Indieterria meets Gavin Monaghan

Dear Readers,

Living in West Midlands may seem less exciting than living in London or in a Greater Manchester area. Many of the smaller villages have few buses running in the evenings and trains are expensive – which obviously has an impact on access to entertainment. But our neck of woods produces amazing music and we have some real hidden gems close to us. We want to shine a light on those assets in our blogs. Not so long ago we had interviewed RawSound TV – an incredible service for local acts. Now we had a privilege to speak to Gavin Monaghan – prominent record producer and owner of famous Magic Garden Studios in Wolverhampton. On May 3rd 2019, Magic Garden will host a fundraiser for Musicians Against Homelessness in Birmingham and the line up is just unbelievable. So read on and grab yourself a ticket while they are still available.

Meeting Gavin is a marvellous experience – he is kind, soft spoken and welcoming. He produced some of the best records we have heard and his stories will leave you mesmerised. Thank you so much for sparing some time for us.

The Wizard of Wolverhampton – photo by Lisette Rex

You have earned the title of The Wizard of Wolverhampton by musicians you worked with. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Gavin Monaghan: Hello Indieterra readers! I’m Gavin, my Studio is called Magic Garden, and I’m very pleased to meet you.

You are a producer and owner of Magic Garden Recording Studios that have been going for thirty years. Can you tell us something about the studio and its rich history? Did it change over the years?

Gavin Monaghan:  I’ve been working out of Magic Garden for 30 years in the West Midlands.  I’m currently in my third and hopefully final location. It’s been a wonderful journey so far, and I’m enjoying every minute of it!

We know that Magic Garden is expanding. What new features are you planning to add to the studio?

Gavin Monaghan:  Joe, Liam and I are working with all sorts of inspiring artists in every genre, and my ambition is simply to keep doing more of the same, while practising Kai Zen (The Art of  continuous self-improvement).  I’m constantly adding new (and old) pieces of equipment and software to push things forward. We have recently finished construction on a dedicated mix and overdub room next door, which is now fully operational. It’s quite hard to contain my excitement! I look at Magic Garden as a piece of art in itself, which will hopefully never be finished.

In 2016 in interview with Louder than War you mentioned that you planned to start a record label with your colleague Mark Evans. What happened to those plans? Are they on hold or is the label up and running somewhere in the shadows?

Gavin Monaghan:  Mark and I are always looking for interesting artists to work with, and develop. We’ve currently put out three releases in single vinyl 45 format. Please feel free to send music. It’s a tiny concern designed to champion new music or help people who are already planning a release with strategies so we don’t release that much.

Magic Garden Vinyl was conceived as an idea from two old friends before The Brexit Con was perpetrated by the awful Tory/UKIP machine on the country. Unfortunately, as Vinyl is mostly manufactured in European locations, this will send the cost of vinyl through the roof (I never saw that on the side of a bus) but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Watch this space.

The list of credits to your name is enormous: Twang, Editors, Ocean Color Scene – enough to make young bands speechless. And yet you are known to work and championing up and coming acts: The Blinders, The Novus, Pagans S.O.H, The Lizards. How do you regard your role as a producer. Do you have your own way of working with artists?

Gavin Monaghan:  Every single artist and every member of every band is so different, that my approach is wildly varied depending on what they need to make the best record we can possibly create. We like to join the band for the time we are with them, and continue to do everything we can after they leave and go out into the world with what we have all created together.

I’m happy to be a sort of Rock And Roll helpline whenever I can, I’m so busy it sometimes takes a while for me to get back, but we always try to go the extra mile.

We are used to asking musicians about their influences. But what or maybe whom can influence a record producer?

Gavin Monaghan:  I’m influenced by inspiring people in every category, existing or as yet uninvented: artists, film makers, poets, activists, singers, musicians, chaos, order, kindness, humanity, animals, revolutionary concepts. Magick and changing the outcome of reality with beautiful intent. What if every good thing you could think of was true or could become so? A life without limits. I find that fascinating.

Before moving to Wolverhampton you worked in London’s most prestigious studios such as Maida Vale or the legendary Abbey Road. Why did you leave the capitol for West Midlands?

