Cornish Underground’s 10th Birthday!

It’s a birthday for Cornish Underground, not just any, but it’s first decade of trading, some 10 years of making music happen. It’s such a privilege to be in the driving seat of this now well established sound and music production company, employing a handful of staff on occasion too. Let me run you through a few highlights of our 10 years and a refresher of our most recent happenings this year.

Cornish Underground has been in operation for more than 10 years, more like 20 in total, though it’s inception in 2009 was the start of going self-employed with it full time. I remember receiving a FB message at 11.30pm one Friday night from John Crooks (PiratesTV at the time), saying do you want sound work? If so, meet me tomorrow at 6.30am. And so it was, piled into the back of an outside broadcast vehicle and ploughing up the motorway to Rotherham to film and live stream home and away rugby games for the Cornish Pirates. The job and crew were much fun, doing 2 seasons with them. I recently saw Dorian Spackman, the head of MyCornwallTV whilst on a food break from a gig at the Old Bakery Studios and reminisced about those times. Many things followed that including working for the Mobile Solar Stage, doing some fun, bigger gigs at Marazion Carnival, Holifair and Alchemy Festival. I’ll never forget the times with Tony and crew running those festivals, which spanned nearly a handful of years! High times at the Melting Pot Cafe, booking bands and operating sound, with our ‘traditional’ solstice gigs with the 3 Daft Monkeys. Also touring with the 3 Daft Monkeys to Sark Folk Festival mixing to a bouncing 800 strong audience and some quality times on the islands. My yearly pilgrimage to the Isles of Scilly are always very welcome, meeting great musicians and promoters who have now become friends. Fire in the Mountain never fails to inspire me with the great music booked and the spirit of the crew and festival go-ers. I also relish fondly the spirit of the Cornish gig and festival go-ers who forever are an inspiration to keep me doing what I do here with Cornish Underground. Cornwall has a wealth of theatre, story and song which never fails to hypnotize and amaze those who view such poignant and spellbinding shows. Nowadays, working at the Old Bakery Studios and recording from Cube Recording keep me occupied and making the quality music. Cornish Underground has found it’s place in Cornwall and we’re very happy for all the kind compliments and encouragement received over the years.

Good things are going on with Cornish Underground this year, picking up some well established named artists to our roster along the way. This month alone included artists such as Fairport Convention, Finley Quaye and Back Beat Sound System. In fact, venue the Old Bakery Studios has provided a run of quality music all throughout the gigging calendar, offering Truro, if not Cornwall a top new ‘place to be seen’ venue. It’s going from strength to strength, a venue I’m glad to be considered the ‘house sound guy’ at. Thanks to Catherine King and crew for that one!

This year also sees a large output of Cornish music from Cornish Underground. Albums by Black-Eyed Nancy, recorded in my home studio alongside Henavek and my duo project Fools Rock. On location recording and mixing of the An Gof Band’s self titled album, with the Golowan Band set to record soon. Recordings at the Cube this year are proving rather fruitful too, with the Scilly Walking Stories recorded in the spring including voice actors such as Ed Rowe (Kernow King), Bec Applebee and Connie Cosby. The stories went after me to John Elliot (The Little Unsaid) and Piers Lewin (Full of Noises) for incidental music and its final production. Most definitely not forgetting the Rowan Tree’s album recordings for ‘Kolar’s Gold’. Four studio days recording including the Camborne Town Band, Russell Pascoe’s male voice quartet, the Aggie Boys, Ladies choir and a run of flute, bouzouki, fiddle, bass, piano and vocals. A project telling the story of Cornish mining migrants in India, recorded partly in India, Cornwall, Norwich, then mixed and mastered elsewhere, contributing to a truly International album! Having the luxury of hiring Cube Recording for my studio work, I encourage others to come on board and record there, as it really is the top recording facility in Cornwall and the results are no short of fantastic!

This summer saw our familiar festival highs at events on the Isles of Scilly, Wales for the fabulous Fire in the Mountain, Falmouth for the International Sea Shanty Festival, Heart Food Fest, Tropical Pressure, Bangers and Mash-Up and a handful of other smaller events. The summers festivals were nicely rounded off by the Peoples String Foundation album launch at the St Ives Guildhall. Then two nice gigs at the Eco Park, Mt Pleasant for Michael Messer’s Mitra and Funky Rob Way from Ghana, bringing quality world music to Cornwall. The productivity of summer, allowed the upgrade of my mixing console to the new Allen & Heath’s SQ-6, a much more powerful and quality sounding tool at the heart of my operations. A handful of new condenser mic’s and accessories were also part of my upgrade. Many thanks to Carey Davies for his unending help whilst working on these new consoles.

So what’s new? Wosson for the next year? Plans are afoot for me to get some winter training and hands on time with many of the professional mixing consoles expected on the touring circuit. It makes best sense to look ahead and start a path of professional development to enable a more confident footing on larger scale gigs and tours. Time spent in the studio is also time well spent and I encourage those wanting to get their music heard on a more professional platform, to look at recording with me at the Cube this coming year.

I’d like this chance to fire a party popper for Cornish Underground on it’s 10th Birthday and to thank those who’ve helped get us this far! Thank you also to my loyal crew, Flip, Josh, Rash and the other helpers involved this year! All the best to those who’ve worked with us, continue working with us and those who’ll work with us in the future. Together we’re making music happen, thank you very, very much!

Oll an Gwella!

Brendan McGreal (Cornish Underground)