Gregor Riddell – The Beatles and a four track recorder, a love of bending the rules, and The Incredible String Band

‘The vocal track wasn’t that good,’ laughed Gregor Riddell during his interview for the latest episode of Sue and Johnny – Everything and Anything. He was explaining how aged eight; he recorded the The Beatles Abbey Road album on a four-track recorder his dad had just bought him.

‘It was pivotal in my music journey,’ he added, ‘I played the piano, guitar, and drums.’

Unfortunately, the singing genes didn’t pass over to him from his mother, the opera and cabaret performer Morag Maclaren who has already been a guest of the podcast.

In the first part of our chat with Gregor, we covered his formal education and degree at Cambridge University, where he studied music. The doors opened for a traditional career as a classical musician. He was a founder member of the Solstice Quartet, Living Room in London, and Odysseus Piano Trioas. But he liked to bend the rules, be more experimental and play other instruments so he decided on a change of direction.

‘I was lost,’ is how he describes it with a self deprecating smile.

He embarked on a post graduate course in composition at the Royal College of Music in London. Now he’s based in Norway with his wife Torun, also a cellist and their two young children. He juggles his hectic family life with performing, composing, and developing a radio station SVS as an online platform based in Oslo dedicated to broadcasting adventurous music from the Nordic countries. He co-founded the station with Robert Soma-Lewis. He contributes as a composer and as a host to the radio station and as he says ‘Its a forum for other artists but I’m still trying to figure out a way to create a revenue stream from the business.’

Gregor explained that his composing was heavily influenced by Debussy, because ‘he created music for the sound.’ Gregor even produced his guitar and played some chords that he was working on the day before on his daughter’s ukulele. He then explained his love of the the 1960s band, The Incredible String Band explaining their influences from Scottish folk to the music, sounds and instruments from around the world. They remain an inspiration.

We listened to a track, as he joined in with his guitar, they were incredible – a bit like Gregor.

Tune in next week for the second part of our discussions.