Music students’ song showcased by Steve Lamacq on Radio 6
Folk-rock singer, Tom Williams, was the students’ Artist in Residence at Leeds Beckett in 2016, recording his new album with students in the Leeds Beckett music studios as part of his residency. The first single from the album, Everybody Needs a Home, received its first air play on Tuesday 7 February, with Steve Lamacq describing the album as sounding bigger than Tom’s previous work and amongst the best things that he’s done. The new album has also earned Tom a new record deal with Caroline Records.
You can hear the track here, one hour and 15 minutes into the programme (available for 29 days from 7 February). Everybody Needs a Home was also chosen as DJ John Kennedy’s Hot One on Radio X later in the evening.
Tom will also take three Leeds Beckett music students out on tour with him, as part of his band, later this year.
Carl Flattery, Principal Lecturer in Music and Head of Student Experience for the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett, said: “The Artist in Residence project is always an exciting time for our students but the amount of work the team completed for the 2016 residency with Tom Williams is incredible and it has paid off. They completed an album which has now earned Tom a new record deal and will give our students credits on the album. Tom said this was the best band he had ever worked with and he will be taking the core band out on tour with him this year.”
Tom Williams said: “The time I spent at Leeds Beckett last year really did change my life. The students I met and recorded with not only proved to be fantastic folks but also incredibly skilled players and engineers. I can't wait to start to releasing the music we made together and for the world to hear what a special album we made together.”
Working on the album as Chief Engineer and Assistant Engineer were BA (Hons) Music Production graduates, Lewis Nolan and Zach Pygall, who completed their degrees following the residency, in summer 2016. Performing were Music Production students: Niall Davey (guitar), Jake Mehew (piano), and Igor Dall’Avanzi (bass, who is now studying an MSc in Sound and Music for Interactive Games); BA (Hons) Music Production and Performance students, Iona Chard (backing vocals) and Laurenne Lethbridge (flute), and 2016 graduate Jack Clayton (drums); and 2016 BA (Hons) Filmmaking graduate, Declan Vink (guitar).
The songs were engineered by Music Production students Samuel Holtom and Ruairi Doherty, and BSc (Hons) Music Technology students, Stanley Braddock, Callum Kewen, and Keir McCabe.
Zach Pygall said: “Working on the Tom Williams project was incredible. The lecturers would always tell us stories about how volunteering could lead to bigger things. I didn't think it would happen like this though. They were long days of hard work but it was all worth it to hear something I recorded playing back to me through the car radio on my way home. Hopefully this becomes a regular occurrence!”
Ivor Dall’Avanzi commented: “The time spent in the studio with Tom and the others was one of the best experiences I made. The people, the vibe, the energy: everything was right, and we all wanted to do our best. The effort, the dedication and the hours spent in the studio are now something real, and it is really exciting that people will now listen to what we have made!”
Iona Chard said: “I applied for the workshop hoping to gain experience as a session musician and it soon developed into a project we were all passionate and excited about as a group. It was surreal to hear the songs develop from Tom singing with his guitar to a recorded full band in just a few hours and helped me understand how to make the best of a short space of studio time as a singer/songwriter.”
Declan Vink added: “What we created with Tom Williams over the course of last year is truly something unique and special and the friendships and memories made in the process even more so. Personally making this record was a life changer for me. I was studying Filmmaking at Leeds Beckett when I received the opportunity to record a few songs with Tom Williams. One thing lead to another and we ended up making a full length record and the process had me so fascinated that I changed course to Music Production which I'm currently studying now. I can't wait to see where this record goes: it's destined for great things.”
Tom returned to Leeds Beckett in January to make a short film in the music studio, featuring interviews with the students and telling the story of the making of the album.
Carl added: “I started the Music Artist in Residence project as part of the University’s employability fortnight in 2013 and have run it every year since. The idea is we give over our large recording studio for a week between semesters to a professional recording artist and in return they use our students as producers, recording engineers and session musicians. Plus, the artist gives a guest lecture and each day other students from all over the University can sit in on the session and watch the recordings being made and ask question about the process.
“The project has been a great success, with students recording and doing gigs with some great artists. This year we were joined by Leeds’s own Utah Saints who took over three studios with three student teams working on different projects under the guidance of the celebrated dance duo.”
Previous artists in residence include Christ T-T, Ian Prowse and I Monster.
For more information about Tom Williams, please see Tom’s Facebook page.