Every month we will be focussing on particular music groups or events in the area and finding out more about our local musicians. This month we are going to focus on Steve Lockwood who runs Blackfrog Studios in Thame:
1 – How did you first get interested in music?
My family aren’t musical at all so seems amazing that I got drawn into this industry. There is no real reason, I just found myself as a kid being really interested in making new sounds. I think if I had to put it down to a certain time in my life it would have been in my first years at lower school when we had music lessons at school and a teacher “Miss Stewart” who was really passionate about music. We often got put into groups and asked to write a song. I naturally went to the keyboard and loved every minute of it. Even joined my first band while at that time of my life. My enjoyment of music continued from there and developed even further when I finally managed to get my own keyboard at home. And so the story began.
2 – Who has influenced you musically?
I think everyone, whether they admit it or not are fairly influenced by music they were brought up with. In my case I followed after my dad listening to people like Queen, Dire Straits and Status Quo. Michael Jackson was always a big influence when I was younger, My Dad showed me the Thriller Album and I was amazed by it, not only his music but his live performances and extreme music videos. But I found over time, as I met different people into different music that there really wasn’t much I didn’t like. Bands like Nirvana, The Cranberries and Radiohead were my teenage years although I was still happy listening to just about anything.
3 – Tell us about your first live performance?
Wow that was a long time ago. When I was 17, I was sat around with a group of friends, when one of them said he was learning to play the guitar and then suggested why don’t we start a band. Who would ever say no to that! So we did and believe it or not that band is still going today, although not doing much. In those days we called ourselves “Canto” which was a randomly picked word from a dictionary lol. We set out just doing it for fun, which was probably a good thing as we were awful, but we spent probably around a year or so just practising and bringing in a couple of other friends that were rather better musicians than us until we got to a point that we weren’t half bad. By this point I had also joined the fire service and the fire station I was on also in those days, had a social club. They wanted to put an event on there and suggested that our band play. So with a little convincing and through all the nerves we took the plunge and played our first gig. The night went really well and the band seemed to be really well received. It wasn’t a massive gig probably only around 60 odd people there but it was the first and with a positive response it was the start of many gigs to follow.
4 – Tell us about Blackfrog Studios and how it started?
Playing in the band I do, which is now known as “Underground”, we have used many studios over our many years of existence and worked with many producers and I’ve always found the whole recording process fascinating and sometimes frustrating when working with other producers, so about 15 years ago I thought I’d have a go at learning how to do it myself. I bought myself a little 24 track digital all in one recording desk, originally just to record my own band. But I took to it quickly, really enjoyed it and before long was being asked to record other friends in my little basement studio. So it didn’t take long and I wanted to get bigger and better, so when I moved house I wanted to build a studio that I could use with separate live room and mixing room. This is what I did and is actually where the name came from. When building the original studio we had to lift some slabs up and under one of these slabs was a totally black and what looked cremated frog. In my strange way, I leant over to have a good look when the frog jump in the air causing me to do the same thing, of which my guitarist Jef Oriley who was there at the same found so fun he said “there you go, you now have name” and shortly afterwards gave me a present, which was a small sign for the studio saying Blackfrog Studios. That sign is still hanging outside the front door of the current studio today. Work picked up and I got busier and when my Son came along it was time to move the studio out of the house, so we rented a unit in Station Yard in Thame which became the studio for the following 4 years before we moved to our current location in Jefferson Way. The studio now offers recording and rehearsal services to local and national bands, singers and musicians along with voice-overs and recording studio experiences for everyone of any age, including children’s parties and hen & stag parties, giving people the chance to be a pop star in a professional studio. The studio in Jefferson way has a large rehearsal room of approx 6m x 10m with a full back line and PA for rehearsal, in addition to the recording facilities including a vocal booth and impressive mixing room. more information about Blackfrog Studios can be found at www.blackfrogstudios.co.uk
5 – Who do you currently have signed on BFS Records?
BFS Record (Blackfrog Studios Records) came around in 2012. We see ourself as a ‘stepping-stone-label’ and we aim to provide our acts with everything that they need to develop their talent and get noticed by a major label. We take a personable and flexible approach to each contract and we ensure that all of our acts are getting what they want from their record deal. Contracts can include recording or just management & promotion. each contract is tailor made for each individual artist. We currently have some great acts signed to the label including “A Little Bit Country” A country duo from Aylesbury, “Andy Robbins”, an acoustic singer/songwriter from Didcot, “Suzy Bee” and acoustic singer/songwriter from Aylesbury, “Underground” an acoustic band from Thame and “JAE” whos is an acoustic singer/songwriter from Oxfordshire. We also have some really exciting new acts that will hopefully be joining us. But we are always on the look out for new talent.
For more information about BFS Records take a look at the website – www.bfsrecords.co.uk.
6 – How can you be contacted?
We can be contacted for Blackfrog Studios via email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone 01844 218354, or for BFS Records email@example.com or by phone 01844218379. Both BFS Records and Blackfrog Studios are also available on all social media.
Brought to you by – Thame Music Academy:
Tel: 07743 032292
Web page: www.th