Interview – Suffolk One and ‘Nostalgia’

Suffolk One music pupils organised an evening of music in aide of their BTEC course at the college, raising money for charity in the process. Calling their event ‘Nostalgia’, the pupils performed a range of covers and originals from across the decades. Our Events Promotion Co-ordinator went to ask the Suffolk One team about what it was like to put on this event – their first (highly successful) promotion job.


The JPC caught Max Wildwood at the beginning of the night. Last on, this artist was booked in by Suffolk One’s music students to headline the evening. We talked to him about current recording projects and the ‘Nostalgia’ performance: 

 JPC: So Max you’re the headliner for tonight’s performance, Nostalgia. Can you tell me more about what the event is in support of?

Max: It’s in support of the charity St Elizabeth’s Hospice. I believe that the Suffolk One music students are holding this as part of their final project. And part of it is to put on a live event with a headline act. So they booked me in for this.


JPC: Are you at Suffolk One at the moment?

Max: No, I’m a solo musician from outside the college. They booked me in to play.


JPC: The evening includes bands showcasing both original material and covers of classic hits. Can you tell me more about the material covered?

Max: The covers are from the fifties to the nineties; a song from each decade. And then the pupils have to write an original within the style of each decade.


JPC: Your own original material – how would you describe it?

Max: A combination of pop, rock, blues country. Not necessarily in that order.


JPC: Are you collaborating with any other musicians currently?

Max: I do – but not live at the moment. I work with them in the studio.


JPC: Do you have any material already released or plans to release?

Max: I have plans to release, I’m currently recording an album and have been since November.


The Full Stop
The Full Stop – photo by Ed Partridge


Some Suffolk One students already work as volunteers here at the venue. One of whom is Callum Southgate, currently learning the ropes of sound engineering. The JPC talked to him during a changeover between bands The Full Stop and Knowledge Bowl:

JPC: You’re a sound engineer here at the John Peel Centre, as a volunteer. What does this involve?

Callum: It’s a whole variety of roles, anything from setting up the stage at the very start of the evening to helping changeovers between bands. So yeah, a general helping out with the stage. In a few weeks’ time I should be able to use the sound desks, getting more hands on with that.


JPC: Apparently you’re also in a band tonight?

Callum: We formed from our BTEC that we are doing at Suffolk One. The teachers put together a band, which has come together over the past two years. We had to come up with an eight song set of four covers and four originals, covers from over the past sixty years.


JPC: So what band would you say is the best you’ve seen here?

Callum: My top favourite was probably Fighting Caravans. They were right up my street, and I thought their sound was really well executed on the night. So yeah!

Knowledge Bowl
Knowledge Bowl – photo by Ed Partridge


Lois Hinsley, who works at Suffolk One as a music teacher, explained to the JPC that organising the ‘Nostalgia’ event was invaluable for its student organisers, in involving them practically in a professional arts environment as part of their BTEC: 

JPC: Can you tell me about Suffolk One’s involvement with the John Peel Centre at the moment?

Lois: Paulin and I had met in a previous life, her having been at Suffolk One. I also taught her nephew music technology. So Paulin got in touch about potentially working together and so we came and talked about possible routes and our Year 13 group who are performing this evening have to put on a gig as part of their coursework. So with timing and everything, it just seemed to work really, really well. And the experience that they’ve had from working with a professional organisation like the John Peel Centre has been unbelievable really. Because within the safety net of the college and their course, they are very much used to their teachers telling them what to do. Whereas this has literally been off their own back and them organising it and working with Paulin via email and in person. The experience has been invaluable as well for Callum who is helping out as a sound engineer. And for this has made it possible for our pupils to understand what it’s like to work on behalf of an arts organisation; what the real world is like. And the BTEC, being a vocational qualification, we do Music, Music Performance, Music Technology – being able to access a real, practical arts environment has been great.