21 Nov 2016

Q&A with Nick Boldock of Hull Music Archive

Say hello to the definitive guide to Hull music

Hull Music Archive is primarily an online project that aims to document a broad and detailed history of music in and from Hull.

The archive creates a record of every band/artist from Hull, plus a few notable outsiders with strong links to the city. It aims to include every record, tape and CD that has been released over the years. Whether it’s a venue, record shop, festival, label, studio, you name it, the archive covers it.

We ask founder Nick Boldock how it all came about and how people can get involved.

What inspired you to set up the archive?

I’m a music fanatic and record collector. I listen to music as often as humanly possible. I started to pick up local records whenever I came across them and just liked the fact they were local. I couldn’t help but pick them up.

There’s no information about a lot of Hull releases and bands, and it seems such a shame that these things are in danger of being “lost” in history. Many of them are very good and it seemed a travesty to me that so many people might never see or hear them.

Clearly the project is a long-term one and will never be “complete”, but it will continue to grow and grow.

What information are you looking to gather from people?

There are loads of ways people can get involved or help out – the ethos of the archive from day one has been that I wanted it to be a project that absolutely anybody can get involved with if they want to. I absolutely see it as a community project. We already have a couple of regular contributors on board – apart from myself – who will be writing artist pages, entering releases, uploading pictures and so on. We’re looking for more people who want to do that sort of thing.

We’re also really interested in hearing from people who are or were in bands who can provide information, biogs, discographies, photos, memorabilia and so on. But not just bands of course – anyone who worked in a record shop, published a fanzine, went to local gigs, knew local bands, anything.

Another important thing is, if people want to help or contribute, they don’t need to be experienced in writing or research or anything like that. Passion and interest are the only qualifications required and it doesn’t matter if you want to help out once a year or once a day.

Other than the archive, what else do you do?

During the day I am a commercial analyst for Ideal Standard. I make fancy spreadsheets and crunch sales numbers. Rather different to my work with the archive, but it puts a roof over my head! I also present a fortnightly live radio show on Hull Kingston Radio 107.4FM called the Hull Music Vault. In keeping with the Archive, the show features local music from the 1960s right through to the present day. The show is on air every other Tuesday night from 7pm – it’s a dream come true for me!

How do you hope that people will use Hull Music Archive as a resource?

The most obvious benefit is that we are preserving a massive part of Hull’s cultural history in a way that has never been attempted before, at least not on this scale. Bearing in mind we deal with the present day as well as the past, it’s also a great way for current acts to get some free publicity and a really nice web page with links to their websites and bandcamp pages. We’ve had interest from people looking to research family history also.

I really want the Hull Music Archive to be the first place people look when they want to find out about a musician, band or whatever from Hull. Clearly the new website is in its early days (we launched mid-October) but we’re growing at a solid pace at the moment and the new site is a lot easier to update than the old one.

Why stop with bands and records? Why do half a job? Why not cover all the other aspects of Hull’s musical past as well? Labels, studios, record shops. As soon as it started taking shape in my mind I got tremendously excited about it and knew I had to make it happen.

Will there be anything else included on the website?

We already have a news section where we post news stories and features relevant to what the Archive does – for example, we’re currently bigging up the new album by Soda, which was recorded in 1997 but never released. It’s coming out on Sunday 20 November and it’s great (I’ve been lucky enough to get a preview listen). We also featured the recent release by 1970s rock band Snake Eye, another previously unreleased gem which has finally been unleashed.

In time, there’ll be some special features as well, we’re also intending to have interviews and other content that fits within the project as well as live gigs. I never wanted the archive to just be a website and I’m constantly thinking of ways to expand what we do and bring it to a wider audience.

How can people get in touch?

We can be contacted through the website, by email, on Twitter and on Facebook. Facebook is the best place to keep abreast of news and updates. Talking to people about music is the best part of this for me. I’ve kept in touch with a lot of people who have contacted us and made some friends in the process. It’s important to note that we aren’t asking people to give us things (though I do get a lot of records, CDs and memorabilia donated, which is lovely) – scans and photographs are quite sufficient.

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