Gavin Monaghan: I originally left London to be with family. I ended up staying and it’s home now, though I do work in lots of other places (mostly residential studios) when the need arises. As long as I have speakers in front of me and beautiful music pouring out of them, I’m happy.

Gavin at work

On May 3rd 2019 Magic Garden  will organise a gig for Musicians Against Homelessness. The line up is absolutely mind blowing with Methods, Pagans SOH, The Novus, The Lizards, Moses and The Bohos attending. Can you tell us how the gig idea started?

Gavin Monaghan: I’ve been putting Magic Garden nights on in one form or another since the early 2000’s and quite a few people playing them have gone on to do really well. It’s lovely to watch them grow from a small start into something that people enjoy in a larger scale. The gigs are a lot of fun, and I’m only doing them to benefit various charities these days.

What can we expect on the night and where is the gig taking place?

Gavin Monaghan:  We can expect an incredible night of music, as every band is hand-picked for their awesomeness.

Famous last question – tell us  the weirdest thing that ever happened to you in a studio.

Gavin Monaghan: I was working in residential studio with A very famous band years ago, and a heavy silver candelabra jumped off the grand piano on its own and dented the wall while the singer was playing it. The same night, seven large crows flew into a bay window at the studio Manor House and smashed it to pieces.  Weird is definitely an understatement.

Thanks for asking me to do this, I’m delighted to talk about this path I’m on, and look forward to many more studio adventures.

Gavin at Magic Garden Studios

You can follow Gavin Monaghan and Magic Garden Studios online:

https://www.facebook.com/iamgavinmonaghan
https://www.facebook.com/MagicGardenRecordingStudio/
https://twitter.com/gavinmonaghan
https://twitter.com/MagicGardenUK
https://www.instagram.com/magicgardenstudio/

Poster for Magic Garden fundraiser for Musicians Against Homelessness

On May 3rd (Friday) a fundraiser for Musicians Against Homelessness will take place at The Wagon and Horses in Birmingham (Digbeth area). You will have a chance to see some of the best new indie acts with Methods, The Pagans S.O.H, The Novus, Moses, The Bohos and The Lizards – all hand picked by Gavin and the staff at the Magic Garden Studios. We can hardly wait!

Event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/330685257583461/

You can get your tickets (£5) at the address below:

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/468289

We are hoping you will come down with us to party in West Midlands and celebrate not only our incredible scene – but also the incredible studio and the man behind it. After all somebody mentioned 30th anniversary, right? Who knows, there may even be a cake! 🙂

M/R

Indieterria meets Lower Loveday again

Dear Readers,

We are few days away from our first proper musical showcase at the legendary Nambucca venue in London. We truly can`t wait to see the amazing Tiger Mimic and Memes and this band – Lower Loveday. Ladies and gentlemen – we had a pleasure to meet them a year ago and had amazing time speaking to the band. Now we sat down (quickly) with Lower Loveday`s frontman Mark Washington and  the band`s drummer Tom Garbett for a refresher.  And we had few things to ask them! So read on and check out the band`s new banger of a single.

Lower Loveday logo

You can read our old interview  with the band here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/indieterria-meets-lower-loveday/ 

We have spoken to the band exactly one year ago. A lot has changed in Lower Loveday – including a new member. Please introduce your new bassist to the readers of Indieterria.

Mark Washington (Lower Loveday): Yes, that year really has flown by and a lot has happened! Our new bassist is Ben Gillman from Worcester (West Midlands). He’s an excellent talent who’s played with a few bands in the area before joining us in December last year.

In March, you have released a new single entitled “Fire That Burns Inside”. Can you tell us what the song is about?

Tom Garbett: The song is all about a relationship struggle that I was having at that time and its summarising what I was feeling.  I was left in a rather awkward situation that was really hard to deal with so I decided to put my feelings down into a song. It is brutally honest in that respect. So in general it is a relationship conundrum I would say!

Lower Loveday have been championed on BBC Introducing West Midlands and BBC Hereford & Worcester

The song is promoted by a very interesting video. You show some fabulous dance moves and very colourful outfits. Who directed it and how do you remember working on the set?

