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In the Studio…The Commander in Chief

In The Studio…

The Commander in Chief

monnow valley 1

Down to record her next single in the rainy beginning of August was 23 year old shred guitarist The Commander in Chief. The Norwegian singer/guitarist laid down some highly technical solos and vocals, producing the track herself with the aid of engineer James Mottershead. The track – 5 years in waiting – was finally finished at Monnow over a 2 day intensive period. The track is out today, along with an accompanying video featuring MMA fighters and carries a ‘very important message…[of] freedom of speech’.

“When you walk into Monnow Valley Studios you feel the atmosphere right away. I arrived the night before I started recording but I got so inspired by the place that I sat down by the piano and started to write a new song right away. There is something about that room at Monnow Valley that gave me total peace of mind. The combination of great equipment, the old building itself, the view and daylight flowing in from two sides – it was just fantastic! The live rooms are also incredible! When I did vocals…I was looking out of the big windows. All of a sudden a big hawk came flying and landed right in front of the window and looked straight at me. I took it as a sign and the vocals went really well! Everybody was very friendly and it was great to have bedrooms upstairs as well. It made it all so easy and practical. I am definitely coming back!”
The Commander in Chief

Only 23, she’s the official Ibanez artist, playing the prototype Falchion 7 string, the only one of its kind in the world. Support from MetalHammer, Firebrand and Revolver, as well as some major metal festival slots has put this talented young lady on the map.

See the video below by clicking on the image.

Cover for single

In the studio…Brother and Bones

In The Studio…

Brother and Bones
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Brother and Bones; L-R Engineer Gareth Cobb, Rob, Rich, James, Si, Yannis, cameraman Luke.
Bridging “the gap bridge the gap between the delicate and the destructive”, band Brother and Bones, originating (for the most part) from the South East of England and the beaches of Cornwall, came to us late on the Monday night for a week of sun and music. The band have been relentlessly touring for the past few years and released a few EPs so far, culminating in a successful trip to the US to play Teluride festival just the week before heading to us. The band supported BRIT award winner Ben Howard on his tour last year, we expect big things come 2014, and deservedly so.
They brought lots of eggs, lots of pasta, loads of Double Deckers and lots of good tunes. The drums especially sounded rather large. Much of the recording was done all together, with the glass partitioning doors allowing them to play live together without bleed from the drum room.
Breaks between takes were filled with sandwiches, a few weights in the gym and lots of tea, and come 6pm, lots of beers. Drummer Yannis cooked some incredible food, and also washed and released a small frog we found that had run in through the open back door late on the last night.
Along with their engineer and co-producer Gareth Cobb and camera man Luke Pilbeam (pro at all things ping pong too) the whole week was very lovely – we can’t wait to hear these tracks.
Here’s a live session filmed by Luke (www.rockingstonefilms.com) – late one night to fill the gap until its release, and be sure to catch them on their highly extensive UK tour this winter, they’ll be coming to a town near you for certain.

Tour tickets – http://www.brotherandbones.co.uk/live/






In The Studio…. H A R K

In the Studio…


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The Three Pyramids of H A R K and their added pyramid, Gethin Pearson.
Producer and long-time friend of Monnow, Gethin Pearson, came into the studio for 4 days with H A R K. Ex. Taint frontman Jimbob Isaac is joined by former Whyteleaf rhythm section Nikolai Ribnikov and Simon Bonwick, forming H A R K, a ‘Welsh progressive-power-sludge trio’. Their  debut ‘Mythopoeia’ was released last July, their four days at Monnow laying the foundations for their debut LP.
The boys enjoyed the last of the sunshine before the rain dropped in on us, and also enjoyed a bit of pyramid picture taking (as demonstrated above).
Jimbob even stayed an extra night or two he liked it here so much, but that could have been the temptation of Jo’s cakes…
Come again soon H A R K.

