BBC 6 Music visited my studio this week. My studio is at Guildford indie venue and arts hub The Boileroom and, as part of 6 Music’s Independent Venue Week the Steve Lamacq show was on tour, and they broadcast from there. An especially exciting event for me as Steve Lamacq is pretty much responsible for my taste in music and my love of radio, as a medium, it is still my favourite way to hear new music.
I started listening to Steve Lamacq when he was broadcasting with Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 1 in the 1990s, as a complete ’90s indie kid it was my favourite show. This was the time when the Marks Riley and Radcliffe did the breakfast show, and I was young enough not to find the Radio 1 delivery aggravating. Luckily just as I was growing out of Radio 1, they launched 6 Music, and I’d found a new radio home. I do sometimes listen to Radio 4 as well, but I got thoroughly sick of hearing to economist Robert Peston telling us we were all doomed during the crash of 2008. So I went to listen to some music on the other channel instead.
Radio is Best
Radio is something I have always listened to I can’t imagine getting things done in my studio without the regular rhythms of radio programming, they entertain and demark the day in a specific and familiar way. How specific depends on my current routine but the listeners amongst you will agree that radio is a personal medium that accompanies you, engages you and measures out the day like nothing else.
Why Steve Lamacq is Partly Responsible for My Current Work
Steve Lamacq is also partly responsible for my Guitar Distortion series of jewellery. I based these works on my synaesthetic impressions of Matt Bellamy’s guitar playing, he, of course, is one of the three members of Muse. How did I first hear Muse? Well, I’ll tell you. I was driving in the dark, the torrential rain splattering on my windscreen, wipers going like crazy and of course, I had the radio on, the Steve Lamacq show. He played Muscle Museum, Muse’s first single and I was spellbound, I had never heard anything like it before, that strange twisting and bulging of bass, piano and guitar with atmospheric singing and full-on ecstatic, rocking chorus. I had to pull the car over and listen to the extraordinary sounds coming from the radio. Fast forward to now after many albums and much listening later and Matt Bellamy’s chaotic and twisted guitar playing has found its way into solid form in my Guitar Distortion pieces.
It’s Odd Not Being Able to Hear the Music
The broadcast of the show happened from a small table in the corner of The Boileroom, with the absolute minimum fuss of a professional team who work closely and quietly together. Steve Lamacq is as laid back and Doc Marten’d as you’d expect with that rich and inclusive voice, practising his links in-between tracks. It is very odd being in the room and only hearing the spoken part of the show because of course everything happens through headphones. One producer was lining up the information for each link and interview on masses of printed out pieces of paper in a production line to one side; there was an iPad with a big digital clock showing the time in front of Steve and three microphones. Everyone else was tapping away on laptops or disappearing off with equipment to do other interviews.
Dom Frazer who runs the Boileroom did a great interview about the venue and gave me a shout out, thanks Dom! Here’s a little video of what she had to say.
There was also a feature by local band The Stranglers about the music scene of the past in local area, who knew Fleetwood Mac frequently played in Godalming? I popped in and out to chat to people while the broadcast was going on, just to hang out a bit and absorb the event. I was working on a new piece so was in my studio listening to the show which had the benefit of being able to hear the music!
While there were talks with BBC6 Music producers I didn’t make the cut for an interview. Even so you can understand why it was such a brilliant experience to be present at the broadcast of a show that I had not only enjoyed for years but has actively shaped my taste in music which has, in turn, shaped my artworks and jewellery. I am extremely fortunate to have my favourite things combined in what I do for a living. The life-changing magic of music, art and jewellery is exceptional and concrete.