Sunday, 24 June 2012

In The Studio: 360 in session at Elephant House

This is the third ‘In The Studio’ from Radio To Go. I’m pretty excited. It's different in a lot of ways. Everyone has experimented; it's very much a collaborative work, and the results are great.

The story behind this edition of In The Studio is different, with some cute implications. The basic idea is just to sit down with one or more musicians, and have a nice chat, interspersed with live music. We roll tape and record live. I then tidy it up a bit, and voila: a radio programme, free to any station anywhere, but premiered here. Of course, things couldn’t, and didn’t, work that way with local heroes 360. They’re a band; bands work differently. But we got something else entirely. 360 fans have almost certainly never heard the band like this before. Everyone took a risk. It paid off. You’re in for a treat.

360 In The Studio, with Ross Lydon interviewed, awaits you after the jump.

Once in a very great while, at very intimate gigs, you get to a point where a conversation flows between performer and audience. It’s magical. It calls for exceptional musicians and a very receptive audience. The programme format I’m plugging away at can’t guarantee to deliver this, but it’s a goal to aim for. Either way, it’s an interesting take on a musician and his or her music. 

This session goes back to a long conversation I had with the wonderful team at Elephant House studios, last February; I had featured them in a blog post on the business of running studios in 2012. There’s more of those to come, by the way.  

At the studio, Brian Nordhoff and Rob Cimarosti (aka G-Corp) generously offered me their  facilities to do an In The Studio show. And a couple of months later, talking with 360’s Ross Lydon, we cooked up the idea for an unplugged session and interview. This was also to celebrate the fact that 360, one of Birmingham’s longest running and best loved bands, were back in business after a long and distressing spell off the road caused by Ross’ back problems. 

So we thought about it. And thought some more. Putting a band like 360, with ska and reggae at the core of their music, into a roots studio like Elephant House seemed a great match. Stripping the band’s structure down to a four piece for an unplugged session was a risk which turned into a revelation – it put the band's very musicianly songs in an entirely different light. By the way, this is not, repeat, NOT, advance warning that 360 are reconstructing themselves. They’re still a big fat 8 piece with a dirty great horn section. 

And now, the results are out. A line up of acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards and super cutdown drumkit (snare and ride cymbal), recorded hard, fast and live, in one afternoon, and later augmented with flute, vocal harmonies and fixes. It punched a big fat hole in my initial programme concept. But it also let Elephant House do what they do best. Now, there’s huge beats and scorching basslines crafted from the original rhythm section. 

Did it work? Oh yes. We got a great six-song session, presented here with a post-session interview with Ross Lydon. Lots of facts and information in there, too. As always, this programme is available, free of charge, to any radio station anywhere. The proviso is that the programme is run in its entirety. So if you’re at radio, anywhere, and you’d like to run this, email me through the blog and I’ll get a copy to you. 

There’s more. 360 are so pleased at how it worked out that they will return to Elephant House to record their album. So Elephant House have scored some business through their generous offer to me; 360 have some new approaches to play with, and Radio To Go has a unique exclusive take on one of Birmingham’s most lovable bands. Everyone wins.

One more thing. This isn't the first time been I’ve round this block. 33 years ago I did a session with another 8 piece band from South Birmingham. Then, and it looks like now, those original multitracks wound up as part of an album. The album? Signing Off.  

360's web site
G-Corp / Elephant House

Other shows in the In The Studio series
Steve Gibbons
Steve Ajao 

More music posts on Radio To Go

1 comment:

sheila said...

the best band in birmingham.LOVE all their songs.Great.