After emailing Marc Riley‘s BBC 6 Music show – he invited me over to see what goes on in the studio. He generally has a live band on and tonight’s was ‘Y Niwl‘ which is Welsh for Fog. I was met in reception by his producer, the lovely Michelle (in fact everyone I met was lovely – the BBC just ooozes loveliness) and got to sit with the production team whilst Marc and the band did their stuff.
And is it all really live? Yes it is (and you’re not allowed to lie on the beeb any more are you). “We have our own back line here” explained Marc “One of these amps is mine. It means that bands can do a sound check for a gig, then just bring their instruments in, and go back and do the gig. I don’t know why more radio shows don’t do it”.
Marc can’t speak Welsh so asked band leader Alun to introduce the band and the tunes – but didn’t tell the backroom staff so his mike wasn’t on which caused a little panic… “Did he tell you he was going to do that!”When I found out who was playing, I bought Y Niwl’s LP and single – great surf music that Dick Dale would be proud of. The Single has three tracks on it that were obviously called ‘one’ ‘two’ and ‘three’ in Welsh. During the session they did tracks with wild names like ‘Sixteen’ and ‘Nineteen’. The sound live was awesome. Chatting to Al from the band, he was really happy with it “We usually practice in a tiny living room – sounds great in there” ‘sounds great out here!”. Inbetween their live tracks Aluns phone went “Ha! we’ve sold an lp to somewone in Newcastle!” “I got it last week” “I posted that to you!”. They’re about to go on tour with Gruff Rhys as his support and backing band – Norway, Spain, Italy, Japan – sounds glamorous to me! I liked them so much, I helped them hump their stuff to the van. Top lads! In the corridoor we passed a rather dapper looking band with wild hair styles who’d been on Radcliffe and Maconies show and were waiting to do another live track – I found out later they were ‘Noah and the Whale’ “I’ve got a ticket for them in March!”.
During the show Marc played a track by someone who’d sent him a link to his song that day. Before the show he asked producer Michelle to listen through it to make sure there was no swearing on it. I was suprised as I remember reading that during the punk explosion, Peel and his producer Walters used to count up how many swear words there’d been in the show (Peel: “we’ve had 2 shits and a fuck so far” Walters: “sounds like a good night”) – Are people really offended by swearing these days? “It’s the present climate mate, you have to be very careful about everything”
After the show Marc and I went for a couple of pints and had a great chat covering everything from how we, the public saved 6Music, the fall out effects of the Brand + Ross stuff at the beeb to evolution, his love of wildlife & his Whale watching radio 4 programme with Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley (who’s birthday it was today). Me:”even my wife’s Aunty Greta who’s in her 70’s loves Richard Hawley’ “I know – I think he’s sold his soul to the devil or something”…..’In search of the Holy Whale’ is to be aired on Saturday after Fi Glover no less – I can’t wait. A fantastic evening – Thanks Marc!
Bob the Chiropodist