Adhesive Live


Written by Mike Cridland
Photos and illustrations by Google
17 Thursday 17th January 2013

We caught up with the guys behind running this amazing concept.


Q. What inspired both of you to take on such a huge project?

( Jay Wilcox ) I was very much initially inspired by the Roni Size/Reprazent show at the Colston Hall a couple of years ago which featured us with a full orchestra conducted and scored by the incredible William Goodchild. Hearing music I had worked on and played live taken to the next level in such a massive way was a major catalyst for this idea. One memory that sticks out is the London Community Gospel choir was supposed to sing backing at the show but they dropped out 4 days before. I got a frantic phone call from Roni and his Manager asking if it was possible to put together a replacement choir and rehearse them in 3 days in and around our personal rehearsal schedule. I somehow managed to throw something together that worked; the show and the last minute choir got rave reviews. It was at that point that I knew all the mini passion projects that I did relentlessly incorporating every talented artist I came across would at some stage lead to something massive and organic coming to fruition.

( Mark Wools ) One of the main initial drivers for me taking on this project was Jay's enthusiasm and vision for it. He's a brilliant, very experienced musician who had a great performance concept that was simply only missing a name and aesthetic to package it. From a brand creation point of view, I could see the many creative and collaborative opportunities that existed in the project, which I found really exciting and inspiring. This project has united some of Bristols finest musicians and creatives together - from the stonking musical line up Jay has organised to the back of house animation skills of Dan Barker, the web building skills of MarkBenewith, the film making skills of Aodh Breathnach, the voiceover 'godness' of Dee Green and the PR prowess of Nick Watkins and Carly Heath to name but a few. The project has kept growing to this scale because there were so many good ideas within the team that we wanted to include to ensure that we all put on the kind of show we wish an Adhesive Live audience to experience. The first show will set the high benchmark of the many to follow.



Q. How difficult was it to get the artists on board? (it's not like when you usually book an artist. I imagine it's made much more complicated due to the addition of the 20 piece ensemble)


( MW ) Over to Jay on this one...

( JW ) Letting another musician play your music is based completely on mutual respect and trust which you have to build up either by reputation or by working with the specific artists over a period of time. A mixture between my musical history and my attitude to hard work meant that before approaching the artists a lot of the persuasion in the strength of this idea had already been done. I like to think that my individual encounters with all of them have left them with the feeling that they are in safe hands on this project, which made it relatively painless to get them excited about it.

Mark has a remarkable flare for aesthetic, which due to his background is instantly impressive to anyone with an eye for graphic design. Simply put, I inspired what the artists felt the end result would sound like and Mark inspired what the artists could imagine the end result would look like.


Q. How are the rehearsals going?

( JW )Rehearsals sound incredible, due to the size of the band and the fact that musicians/artists who play by ear and feel are collaborating with classically trained sight-readers we have been rehearsing in sections. The first task was to rearrange each track playing in the brass and string parts by ear and liaising with each artist until they were satisfied.  The brass and the string section leaders Alison Gillies and James Morton then scored the arrangements out for their individual sections. Meanwhile the backline consisting of two drummers, a bass player, a guitar player, two synth keyboards and a percussionist have learned the arrangements by ear and have been rehearsing with each individual artist over December and of course this month.


( MW ) With every rehearsal the confidence of each artist and their creative input is growing and the reality of what is about to happen is sinking in. The musical passion involved in this event will be evident from the love that you will hear has gone into every piece of music when you come to the show.




Q. Did the 20 piece ensemble easily adapt to playing such electronically based music?

( JW ) To be honest yes, everyone has adapted almost instantly and it helps that people such as Alison Gillies (string section leader) played at the Reprazent show and also has played for artists such as Kanye West. She has instantly understood how to incorporate strings into the arrangements and has evolved some of the basic ideas into some very beautiful ones. The two drummers Liam Callaway and Daishun Johnson are young dynamic drummers from a gospel background who play with effortless flare and groove, never failing to impress on any genre they are given to undertake. I could go on all day but those are a couple of good examples of the adaptation process




Q. When we met up with you and Jay (Wilcox) you mentioned 3D Visuals. Who are you working with on the visual aspect of the project?


( MW ) We're working with the unbelievably talented Dan Baker from Bristol based FA Digital Productions ( I had been collaborating with him on a few personal and client projects over the past year, and whilst he was in the office he noticed the 2D Adhesive Live Musical Head Illustration that we had created in Photoshop up on the wall and Dan being Dan couldn't resist in taking up the challenge of turning it into a full 3D model. We then realised we had a unique opportunity to capture the audio from the rehearsals, and organically channel it into the 3D rig. This audio data now dynamically drives the rig, allowing components to react with each other and build with the music, so in turn breathing animated life into the character which when projected live during the show will add yet another dimension to the audience experience. Test's have produced some really interesting and unexpected patterns, so we're really looking forward to seeing the character to life through the music itself.  



(JW) Mark just explained the hell out of that question so I’ll just say, Dan’s the man. It rhymes so I think we all win.



Q. Any fears about the event?. We saw the programming and the Stage Manager has got a pretty intense night ahead of them.


( MW ) Like anything this is live, and we're pushing lots of boundaries so yes there is always a fear that things may slip in places, but with the professionalism, experience and quality of all the musicians onstage mixed with the awesome technicians offstage, plus the 6 months worth of planning and a great venue such a Colston Hall, we're pretty confident that it's going to go off with a 'bang' in and good way, not a bad!


(JW) There are so many people who have offered support and guidance with the stage management side of things notably Paul Wiltshire of A1 sounds who is providing a full sound set up and staff and has really put his all into providing an amazing service and the man power we need to make this the best show it can be.



Q. What's next for Adhesive Live?


( MW ) Adhesive Live plans to be a recurring event, premiering in and returning to Bristol each year, but also touring around the UK highlighting and presenting prominent established and up&coming artists from each region. Over the next few years we are hoping to do gigs at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, The Brighton Dome in Brighton and at London's Roundhouse. Obviously though the ridiculously aspirational dream would be to take Adhesive Live to the Royal Albert Hall one day - but let's get the first gig out of the way first hey! From ground level we are also planning Youth workshops, to encourage aspiring young musicians to take to the stage and express themselves in the digital and classical musical arena.



Q. Who would you like to play like at the next Adhesive Live?


( MW ) For me the the most important thing is that we have a good mix of established artists and up&coming talent to ensure that each show really feels and offers our audience the truly unique Adhesive Live experience whilst showcasing the artistic and musical skills of as many people as possible. For a Bristol show, established artists such as Massive Attack and Portishead would be amazing - for Brighton Fatboy Slim with live 20 piece ensemble would be bonkers and something totally different - Chemical Brothers and Mr Scruff would sound sublime with classical backing for Manchester and for London Unkle headlining the lineup would simply be unmissable.

(JW) I think in addition to formulating plans we really have to wait and see what happens organically as a result of this show. The heart of this brand lies in the connections between good people who benefit from a mutually positive attitude when working together in this way.

I just had a very excited call from Swindle a great London based producer/DJ with a popular show on London’s Rinse FM. He was very excited about the project and is taking the time out to travel to Bristol specifically for the Adhesive Live show. It’s actually an amazing coincidence because I was listening to his music on YouTube last week thinking how I could really imagine him featuring in a London edition of Modern Digital vs Traditional Classical. When a DJ takes a Friday night off work, you know you’re onto something.



If you would like to win 2 tickets & a signed A2 poster from all the artists head over to facebook for our competition here:


For more info on this very special show, visit

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