Sixty Two Sounds - City Life Interview

Did Bill Longshaw oversee your audio accompaniment to
his show?

He pretty much gave me free range. I started searching through the old ¼” archive at Granada. Sound effects go out of date. So these are fairly obsolete.
Spawned from an archive then?
Yes. It was a fairly random harvest of material. Kind of like bits of an audio jigsaw –I’d spend ages just listening to stuff, picking out things that I liked. I was searching to find some sort of a structure. I came up with this notion of having ‘a day in a life’: 24 hours time span, condensed down. The notion was that we’d start at midnight, with the clock striking 12 - into the night working in the shunting yards, then daybreak would come, we’d have a milk float delivering stuff. And so on.
Is your work somewhere between an archive and ‘sound art’?
Well, I was keen to use human voices but in a very non-specific way. Using them as atmosphere tracks, almost: just to convey a sense of people going to work, going down a mine shaft or whatever, clocking off.
It’s certainly evocative.
In my own mind, I felt as though it might be too much. I was quite keen that we avoided an absolutely overtly nostalgic type of track. So I really wanted the music to add another emotional dimension to it. It just brings in a different mood.
The music element?
I blocked out certain sections where Steve [Hopkins] would provide a musical interlude. Steve wasn’t precious about the music in relation to the sound. We both liked the juxtaposition. But, ideas came from that. We had the milkman whistling the main theme as he delivered the milk in the morning. We were always looking for little punctuations in the piece. Like, I wanted to use an ice-cream chime, so I got Steve to come up with one -‘cause we had problems with clearing ‘Greensleaves’.
Not the ice cream van mafia?
[Laughs] Oh no - I don’t want Pete Kay comin’ round!