Sun Ra Arkestra

Cafe Oto wants to make its unique and adventurous music available to all

I’m the senior producer at OTO Projects – I look after the concert programme at Cafe OTO and also our small record label – OTOroku. Cafe OTO was started six years ago by Hamish Dunbar and Keiko Yamamoto with the aim of making a home for a variety of non-mainstream musics and we continue to host an adventurous programme of concerts almost seven nights a week.

How we arrived at the idea for our project
Our idea is to start a digital subscription service that makes available live recordings from Cafe OTO.

Lots of people from outside London seem to be checking out what we do and have been buying the vinyl LPs we release. It feels like we have a growing profile outside of our immediate locality and it would be great to be able to give people greater access to what goes on here and also use it as a way to increase the profile for some of the fantastic but lesser known people who play here.

We’ve been sporadically recording concerts since the venue started. Last May – thanks to the generous donations we received as part of a crowdfunding campaign – we were able to purchase a high quality multi-track recorder that is now permanently installed in the venue. This means that we can record everything. But it still costs money to turn these raw recordings into high quality files for people to listen to, so we’re hoping to see if there are enough people willing to pay for a subscription that will cover the costs of getting these recordings out into the world.

What stage is the project at now and what’s the next step
At the moment we’re working on the online infrastructure that will make the subscription possible and we’re starting to whittle down our ‘long list’ of favourite shows that we have in our archive.

What help do we want from the hub and its followers
We’d be interested in hearing from anyone else who’s trying to do the same or a similar thing or has done it before – with or without success!

* To keep up-to-date with Cafe Oto’s Joining the Dots project by sign up to the hub newsletter, follow the hub on twitter or like the hub Facebook page.
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Watch short films from the three other Joining the Dots winners here.
* Image of Sun Ra Arkestra courtesy of Fabio Lugaro. More Cafe Oto images here.
* More about Cafe Oto from Guardian Music.