Get the background music right this Valentines

Whether you love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day has rolled around once again. As specialists in background music, we always get asked at this time of year – what’s the perfect background music for a memorable Valentine’s evening?

If you’ve been out for a nice meal, drunk some nice wine and enjoyed some romantic chat,  then you’ll want to close off the evening in a nice relaxed atmosphere, perhaps back at home.

Our top tip is to set up your Valentine’s playlist beforehand. No-one wants to be sat around twiddling their thumbs while their partner clumsily attempts to put on the right music, or draws up a playlist from scratch.

If you’ve got Spotify, set up a playlist ahead of time with some smooth tunes that you enjoy – but also make sure they’re songs that your partner likes. As ever, the background music you choose will have a large influence on the environment you create, and the ambiance in the room. Beware of going too cheesey or gooey.

Even if you’ve been together a long time, it can often be the little things that make a big difference on Valentine’s Day. Win your partner’s heart all over again by taking the time to craft a personalised playlist of your partner’s favourite songs, or even of tracks that mean a lot to you both – such as your first wedding dance, or a song that reminds you of a specific time or place.

Or, if you’re feeling brave and play an instrument, why not turn off the stereo altogether, and break out the guitar to serenade your loved one, and complete the perfect Valentine’s evening. Again beware of going too cringey – but a little sentimentality can go down extremely well.

Another idea could be to roll back the years, dig around in the loft and bring down the cassette player. Nothing’s more romantic than an old mix tape, lovingly created.

Whether you’re head over heels for Valentine’s Day, or whether the celebration turns your heart cold, one thing we can all agree on is it’s never a bad time to be extra nice to your partner, and make them feel special.

And one great way to do this is to use music to enhance the situation.

Pirate Studios Nottingham Review

Nottingham’s an incredibly musical city, so we’re always happy to see new businesses and companies arrive in the city and invest in its potential.

One business, which has recently arrived in Nottingham, is Pirate Studios. With rehearsal spaces in Liverpool, London, Sheffield and many more, it was surely about time that Nottingham got in on the act.

Whether you’re a band, a duo or a solo artist, having somewhere where you can do your thing, without enraging your neighbours, is always useful – and regular rehearsals are hugely important if you’re going to put on a great show.

The Price

One of the first things you’ll notice about Pirate is the price – it’s pretty low. And that’s not because they’re cutting corners – amp, microphone and drum hire are all included in the price.

There are a number of room options available from small spaces, ideal for soloists or bands on a budget, right through to fully equipped rehearsal spaces for larger or more established bands. With sound treated rooms, mixers and PA system included, you can sound as loud as you like, without worrying about disturbing anyone.

Even the smaller rooms come equipped with drum kits, although you’ll need to upgrade to get cymbals and high hats included.

Getting in

With a slick online booking service, choosing your preferred time slot is pretty effortless, and you can see easily see when the rooms are booked out and free, before committing to your slot. The rooms understandably tend to be a little more expensive during peak times, but if you don’t mind rehearsing early – you can grab a room for just £4 an hour!

Once you’ve paid you’re given codes to access the building – which is located opposite Radford Recreation Ground – as well as a code for the room you’ve chosen.

On arriving, simply punch in the code, find your room and get going!

The sound

The rooms sound great, and are equipped with enough gear to mean you only really need your instrument and your band mates to get going. This means you spend less time setting up and putting things away, and more time honing your sound.

The studio offers a great space to forget about the rest of the world for a little while, and focus entirely on your music creation and rehearsal. Even better, specifically dedicating some time to your music on a regular basis will help to ensure you keep improving, and can practice in a distraction-free environment.

This is a fantastic new facility for Nottingham and one that we hope the musical community here gets behind – because this is a fantastic space for any band practice.

Super-charging your running playlists!

We’ve talked about the benefits that listening to music offers exercisers a lot here on the GBM Music blog – and with good reason! We believe that listening to music when conducting a sustained period of exercise, is an excellent way to improve your motivation and enjoyment levels, and therefore to also boost how beneficial each workout you take part in is, and to improve the chances of you conducting more exercise on a consistent basis.

When it comes to exercising, it’s important to try to enjoy yourself as much as possible. The key lesson is that if it feels like a chore, you simply won’t do it, and you’ll struggle to find the motivation to drag yourself out of the door each day.

