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How to build your own soundsystem on a budget

We teamed up with pro bartending app Freepour to find out how some of the best bars in the business built their reputation

  • 26 June 2022

A soundsystem can be the making of your night out at a venue or bar, altering the way in which we experience music and settle into the atmosphere of the evening.

Have you ever thought about building a soundsystem tailor-made to fit for your space without breaking the bank? In the age of DIY, there is power in doing it yourself. Music revellers enjoy attending spaces which feel cosy, intimate and homegrown, rather than overwhelming, commercial and overhyped.

If you’re wanting to create a space with a soundsystem, but you’re on a budget, you’re in just the right place. We’ve teamed up with Freepour, the app for professional bartenders, and spoken to Alex Harris of Behind This Wall, a basement bar in East London with a soundsystem that will blow your mind.

Behind This Wall has proven that you can get a crisp soundsystem, which matches the vibe of the space, without costing an arm and a leg. The venue regularly hosts music events with DJs spinning records all evening long.

Behind This Wall began as a club night - but it soon became a cocktail bar serving poke bowls, all with a Tannoy Gold soundsystem.

Speaking on how he built one of the most successful bars with a DIY soundsystem in London, Harris says: “I'd say to anyone who is wanting to build a hi-fi system, get the speaker which is right for your room, and work backwards from there.”

He adds: “The soundystem affects the mood of everyone who works here. If you’ve selected the records and the vibe of the room just goes [up], you’re going to be saying to the person who is standing beside you on the bar ‘oh this is a good choice’.”

Mixmag has also teamed up with Freepour to learn more about how to improve your mixing skills with Oli Moon, a bartender who also DJs at The Lexington in North London.

He talks us through making the step from behind the bar to behind the decks, exploring how DJing goes together with his bartending, how he closes out a night, and gives tips on how to hone your own mixing skills.

“If you’re a bartender who wants to be a DJ in that venue, put together a great playlist,” he says to budding DJs.

Lastly, we spoke to Alexander Skovmand from bird in Copenhagen about how to run your own listening bar.

bird has become a well-recognised and respected name within the city - giving dwellers in the Danish capital a space to relax, unwind and listen to groovy tunes — some popular and some rare.

Getting an extensive collection of records was not an easy task, and much of this collection stems from the great relationship between the bar and a vinyl manufacturer. Alexander explains how they achieved this enviable reputation and his tips for those wanting to start their own listening bar.

“It’s all about music, and then cocktails second. Then when the cocktails come in, then the records are blasting in their face,” he laughs.

“It’s good to have good relationships with record stores, they bring in all the customers and guests. We bring customers to them too. It’s good for branding, it’s good for spreading the word.

“When a guest walks through the door, we like to see this space as an extended living room. It’s a place to sit down, zone out with a cocktail in hand and listen to music.”

The Freepour app is a professional bartending app which was created for bartenders, by bartenders. Users can utilise the app to level up their bar techniques and spirits knowledge, dive into a wide-range of shows and connect with other bartenders from around the world.

Download the app here for other series and episodes.

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