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In The Studio… 3 Bucket Jones

In The Studio… 3 Bucket Jones

Hard @ Work

Based in South Wales, 3 Bucket Jones consisting of Garry Hughes (keyboards, hammond organ and programming for Bjork), Andrew McCrorie-Shand (wrote the theme for Rosie and Jim, Tots TV and Teletubbies), and Gitika Partington (singer, songwriter, harmoniser, vocal arranger, trainer..), joined us here at Monnow Valley Studio as the first act to record here in 2015! The trio met here in September 2013 during a BASCA songwriters retreat, arriving as 3 individual songwriters and leaving as a hugely talented threesome, pooling their respective talents to create the unique and innovative sound that is 3 Bucket Jones.

Garry & Andy

They spent a week here in total composing and recording together all day every day. In the first 4 days they had written 5 songs almost entirely from scratch, ranging from unfinished ambient sketches to Victorian horror themes – all via psychedelic folk of course!

The trio brought with them an impressive variety of unusual instruments including electronic tanpuras, fretted violins and a hurdy gurdy! Garry also brought an impressive selection of software synths and it’s great to see a band so rooted in folk so happy with electronics. But that’s far from the only trick Garry had up his sleeves, the guy’s also a pretty fearsome chef, with the highlight being the local sausage and parma ham toad-in-the-hole, – a fresh twist of an old classic!

Overall such a fun week had here at Monnow Valley with these guys, thoroughly enjoyed by all involved – can’t wait to see you again in the next couple of months!



The Author and the Artists at Work




In The Studio… The Blow Monkeys

In The Studio… The Blow Monkeys

80’s popstars The Blow Monkeys visited us here at Monnow Valley at the start of November after a hugely successful pledge campaign to help fund the recording and release of their new album.

The Blow Monkeys originally formed in 1981 consisting of members; Dr. Robert, Mick Anker, Neville Henry and Tony Kiley releasing hits such as ‘Digging Your Scene’ which reached number 12 in the Uk singles chart. They had 4 albums and 11 singles in the UK charts in the 80s. The group disbanded in 1990 but thrilled fans in 2008 by reforming and releasing a brand new album.

In 2014, The Blow Monkeys were set to record their fourth album since their reform. They set about a pledge campaign to help fund this project. Fans of the band could bid on a number of different items and experiences to help raise the funds needed. Items such as copies of the new album, new merchandise and even suits that members of the band wore on Top of The Pops! Experiences available included studio listen of the new album in progress, lunch plus concert, studio visit plus meals, accommodation and golf/drum and bass clinic and even an Executive Producer bundle!

The band recorded 10 tracks in total completing the highly anticipated forthcoming album. Pledgers descended on the studio to listen to what they had helped fund and to also meet and mingle with their idols. The band are such a lovely bunch of people and made all their fans feel so at ease and did all that they could to make sure they had an unforgettable experience.. a thank you for their dedication over the years. Golf was played, a drum and bass clinic was set up and the flowing of wine was plentiful!

At the end of their stay here, The Blow Monkeys put on an up close and personal gig for their fans in our live room. The pledgers got to decide what they wanted to hear the band play, from the classics to the newer material. The gig was recorded live so each fan could take home a CD of the gig and the last song played is to feature on the new album as a bonus live track.

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable time here at Monnow Valley Studio with The Blow Monkeys, sax solos galore! Can’t wait to have the guys back! A quote from the lovely Tony Kiley: ‘Your legendary drum room was better than I was expecting, this is the last of the great studios left, the whole experience has been a pleasure and I will definitely be returning!’ Thanks Tony!

Their pledge campaign is still continuing, so grab yourself some one off memorabilia and be a part of this amazing project here:


Can’t wait to hear the finished product! Keep an eye and ear out for the release of the new album, it’s one not to be missed!



In The Studio… IPop

We don’t just record records here at Monnow Valley Studio, our idyllic surroundings and impressive live room with our iconic cartwheel doors make it an impressive location to shoot a music video.
iPop decided to do just that at the start of September. A four piece covers band hailing from South Wales specialising in contemporary pop numbers such as Sex On Fire by Kings Of Leon, Get Lucky by Daft Punk and Sing by Ed Sheeran, this quartet never fails to impress with their spectacular on stage performances, stirring up a real buzz wherever they play.

They are regulars at major corporate events and celebrity weddings and functions, the perfect party band highly recommended for any event you may be planning. With testimonials from people such as this from Steven Gerrard: ‘iPop were superb. They ended a fantastic night in style. Every tune they played had the dance floor bouncing. Highly recommended for any party. Top band! Thanks, Steven.’ iPop really are a top quality covers band, one not to be missed!

The foursome are full of energy and charisma which made for an extremely fun and unforgettable day of filming here at Monnow Valley. They made full use of our surrounding rolling green countryside to fly a remote controlled helicopter to include in the promo video panning towards our main building and filming the surrounding area.

