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Blog: Maida Vale

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It was off to leafy Maida Vale and The World Famous BBC Maida Vale Studios last night for our Radio One Session - WAHEY! The studios themselves are BLOODY MASSIVE, it's a confusing and complex MAZE of corridors and tiny rooms, and when we first arrived found ourselves transformed into A NORMAL BAND i.e. instead of been our usual calm, collected, organised selves we turned A BIT DAFT. Cars were parked at the wrong end of the (MASSIVE) building, people got lost, communications were confused and a lot of time was spent bumping into things. We were, I guess, a bit nervous.

During our confused wanderings around we came across the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Tom was very excited, and LURKED nearby to LOOK upon them) and Mark Lamarr. We were very COOL about the whole thing, nodding hello and NOT squeaking "Ooh! It's Mark Lamarr!!"... at least not until we'd gone round the corner anyway.

Finally we got all our gear to the studio, which was FANTASTIC - it was like a MUCH POSHER, much LARGER version of the studios we've been in before, but with a whole huge balcony area above it where you could (attempt to) RELAX whilst other people were doing their soundchecks. There was even a dispensing machine for Free BBC Earplugs, AND a coffee machine, of which we availed ourselves merrily.

Best of ALL the equipment though was the Personal Mixing Boxes. Each of our headphone sets were connected to a Personal Mixing Box, which you could use to alter what you heard through them so that, for instance, I could have TONS of bass and drums, SOME guitar and Emma, and ... er... pretty much NO Tom (hey! it's so GRATE it distracts me!). We were all EXTREMELY pleased to have this going on, as we ALL got to hear what we were doing, although it was a bit embarrasing when somebody'd say something to me and I couldn't hear them, because all I was listening to was ME.

We got to have a BIG practice of the songs, which was GOOD because... well, some of them we weren't quite as sure about as others, ESPECIALLY the choruses of "Leave My Brother Alone" which we went through MANY MANY MANY times, as I couldn't sing it quite right. Still, we eventually got through full versions of each of the three songs, and then went into the mixing room to listen to it. This was DEAD GOOD, as we could get EXACTLY the mix we wanted to be broadcast, AND they played out the mix into the LIVE ROOM too over the PA system on the balcony. It was thus an ODD experience as, if you stood up there, it felt EXACTLY as if there was a band playing downstairs, which was a little disconcerting when it was my own voice bellowing out over the top of it all.

We also took the time to inspect the walls, all over which BANDS had written their names, as bands are WONT to do. It was quite surprising to realise just how many people we knew had been here before us. It was HUMBLING to realise we were by no means the FIRST to do this thing, tho by the looks of things we were probably the first to turn up without EITHER marker pens NOR stickers.

That done we headed to THE PUB, to pick up our MIGHTY POSSE - we were allowed to take a few people in with us, but it turned out to be quite a bit less people than we'd originally hoped, so quite a bit of a) apologetically kicking people off the list and b) not even getting to ask several lovely people we'd have liked to happened. Still, we did have a good few still, and we all stood around getting a bit nervous and having a BEER. I always find that BOSSING PEOPLE AROUND makes me feel a bit more calm, so I did a bit of that and soon it was time to head BACK.

When we arrived we got everyone signed in, and then some Radio People came and guided us through the corridors - I guess it was to make sure we didn't steal the GIGANTIC BASS DRUM from the BBC Symphony Orchestra. What sort of people did they think we were? And anyway, Tim's boot isn't big enough to fit it. We got everyone into the studio (where Tim and Emma had hung up THE BACKDROP - we are SO cool), and Mitti The Engineer said "I'm putting the radio on now".

A NERVOUS QUIET hung over the room, as we stood and listened to the show, coming in JUST as he was, I think, first TRAILING our bit. We stood and listened to a few songs, and then we were ON! There was a brief chat then we did The Gay Train which seemed to go OK... well, apart from the fact that I forgot about the middle bit like I always do. There was then time for several of us to RUN OFF for a TOILET BREAK, and then we were back on for MORE CHAT. I must say, by now i was REALLY enjoying myself - i always get TERRIFIED before doing this sort of thing, but really enjoy it once we get going. I've been practicing doing interview IN MY HEAD for most of my adult life, so it feels quite natural... and it's also probably why i tend to GO ON quite a bit. The interviewers IN MY MIND never interrupt, so i tend not to give the ones in REAL LIFE the chance to.

Eventually it seemed like time to do another song, so we did Leave My Brother Alone, which, to me, sounded DEAD GOOD. We've got this whole BREAK DOWN bit in the middle where Rob and Tom join in the singing, and although I couldn't HEAR them when we did it (Mixing Box Settings: ALL ME) it sounded LOVELY when i Listened Again. There was then FURTHER CHAT, and EVEN MORE of Me Going On (i realised I'd not mentioned tour dates, so made an URGENT BID to get them in), and then The Lesson Of The Smiths which all felt rather easy - a GOOD choice for the last song, as it was the one we've played most!

And then that was it! We were all really enjoying ourselves and suddenly it was all over! BAND HUGS then ensued, BIG GRINS emerged, PALS came down to say well done, and The Speakers In My PA System came down and gave me a further BIG HUG, which was RATHER REQUIRED as I suddenly discovered that I was ABSOLUTELY PETRIFIED. It was like that time we went in a helicopter in Hawaii - while it was happening I thought I was fine, but it was only when it was over that I realised i was RIDDLED WITH FEAR!

We packed up, said goodbye to most people, and headed to THE PUB, where i was FASCINATED TO NOTE that FEAR ebbs out of your body through your FEET. I remember after EXAMS at school I could always feel KNOWLEDGE flying out the top of my head, as it escaped back into the wild once its work had been done, and it seems that IMMENSE FEAR goes out through the other end of your body. Anyway, we had a couple of pints and then The Frequency Of My Radio Station and I got a lift home with Charlie From The Fighting Cocks.

It was a long night, it was a scary night, but it was a GRATE night - can we come again please?

posted 18/7/2006 by MJ Hibbett

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I listened and it was GRATE. Well done!

posted 18/7/2006 by sharon

it was fantastic! cheers for the mention, as well!
posted 19/7/2006 by Tom Lardpony

What a GRATE night. Check out the latest SHOW and you'll hear clips. I have the whole THING on mp3 if you're interested matey. Good work and good luck with the tour. WE VALIDATE!

Jonny Yeah
posted 25/7/2006 by Anonymous

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