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Our tutors at ACM can regularly be found making waves in all areas of the music industry, and our Head of Artist Development & Creative Output, Kieron Pepper, is a clear example of that.
A multi-instrumentalist who spent ten years as the drummer in the Prodigy, Kieron has had a long, successful career in the industry, and in 2013 was invited to be a member of the prestigious Radiophonic Workshop.
The group recently played a landmark show at the Jazz Café to mark the 50th anniversary of London’s first electronic music festival. Held as part of London’s electronic festival, Convergence, the show featured experimental electronic act White Noise, DJ Andrew Weatherall, and the Radiophonic Workshop themselves.
We caught up with Kieron to find out more about his involvement with the group:
For anyone that isn’t familiar, could you tell us a little bit about the history of the Radiophonic Workshop?
The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, one of the sound effects and music composition units of the BBC, was created in 1958 to produce effects and new music for radio and television (most famous for themes and incidental music for Dr Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy). It was closed in March 1998. The original Radiophonic Workshop was based in the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in Delaware Road, London.
Most of the original material was saved by archivist Mark Ayres and in 2009, together with original members, Dick Mills, Paddy Kingsland, Roger Limb, and Peter Howell, they decided to effectively form a live group, playing old classic soundscapes and theme tunes, and new compositions. I joined in 2013 playing percussion and samplers.
How did you get involved with them?
Their manager Cliff Jones, a former colleague of mine, called me up and asked if I’d be interested in joining the team, starting with a gig at the No.6 Festival in Portmeirion. I didn’t hesitate in agreeing as I’ve always been a fan of their sounds and methods, paving the way for creators of dark and wonky electronic and organic music.
What is your role in the group?
The guys have a great deal of trust in me to embellish the old compositions and tastefully add to the new ideas; whether on stage or in the studio.
My set up is a hybrid acoustic/electronic drum kit, featuring sizzle bell cymbals and the back of a washing machine which I play with a violin bow, Roland SPDs, Korg Microsampler and a Novation Bass Station.
Burials in Several Earths is coming out in May, what was your involvement with the new album?
None unfortunately 🙂
This particular session was just Paddy, Roger and Mark with Martyn Ware (Human League, Heaven 17) – I think I was in Moscow at the time, doing some shows with some of my Russian pals.
There are a batch of sessions that will hopefully be coming out in the near future, that I was lucky enough to be involved in – recordings from Real World and some tracks where I’ve got to create alongside the late great Delia Derbyshire (original Radiophonic member and iconic pioneer of sound manipulation), adding sounds and rhythms to some of her ‘lost’ work recently found in her attic. This has been a joint effort with Dick Mills and Radiophonic Workshop live technician, Bob Earland (long-term friend of mine, keys player and producer). Hopefully there’s more to come of that…
What did it mean to you to be part of the 50th anniversary of London’s first electronic music festival?
Of course it was a massive honour, having grown up watching interviews with Peter Howell on the first samplers and features on Dick Mill’s Radiophonic Workshop, and of course my own journey with music having a strong electronic influence, working with some of the greats including Paul Hartnoll and Liam Howlett.
Outside of the Radiophonic Workshop, what have you got coming up in 2017?
I have a few things bubbling away in the background – will keep you posted.
Thanks Kieron! We look forward to hearing more.
If you’d like to study at ACM and learn first-hand from world-class musicians like Kieron, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.