So, we know the Tea Street Band sound full of squeaky, funky goodness. But how did it get that way? Producer Alastair Groves might have had something to do with it – for it was his knob and slider duties, at the city’s Sandhills Studios, that gave Disco Lights its Balearic spit and polish. He’s worked his magic on artists from Elvis Costello to Detroit Social Club – via Atomic Kitten. So, if you want to turn your Peavey amps and Korg synths to gold, he’s probably your man.
What’s the sound of the studio these days? What are you hearing?
It’s a big studio with some huge live rooms so it suits traditional bands perfectly. Most of the bands that come through are guitar based, but my favourite projects are with bands that are trying to push the boundaries of what guitar music is, especially the guys that are incorporating a lot of electronic music into their sound.
What do you bring to the finished sound?
An unbridled passion to have as many listeners as I can enjoy the same feelings that I get from the music! At the heart of it I’m just a massive fan of the bands I record, but I’m very sensitive to emotions and energy in a song, and I want to use the technical stuff to present that in the most accessible way.
What are you enjoying listening to around town?
I really like All We Are. They are making a huge sound out really soft, delicate playing. Obviously the Tea Street Band, whose single, Disco Lights, I’ve just done, are awesome and absolutely kill it live. Man Get Out have some absolutely quality new tunes on the way, and a brand new band called Carousel have been sending me some interesting stuff, too.
Is Liverpool stuck in a guitar and skinny trousers groove?
On the contrary, I think there is a massive amount of diversity around at the moment. Just look at the four bands above, all guitar based but all doing massively different things. And then you’ve got bands like The Grande who are pushing their own style of Americana, and whose next album is going to be a real game changer. I think Liverpool will always have those unoriginal rip-off bands, but they are thankfully in the minority at the moment.
How important is it to invest in a good recording?
Invest is the key word. It’s one thing to have amazing tunes, but you’re going to struggle to sell your records if the intent isn’t coming across on the CD, and that’s where I can help. I think this is where the value of a good recording lies, in being able to translate a bands vision into something that every listener can be moved by.
Who are your favourite producers?
Phillipe Zdar is really good, and King Singh too. They are both really good at the little details that give a production that elusive magic. I love what Jim Abbiss did with Bombay Bicycle Club on their first record too!
What Liverpool recording would you like to re-record and make better?
Probably a few of my own from five or six years ago! Although it would be fun to have a go at re-doing something like Timeless Melody…
All time dream job?
I’d love to work with Ben Howard on something, his vocals are something else! I really want to work on a record with All We Are as well, they’ve got something really cool going on.
I’m always on the lookout for interesting local bands to work with, too. I’m really into developing grass-roots bands around the city, so get in touch!