In the Studio… Bloodflower

In the Studio…

Bloodflower 947048_579938505400467_417677176_n

A combination of brilliant hair and musical prowess make up the duo that is Bloodflower. A Monmouth/mid Wales combination of multi-instrumental talents from producer Tom Manning and singer Jonnie Owen. Both have impressive musical CVs already, and their current project – only beginning last September – is already achieving exclusives on Radio 1 and a growing amount of hype and airplay.

Meeting at Monnow where Tom previously engineered and where Jonnie recorded with his band The Last Republic, the pair have created dirty pop perfection with forward thinking production and impressive vocals. This week in the studio saw the pair celebrate Tom’s birthday with a BBQ in the 29 degree heat, take a few splashes in the river, indulge in the odd pub lunch and begin work on a new set of tracks soon to reach our ears.

Find them here @iambloodflower, their new track ‘Horizon’ is out now.

In the Studio….Tenors of Rock

In The Studio….
Tenors of Rock
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Tenors of Rock; Hugh, Jonny, Gareth, Jimmy, Dai, Gaz, just before hitting the stage at The Monmouth Festival
Supporting David Hasselhoff, playing at the Olympic stadium, supporting McFly, playing a sellout tour with Rhydian, releasing a single as part of the Six Nations – these are just some of the achievements by the Tenors of Rock in their relatively short time as a group. It looks set to continue with some incredible things in the pipeline for the boys, beginning with their recording at Monnow, split into two sessions to accommodate a very busy schedule.
The Tenors sing complex arrangements of classic rock songs, each with their own unique voices and strengths, complete with an array of tattoos, great hair, high notes and impeccable styling. With multiple part harmonies and a brilliant stage presence – we expect much more from these boys.
I spoke to the band about what it takes to be a Tenor. The following are their own words.
Entry requirements for being a Tenor of Rock;
  • Must have a minimum of one tattoo*
  • Must like rock
  • Must drink Budwiser whilst recording
  • Must never wear shirts whilst recording
  • Must have a bad sense of smell
  • If your top note is on the stave, you’re out
  • Must have a beard
*Hugh is the exception to the above because he’s special.

We look forward to hearing the finished product!

Find them all here – http://www.tenorsofrock.com

In the Studio…. Karu

In the studio….



A rather blurry Karu L-R, Phil Jackson session assistant, Eliot Shiner, Ben Davis, Lloyd Woodroffe (Elliot Sheen not pictured).

In the first of two sessions Forest of Dean-based band ‘Karu’, laid the foundations for their 5 tracks, even pulling an all-nighter in the process and completing vocals at 6am. It’s lucky their beds were only a few metres away. To shake off the late night effects, lead singer Ben went for a morning dip in the river (it was 12pm the next day and a roasting 28 degrees, but it counts as a morning dip if you went to bed at 6am).

Combining all four of their musical influences – drummer Eliot a successful producer and composer in his own right – their sound encompasses Ben’s impressive voice and their acoustic grit with a far rockier sound than anything they’ve embarked on previously.

Find them @KaruMusicUK and https://www.facebook.com/KaruMusic

In the Studio… The Bourgeoisie

In the Studio…
The Bourgeoisie
L-R; Jake Chown, Ryan McCormick, Kay Newport, producer Tom Manning, Seamus Maguire, engineer Stefan Pringle.
Forest of Dean representing, rock funk blues playing boys, The Bourgeoisiestopped down in Monnow to record and mix their debut release, a four track EP.
‘About Funkin Time’ was made across some of the hottest days we’ve had down at Monnow all summer. However temperatures were kept very cool by the lovely new air conditioning inside.
Our long time friend and up and coming producer Tom Manning was at the production helm, with Stefan Pringle engineering and assisting.
The band consists of Seamus Maguire,  Jake Chown, Kay Newport, Ryan McCormick (also of London band Peckham Cowboys) and Robin Jones. They also had a visitor pop in to record some very sexy harmonica – keep your eyes out for this release.

