The Campfire community was saddened to hear of the untimely death of Graeme Holdaway today after a severe stroke at the weekend. Graeme had been a good friend of mine since he collaborated with me on the first ever Big Chill mix CD 'Eyelid Movies' in 1995 and had recently been an active Campfire member.
I last saw Graeme, who lived in nearby Shepton Mallet, in November. He had attended the most recent Frome Campfire Beacon meeting on my birthday and was so fired up by it that he had come round to my house a few days later to talk enthusiastically about potential projects and had already volunteered to get involved with the management of recordings of Beth Salmon after gearing some of her songs and had put his name down to sound engineer at this summer's Campout. He was in good spirits and very upbeat - though he had been suffering from stress and a heart condition - arrhythmia.
We first met in the early 90s and I chose Graeme to work with me on engineering the first Big Chill mix CD Eyelid Movies which received great critical acclaim at the time (One Discogs review says "Like 'KLF's - Chill Out', it's the perfect soundtrack to send you to sleep... ( but, not before its taken you somewhere else, beforehand") and the plaudits continue to this day. Graeme also sound engineered at early Big Chill events and I was very happy to recently renew acquaintances when we found ourselves living close by after my move to Somerset.
These photos are taken from the Campfire Circle Singers session from summer 2018 with Tallulah Rendall - Graeme took up residence in a nearby clearing for his field recording to capture the sounds of both nature and singing as well as he could - and Graeme was one of three sound engineers to be involved in the Campfire Singers' Sa Ta Na Ma project, my first foray back into a recording studio in over a decade and the story of which is told in this blog (Graeme is one of the interviewees in the Firecast about the marathon collaboration). Graeme was a joy to work with throughout.
Graeme was a gentle man, supremely talented and modest with it. He had an instinctive ear for music and how to get the best out of performers and myself in a studio environment. he had worked and played with many bands, including Sonja Kristina's from Curved Air and engineered on tracks for Roger Daltrey, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Damon Albarn, Transglobal Underground, Asian Dub Foundation and many others.
My Dad's classic gold Premier drum kit found its rightful resting place in Graeme's studio.
He was also a man with a ready sense of humour and I enjoyed many laughs with him. He will be sadly missed by many, especially his partner Alex, son Finlay and family.
The caption on this mug-shot says it all - here to help.