Soundgas at Strongroom – The Report
WRITTEN BY: Tony Miln
UPLOADED: 19th Jun 2019
On Thursday 6th June, we held our inaugural Soundgas Roadshow event at Strongroom Studios in London. The event was split into two parts with hands-on vintage gear demos in the afternoon and an evening social event with a brief MPG Awards presentation, more gear demos, and live music from Lula.xyz and TVAM. As things turned out, the whole day was one long social with a chance for us to talk with friends old and new and for people to make lots of odd noises with the mouthwatering, ear-popping stacks of Soundgas vintage gear on offer.
We journeyed down the M1, arriving in good time to set up and take advantage of Strongroom’s exceptional burger menu for lunch before the steady stream of visitors began arriving. We had originally envisaged the afternoon demo sessions being held in one of the studios at Strongroom, but in the event they were fully-booked so we took over the bar area. This transpired to be a noisy and enjoyable session that ran well beyond the original schedule as people were happy to stay and socialise.
Our gear line-up included a handful of our Space Echoes, one of our restored and modified Echorec 2s, and the prototype of the new Soundgas (Grampian) Type 636 as well as a bunch of our favourite drum machines and synths from our current stock (including TR-808, Psyco X SY-1M, Ult Sound DS-4 Custom, modified Korg KR-55, Juno 6, Wersi Bass Synth, Maestro USS-1). It’s the sort of set-up that visitors to our stand at Synthfest in Sheffield are familiar with, but it’s always a pleasure to see people’s reactions to being able to get up close and personal with a stack of classics. At one point we had TVAM jamming beats with Pete from Teleman on 808 and Ult-Sound…
Being based out in the Derbyshire hills has many advantages, but the chief downside is that we don’t get to meet so many customers as we might were we in London. I loved that we got to hang out and talk music and gear with so many like-minded individuals, many of whom stayed into the evening, or came back later to check out the live acts. While it was gratifying to see and hear people’s reactions on hearing the incredible saturated tones of the Soundgas Type 636 for the first time, personally it was the social aspect of the event that made it such a pleasure and success.
Lula.xyz kicked off the live music with her arresting performance using the Mi.Mu Gloves and Moog Subsequent 37: as soon as the monster overdriven 808 beat dropped I recognised the signature sound of one of our studio Grampians (our in-house engineer, Ben Hirst, is working on some of Lula’s tracks in our studio). The crowd certainly enjoyed her witty and engaging set which was over all too soon.
Next up was our slightly-shambolic presentation to the MPG Award winners (I managed to time it perfectly for the only 5 minutes that Strongroom Technical Manager Jake Murray was out of the room) – slick and corporate we are not! Our thanks to Music Producers Guild executive board members, Rhiannon Mair and Cameron Craig, for joining us for the day and also helping present Soundgas Space Echoes to Dani Bennet-Spragg and to Strongroom for MPG Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year and MPG Studio Of The Year respectively. These machines are on loan to the winners for the next year, so if you’re working at Strongroom, be sure to ask for the Soundgas Space Echo (according to Jake, it’s already proving very popular).
Next up was the one-man sonic cyclone that is TVAM, delivering a typically blistering performance that tore the roof off the Strongroom Bar.
His debut album, Psychic Data, which Electronic Sound described as “…one of the best debuts in recent times – utterly and unashamedly brilliant” remains one of my favourite releases of 2018. If you don’t already know it, and Mojo’s description “A Ballardian synthesis of rock grind, mechanoid tension and ether-gazing vocals which variously recalls The Normal, Suicide and Add N to (X)” appeals, then I highly recommend checking it out. Also special mention to Sheffield’s own Dean Honer for his part in this “memerising feat of sonic engineering” (The Quietus).
The evening was rounded off by our good friend, Rob Gear, playing a perfectly-pitched selection of platters that matter (including a track beguilingly-entitled “Get Off My Witch”). A good (and late) time was had by all and our thanks go out to all the staff at Strongroom for their hard work which helped make the event such an enjoyable occasion: we have found our London home and plan to be back soon for another Soundgas Roadshow…
Our thanks of course to all who attended – it was great to see you all and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. If you have any feedback, we’d welcome comments which we’ll use to help shape the next event.
Tony Miln is the co-founder (& Head Gear Head) of Soundgas. See/hear him in action on Instagram.