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The Brander of our sound

The sound of Radiodays Europe 2014

You know the logo of Radiodays Europe, but radio is about sound. So what does Radiodays Europe sound like?

Wise Buddah, UK, is the producer of the new sound branding for this year´s Radiodays Europe in Dublin. You will hear it in sessions at the conference, but also in video and audio podcasts from Radiodays Europe. And in the special radio broadcast editions in Dublin during Radiodays.

The producer is Jem Godfrey.  He is an Ivor Novello award winning, multiple number 1 hit having, Sony Radio Gold award winning, BAFTA nominated chancer. He's also a director of Wise Buddah Jingles & Music Imaging, and No Sheet Music – a brand new production music library.

He’s also written the Theme for Radio Days 2014, so we took 10 minutes to discuss his life in music.

How did you first get into the music industry?

I lied my way in. I nicked somebody else’s production demo and said it was mine when I applied for a job at Virgin Radio. It was either that or back to the dole queue on Wednesday. I was 22, unqualified, unemployed and desperate so...

Who were your main inspirations in radio and music?

My dad was one, he produced a record in the 70’s about the Royal Navy which did ok in it’s niche. So much so in fact that he made 2 more. He used to work in Whitehall and had a recording studio there, I’d go in during the summer holidays and muck about on his Nagra making tape loops and feedback loops and stuff. I could edit tape by the time I was 7. I think he noticed my enjoyment of these sound experiments because he arranged for me to go and hang out at The BBC Radiophonic Workshop one afternoon. Dick Mills showed me round, they let me play with the synthesizers and have a go on the piano that they used to make the TARDIS sound effect. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

What was your first big break?

Virgin Radio. I was a production assistant on £16,000 a year which was quite a step up from the £35 a week I was getting on the dole. It was shift work to start with, I’d work from 2pm-11pm and it seemed to comprise of little else but endless carting of commercials onto RCS. Eventually my boss was replaced by the legend that is Jeff Thomas. It was like an alien had landed. I got to watch while he basically changed the sound of UK radio forever. He upped my game gigantically and was very generous in sharing his knowledge and teaching me “proper” radio production. So I repaid that generous investment by leaving and going to work at Radio 1! We made the famous FM test tapes during that time which I believe became something of a talking point between about 6 people who like that sort of thing. But my time at Virgin, although massively hard work, will always have a special place in my heart. That job taught me everything about what radio is and how it works as well as a fair amount about smoking and drinking.

How did you go from writing pop records to radio idents?

The A+R men stopped ringing.

How do you approach a new commission?

I like to approach a commission from behind, stun it with my musk, stuff it into a carrier bag and then leg it while the competition try and stop me by throwing Twixes.

How did you approach this job?

I was at Radiodays in Berlin last year and saw an amazing seminar by Robert Krulwich of Radiolab where he demonstrated how thinking laterally in production terms can generate interesting and novel results. The conference is such an important pan-European event for radio comprising of so many nationalities I tried to reflect that by recording a variety of voices in different languages saying “Welcome To Radiodays 2014”. I then chucked those voices into an app on my phone called “Sector” which mangles things up very nicely and flew them back into the track and turned them into part of the percussion track. So the language becomes music and vice versa. Basically I used my experience of being so inspired by what I saw at Radiodays last year into what I wrote this year. A sort of self fulfilling prophecy completing the circle a year later. I rather liked that.

What advice would you give people coming into music radio in 2014?

Enjoy the moment. Never think “That’ll do” in a creative context. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your listeners. Companion planting chives with carrots is a really good way to deter carrot fly.