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Behind the scenes of The Drum's Can-Do Festival remote industry supergroup

The Drum 30 Jul 2020 06:00

We go behind the scenes of the Can-Do Festival to tell the tale of The Drum's makeshift industry supergroup.

Earlier this month The Drum tasked seven industry experts from around the globe possessing varying degrees of musical experience, alongside best-selling singer Katie Melua, to put together a remote band to perform during the Can-Do Festival.

With lockdown putting live, in-person, events on a firm hold the band collaborated remotely to play a selection of tracks to entertain the industry.

Time was constantly on the group’s mind. It was a tough few days, but in the end the band pulled together remotely recorded renditions of Bohemian Like You, Don’t Stop Now and Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

Ella Kerr-McCutcheon, programmatic strategy consultant at JCDecaux, and the group’s lead vocalist, explained why the process was so different from a typical studio session. “There were plenty of challenges to work through and everyone learned new skills along the way,“ she said.

“It was enlightening and transformative,” said Dougan. “We all had an expectation of playing live together. But we learned that some things weren’t going to work even though we’re all used to playing with our own bands live in a recording studio. We had to completely reconfigure how we do that. Adding the drums in at the end is something I’ve never heard of before and we had to do quite a bit of post-editing to get that right.”

Briens said: “When I was recording the video, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to make it. I was listening to myself and playing at the same time, while trying to push the right keys. Until the last day, it was such a rush juggling between work and making music. It was a tough week.”

When The Drum contacted Melua and her team, they said it was a request unlike any other they’ve had. “It was the guts of it that I liked about it,“ said the songwriter. “Everyone is going through this global issue right now, so this feels like a bit of a restart and a fresh way to look at things. You’ve got to experiment.”

The band quickly realised their original plan wasn‘t going to work, and fell back on the same principles as karaoke, piecing each track together bit by bit to attain the necessary studio quality.

”The process was crazy. We were throwing tracks at her, she‘s piecing them together and then we have some changes that we wanted to do. We‘re very thankful she doesn't sleep much.”

He concluded: “You can see a lot of parallels between what we were attempting to do and starting or managing a business through coronavirus.”

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Ella KerrJCDecauxLydia NgAndy DouganJames Booth
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