Feature: Martin Trollope – A Look Back At 2021 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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So, how was your 2021?
2021 was my first full calendar year running my recording studio, so it’s actually been pretty great for me (on a purely personal level!). I’ve been lucky enough to work with loads of amazing artists on loads of incredible projects. It’s been a little terrifying too, but I guess that’s part of the nature of being self-employed!

What was your best moment?
There’s been a few but, if I had to pick, it would be the last few sessions I’ve had teaching primary school children how to use GarageBand on iPads. We’ve started writing songs together and it’s so inspiring to see their enthusiasm and positivity every week.

And your worst moment?
I think the worst moments have all been to do with the big issue that we’re all going through in our own ways. Having to make last minute changes to routines or let people down for reasons that are entirely out of your own control.

Who was your favourite band/artist this year?
I’d have to say Self Esteem. Seeing her progress over the year and then hearing the album when it came out has been wonderful. Really phenomenal.

Your favourite song of the year?
I’m going to go for ‘Thin Grey Suit’ from the King of the Sea album, ‘AYA’. I’ve worked with Trev for years, and we actually recorded it years ago, but it’s just got something really special about it. It was pretty much a live recording of the band which was very different to a lot of the album’s production, and they just nailed it.

Recommended album?
Faithful Johannes’ ‘Ken & Jean’ has got to be up there. It’s essentially a concept album about a couple (you can guess their names), and the story running through it is fascinating and engaging. The songs are top notch too!

Favourite TV show of the year?
We’re really enjoying (if that’s the right word) ‘Dopesick’ at the moment, although it’s terrifying to think it’s based on real events.

Your favourite film?
It’s not an especially amazing film, but going to the cinema with my little family to see the new Space Jam was a really special moment this year. But that’s probably more about seeing my five year old’s eyes light up than the actual movie.

Best book you read?
It definitely didn’t come out this year, but I finally got round to reading Kafka’s ‘The Castle’. I’ve tried it a few times and it never clicked but for whatever reason it did this year. It’s difficult and confusing, but in a really good way. It’s funny too, which helps.

Best podcast?
I’m contractually obligated to say ‘Tired and Inspired’ by my good friend and occasional co-conspirator Jack Fox. He’s a lovely, down to earth chap, and even Snoop Dogg recommended it!

Favourite venue of the year?
The Customs House in South Shields has been especially important to me this year. They’ve been a big part of my life for a long time anyway, but going to events there this year has had an even bigger impact than usual. From the outdoor breakdancing event and children’s plays to the classic panto, it’s all been exactly what me and my family have needed exactly when we’ve needed it. Went to my first gig of the year there too when the Sunderland Young Musicians Project were playing.

What was your favourite gig/show of the year?
It was definitely Field Music at The Cluny in September. Amazing to hear the new material and a brilliant selection of old favourites too. The Cluny is always my favourite place to see them for some reason, there’s just something so right about it. And, almost impossibly, they still seem to get better every time too.

Any upcoming artists we should keep an eye out for in 2022?
I’ve been working on a few projects that I imagine will start to come out next year, so I’d say keep an eye out for Waves of Dread, TANKENGINE, Eve Simpson, Rebecca-Anna, Specky Cult and Sam Harris among others. 2022 should also see the return of District Attorney, with new material and gigs.

Any predictions for next year?
I wouldn’t dare make any.

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