The Stage Left Podcast
The Stage Left Podcast


The StageLeft Podcast

Episode 41


Adam Ficek

On this special episode of The StageLeft Podcast ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week,

we welcome Psychotherapist & former Babyshambles writer and drummer, Adam Ficek.

As well as an impressive solo output as ‘Roses Kings Castles’, touring the world as a celebrated DJ,

Adam now works to support those in the music industry through Music and Mind, which is established

to provide support, therapy, consultancy, and wellbeing in the music industry.


Adam talks candidly of how his own experiences led to the creation of Music and Mind,

and the importance of duty of care within the industry:


‘…one minute you are at the top of the game and the next minute you’re not, you’re struggling for support

with all these different things which can really be quite overwhelming…

the pressures are innately growing, for young bands especially…’


We hear the most common root cause behaviours of those that are coming to him and what

specific actions musicians can take right now, the effect on creative and artistic output, how social media is a

potent force for disabling people’s mental health, and the conundrum of being commoditised with-in the industry:


‘…if you are going to step into the arena of commoditisation, then you’re going to be a commodity,

that’s how it is…I did have a choice, no-one had a gun to my head saying ‘you must stay in this industry…’


Adam also talks about what differentiates the Babyshambles from the Libertines, the unique approach young songwriters

could learn from Pete Doherty, and the time the chief Babyshamble was babysat by two ex-military:


‘…Every other week he’d be nicked for drugs and it was part of a court order… so rather than

sending him down, he would have these two ex-military guys babysit him for the recording of ‘Down in Albion’.

It was a very messy time for everyone I think…’


Adam talks with affection about legendary drummer and teacher Bob Armstrong, why he no longer thinks

of playing Wembley and Glastonbury as momentous occasions, and being in The La’s for two whole days:


‘…I think I was in The La’s twice, once was for about a day…’


This episode is in keeping with our ethos to lift the lid of the music industry.

Thanks to Adam, we hear a side of it that is not often spoken about yet has an ever-increasing impact

from the lowest to the highest echelons of the industry.


To find out more about Music and Mind please visit:


Episode 40


Dan McDougall

We are delighted to welcome Liam Gallagher’s drummer, Dan McDougall, to The StageLeft Podcast.

Dan paints an interesting picture on being the first person to collaborate on the demos for

Liam Gallagher’s platinum selling album – As You Were. He discusses in detail his and Liam’s unique relationship,

the early rehearsals, and Liam’s reaction on hearing Dan’s favourite record of all time;


‘…he took my beer off me and announced to the table I was too drunk…’


A man who facilitated the second coming of the force that is Liam Gallagher, Dan discusses his development as

songwriter and drummer, what the first rehearsals with Liam were like, how to thrive when working with

big personalities, and how to prepare for high pressure shows such as last month’s Brit Awards,

where he had to the sing the most important line in Live Forever to this year’s biggest tv audiences.


Dan gives incredible insight into how to succeed in the music industry as a songwriter, producer, and session musician.

He talks about his preferred recording software, playing Don’t Look Back in Anger at Glastonbury, arriving for

the One Love Manchester with minutes to spare, how he tailors his songwriting for individual artists, and

the price to be paid for working in the music industry;


‘…It’s the waiting game isn’t it, there’s a lot of waiting around (on tour), so some people just

turn to something else to keep themselves busy…’


Also discussed are Dan’s career setbacks, the science of songwriting, his technique to get over writer’s block,

 and his advice for young musicians;


‘…Don’t be so disheartened by someone telling you something is bad, or you can work on it.

I think I’d tell people don’t be offended because there will be a lot of people saying

no along the way – just take it on the chin and keep working harder…’


We hear from fellow Leeds College of Music alumni John Waugh (Episode 32), and Dan explains why LCoM

has been so important to himself and others. He answers what challenges exist for young musicians today,

what fears he has for the music industry - and how they might be addressed, and

will there be a second Liam Gallagher album on the horizon.

Episode 39


Ian Dench

How fascinating it was for us to deconstruct the songwriting process of the Ivor Novello winning and Golden Globe nominated songwriter Ian Dench in the new episode of The StageLeft Podcast.


