staunch supporters of the original audio science perhaps Gausa and Carbonnell chose not to sacrifice their artistic integrity for convenience, and opted for values over business.
The romantic notion of their sonic purity is not lost on the current tenants.
Fast forward to current day and the historic building is still being put to good use in the name of the arts. Buena Onda Social Club or BOSC for short is a creative hub that offers its members a home away from home. What makes the space so unique today is the incredible architecture which mixes actual studio rooms in the ground floor, with a typical Catalan top floor: beams, brick walls, balcony, and some beautiful furniture pieces belonging to the original landlord, with whom the new tenants have a great relationship.
As founding member Lucie explains how Barcelona hooked her in, “When we arrived in Barcelona, we immediately fell in love with the city and the lifestyle. We quickly got involved with the scene, the weather, the open-air parties, discovering all the raves and collectives making Barcelona such an ever-growing spot for electronic music.” She goes on to discuss the process that brought her here, “After about 2 years of research, administrative headaches and endless hours of brainstorming, debating and day dreaming, finally, in May 2019 Buena Onda Social Club was born.”
The original team members that created BOSC, sisters Juliette and Lucie and Simon, all hailing from Paris. They group met in London in 2015 at a Half Baked party which proved to be the catalyst for their work today. Lucie goes on to tell of the time between this meeting, “After about 5 years in the city, we felt like it was time to go on to explore new horizons. In 2017 Simon and I met again in Barcelona, where Juliette had established herself for a Theatre degree after traveling around Japan and Australia after graduating from High School, with one common goal: create a space in Barcelona where creatives people from all walks of life could express themselves and share their talent with the world.”
As Lucie explains, the BOSC space is a platform and a home away from home for all its members, “A polyvalent space which can accommodate pretty much any kind of creative expression, in a space, as safe as possible. I think it’s good to note that even when Simon was still part of the team, two of the founding members are black women, and creating a venue were our community, the LGBTQI+ collective and people from all religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds could feel at home was a TOP priority. To this day, we have a 0-tolerance policy towards any kind of discriminative behaviour and we DO enforce that philosophy every-time it is needed.”
Even through their sometimes-hard fought successes Lucie and Juliette have remained down to earth and humble. As a result of their hard work and dedication even through the recent COVID lockdown period they still remain grounded in their local scene. “So far, we have worked with mostly local collectives (Pineal, thood, LBO, 2trckrs, Hook Collective, Kommuna, Breathedeep, Sunet Curat… to only name a few) and many DJs based in Barcelona, we were lucky enough to see some extremely talented artists behind our booth and are looking forward to keep on going.
We also had the opportunity to host parties for our Madrid friends of Tres y Dos and Quinoa Experience, the Italian crew She Made, and the very prolific up and coming Rings of Neptune booking agency.” Going back to their London roots they also working with Outransa with a special shout out going to Kensa and Nicky Macha who have been friends and supporters for a very long time. The minimum common denominator are up-and-coming collectives which find in BOSC a creative, polyvalent and intimate space to express the first steps into establishing their brand without compromising on quality. For BOSC, is an unique opportunity and at the same time humbling experience to grow hand to hand with this collectives – offering them a cosy but professional settings for them to taste the water. However, its not limited to this. Same applies to established brands who are looking for an intimate experience in a venue with a peculiar history and setup.
Joining forces with the upcoming players in the Barcelona scene has indeed kept them grounded within the city but it is perhaps their connection with Alex Picone of Small Black Dots and Seekers that would take BOSC in new and exciting directions. Lucie gives insight in to their connection, “Alex and I met each other during a seekers event that happened in Buena Onda Social Club around the pandemic era and I think he just fell under the charm of this old building and its story. I obviously knew about the label, its contribution to the scene, so I was very happy and proud when he showed interest into working with us and ceased the opportunity. Out of mutual respect for each other and a common passion and dedication to this culture, Studio Carbonell came to life.” Studio Carbonell, named out of respect for the previous project that the building hosted, propose to offer something different to the city’s underground scene, often saturated and at times a bit repetitive between headliner and big rooms clubs.
A series of carefully curated lineups by the artistic director and co-founder Alex Picone will start at Buena Onda Social Club in October 2022. Lucie continues to provides the scoop on the immediate future of BOSC and Studio Carbonell, “Alex indeed introduced us to a very prolific team of dedicated people who developed a unique a fully hand crafted and customised sound system who’s going to elevate the sound experience not only for the crowd but also for the artists. We are very excited to premiere this new feature during OFF THE RECORD WEEK as well as premiering the first release of the sub label Studio Carbonell which we are also very excited about.”
Near future plans includes polishing the venue in terms of set up and amenities, as well as diversifying their activities with masterclasses, podcasts, streaming, more tech in events productions as well as cultural events and broader field activities in the artistic spectrum. Needless to say, the possibilities are endless.
Being based in Barcelona means that there is a fertile nightlife community on their doorstep all year round but mid-June is where the magic happens. To ensure that this special time is even more memorable they have created the OFF The Record brand and have joined forces with Little Black Dots who will be in charge of all the bookings for the week. With this in mind it is a certainty that the calibre of artists and music on offer at these events will be well worth adding to your weeks’ itinerary. With a view to shine a light on this truly unique venue and the collectives that embrace their shared vision. BOSC have a seriously full dance card will be kicking things off on Thursday, June 16th with a joint venture between Hypnotic Mindscapes and Kimchi Records and Daura, Nicola Cruz, Cosmic JD, Patamamba, and Chicaiza will be on hand to open up BOSC’s OFF account. The next night and Foundation will have the run of the venue courtesy of Miki, Domenico Rosa, Modex (DE), and octobo.
Hitting the halfway mark in proceedings on Friday, June 18th and Quinoa Experience is next to set down roots at BOSC for an extended session. Taking control of the custom built soundsystem will be Cruz (ES), Cesc (ES), and main man Chris Gorrie. Rounding out Buena Onda Social Club’s fire weekend will be a showcase from Sol Asylum and top of the bill will be KMA80 femme fetale Dana Ruh closely followed by Julie Marghilano, and Pekkuliar. As well as these events taking place at BOSC also part of OFF The Record will be a number of associated events at Small Black Dots record store, secret venues, Tunnel and Red58. Even just a quick look at their OFF The Record program tells you all you need to know about how fiercely individual and utterly independent they remain.