Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. No, don’t. We’re gonna tell it anyway, cos that’s the Dad joke way we roll… STALLONE: I’m making a movie about composers. I’m playing Beethoven. VAN DAMME: I’ll be Mozart. SCHWARZENEGGER: Stop it guys. I’m not saying it.
March was a busy old month, which is how we like it, the halls all alive with the sound of music: musicians rehearsing, producers producing, writers having quiet Eureka moments over coffee. We got a sneak preview (or barged in, depending on how you look at it) of the songs resident producer Hannah V has been working on with Jo Harrop – a lush, luxurious mix of smoky jazz and blues. To know that similar collaborations are going on in all the producers’ studios, in all genres – fills us with great joy. If you rehearse here or have a resident studio, don’t be shy! Pop into the office and tell us what you’re up to, world domination-wise. We’re on your side.
ART OF ARRANGING PARTICIPANTS SMASHED IT! Last month saw our second year of running Janette Mason’s sold out Art of Arranging Course, where participants learned how to arrange their own compositions for a master recording. Harder than you might think, but very rewarding when you hear your song come to life in the recording studio. What a privilege it was to see songs in a fairly basic format blossom into absolutely beautiful, fully produced tracks under the gently encouraging tuition from Janette, and vocal coach Kimberly Roberts, who at various points, had the group making bubbling sounds with their lips, crying like babies, and just belting or going all sotto voce in all the right places. Along with a stellar band – Janette on piano, Tom Mason on bass and Simon Lea on drums – there was course participant Mark Choueke on acoustic guitar, lending a hand to the other songwriters, and Graham Plummer who added some great solos. And what a variety of genres we had, from rollicking country, smooth jazzy lounge vibes, heartfelt singer-songwriter acoustic strumming, straight up soul and a gorgeous big ballad show tune. Mark Choueke, who recorded his lush tune called Seaside Girl said, “It’s been a blast, watching people’s talents shine out like that.” And Sofia said, “The course is just fantastic. It was so great to see everyone’s songs develop and to witness the band in that environment at that level of musicianship is a real rarity. It just fills my veins with excitement to just see how they are capable of creating any kind of vision or sound.” Stay tuned – we’re planning to run this course twice a year now!
JAZZ PIANO PERFORMANCE COURSE Hurry, hurry, hurry. Only two places left if you want to take part in Nikki Yeoh’s live piano performance course running over May 5th, 6th and 7th. The tutors are Nikki, Tim Richards and John Crawford. Learn all about comping with a band, culminating in a live set playing with an ace band with Binker Golding on sax, Dominic Howles on bass and Mark Mondesir on drums. That last day gig is also a party, so you can invite your friends and family and show them how great you can play! Cost is £275 all inclusive.
BV COURSE WITH LURINE Advance notice! We’ve been very lucky to get Lurine Cato MBE, lead and backing vocalist supreme, back for another backing vocals course on July 20th, 21st and 22nd. She ran one here in February and got some very special guests in, including Zalon (who did BV’s for Amy Winehouse and has his own thriving music career) to give participants some extra help and insider knowledge of the industry and how to get the best pro gigs. Getting a BV gig over others is all about learning the songs inside out, even hours before, and showing up with the moves as well as the pipes. Lurine is that perfect combination of friendly and encouraging, and no-nonsense, don’t mess with me. She not only has the techniques to share, but a wealth of experience to give you a head start in the BV world. Get in early, as the last course sold out very quickly. For more info: email@example.com
AN OCCASIONAL SERIES OF CONVERSATIONAL AMBUSHES We sit down in the caff for a quick brew and natter with Asian Dub Foundation’s percussive beatboxing flautist Nathan Flutebox Lee, and ADF’s longest serving member, guitarist Steve Chandra Savale, who, in a former incarnation, would tune all his strings to one note and play them with a knife. Nathan is polishing off a Premises’ Full English, and tells me he started playing with his mates The Prodigy before joining ADF, a glorious mish mash of rap, punk, ragga, dancehall, acid house and most recently, drill elements. Though interested in Asian music patterns, Steve in particular is quick to reject what he calls “the hippy part” which I take to mean the cod spirituality of the Buddha of Suburbia variety. They are more into the radical side of things, including The Black Panthers, the radical Indian Naxalite Maoist revolutionaries, and less keen on Ghandi. “Depart as friends?” says Steve, a look of disdain crossing his brow, “Not that bit. It’s nonsense.” Right now, they’re more into collaborating with drill artist Chenks. Nathan says, “We’re not into the gangster element, but we are brown boys from London and the landscape around drill is ours, too. I understand the anger but I like the music, the beats.” At this point the conversation picks up speed, not unlike the pace of drill, which leads to my mishearing Steve’s mention of a collaboration with Radiohead’s Ed O’ Brien as Edna O’ Brien, the Irish literary giant. But the mistake spurs Nathan on to riff on other possible absurd writer collaborations. “Oh yeah, we’re gonna work with Jeffry Archer, Salman Rushdie, who else….” Nathan goes on to talk about the internet brouhaha that followed the release of their 2020 number one single ‘Comin’ Over Here’ an hilarious anti-Brexit, anti-racist collaboration with comedian Stewart Lee. “What was surprising was that the anti-racists were as angry as the racists, I mean, vicious.” With a ‘What can ya do?’ congenial shrug, Nathan is off to join Steve in studio 8 for rehearsal. They’re working on a new album and preparing for a European tour in May. They are fast, funny, furious and exploding with new ideas all the time. For tour dates and more info on all things ADF head here.
WHO’S BEEN IN? Amongst others in March… Tomorrow’s Warriors, Liberty Church, Carcass, Olivia Dean, TIEKS, Trinity Laban, Asha Parkinson, The Dream Syndicate, Maya Delilah, The Trouble Makers, Kamal, Yazmin Lacey, Omar Puente, Matilda Mann, Triggerfish, Johnny Hates Jazz, Biig Piig, Sid James Experience, Jamie Vinall, Heidrunna, Lava La Rue, Irene Taylor Trust, Attawalpa, The CLOCK programme, Jealous Nostril, Bedhead, Glory Choir, Patchwork, Sam Benson, Elephant Kind, Asian Dub Foundation, Marc Almond, Soweto Kinch and the LSO, The Moonlighters, The Waeve, Clive Brown, John Pepito, Slow Thai, Alice in Wonderland, Lola Young, Logan J Parker, Sam Mumford, Lucy McWilliams, Elkka, Ricco, Eve Fisher, Cian Ducrot, Hannah Brine, Kid Apollo, Albion Band, Tom Ball, Midas Jams, Amahla, Cian Downing, Goldfrapp, Rum Buffalo, Jeff Francis, Declan Donovan, Guy McCready and his Third Ear, Tenacity and The Swingle Singers.
HAPPY EASTER ALL. WE’RE OPEN EVERY DAY, SO WHEN YOU GET THE ITCH TO PLAY, YOU KNOW WHERE TO COME!