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Birmingham's RawSound.tv filming our stars of the future

By Leigh Sanders | Music | Published: | Last Updated:

It only lasted a short while, but the legacy of Tony Wilson's Granada Television music series So It Goes from the late 70s is pretty big.

RawSound.tv's cameraman Clint Marney films The Arosa

It gave punk rock a platform in the mainstream media - including the first ever Sex Pistols TV appearance - as well as hosting other stars like The Jam, The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, and Siouxsie and The Banshees.

Now, one small band of dedicated volunteers are hard at work trying to give Birmingham its own modern equivalent - and helping out the bands who appear in this column from week to week along the way.

Their name is RawSound.tv, their home is online, and their mission statement is clear: "We are a live music TV show."

James Connolly at the studio's mixing desk

And they want more people to know about them.

"I've always been into music and in and out of bands," says 45-year-old founder and lynchpin Mark Piddington, from Birmingham. "I'm a lover of music and music videos and when I buy a single I want to see videos for them.

"I felt there was a real lack of music TV shows like The Tube and The Old Grey Whistle Test used to be. One day, the idea just kind of sparked.

"I got people involved who were into editing. There's seven of us - some who have been here since the start and some who have contacted us along the way. We're a small, dedicated team."

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Their home is Mark's own Glass Onion Recording Studio in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, a fully-functioning space where bands can also book practice sessions, grab recording time and also film videos and have them edited by getting in contact through their website.

The studio has been there since 2003 within a good distance of the city centre on Great Hampton Street. It has attracted all styles and genres and has experience across many types of music.

Filming happens every other Friday

For RawSound.tv episodes the team invite bands in fortnightly for two separate filming slots in a "relaxed atmosphere".

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"Bands get in touch via our website asking to get on and we sift through," says Mark. "There is no personal taste involved in selection, three or four of us decide on acts based on who is the best musically. What you look for is quirkiness or something catchy, something the audience might like.

"They come in to film every other Friday. We chill for a bit, have a chat and some food. We do all the sound and check our levels and then the band blasts off three songs for us while we record.

"We then sit down to do an interview. There's no strict slot time. We try to work to a timetable but it's whatever the band are happy with. We try and keep it to around two hours but at the same time it can take all evening. Sometimes with the two slots back-to-back it can go from about 5pm until midnight.

"It's slick, it has to be. We can then take it all and edit it into a show."

The series is filmed at Birmingham's Glass Onion Recording Studio Photo: Facebook

Mark adds that the gang put their time in for free and the whole thing is done "on a shoestring". It's their love of music and belief there is very little out there to help young bands which spurs them on.

Their first guests back in June 2017 were The Ticket Unsigned alumni Electus, from Telford and Wolverhampton, alongside Brummie rapper Ky'Orion. From there the series has expanded into 42 episodes released on Sunday afternoons at 4pm.

Episode 42 featured two more bands to previously feature in Unsigned, Brummie Korea conquerors Karkosa and The Verse from Penkridge, as well as Free Galaxy.

Episode 43 is out this Sunday, with footage having been filmed last Friday - a nine-day window from filming to airing. Another former The Ticket Unsigned act from February this year feature - Birmingham's The Creature Appeal - as well as Kanvas. They will also broadcast bonus tracks from quick-rising rockers The Novus which come from a "secret gig they invited us to", so there is plenty to look out for.

And from there, Mark hopes the only way will continue to be upwards.

Birmingham's RawSound.tv

"The feedback we've had since we started has been great," he adds. "We were chuffed with the start of it and we're still chuffed with it now. It just snowballed. We took some small steps, found a platform, and then have kept taking small steps.

"None of us are pros. It's my studio but the rest just do it for the love of it and learn on the job. Some are students or are just starting off in careers so they have skills they want to tune.

"The editing is pretty much a full-time job – it can be 40 hours of work – so if I had a life I wouldn't be able to work it in. There's constant content being thrown out. Most of this series is booked and we only really have four weeks off between series."

And he had a plea for backers to the project to help them improve their output, adding: "Now we want to build that platform again. We are looking for funding and sponsorship. If anyone wants to help us out with that they can get us through the website."

Mark Piddington and fellow team-member Danielle Clarke pose with some signed The Novus t-shirts

So with all of this work on behalf of local musicians, does Mark view himself as Birmingham's 21st Century answer to Tony Wilson?

"I don't think so quite yet," he says with a booming laugh. "Maybe one day in the future we can say that. But for now, it's all about cracking on with the next episode of RawSound.tv"

All of RawSound.tv's content is available to view on their website - www.rawsoundtv.com - where bands can apply to be included on the show and which also includes information about renting out the studio for rehearsing, recording and video making. Episode 43 is out on Sunday at 4pm. Rawsound.tv are also on Facebook @Rawsound.tv and Twitter @RawSoundTV

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders
@LSanders_Star

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at leigh.sanders@expressandstar.co.uk

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