Mark Washington:  Ah thanks very much! We had a lot of fun and managed to get it all shot in a day! We choreographed the dance ourselves which you can probably tell from the moves but we wanted to get people laughing and really enjoying the video as well as the song. It really had an amazing reaction! The video was brilliantly filmed and edited by Ben Parry at Indy Motion who are local to us in Evesham.

You are keeping a busy touring schedule. On April 27th you play iconic London venue Nambucca with Tiger Mimic and Memes, then on May 4th you return to O2 Institute in Birmingham to play with Open Arms. What can we expect from your live performances?

Mark Washington:  We’re really looking forward to these shows! You can expect lot of energy and good vibes a lot like our recent music video. We get the crowd involved, get them moving and try to get them to join in with the dancing and make sure they have a smile on their face too!

We heard that you are also looking to play more shows in the North. Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are being mentioned as possible destinations. If any of the Northern promoters want to get in touch with you, what do they need to do?

Mark Washington:  Yes we have quite a few fans asking us to play further north than we have before! Promoters can reach out to us on any of our social media but the best way would be to send us an email directly to: lowerloveday@gmail.com

You can follow the band on the socials:

https://www.lowerloveday.com/
https://www.instagram.com/lowerloveday/
https://twitter.com/lower_loveday
https://soundcloud.com/lowerloveday
https://www.facebook.com/lowerloveday
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClGDR9XIPOo96KRox090yTg

You can catch the band playing a gig in London on April 27th – all info can be found at the event page below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/658720734568060/

 

Poster for our first showcase!

All right – enough fan girling here. Lower Loveday are officially going places and to miss them would be foolish. We will see ya at Nambucca.

Love,
Mal/Rita

Indieterria meets Ivory Wave

Dear readers,

West Midlands scene, although sadly overlooked in the mainstream press, has a long and proud musical heritage. From Duran Duran and Black Sabbath to the ever popular grime scene, Birmingham and the neighbouring cities are producing high quality musical talents at an amazing speed. And slowly things are beginning to change. The new influx of bands such as The Cosmics, MeMe Detroit, Table Scraps, Cherry Pickles, The Novus, The Pagans S.O.H or The Clause are changing the popular perception that only London and Manchester are the music hot-spots to go to. The Second City’s DIY scene has never been stronger and it is ready to take on the world. Indieterria spoke to Sebastian Baldwin, the drummer of  the newest star of the scene, the Ivory Wave, about Madlands, plans and an incoming tour.

George Johnson (vocals)
Luke Morris (bassist)
Connor McMinn (guitar, vocals)
Rob Clarke (keyboard, vocals)
Seb Baldwin (drums, vocals)

Official Bio: Birmingham band Ivory Wave have released their new single ‘Gold’. The band have landed support slots with DMA’S, The Twang and Superfood to name a few as well as playing festivals such as Isle of Wight, Truck and Shiiine On. Their growing army of fans are now packing out venues up and down the U.K. “Gold” is an infectious swagger drenched banger that relentlessly surges hyped up energetic tones into your ears. With a punchy bassline creating a funk flavoured strutting foundation, this track is fun vibrant and full of youthful adrenaline. Slick guitars glide and jingle between snappy drums, while flickering speckles of scintillation through swirling soundscapes. With attitude smothered vocals and pure unadulterated raw energy this swanky groove infested track is an instant shot of vitality and is sure to have you dancing and bopping carelessly.

About the track front-man George Johnson said: “Gold is about realizing your full potential, grabbing it with both hands and running with it.“

Ivory Wave picture taken by James Kay

Ivory Wave is a very poetic name. The story goes it was used in a conversation you once overheard in a pub and thought it would make a great name for a band. Is this true?

Seb Baldwin: (laughing) That’s exactly the case! Our singer George and bassist Luke were sat in a pub discussing potential names and caught the name from a nearby conversation!

You are based in Birmingham and according to your bio, you formed at the beginning of 2016. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria and tell us more about your beginnings. How did you meet?

Seb Baldwin: Ivory Wave is made up of singer George Johnson, bassist Luke Morris, guitarist Connor McMinn, Rob Clarke on keys and of course me. We’d all played in different bands before and ended up forming through mutual friends and connections. We wrote the first few songs and it all just clicked.

