Not many people in the games industry can say that they landed in this most exciting industry via Top of the Pops and a gig at Wembley arena supporting Boyzone… Nick Keynes can. Nick is not only a bass player but also the Co-Founder of Tileyard North. He is already starting to make a big impact on the region with a vision to build a community of creatives to support film, TV, music and game production. First phase complete, phase two will increase the space for creative work and events by some 40,000 square feet, and best of it all, its repurposing derelict (but rather fabulous looking) industrial buildings. The project brings together the learnings Nick and his team have accrued from developing Tileyard London, when as a band member of Ultra in the 90s and 00s he needed recording studio space. He wanted to help other musicians, then quickly started using his skills in music for TV and games. When he got the challenge of fitting out a building in Kings Cross, he decided that rather than just providing space, that they would provide the kit for musicians to have a bespoke space they could rent. The concept quickly caught on and resulted in the creation of Tileyard London. Tileyard London is now home to a creative community of games companies, esports, TV producers and musicians – some big names too like Soundcloud, Apple Radio, Ginx TV and some major recording artists –Noel Gallagher, Prodigy to name a few. Needless to say it’s very exciting that the concept has come to the North, and with a vision of supporting creatives and just 30 minutes from the new Production Park, Nick is determined to help the council, local enterprise partnership and resident companies make the city a new creative industry hub.
What is great about working in the games industry?
The size of the sector is so exciting, not just audiences but also the production side. I am so lucky in that working with the creative industries I get to meet so many interesting people. The other day I met a gamer who said that for him social media was really anti-social, it’s very individualistic, there is lots of ranting and seems to be designed to rile you rather than reward you. But gaming, that is proper social media. It is collaborative and engages so many people and pulls like-minded people together in a really positive way. That felt like such a brilliant way to describe the industry. The games companies we work with are growing at a fast rate and engaging with audiences, it is great to see it and be part of that growth.
Seeing the many success stories coming through Tileyard’s creative community, meeting so many great people and creating the right environment for people to connect has been a real highlight.
What work have you been doing in the region to support the games industry?
Tileyard North has been in place for 3 months so far, and similar to Tileyard London, it wants to be a destination, providing for its residents as well as the local community. We have three amazing event spaces, we are supporting indie businesses and hosting events like food markets in the outdoor space. We are also home to to the Yorkshire brasserie, a gin distillery, we have plans for future events to bring the community together.
What has been a highlight of your career so far?
The original band days, playing at Wembley Arena was pretty special. But in 2002, after the band, we set up a music production company called Goldust and Paul Kempe invested in that business and that was the catalyst for the building of Tileyard London. Seeing the many success stories coming through Tileyard’s creative community, meeting so many great people and creating the right environment for people to connect has been a real highlight.
We are delighted to be hosting GaMaYo on 23rd November in our main event space, it will mean more game demos, more space to network and we hope developers will take the time to have a look around the space too
What do you think of the role of Game Republic?
We were made aware of Game Republic when we first started work in Wakefield and it was great to see such a thriving network. It is fantastic to have a recognised body advocating and supporting for the sector. Whilst our work is in real estate, what we strive to create is community, that is where the magic happens. Game Republic brings together those passionate about making games and supporting the games industry, and meaningful conversations result. That is why we are delighted to be hosting GaMaYo on 23rd November in our main event space, it will mean more game demos, more space to network and we hope developers will take the time to have a look around the space too.
Why is the region a good place to do business?
Whilst much of the music business is London-centric, we see most of the best bands come out of the North and much of the exciting creative work is happening outside London. Wakefield council have a desire to bring creative industries together and have some exciting plans and there is support from Levelling Up funding and the Local Enterprise Partnership for this work. There is a big aspiration behind this project and it has been good to work with partners so committed to the creative sector in the region and in Wakefield specifically. The Tileyard North is just opposite the Hepworth Gallery, is easy to get to by train from London as well as from Leeds and other cities across the North, and we are only a short distance from the motorway. There is a lot happening and it is great to be a part of it.
What projects are coming up?
Phase II will see another 40,000 square feet for business, hospitality, events and retail. We have had a great start -We have a really good creative agency moving in – Über from Sheffield. We have another agency called Audoo – a music technology company who have built a piece of hardware that tracks music played in retail spaces to help writers and musicians get paid for their works. They are coming up from London. We have a new plug and play model called Tileyard X (TYX) so people can use the space as and when they need. We are looking at companies wishing to come in and curating that so we can have the right mix of companies to benefit the community.
Tileyard North will be the headline sponsor and host of GameDevDay on 23rd November 2023. Tickets are on sale now and FREE for Game Republic members – Book here. GaMaYo will be hosted in the main event space with free tickets available to GaMaYo members alongside opportunities to showcase / demo new games – Book here. Game Republic and GaMaYo members please check your in-boxes and/or Facebook group for promo codes to secure your free places for this event which is set to be the biggest yet but with plenty of space to network, see games, play arcade games and enjoy a bit of quiet time too.