Find them here; https://www.facebook.com/bourgeoisieofficial?fref=ts

In The Studio…Funkestra

In The Studio…


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Funkestra avec toilet paper and masking tape from L-R; Rupert Christie, Dave Limina, Eran Kendler, Stefan Redtenbacher, Mike Sturges, Rob Taggart,

Three days to complete an entire album may seem ridiculous, but when you combine some of Europe and America’s busiest, most talented, successful and prolific musicians it all seems very easy.
Sitting in the control room listening it sounds like the finished product – and they’re playing live. However, it is album number seven together, so they’re well practiced.
The transatlantic funk/jazz/soul band is the brain child of Stefan Redtenbacher, who’s CV, like everyone in the band, reads like a who’s who in music over the last 20 years, Stefan writes all the tracks too. Without going into too much detail (and we could, the list is huge), Funkestra boast playing credits from Elton to Amy Winehouse to Ceeloo Green to B.B King to well, everyone. We had a live room full of very accomplished legends. Producing and engineering was Rupert Christie, who’s worked with some incredible people himself, and they all enjoyed home cooked food for the three days.
Find Funkestra related info here; www.redtenbachersfunkestra.com/

In The Studio….Future of The Left

In The Studio….

Made In Monnow

Future of The Left

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 We love to have return clients and even more so when they’re as talented and lovely as Future of the Left. The 2012 Welsh Music Prize winners returned to us at the end of June to record their next album with another Monnow Valley regular – producer Charlie Francis. They worked at an incredible rate, completing insane amounts of recording, writing, sampling colourful language from the vocal outtakes and also had time for a bit of a BBQ too. This band especially were all running fiends, legging it round the countryside most mornings or lifting weights in our gym – it’s a hard life.

Let’s combine our ‘In the Studio’ post with a little Made In Monnow throwback. Future of the Left have not only done work here before, but two albums worth of work.2013-06-19 14.33.52

First came the 2007 album –


“The Lord Hates a Coward” – 3:34
“Plague of Onces” – 3:03
“Fingers Become Thumbs!” – 1:50
“Manchasm” – 3:54
“Fuck the Countryside Alliance” – 2:06
“My Gymnastic Past” – 2:30
“Suddenly It’s a Folk Song” – 2:55
“Kept by Bees” – 1:54
“Small Bones Small Bodies” – 2:22
“Wrigley Scott” – 2:06
“Real Men Hunt in Packs” – 3:27
“Team:Seed” – 1:19
“adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood” – 3:09
“The Contrarian” – 3:02

Buy ‘Curses’ here.

They then followed this up with 2009’s ‘Travels with Myself and Another’

“Arming Eritrea” – 2:57
“Chin Music” – 1:56
“The Hope That House Built” – 3:41
“Throwing Bricks at Trains” – 2:36
“I Am Civil Service” – 2:17
“Land of My Formers” – 2:47
“You Need Satan More Than He Needs You” – 2:46
“That Damned Fly” – 2:07
“Stand by Your Manatee” – 2:08
“Yin / Post-Yin” – 2:54
“Drink Nike” – 2:33
“Lapsed Catholics” – 4:15

Buy ‘Travels with Myself and Another’ here.

Check out Future of the Left out on @shit_rock. We love their twitter handle.



Made in Monnow – Black Sabbath Month… Heaven and Hell

Made In Monnow

Black Sabbath Month

Heaven and Hell

Back in 2010 following singer Ronnie James Dio’s death, Heaven and Hell‘s planned tour was cancelled, and the three remaining members of the performed a tribute to Dio at the High Voltage Festival on 24 July 2010 with three guest vocalists: former Black Sabbath andDeep Purple vocalist Glenn Hughes, Norwegian singer Jørn Lande of Masterplan and former Pantera and Down vocalist Phil Anselmo.

‘Heaven and Hell’ were the members of the Dio Black Sabbath era, reuniting in 2005 after their years together in 1980 to 1982, and again from 1991 to 1992 as Black Sabbath.

You can see ‘Die Young’ here – click the image

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