Graeme Holdaway
@GraemeH / Trailblazer member


Male, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, United Kingdom, birthday 25th March
Joined February 2017

Hello, I'm Graeme, I was born in the 50's, The first records I heard that blew me away were 'Heartbreak Hotel', and 'Can't Buy Me Love', I became a guitarist at the age of 12, joined an acoustic group at 16, a rock band at 19, and after doing an amazing three years at Central School of Speech and Drama, which at the time was a very technical course for teachers in all aspects of theatre techniques from acting to sound recording, I decided I wanted to become a recording engineer. After two years of begging studios to let me in to learn the craft, I got a job in a small independent studio in Stoke Newington, London N16, who were specialising in reggae 'dub-plate' recordings, where the backing track would arrive from Trench Town Jamaica, and new vocals, top instruments and vocals would be added on the multitrack. I loved 'dub' mixes, and quickly learned how to add effects and 'drop' half the instruments to break down into a surreal percussion break with spinning echo and reverb.
I had resistance from the initially very skeptical Afro-Caribbean musicians, but once I got into my groove, they lightened up, became very friendly, and encouraged me to do more.
From there I set up my own studio in Euston with friends and my then wife and business partner, The Beat Factory, and we ran it for nine years, with amongst many other sessions, the first sessions of the then 'world music' bands such as Transglobal Underground, Loop Guru, Asian dub Foundation and Fun^Da^Mental, most of whom were on Nation Records. We also did the first professional recordings of the young Damon Albarn, up to and including the line-up that became Blur, although they were known as Seymour at the time.
The bottom dropped out of the 'mid-range' studio market when everyone started recording their own music in their bedrooms with MIDI sampling and keyboard equipment, so I went on the road with three bands, including Sonja Kristina, formerly of Curved Air, for whom I co-produced and engineered two albums, and played bass on numerous tours. I had the pleasure of working as live engineer for two Big Chill festivals, including the notorious Norfolk year, and I also assisted Pete Lawrence as audio editor for his Eyelid Movies compilation, which has definitely stood the test of time
With a new wife, a baby son, and in the interests of getting a mortgage I spent the last 15 years in some corporate, but very interesting jobs in Parliament, Broadcast manager at City Hall, (during Boris Johnson's period as Mayor) and then as Media Services manager at Birkbeck College, where I learned new skills in broadcast audio and video, and A/V installations, and was inspired by the many interesting academics who I met and had conversations with in the course of my duties.
Now I have left Birkbeck, and am looking for interesting work as a recording engineer/producer, and videographer, and am working on music and academic projects, currently. I write my own music to accompany the documentary-style videos I am currently working on
I like drawing, painting, and reading interesting fiction and non-fiction, and I like fixing and making things, and I am learning how to be a guitar Luthier.I love writing, and am seriously attempting to finish at least some of the many projects I have begun in recent years and months, and I am currently writing a novel based on my period in the music industry, occasional poems, as well as being an obsessive daily diarist.
I am an active musician, and am currently in two bands, the one I joined at the age of 19, which has become a covers band, and in which I play lead guitar, which performs charity gigs to support a hospice, and the other with an ex-colleague from Parliament, with whom I started jamming on the roof of the Palace of Westminster, and which is currently gearing up to record (with my equipment) original material, and in which I play bass.
I am a great believer in life-long learning, and have learned many skills over the years, and do not intend to ever stop trying new things. I am currently learning more about web-editing, which I began in my last job.
I learned Dutch as a young man, practice as often as possible and I am attempting to become a better speaker of French. I read books in both languages (very slowly!)
My wife Alex and I recently moved to the West country from SE London, and where I am pursuing my many interests, and making some money while doing them.


Key Skills





Brian Eno, JJ Cale, Herman Hesse, John Lennon, Sylvia Plath, George Orwell, Joss Whedon, Donald Fagen, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, TS Eliot, Phillip Larkin, Jane Macadam Freud, Harry Mulisch, Simon Schama, Nick Drake, JRR Tolkien, Julia Cameron, Hilary Mantel, Robert Graves, Nick Park, Peter Gabriel, Paul Nash, Emily Dickinson, Ridley Scott, Steve Reich, George Harrison, Jeff Beck, Rosemary Sutcliffe, John Irwin, Kurt Vonnegut
The need to rationalise Brexit, or reverse it completely


Trained as a teacher of English and Drama at Central school of Speech and Drama, in the late 70s, but heeded the siren call of music to become a recording engineer studio owner, record producer and then to join various bands and both record albums with them, and go on tour, playing bass.
Then corporate broadcast jobs in the UK Parliament, Broadcast manager at City Hall, London, and Birkbeck college, before going back to music recording, with added video expertise added in the last few years


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