How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.
Who are you?
Lydia Stockbridge (LS): Hello! I’m the in-house booker at the venue, coming up to 10 years next July! Like all Grassroots Music Venues staff I’m a jack of all trades – we all chip in with venue maintenance, cleaning, staff training, the works!
Dom Frazer (DF): Dom here, salutations! I’m the Director of The Boileroom, see above.
Where are you based?
LS: I’m based in Guildford, Surrey, not far from the venue.
DF: I live not too far from the venue with my partner, music producer and artist SPACE & our dog Frida.
Where do you work? What do you do?
LS: Usually we set up the office each day right in the main room of the venue, opposite the stage. We tune in to BBC6 Music over the PA, and when it’s sunny we stretch out in the venue garden and work from there – sometimes with the addition of a paddling pool! It varies from week to week, but my day’s spent with a mix of emails, admin, phone calls, odd jobs around the venue, watering plants, getting catering riders and getting the green room ready, venue show-rounds, and welcoming bands in and helping with load-in.
DF: I work on the road, at home and at the venue. I check in with the rest of the team twice a week, my days are spent getting an overview of where we are with regards to bookings, events and accounts. Organising and delegating, I do a lot of delegating!
What are you listening to?
LS: At the moment I’m really into the Table Manners podcast with Jessie Ware and her Mum Lenny – it’s funny, insightful, and has some really delicious recipe ideas. I like to listen along when I’m cooking.
DF: I listen to everything, the birds and all the new noises I’m tuning into outside… as there’s so much less noise pollution. I’m not sleeping so well, so lots of podcasts. You’re Dead to Me and All Hail the Kale, also am deep into Malcolm Gladwell’s audiobook Talking to Strangers.
How do you discover new music?
LS: Oh so many ways! I’ve always been a big fan of print magazines and love reading DIY, Dork, Upset, and other free music magazines. I like chatting to other people about music – word of mouth recommendations are such a great way to find hidden gems.
DF: Love me a bit of radio, I constantly Shazam everything I’m into and then have a playlist of that music. Same as Lyd, I started out working in music magazines, so they will always have a special place in my heart. Also I LURVE a record shop, I can spend a long time browsing. I also married someone who is obsessed with music, we have a studio at home and recently had Do Nothing and Talk Show in working with SPACE, so sometimes new music finds me!
What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
LS: I tend to go between streaming and listening to records on vinyl. I do have a really old collection of some cassettes and CDs that have a sentimental value to me but I haven’t played them for years – nothing to play them on unfortunately! I love having the physical copy of a record – the artistry of it, but then also having the convenience of streaming for work or when I’m out and about.
DF: You didn’t mention mini discs!!!! Jeez remember when they were a thing! Seriously, it’s vinyl or streaming for me. When you put on a record you are committing to something and that’s what I love about it. On Saturday I spent the whole day listening to records and reading the inlays as I sat there with the fire going! It was lush!
Where do you do most of your music listening?
LS: Oh probably in the car on road trips, walking to work, when I’m making dinner, and throughout the day at work!
DF: Hmmmm whenever and wherever, there’s no specific place.. when I’m cooking, in the shower- I just got a new bluetooth speaker that’s waterproof.
How do you find and listen to pre-release music?
LS: Through some very kind agent pals! It’s always great to hear what some of the amazing bands we’ve worked with are up to and be sent pre-releases. BBC 6 also has some great first listens and we’re pretty much tuned into that most of the day.
DF: Mail outs from labels, blogs like pitchfork etc.
What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
LS: we tend to get links in emails to Spotify, Soundcloud or Bandcamp – I like the immediacy of it, and then I tend to support artists and invest in buying the record at the merch table! I have a premium account for Spotify so I can listen ad-free! When I’m out doing the rounds distributing flyers I also get to pop into all of our local record stores and have a browse and a chat with the owners which is always a great way to find out about indie exclusive new releases and top tips as well.
DF: I don’t really have any, I like that it’s instant and that you can dig into a back catalogue. I think the artist needs to be paid more for their streams!
How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
LS: I love a good playlist! I tend to make monthly playlists rather than by genre of what I’ve been listening to, I have a bit of an eclectic taste so I like to mix it up a bit. I’m also a big fan of spreadsheets and keep tabs on what I’m listening to, new music to discover, online articles and notes to myself too.
DF: Playlists, scribbles on bits of paper or hands…
Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
LS: I like to chat music with my friends and family, send each other tracks, and of course booking in artists at the venue that I think everyone should be listening to!
DF: About once a week I go through my new shazams with my husband and we hang out and listen to new stuff.
Anything you want to “promote”?
LS: On a local level Guildford has some incredible emerging talent – favourite new record label and promoters Cosmic Sounds are about to release their first vinyl with Deja Blu and Gi – dreamy indie pop vibes. Only launched this year but their show with us back in Jan was buzzing!
DF: There are so many awesome artists in our locality! We are truly blessed to do the job we do…support your local venue!
This is a really difficult time for everybody; the plight of Grassroots Music Venues included. We’re part of Music Venues Trust’s #saveourvenues campaign to ensure that when we can safely re-open, our brothers and sisters will also be there alongside us re-opening too. Live music as we know it won’t be able to continue without this circuit, check out the website here and see how you can get involved.