Archive for the Interview Category

Interview: Chi Lameo – Producer/Engineer

Posted in Interview on March 20, 2011 by Thorun band

Sixteen Tonnes is already a fan of the constantly morphing Spider Kitten, so we asked the bands main man about his other life as a producer/engineer:

16T: When did you first get into recording and how?
Chi: I started when I was about 12. I had a little cassette 4 track that I used until the tape heads broke. I was fascinated immediately by multitrack recording. To this day I enjoy recording much more than playing live. I’ve recorded every release that Spider Kitten have put out myself and I’m immensely proud of that. I only started recording other people’s music about 6 or 7 years ago. I started with recording friend’s bands for free and I’m now at a stage where I can charge a reasonable fee for my services. It really is the best job in the world.
16T: Was there a particular record or band that really inspired you to get in to recording music?
Chi: Pink Floyd. Listening to The Wall when I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to be Bob Ezrin as well as Roger Waters. The way the tracks segue into each other and all the sound effects, it’s like a film without visuals. My ultimate goal is to create something as powerful, challenging and as beautifully put together as The Wall.
16T: Which recording engineers/producers have had the most influence on you?
Chi: I’ve already mentioned Bob Ezrin, there’s also Jack Endino, Billy Anderson, Brian Wilson, Trent Reznor, Roy Thomas Baker and Steve Albini.
16T: Do you have your own style or technique when recording or is it based mostly on the band your working with?
Chi: I definately have my own style, but I’m also entirely open to working in different ways. The most important thing, more important than fidelity, is that the band are comfortable. Personally I like to build things up in layers, starting with the drums, the bass, rhythm guitar, vocals, lead guitar and then anything else. It gives me absolute control over how each element sounds. Most bands hate working like this and prefer to record all their parts at the same time and, as I said, their performance is the most important thing. My job is to capture it the best I can.
16T: Who have you enjoyed working with most?
Chi: My favourite person to record is Jimmy Rowe. He’s a singer/songwriter who mostly plays acoustic blues. Pretty much everything he does is amazing and he’s up for letting me experiment with different techniques and arrangements. We’ve had some fun in the past drunkenly recording washboards and inventing percussion instruments.
16T: You’ve been involved in the underground music scene in Wales for some time now. How do you feel it has changed over the years?
Chi: I think it’s got much, much better. In the 90s there really wasn’t much good alternative music in South Wales, just shit indie and lots and lots of ska. Notable exceptions were Snorkmaiden and Cementimental who were doing some pretty wacky stuff. Now there’s a lot of great bands, heavy and not so heavy. I think there’s also quite a variety of sounds within each genre too. There’s not a specific Welsh sound, which I suppose is a good thing.
16T: We hear you are setting up a new studio. What’s the latest?
Chi: I’m in the process of setting up a studio in a 100 year old chapel in the valleys, complete with an enormous pipe organ. There’s still a lot of work to do, and getting planning permission has been an almost Kafkaesque experience. I’m hoping that everything will be up and running by the end of this summer. It’s going to be great. There’ll be a nice big live room and obviously the potential for real church reverb is a pretty tantalising prospect.
16T: Finally, anything in the works at the moment?
Chi: I’m putting the finishing touches to the debut album of a band called Pus. It’s very, very heavy and nicely psychedelic. Then I’m going to be working with a crust punk band called Smiler, this will be the second release I’ve done for them. Also I’m recording the new Spider Kitten album. It’s a mammoth undertaking involving at least 2 studios and a rediculous amount of vocal tracks. I’m getting to flex my prog rock production muscles.
16 Tonnes suggest you use this guy to record your next album!

Listen to Chi’s most recent work > HERE <

Listen to Spider Kitten > HERE <

INTERVIEW – Steve Williams of Budgie

Posted in Interview on March 13, 2011 by Thorun band

Budgie are considered by many to be one of the very first heavy metal bands (Proto-Metal) and a seminal influence on many acts that appeared later during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Their influence has been noted and songs covered by big names such as Metallica and Iron Maiden.

The band formed in 1967 in Cardiff, South Wales and went through a number of name changes before settling on Budgie. Between 1971 and 2006 they released 11 studio albums, 5 live albums and 5 compilations.  We caught up with Steve Williams to talk about his 37 year career as Budgies main tub thumper and he was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.

16tonnes: What inspired you to pick up your first set of drumsticks?
Steve Williams: The drummer with a trio playing gospel music at a Pentecostal chapel in Hengoed when I was about 10 years old (1963). I spent the next couple of years beating the shit out of a baby formula tin (filled with marbles) with a pair of my mothers knitting needles.
16T: What bands/artists have had the biggest influence on your playing style?
SW: My earliest influences came from a pretty eclectic bunch that consisted of almost anything I could find in my parents collection of 78’s and, later, 45’s that didn’t jump too much when spun on our old gramaphone (God I sound old!) Connie Francis, Fontana Bass and Glen Miller to name but a few. Later, when I’d grown up, Jimi Hendrix, a relatively unknown band called Trapeze, The Beatles, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple took over as did Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Led Zeppelin.
16T: How did you feel when you found out that Budgie had chosen you to take over drumming duties?
SW: Satisfied and rich. Guaranteed £30 a week plus ex’s. (my first real job)
16T: What was the most exiting moment during your career?
SW: That would have to be playing Reading festival in front of 35,000 people. Nothing else quite like it!
16T: What do you think when people describe Budgie as having a huge influence on the invention of Heavy Metal?
SW: It’s quite humbling really to think that something I was invloved in was listened to by, and influenced, young musicians who would form bands that would later become household names like Metallica and Iron Maiden.
16T: Why do you think the band have stayed together (in one form or another) for so long?
SW: Sheer Bloody Mindeness!
16T: How did having Craig Goldy (former Dio guitarist) take over guitar duties effect the band/sound?
SW: He’s a great musician and a lovely, if troubled, man. I enjoyed working with him and would love to do more in the studio and live with him outside of Budgie. He’s one of the most inspiring musicians I’ve ever worked with and I just know there’s a shit hot album inside him waiting for the right people, with the right musical chemistry, to drag it out. As far as the affect his sound had on Budgie, well that’s a little difficult for me to answer as I don’t know what we sound like from an audiences perspective. Onstage it sounded big and powerful and his playing, being more old school, was much more in keeping with Budgie’s style.
16T: With Burke Shelly recovering after falling ill during the recent tour in Poland, what are the plans (if any) for the future of the band?
SW: Can’t answer that yet. Everything depends on Burke making a full recovery and being confident he can physically and mentally cope with the rigours of life on the road. We’ll just have to wait and see.
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Many thanks to Steve for his time and we wish Burke a speedy recovery.
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Find out more about Welsh rock legends Budgie > HERE <
Video of Budgie playing the Old Grey Whistle Test June 1975 > HERE <