What is undoubtedly crucial, however, is choosing the right music to have the best impact. This isn’t as simple as choosing music you enjoy – it needs to have a positive effect on your exercise to be worthwhile. In our opinion, it’s best to use a little trial and error when working out what music is most beneficial to you when exercising.

It does seem like there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing your music. In fact, some people even say they prefer listening to spoken word, stories or podcasts while they work out.

Choosing good background music for running

I’m in training for my first half marathon, and I quickly realised that I would need to refine my music playlist to get myself through the rigorous training programme.

So I put together a playlist of my favourite songs. This worked out great until I’d suddenly hit by a song that was too slow, or gentle, and my momentum would suddenly be scuppered, leaving me all out of kilter. I like a lot of slower, softer tracks, but when it comes to exercising, for me personally, they simply don’t cut the muster, and can throw me straight out of my rhythm.

So I weeded out these offenders and concentrated on keeping in high energy tracks with a steady rhythm. I’m one of those people who’s naturally inclined to follow the beat of a song, so I then had to focus on removing songs that were either a little too slow or a little too quick.

Once I’d done this, I had a solid playlist of songs that actively helped me to exercise – and I quickly noticed how beneficial this was. I also realised that it’s important to not be worrying about all this while actually trying to exercise.

Having a pre-prepared playlist that you know is tailored to your exercise needs gives you the confidence to go out and simply focus on your run.

This process was part of the inspiration for GBM Music’s epic running track, which is coming soon. This 30 minute song is designed to guide runners through the perfectly paced run.

In the meantime, let us know what music you enjoy exercising to, and any tips you have!

Why we love Nottingham!

Known across the globe as the home of Robin Hood, there’s a lot more to the city of Nottingham than a little Medieval mayhem.

For some reason, Nottingham’s creative scene sometimes gets overlooked on a national level, but with designers like the legendary Paul Smith, innovative chefs like Sat Bains, and musicians like Jake Bugg and the Sleaford Mods, putting the city on the map, it’s clear that this is a diverse and engaging city to be a part of.

Just recently comedian and actor Stephen Mangan tweeted that the city was a ‘Cultural Powerhouse’ after many of the city’s industries, universities and robin hood impersonators decamped to Parliament for a bumper day of promotion and awareness raising, as they shouted loud and proud about what Nottingham has to offer on a national level.


It’s often said that Nottingham doesn’t shout loudly enough about what it has to offer, but I get the feeling that that’s really beginning to change, and that the city is on the rise, and becoming much more confident in its own skin.

I’ve lived in Nottingham for a little over a year now, and the city’s really impressed me – the Creative Quarter in particular feels like a great place to live and run a business.

There are a lot of fantastic facilities, like the creative hub Antenna – where you can grab a coffee, or go along to workshops and events, and there seems to be a tight nit community of local businesses and entrepreneurs present.

With everything from independent cinemas like Broadway, to festivals like Hockley Hustle, there’s always something quirky and interesting happening in the Hockley area. It’s also hard to beat the amazing 200 Degrees cafe when you need to get out of the office, or studio, and get down to some work with the perfect cappuccino.

From a musical perspective, there are some fantastic venues like Rock City and Rescue Rooms, and there’s always live music to watch in small independents and pubs. It’s also a new UNESCO City of Literature, and rebel writers like Lawrence and Byron give the area an outlaw edge.

With local musicians and producers here churning out great music all around the city, GBM Music is proud to be a part of the diverse and exciting creative scene here in Nottingham.

GBM Music instrument photo shoot


We’ve got something a little different for you in the blog today. Last night, I was let loose in the studio with my new camera, and decided to try and get a few different snaps of some of our favourite pieces of equipment, which we use to create the background music that GBM Music sells.

Here are some of our favourite snaps from the shoot – let us know what you think of them! You can find more info on many of these synths in our blog about favourite gear.

Korg Monotribe

The Monotribe is a real beast, and it looks as good as it sounds, when its MS20 filter is screaming.












Arturia Microbrute

We mainly use this brutish synth to add crunchy basslines, and we love its chunky knobs and dials!

Microbrute GBM Music










Korg Electribe

We also love this guy, complete with useless but cool LEDS on the bottom, and a great little touchpad for adding effects to your instrumental tracks.












Teenage Engineering OP-1

It’s hard to take a bad picture of this stylish all-in-one synthesiser from Sweden. It just looks great!

Teenage Engineering OP-1 GBM











Novation Circuit

One of our favourite new pieces of hardware, this colourful synth simply keeps getting better and better.dscf0202