The band filmed a total of 7 songs made into a montage to use as promo material. A thoroughly enjoyable day had by all here at Monnow Valley and some great results for the final video. Hope to see you again for the next one iPop!

Check out the video here:


In The Studio… The Framed

In The Studio… The Framed


Jamie Reid . Gareth Burr . Steve Ross . Glynn McGregor

The Framed, a 4 piece from Aberdeenshire Scotland. Influenced by bands like The Clash, Squeeze & The Buzzcocks. They produce lairy, upbeat, indie rock music with a great big dash of punk thrown into the mix.

The group formed back in 2007 due to a distinct love of all things musical and an inherent desire to get out of the mundane life of 9 to 5 working. They’ve gone through about 18 different line ups before arriving at their current line up states drummer Glynn. The bands enthusiasm and dedication for making music began to show quickly with the demos of their first tracks being recorded by themselves in a small purpose built home studio.

They booked studio time with us down here at Monnow Valley a whole 2 years ago, but due to unforeseen circumstances they weren’t able to make it down to record with us that year. However one afternoon just before Christmas 2013 we received a phone call, they were coming down with Producer Paul Tipler to track their 6 track debut EP.

They turned up to the studio and began filling every nook and cranny of the live room with guitars, about 18 of the things altogether! They then started filling the fridges in a similar attitude with the £95 worth of butchers meat that had travelled down with them in their van from Scotland.

Along with all that they managed to squeeze some supreme banter in with it all, the control room air was forever being filled with laughter following some gag at the expense of one of the members of the band…or Paul.

More info – https://www.facebook.com/theframedmusic

Bookings – theframed@outlook.com

In The Studio… Sunset Sons

In The Studio… Sunset Sons

In mid July, Sunset Sons arrived at Monnow Valley Studio to record an EP along with producer James Lewis. Sunset Sons are a British-Australian quartet who have served up quite a storm after their self released debut Le Surfing EP in February reached number 6 in the I-Tunes chart. They’ve been dubbed Zane Lowe’s ‘next hype’ to radio one listeners and have also been included in Fearne Cotton’s playlist on the same radio station. Often compared to the likes of Kings Of Leon, the raw sound was easily captured here at Monnow Valley before being transferred to the legendary Mike Crossey to be mixed. The guys made the most of the Welsh summer with full catering provided. Bbqs aplenty and many a dip in the river. They also made the most of the local beer gardens and generally soaked up the local atmosphere in Monmouth.

Since their self released EP, Sunset Sons are now being backed by Polydor. Their new EP is sure to exceed all expectations. This summer they played many festivals including The Great Escape and the BBC introducing stage at Reading and Leeds. Keep an ear out for these guys, sure to completely dominate in the near future!









In The Studio…The Jar Family

In The Studio…The Jar Family

Towards the end of July, we were joined here at Monnow Valley by the very lovely Jar Family. Hailing from Hartlepool in the North East of England, the ‘inventor’s of industrial folk. The Jar Family consist of six songwriters and musicians that, rather than strive for success in isolation, decided to join forces to pool their talent.

This week wasn’t filled with your stereotypical rock n roll antics.. these guys were up at the crack of dawn each morning making the most of the 27 degree heat we were lucky enough to see here in Wales that week, jumping in the river, making use of our gym, going for long countryside walks and all this before breakfast!

Joined by producer Rupert Christie, The Jar Family were here recording the first half of their highly anticipated third studio album. They will be back later this year to record the second half, touring the UK in the meantime, including many festivals.

Expect great things from this album, a truly unique sound combining traditional folk with a twist of their individual personalities, one not to be missed!

Overall, a highly enjoyable time had by all at Monnow Valley, with the whole studio family getting involved with the hand claps and foot stomps! Check out The Jar Family at a venue near you soon, you will not be disappointed!


Ozzy’s Haunted House?


As it’s Halloween, we thought we’d share a story of things going bump in the night at Monnow Valley. This happened back in the winter of 1979 when Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Randy Rhoads, bassist Bob Daisley and their drum tech Spencer decamped to the house (then still part of Rockfield Studios and known as The Old Mill) for the first writing sessions for Blizzard of Ozz. The pentagrams & associated devil-worship symbols Ozzy drew on our walls during his many visits are still there – but are now covered over with soundproofing!