We listen to hundreds of bands per year but we can safely say that nobody plays like you do. You remind us of the golden days of The Hacienda, Mancunian rock mixed with rave beats, but with a contemporary twist. Ivory Wave is not just a nostalgia play, but something brand new. It is fresh and exciting. What do you think?

Seb Baldwin: It is the same with us! We all listen to such a wide and varied mixture of music and styles that it’s hard to pin point specific influences down. We’ve all listened to most of what came out of Manchester scene so there are undoubtedly nods to that sound. But we have never laboured to create something that replicates a specific sound but rather focused on writing something that feels real and genuine to us.

You have been compared (but of course!) to every Madchester legend there is, from 808 State, Stone Roses, The Charlatans, New Order and Inspiral Carpets to Happy Mondays and even The Beautiful South. But you come from Birmingham! How did that happen that a Brummie quintet started playing Manchester inspired music in the middle of West Midlands?

Seb Baldwin: I think it is because we listened to all those bands growing up and although we have never consciously tried to write anything that sounds like them, those sounds have crept into the music we produce.

BBC Introducing in West Midlands described Ivory Wave as a “perfect combination of rave, acid hip hop and classic rock a la Duran Duran”. This is the first description of that sort we ever heard! Who inspires you to write?

Seb Baldwin: We are inspired by such a wide range of different artists, it wouldn’t feel fair to name few individuals. The key to our sound has always been the range of different genres that our music tastes cover. From hip-hop to rock, from pop right across the spectrum to grime, we all indulge in a wide enough range that when it comes to writing our own music, we all bring different dynamics and angles to what we put out.

The band is known to keep to “no label, no management, no agent” rule. Although you are not the only ones in the business to do so (Jordan Allen, Strange Bones or The Clause also decided to follow that path) it means doing everything yourselves. Does day to day managing of the band affairs have an impact on the creative process?

Seb Baldwin: Most definitely. To take the time to manage the bands social media, book shows, engage and organise meetings with a people across a range of parts of the industry to name a few things, all while we are working full time obviously takes a decent wedge of time away from creating music and playing.

Ivory Wave supporting the excellent DMA’S at the sold out gig at O2 Academy in Birmingham. Picture by James Kay

You are credited with creating the “Madlands” musical movement. Who else, besides you is in the league and what bands should we all be looking out for?

Seb Baldwin: (laughing) This is a common misconception! Jacky-P, ex-BBC WM Introducing presenter and DJ for Scxrlxrd actually coined the term, although we are more than happy to champion it. And we have to name every band in the area who is pushing for the common goal of putting the Second City back on the map musically: The Clause, Riscas, The Novus, Violet and Sugerthief to name but a few as the list goes on and on and on.

Ivory Wave supported established acts as The Twang and DMA`s and appeared on festivals such a Truck, Shiiine On and Isle of Wight. This year, you are already booked for Live at Leeds and Lakefest among others. Are you eager to take your music to the next level?

Seb Baldwin:  We are all grinding and pushing as hard as we are able. Getting to play bigger and better shows is already an amazing and humbling confirmation that our music is being well received and that we are establishing ourselves more and more as time goes on. Onwards and upwards.

April and May will see you hitting the road and going to Preston, Manchester, Nottingham and Leeds. Are you planning to add more dates? What about London or Glasgow? Any plans on playing there?

Seb Baldwin: We cannot say much yet, but we have a number of shows in the pipeline and will be announcing details of all of these soon!

Your current single “Gold” was released in January 2019 to a phenomenal response. It was a song of the week for BBC West Midlands and gave you several spins on BBC 6 Music by Steve Lamacq himself. The song also amassed over 18K streams on Spotify. We can easily say that this song is going through the roof. Did you expect such a positive response from public and music business alike?

Seb Baldwin:  We had been playing “Gold” for well over a year in our live set, and although we all loved it as a track we hadn’t thought of it as a standalone single until the fans started to beg for its release. After an influx of tweets and messages asking us to release it next, we went back into the studio and the result it out for the world to hear.

