Music is an outlet for expression. That was most definitely seen at BBC Music Introducing LIVE last week. So much culture and colour in one setting, designed to inspire all those who attended. Musicians and instrumentalists alike, the atmosphere was buzzing with people of all ages making connections and gaining inside knowledge on the music industry. As R&B artist Call Me Unique was performing her charismatic set on the North Bandstand, James McVinnie and Belle Chen were sharing their creative insights on how classical music can have influence on the contemporary pop sound we hear on our radio stations every day.
Elizabeth Alker of BBC 6Music and BBC Radio 3 opened the discussion up in ‘Unclassified… Taking Influence From Classical & Pop’ of how to introduce audiences to new music. Breakfast radio show ‘Unclassified’ has had a good response with audiences, reflecting influences from pop, rock, jazz and electronic music genres. Unique, albeit eclectic, artists such as Thomas Bartlett & Nico Muhly, as well as Bryce Dessner and Aphex Twin, were all played to showcase the growing movement of different genres across a broad range of artists. Australian pianist Belle Chen trained at the Royal Academy and has a new album ‘Departure’ out now. Her third full-length album draws inspiration from traditional sounds from all around the world. Over the course of the talk, she voiced her passion for wanting to tell her own story and this is what drove her to start creating her own sound. A lot of her inspiration comes from experimenting with acoustic instruments in order to make music that draws from the world around her.
English organist James McVinnie’s innovated new angles on pipe organs and how they can be assimilated to early synthesisers when describing his new album ‘The Grid’. Initially, McVinnie expressed how traditional instruments such as the pipe organ can have a lot of preconceived ideas attached to them, but when remodelled and brought to life in a different way, can be uniquely received by an audience. Genre-hopping has been around for as long as music has, and every artist has to start somewhere with the type of music they draw upon in order to create their own musical identity. This is key to understanding the stance that both Chen and McVinnie take in their music, starting a dialogue that begs the question: should the term “unclassified” be a genre in itself?
On the other side of the Tobacco Docks, Clean Bandit’s Jack Patterson broke down his song ‘Solo’ in a masterclass open to all that were interested in the technical mixing process. He too, spoke of his classical roots. After all, Grace Chatto and himself started off by recording Chatto’s string quartet performances in Cambridge before Luke Patterson joined the band. In experimenting with different sound samples, they very quickly attracted attention and haven’t turned back since. As a band, they pride themselves in using original samples and mixing their songs independently, but Patterson was open in admitting that sometimes the biggest challenge in song-writing is to know when to let go of a demo and let it develop further before it can be heard by the public. Towards the end of the masterclass, he revealed his intent for the future sound of Clean Bandit, wanting to get back to their classical roots even though that can sometimes bring more musical challenges. With his jazz background, he expressed a love for mixing classical and electronic sounds, which ultimately creates Clean Bandit’s signature sound.
Looking ahead to the future of the industry, BBC Music Introducing LIVE perfectly showed how music genres have evolved over time. Even today, electronic, dance and house artists are still looking back to previous models of music, proving its true immortality. SUBCULTURED left Tobacco Docks feeling inspired and excited for up and coming music artists who established more of a name for themselves. A hub for dynamic and bright individuals, music has lived on in society for generations with its unparalleled nature to connect individuals from all walks of life. We wonder, what will we hear on the radio next?
Text by Annabella Costantino
Photos by Hadiya Haseeb.