The following is an extract from Bob Daisley’s Autobiography ‘For Fact’s Sake’ – to order a copy, please visit http://www.bobdaisley.com/for-facts-sake/order-now

One night Ozzy, Randy, Spencer & I decided to have a seance with a Ouija board. After a while of asking questions and getting Y-E-S and N-O answers, the glass moved and spelled out V-E-R-N-I-N-O. Then it spelled out R-A-N-D-Y followed by Y-O-U A-R-E G-O-I-N-G T-O D-I-E. We didn’t like the vibe and stopped at that point. We were all freaked out, so we broke the glass, threw the paper letters of the alphabet into the fire and poured salt on the table. I tried to take some of the scare out of it and lighten things up by laughing and saying “See Rand? You’d better give up smoking mate!” The name Vernino wasn’t familiar to any of us and obviously sounded Italian. A bit later in the week, during conversation with the owner of Rockfield Studios, we learned that the house where we were staying had been a prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War for… Italian prisoners!

Spencer was convinced that the house at Rockfield was haunted after the window in his room had spontaneously broken and the glass had blown outwards; ‘Vernino’ and the seance hadn’t done him any favours either. Before our outing to the pub one night, Ozzy decided to give Spencer a fright. He placed a speaker under Spencer’s bed so that he could call his name in a ghostly voice with a microphone. Then he threaded a fishhook through the sheet and attached it to fine fishing line, so that when Spencer heard the ghostly call, the bedclothes would suddenly fly off him. All that night up at the pub during our drinking, clowning and thinking of band names, Ozzy kept saying that he wanted to call the band Hook Sheet, which brought a grin to the faces of Randy, me and Ozzy but a blank, puzzled “what are they on?” look from Spencer. Back at the house when Ozzy did his hook-sheet prank, Spencer turned whiter than his sheets, which he almost turned brown.

Randy Rhoads died in a plane crash on 19th March 1982…

In the Studio…Saturday’s Kids

In The Studio…
Saturday’s Kids
Darren Lawson, Sion, Rhys, Ev (drummer David not pictured), Gethin Pearson.
Saturday’s Kids are hard rocking young men who claim to ‘break your ankles but take care of you afterwards’ (this is, in fact, the true story of a fan at a gig). Hailing from Abergavenny and Cardiff, they recorded ‘renaissance punk’ with production duo Gethin Pearson and Darren Lawson, aka Tough Luv.
After four brilliant EPs, 5 UK tours, one European tour, sessions for Jen Long, James Dean Bradfield, and BBC Radio 1 airplay – the four piece finally set about recording their first album.
Due to play the ever-cool SWN Festival and Bombed Out’s 15 year anniversary event in Leeds, the band are poised for deserved success.
Alongside their musical antics, their DIY music attitude extends to http://spacejunkiepress.tumblr.com/, their comic book project.
When producer Gethin Pearson’s mouth wasn’t full of nuts (of the peanut variety) he was giving wise producing advice, and Darren Lawson productively used his time to attempt to read the whole of the internet when he wasn’t co-producing.
They ate paprika chips, stuffed mushrooms and salad from the bag, and Sion thinks there must have been ghost in room six who moved two potted plants onto his bed.
Wild times at Monnow Valley for some hard rocking boys.
Catch them at SWN this October.

In the Studio… BASCA

In the Studio…



10 songwriters and BASCA members, including board member and session organiser Rita Campbell, came down for a song writing retreat at Monnow in late August.
Lovely weather, BBQs and full catering by Jo; the songwriters made the most of our many rooms and large spaces to write 15 songs, recording them too.
Working on rotation over the stay in groups of two and three, they were there to write but also network. For some members it was the chance to put aside all other commitments and simply write, producing 15 songs.
Whilst we host bands and artists for song writing sessions and pre-production all the time, this was the first of our specific song-writing retreats in association with BASCA, bringing members of the organisation together who would otherwise not have worked with one another.
Amongst the writers we had the composer of multiple children’s theme tunes including the Tellytubbies and Rosie and Jim, Andrew McCrorie-Shand, renowned West End MD (amongst many other things) John G Smith, rapper Influence, and Nashville export Kris Wilkinson Hughes. It was a hugely successful retreat, and we’re looking forward to having BASCA, and their writers, return.

In the Studio…. Noir|Noir

In the Studio…

Noir | Noir


Rob Ellis and engineer David Pye with the band and our two in-house engineers Liam and Stef.

Cork alt-rockers Noir | Noir decamped with us for the first two weeks in June to make their album. Firstly, they saw some of the hottest weather we’ve had, and secondly, they made very good use of our pool table.


Produced by Rob Ellis, the band rocked our live room; unafraid to try new sounds, they made the most of the beautiful sunshine for some outdoor recording. Rob had all of the band, his manager Claire, her partner Jo, Steff our engineer and even me stamping on some gravel like some crazed army.



Rob also had Eoin, (fag in hand, see below) throwing a children’s old Thomas the Tank engine soft ball at a sheet of scrap metal in the yard. See the photo below for the technical set up they used…

IMG_2475They also had the Vulcan string quartet in to record and even played some hubcaps in the live room – all in all, this album looks set to be one you don’t want to miss!BMwUhgECcAEMsh3.jpg-large