A recording studio in the backstreets of Walthamstow was the birthplace of one of the most iconic songs of the 1990s.

Bark Studio in Blenheim Road, Walthamstow, was founded by music enthusiasts, Brian O’Shaughnessy, 62, and John O’Connor, 65, in 1983.

Over the years, the converted sound-proof garage has produced thousands of records and worked with hundreds of artists, including Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, The Firm and Walthamstow band E17.

John, a folk lover, was recording music from a makeshift studio in his bedroom in Richmond Road, Walthamstow when he met Brian, a rock’n’roll guitarist from Hackney. 

In 1987, the studio laid the groundwork to write, produce and mix Star Trekkin’, a parody song about Star Trek that went on beat Whitney Houston’s ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ to Number 1 in the charts.

The instant hit, sung by The Firm, was played across radio waves from London to New York and sold over half a million copies.

Brian said: “One of the greatest highlights of my career was producing Star Trekkin. The record was produced to mock the series and we had no idea it was going to be a big hit.

“We tried to sell it but no other company would touch it, so John released it under his own record company and it went on to beat Whitney to the no1 spot.”

The success of the single paid for John to launch a career in California and allowed Brian to buy the studio from him.

John lives in Santa Barbara and works in Hollywood on various high-profile projects including
writing the music for the popular animated sitcom, King of the Hill. 

Since the early 1990s, the style of music recorded at Bark Studio moved towards alternative, indie style and attracted Mercury Prize winner’s Primal Scream to record the ‘Primal Scream’ album and the hit single Loaded.

Produced by Andrew Weatherall, the single defined an era when indie music cross-pollinated with the emerging dance scene.

Brian said: “Working with them was more chaotic than anything I had done before.

“There was a bit of late-night drinking and partying on their behalf.

“I was proud to be involved with the single because it was a fusion of dance and rock.

“It was ground-breaking and a pioneering track for what was the start of the rave scene.”
Brian says the music scene has shifted in the past 10 years.

“You don’t hear of many independent recording studios that still exist. Illegal downloading has broken the business model and most of the studios in London have gone.

But Brian continues to get a buzz from his workand Bark Studio continues to survive through word-of-mouth recommendations.