They say “ride the wave until the grave” – so we want to know, where is Ivory Wave taking you next?

Seb Baldwin: We are in this for the long run, although we couldn’t call exactly where we will end up. We are all driving at the band building and growing as time goes on. Long live Ivory Wave.

Articles:
https://counteract.co/interview/interview-ivory-wave-discuss-their-biggest-gig-to-date/
https://www.shiiineon.com/blog/ivorywave/
http://www.uniquelullaby.co.uk/2019/01/interview-w-ivory-wave.html
https://wordsformusic.blog/2019/01/27/band-profile-ivory-wave/
https://www.musicglue.com/ivorywaveuk/bio

Catch Ivory Wave on tour and you can now win two tickets  for their homecoming gig in Birmingham.
Good luck!

Please come back soon as we have some very interesting interviews and reviews coming later this month.
Catch you soon!

R+M

Indieterria meets Raw Sound TV

Hello!

Some might say that there’s never been a better time to be a musician. Internet gives you access to billions of users, streaming platforms are easily to set up and curators are at the stretch of the palm. You can set up professional recording studio in your own bedroom as the equipment is getting better and cheaper and it is not hard to master its use. It seems, the rock and roll dream is just around the corner and ready for grabs.

Others might argue that the technological edge is the same for everybody and it is hard to break through thousands of other bands competing for attention.  There are also external factors that need to be taken into consideration: lack of funding, closure of local pubs and venues, austerity, quickly changing musical trends, constant search for something new fueled by social media and Instagram influencers. DIY musical scene can also be divided and lack of unity affects the bands and gig goers altogether. You could say that for every ray of sunshine, there is a big rainy cloud covering it.

Yet the DIY  scene is holding on despite the odds. Bands are recording, exciting music is somehow making it to the national radio stations and new opportunities are springing up here and there. Indieterria sat down to speak to Mark Piddington the man behind RawSound TV to speak about the new ideas to help emerging artists, production techniques and their plans to permanently change West Midlands musical scene.

You call yourselves an “old school MTV” style music show in the Internet era. Please introduce yourselves to readers of Indieterria.

Mark Piddington: Hi. I’m Mark Piddington. Producer and Presenter of RawSound TV. Part of the reason for the idea of RawSound TV was that I could see that there was a lack of decent live music “tv” shows. Especially for unsigned artists. A show in the style of “The Tube”, “The Word” and many other iconic TV shows from the past that I felt the older generation were missing and the younger generation were missing out on.

Raw Sound TV is live music show recorded at Glass Onion Studios in Birmingham every two weeks, broadcasting on your YouTube channel on the Sundays in-between. Your shows include interviews with unsigned and new artists doing live performances and featuring videos along with interviews with the bands and occasionally live gigs. You’ve had 4 seasons so far and are currently working on a new season which is due to broadcast on the April 14th. Can you tell us how the recording and filming process works? 

Mark Piddington: We invite bands and artists to our studio which is fully equipped for recording and filming. After they arrive and meet the crew, we set them up for a sound check/ rehearsal, during which time the crew get audio levels for recording and camera angles worked out. After a short break it’s on to recording. The red light goes on and we film them performing three live tracks. After a short break we then conduct a short interview. We go through this process twice as we usually have two live bands featured per episode. After the bands have gone we do our ‘bits to camera’ which includes introduction to the show and individual intros to the bands. It can be a long night! Then, once all this is done, its on to editing the show for broadcast on the follow Sunday which usually takes well over 40 hours over the week.

Raw Sound TV at work – photo by Danielle Clarke

How long does it takes for a band to appear on Raw Sound TV? How do you select the bands? What do you look for? 

Mark Piddington: We encourage bands and artists to get in touch with us if they want to appear on the show.  Selection is very difficult for us as there are so many fantastic bands and artists around at the moment. We know that a lot of them unfortunately won’t get to appear on the show as we are only able to feature two bands per show.  We don’t let our own personal tastes influence who appears on the show. We try to look for quality in musicianship, song writing and what/ who we feel our viewers should be seeing and would appreciate.

