Mike Bamford

Five years of String and Tins

Five years of String and Tins

As many of you will know, String and Tins recently turned 5 years old. It's been one hell of a ride. We'd like to thank all our clients for making it all possible, especially those that were very patient in the early days! All we can ask is that we keep working with great people who love making stuff sound good as much as we do. If you're interested in the stories and ethos behind our sound studio facility, here's a transcript of an interview with founders Mike, Sam and Will. Having crafted sound for a number of the industry’s favourite award-winning ads in recent years, independent...

Read more...

Together Forever, Ancestry DNA

Together Forever, Ancestry DNA

Together forever and never to part, Together forever we two, And don't you know I would move heaven and earth, To be together forever with you.... Ahhh the optimism and innocence of the late 1980s, summed up neatly by Stock, Aitken and Waterman's simple pop hits. All you needed for a whole afternoon of fun was a Rubik's cube, an etch-a-sketch and Rick Astley's album on your Sony Walkman. Fast forward 30 years and things seem to have got a lot more complicated..... but luckily the crafty team at Droga5 and Biscuit Filmworks' Noam Murro are on hand to re-imagine one of their biggest hits,...

Read more...

Noisy Music

Noisy Music

I was recently asked to compile a noisy music playlist for the lovely people at LBB Online. The theme was "music which incorporates un-musical sounds". There were a couple of tracks I wanted to include that were only available on YouTube, so the article is reproduced here with the list in full. There's a magical point that sits in-between everyday sounds and musical notes, where you can convey meaning and musicality at the same time. When Tom Waits plays percussion on a human skeleton or Robert Armani re-creates a wonky ambulance siren with a synthesizer, you blend two disciplines: descriptive...

Read more...

Mike rides the FireFlies Tour

Mike rides the FireFlies Tour

This year Mike is riding on the 17th annual FireFlies Tour in aid of Bloodwise cancer research. https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/FireFlies-Tour-2017-th A post shared by The F I R E F L I E S T O U R (@the_fireflies_tour) on Jun 15, 2017 at 11:27am PDT Weds 21st June - Day 8: Col de Vence and down to Cannes 84km, 1563 meters height gain Final day. One last push up the Col de Vence, before tracking down to the coast in full sunshine. We rode as a team into Cannes, down la Croisette to the sound of whistles, cheering and a massive cow bell (nice one Rani!). It's...

Read more...

Spatial Audio VR Smog for Rustlers

Spatial Audio VR Smog for Rustlers

Having moved from my hometown of Blackpool in my late teens, I thought I'd left the holy trinity of microwaveable burgers, poor visibility and attention grabbing sounds behind..... How wrong I was. Step forward Droga5 and their bold vision (no pun intended....) for a 360 virtual reality walking tour of London, through the great smog of 1952. Working with the latest audio spatialisation software (thanks Audioease and Noisemakers!) we created an ambisonic mix - optimised for playback on YouTube's new 360 video engine. YouTube uses the gyroscope in your VR headset (or phone) to work...

Read more...

Tequila+beer – my house is your house is… Desperados House Party!

Tequila+beer – my house is your house is… Desperados House Party!

Mike and I can safely say this project was a labour of love, working with some of our best friends and getting to collaborate with esteemed house producer Riton - this work was the biggest technical challenge that we have been involved with for a while. It also recently won at the International MASAwards for 'best online re-record / adaptation', so I figured it was time to take note of what was done for the Desperados House Party: The goal was to turn an apartment into a musical instrument – stairs that played a synth part, lights that could be struck as drums, taps that could modulate...

Read more...

Film Craft Grand Prix for Under Armour Phelps at Cannes Lions

Film Craft Grand Prix for Under Armour Phelps at Cannes Lions

We were incredibly proud to see Droga5's film for Under Armour, starring Michael Phelps, pick up this year's Film Craft Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions international festival of creativity. We had serious amounts of fun crafting the sound design across 3 x films for their "It's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light" campaign but it was the Phelps film that seems to have struck a chord. The story of the most awarded Olympian of all time's comeback ambition was also singled out as this year's D&AD president's pick. After an initial phase of prep work at String and Tins...

Read more...

Mixing Live in Los Angeles

Mixing Live in Los Angeles

We recently collaborated with The Mill, Los Angeles to create a piece of work for Wells Fargo. The film is playing on a unique outdoor multi-screen setup in Microsoft Square, downtown Los Angeles. The square is part of L.A. Live, a multi-million dollar entertainment complex incorporating the Lakers' stadium, Grammy museum, various theatres, restaurants and clubs. It's a pretty impressive development and I was lucky enough to be able to hang out for the afternoon, before supervising the final sound-mix playback. You've got to love a big thing concreted into the floor with the words...

