Here are a few videos/photos of past projects I have been involved with. This list isn’t exhaustive, and I might add more information when I remember things I have done.
Pianoman and the early house music scene
Although I started my musical journey playing guitar and drums in punk/indie bands, my first ‘proper’ studio recording (and release) was a house/dance music ep recorded at Beaumont St Studios with my friend Rik Copley. By the time the studio was booked we had a couple of days to prepare (we leaned how to use Cubase and samplers on the fly). Two songs were played, arranged, programmed and mixed in six hours – one of them can be heard below.
In the next video I’m with James Sammon on Top of the Pops in the ’90s. We made hundreds of house music records over a three or four-year period during the ’90s – too many to discuss or even remember. This song: Pianoman Blurred, reached number 6 in the Uk charts. When we found out we were booked for TOTP the following week we had about £2 between us. The BBC put us up in a nice hotel in Kensington – we were drunk before filming began.
Presenter and singer Mark Owen asked us before the show for producer recommendations for his solo album – I suggested John Leckie (fro his work on Radiohead/The Stone Roses). Leckie produced Owen’s solo record – who knows maybe the suggestion influenced his decision?
Professional studio work
By the late ’90s, I worked for/at various recording studios in London, notably Trident, Nomis, Swanyard, Matrix Wessex, Fallout shelter, Strongroom, etc. I worked as a tape-op, assistant engineer, and engineer using SSL E series desks (with G computer) for artists such as Iron Maiden, The Orb, Goldie Faithless, Dido, Dusted, and Lodger. I also began playing session guitar on numerous recordings and on live tours. See below for a few examples.
Live with Lodger on TFI Friday 1998
Video for the song Im Leaving can be found here (I’m dressed as a French Maid).
Dido Isobel – Rollo had been to see me play live with Lodger (in Camden) and asked me to play guitar on this song. Phil Brown was at the controls (Rollo loves Talk Talk), and the voice at the end of the song is me saying “I fucked that last D up” – turns out I hadn’t.
The Dusted album When We Were Young was great fun to be involved with. I played all the guitars on the album as well as assisting, recording and mixing bits of it (my good friend Grippa was engineer – I hope to interview him for the podcast very soon). A second version of the album (Which I also played on) was released later with Dido singing. Below is the single Always Remember To Respect And Honour Your Mother Part One.
And the track Winter from the later release:
Had a Fantastic time recording Portishead and Tom Jones at Swanyard studios in London for Jones’s Reload album. Some of the band turned up hungover – but played brilliantly – I think we used take two. Portishead were amongst the most inspirational, down to earth and enthusiastic people I have ever worked with – Tom Jones was fun too (and loud) – will save the story for if I ever get interviewed.
Rob D Speed Me Towards Death – I knew Rob having assisted on many of the sessions for the Furious Angels album. This time I turned up at Rollo’s studio and Rob was mixing this song – he asked me if I had a guitar with me, I said no, he said go get one… This guitar was recorded in one take (first) – Grippa was at the controls.
Pnut Fool – I played guitars on Pnuts Sweet As album, The brilliant Pauline Taylor is singing on this one (I played on a bunch of her recordings too). On this I was approximating an old soul sample.
Sanata Feels Like Fire – Recorded around the same time as Sweet as – with Pnut, Pauline Taylor, Rollo and Dido. I play acoustic guitar on this one.
Sia – Demo. I spent a couple of days writing with Sia (right at the start of her solo work) – she’s an amazing talent and wonderful person.
Amy Winehouse was another amazing talent I was lucky enough to work with. For the early Back to Black sessions Pnut wrote He can only hold her with Amy. I played guitar and bass (the bits that are not Jimmi Hendrix samples). I remember our faces when Amy started singing (immediately) over the top of the backing track – we were blown away. Here’s the original demo (with me playing).
Speedway: Save Yourself. Was recording with Dido for her second album (In Dave Stewarts Church Studio’s in Crouch End). Ash Howes was engineering and asked me to pop over to Olympic studios and record a couple of guitar tracks for Scottish rockers Speedway – here’s one of the results (I’m on electric guitars – played as loud as humanly possible in the massive live room).
Faithless: Emergency Co-wrote this number with Faithless (having played session guitar and assisted on numerous other Faithless songs). Started with a funky guitar riff (Stone Roses type of thing) played around some drums Rollo had. Swooping guitars and feedback were created on the AMS 15-80 delay.
Paolo Nutini: Alloway Grove This was written around the same time we did Emergency. I was in the studio and Rollo asked me to come up with some ideas for a song (he was writing with for Paolo’s first album). I had been listening to Simon and Garfunkel – so I fired of an approximation (assistant Gavin found an appropriate loop). The song came together pretty quickly – the record company thought it might need another section but we decided it didn’t. We played a lot of football at the time, Paolo was a great goalkeeper.
Cass Fox: Million Dollars I played guitars on Fox’s solo record Come here. The album was recorded in Ark studios in London with Rollo, Mark and Grippa.
The Elected. Around this time I was part of a band called the Elected, touring and recording with writer Ben Langmaid (grammy winner with La Roux) and singer Harry Collier. In fact I remember Cass Fox coming to see us play at the 100 Club in London and dancing at the front of the stage! The band would later change their name to Kubb. Here’s a link to a track called Remain (I co-wrote and played guitar) – recorded at Albert (ACDC’s) studio in London with producer Jim Abiss.
I could never be your woman: Legendary producer Mike Hedges moved into Ark studios for 6 months to complete a movie soundtrack. I helped Mike with computer stuff and played guitar parts for the Hollywood Movie I could never be your woman starring Paul Rudd and Michelle Pfeiffer. This clip with Saoirse Ronan singing on the steps is me (with a sprained wrist from football) playing.
Alongside this I wrote, and played for the Hempolics, a band/collective formed by my friend, colleague, and fellow northerner Grippa (Robin Laybourne). We recorded and toured extensively. Here are a couple of videos featuring me on guitar (and co-writing):
this is up to circa 2007 ish – more to come!