Besides the music show, you also offer other services: recording live performances, making and editing videos and even access to a recording studio/rehearsal space. We know many artists look for those services – so please tell us about what you also offer and how bands go about this? 

Mark Piddington: The recording studio is a separate entity to RawSound TV. I established Glass Onion Recording Studio in 2003 and have been recording bands there since.  As well as recording, I also offer rehearsal space, studio dry hire and also music video production. If anyone wish to use any of the studio facilities/services, they can contact me via any of our social media platforms or at RawSoundTV.com.

Money matters are hard to talk about – but essential for both businesses and artists alike. Can you tell us about the fees and other charges that artists approaching you should consider?

Mark Piddington: Firstly, to clarify, we are not a business. RawSound TV do not charge anything for bands and artists to appear on the show.  It is totally free.  As the crew and I do not get paid and the studio given for free, we are currently trying to get the show funded in some way so we can continue to offer this opportunity to unsigned bands without them having to pay. Having been there myself I know that young musicians don’t generally have the funds to afford what some companies charge for ‘promotion’ and what they get for their money.

You’ve featured and worked with an exciting array of West Midlands acts: Alex Ohm, The Clause, The Cosmics, The Verse, Ivory Wave, Karkosa, Lady Sanity, MeMe Detroit, The Novus, Sugarthief, Violet, Lycio, La Dharma, The Goodwater and Candid – the list is endless. If an artist or band wants to get involved, how can they reach you? 

Mark Piddington: We have worked with over eighty bands and artists in the twenty months since we started. Some of whom are most definitely destined for big things. If an artist wants to appear on this show they can contact us on our website at RawSoundTV.com and navigate to the ‘want to be on the show?’ section.

You have filmed performances in many different places in West Midlands: The O2 Institute, Castle and Falcon, Square One in Coventry and The Flapper to name just a few along with outdoor festivals such as Lunar and the Bewdley Music Festival. Is it harder to record in a small, intimate club or in a large arena? 

Mark Piddington: They both have their difficulties. As opposed to the studio which is a controlled environment set up for filming and recording, live venues are not. Therefore, we always have obstacles to overcome when filming away from the studio.  More often than not, sound recording and lighting problems are the usual suspects as we have little or no control or influence over these.

Raw Sound TV have recorded many, many bands and concerts over the last couple of years but we are sure some of the performances must have stood out from the others. Do you have any favourites? 

Mark Piddington:  That’s a very difficult question. If I’m honest the ones that have stood out for me are when the whole recording process and post production has gone smoothly or when the crew have had a particularly good session and the band have performed well and, more importantly, enjoyed themselves. It is great to see the bands’ reaction to the whole process from ‘our side’ of the process. Festivals are always good fun for the crew but the days are long and can be a logistical nightmare (especially when it rains)!

Imagine that you can film any artist in the world, where and why?

Mark Piddington: Ahh, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for something exciting we “might” be doing over the summer that will answer this question. So watch this space!

Is there anyone you’d like to invite to appear on the next series or future series? 

Mark Piddington: There is no one in particular I have in mind.  The plan is to keep on inviting the best new, unsigned bands and artists on to the show.

Last question – we are only in April, but what are your plans for the upcoming months. Anything exciting to tell us about any what you’ll be including in forthcoming shows?

Mark Piddington:  Every show is exciting for us. Being able to give young artists this kind of platform and the excitement and enthusiasm they have for the show gives myself and the crew a massive buzz and makes the whole thing worthwhile. We also get a huge lift from the positive comments on social media from the bands who have now become friends and their fans alike.

No rest for technical crew – photo by Danielle Clarke

Lights, camera, action – photo by Danielle Clarke

You can follow RawSound TV on their socials:

Official website: http://rawsoundtv.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rawsound.tv/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rawsoundtv
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rawsoundtv/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzvfJMPXYhK65X2VRDIkifg

Please contact Mark if you’d like to be included in the next series of concerts. Also, if you have performed for RawSound TV in the past and you’d like to share your videos, please contact us and we will be more than happy to share your experiences.

We also have some incredible  artists to showcase  this month and we are thrilled to be sharing our new interviews with you soon.
Thank you for reading and see you soon!

Rita and Malicia

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