Read more...

Earworms: Investigating the music in our heads

Earworms: Investigating the music in our heads

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? A melody or lyric, which appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and then refused to leave. Involuntary Musical Imagery or Earworms as they are more commonly referred to, was the subject of a one-day symposium I recently attended at Goldsmiths University of London. The day brought together neuroscientists and cognitive specialists from around the world to discuss the outcome of three years of research and whilst the level of science got pretty intense at times, the Music, Mind and Brain group at Goldsmiths were kind enough to make the day accessible...

Read more...

Adidas Haters: Pick Of The Week

Adidas Haters: Pick Of The Week

Adidas Haters. It's hard to hate a Pick Of The Week in Campaign. Considering the personalities involved and the idea behind the campaign, the sound design for this project was always going to get a bit feisty. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the splits for Apashe's banger "Battle Royale" early on so we could cut + treat bits of the track at the same time as building up layers of angry sound design. When Mike realised the track's bpm was a framerate friendly 100bpm we had to lock him in his studio until he calmed down. Watch the results here: https://vimeo.com/117397907 Big...

Read more...

Strings and Brass in Bratislava

Strings and Brass in Bratislava

There's nothing quite like handing out 60 sheets of music to an orchestra and hearing them nail it in the first take. Especially when you're one of an audience of four, sat in the sweet spot of a recording hall with jaw-dropping acoustics. We were asked by Fallon to create the scores for Škoda's two-year sponsorship of ITV’s mystery drama programmes. They had developed five, humorous mini-films, directed by Gary Freedman. Each had to feel like scenes that had been cut from classic mystery films. So we set about composing bite-sized orchestral pieces, cramming as much action, suspense and drama...

Read more...

KIX Channel Rebrand

The new look and sound for kids channel KIX has just launched. Consisting of a series of idents, menus, now-next-laters etc. featuring exploding asteroids, neon racers and transformer logos under attack from flying laser-bots. The brief was to create something epic, futuristic and credible that would appeal to a core audience of 7-12 year old boys. We wrote a musical base which would act as the channel's theme and then went through adapting the instrumentation to match the action in each ident. Electro house for the Neon Racer, epic orchestral / synth arpeggios for Asteroids in Space and a more...

Read more...

World Cup Pressure

World Cup Pressure

Will our boys be able to withstand the pressure this summer in Brazil? One thing's for sure... with temperatures of 32C and humidity hitting 76%, they're going to need to keep their electrolytes topped up! In this World Cup spot for Lucozade we were asked: "What does stress, tension and oppressive heat sound like?". Director, Chris Cairns, had a bold vision of using sound, CGI and 3D body scanning technology to make the England captain physically buckle. We were lucky enough to get an early brief on the sound treatment, allowing us to build the sound design and music layers at the same...

Read more...

Dan & Dave’s Chocolate Coin Machine

Dan & Dave’s Chocolate Coin Machine

Ahhh Christmas. A time for family, tinsel, parties, last minute shopping and steampunk chocolate coin machines. Wieden and Kennedy have created an amazing Willy-Wonka-like installation in the window of their Hanbury Street offices. Made out of "a pinch of magic and a lot of copper" the machine physically and sonically comes to life when you insert a pound coin. The coin first travels down a custom made Xylophone, tuned to play the first 3 bars of Jingle Bells before disappearing into the smelting furnace. To create the sound design for the rest of the installation, we first made a series...

Read more...

Aphex Twin at The Barbican

Aphex Twin at The Barbican

The last time I saw Richard D James play live was in a dingy Preston club in 1993. The gig lasted all of 30 seconds, with his assembled mass of analogue gear spewing out an unimaginable noise before overloading & blowing up. Nineteen years on & the Aphex Twin was planning to remote control the Heritage Orchestra & Choir at the Barbican Centre. In the absence of any recent releases, the speed at which tickets sold out showed the level of interest in any new AFX experimentations. The assembled musicians responded to instructions displayed on a large screen at the back of the stage....

Read more...

Sound and Design in Trafalgar Square

Sound and Design in Trafalgar Square

  If you noticed a small black rubberized building appear in Trafalgar Square last week and wondered what it was all about, then read on. We went down to find the ‘design you can’t see’ at this year’s London Design Festival. Installed courtesy of the creative think tank BE OPEN, designed by ARUP and part of the London Design Festival – the Sound Portal has played host to 5 contemporary artists’ unique soundscapes played back using Ambisonic technologies. The listener sits on a central platform, surrounded by a 360 degree array of vertical speaker stacks, which delivers...

Read more...