Great tales from EMF (including the composition of the International Super-Hit 'Unbelievable') are

followed by an in depth analysis on modern songwriting techniques that saw Ian collaborate

with Beyonce on 5 songs, and go onto co-write with the likes of Florence & The Machine, Ian Brown, Shakira and many more.


A gentleman who is refreshingly open and honest, we've enjoyed the company of Ian since this interview and

hope this insight will be as enjoyable to listen to as it was to record!

#beyonce #shakira #songwriting #music

Episode 38


Stewart Lee

The enigmatic, multi-talented, and all round good guy Stewart Lee is this episode’s very special guest.

As he is currently touring his show Content Provider throughout the UK,

it is a great privilege to welcome him to the show.


Hands down the most critically acclaimed British comedian of his generation, Stewart Lee is also a

BAFTA award winner, and part owner of four Laurence Olivier awards for his work with Jerry Springer – The Opera.

He has written innumerable music reviews of - mostly obscure artists, recently performed on a tribute record

for Shirley Collins, and has seen his collaboration with Capri-Batterie recently released.

Stewart talks with authority on his creative processes, passionately about his relationship with music,

and speaks his mind about how artistic output is valued in the digital age.

His experience, and views on the future of the creative arts is both eye-opening and frightening

as he explains the almost Orwellian control of the big companies

and their controlled for-profit evolution and monetization:

‘…Nowadays, if you’ve not sold your soul to these big conglomerates, you’re not going to reach anyone.

I mean, seems like the internet was supposed to set us free, but actually it’s enslaving us on behalf

of three or four big global corporations who are controlling the way our ideas are disseminated…’

This episode was recorded 48 hours before the passing of Mark E. Smith of The Fall,

and Stewart spoke fondly about their influence on his work -


‘When he finally doesn’t do it anymore - I don’t know what it’ll take to stop him – when it finally isn’t happening

it’ll be, for a normal person, like if Manchester United were to suddenly not exist anymore....

I would have had a very different life without them’



Episode 37


Goldheart Assembly

There has been no shortage of amazing guests on The StageLeft Podcast, and this episode is no exception.

Goldheart Assembly’s James Dale and John Herbert join us to talk about their journey, their songs,

and reflections after playing their final and farewell gig in London last month.

A gig that saw performances from members of The Bluetones, Starsailor, EMF, and The Magic Numbers.


Today they talk about their reasons for splitting, composition techniques, their new projects, and their

big break by being the first ever unsigned band on Steve Lamacq’s Live Session – sandwiched between

Green Day and Elbow – complete with full orchestra. From their meeting at university in rival bands, to playing

together at London’s Rock Garden, we also hear the final ever performances of King of Rome, Anvil, Harvest in the Snow, Engraver’s Daughter, So long St. Christopher, and Into Desperate Arms.


Also included:

The pivotal moment of meeting Morcheeba’s Andy Nunn;


‘…”I’d join your band, if this was a band,”…and he did in the end…’


The uniqueness of their sound, songwriting and harmony;


‘…Just tonally, our voices went so well together, it gave us a huge head start...’


The reception of their second album, three years in the making;


‘…We had Atlantic Records, Columbia Records, all put offers in for us. We thought that because they loved

the early music so much - that if we made better music, wrote a better album, and

weren’t attached to another record label, then we would sign to Atlantic Records…’


The hilarious anecdote about using a 200-ton steam engine for the click track to Jesus Wheel;


‘…I placed about nine mics and two of them got wet, got ruined by the steam. I didn’t know what I was doing so I just placed them everywhere…’


This entertaining, and honest interview, gives great insight into not only the band, but the inner workings and politics of the music industry, radio stations, and how not to place your microphones beside a 200-ton steam engine…

Episode 36


of Kraftwerk

A Godfather, pioneer, and visionary of electronic music, Wolfgang Flur is

this episode’s very special gueston The StageLeft Podcast.


From his time with Kraftwerk – cited by David Bowie as his favourite band, to his solo work and collaborations.

An artist who began his beginnings with a band who would influence generations to come

 with their music, and on stage distinct uniformity, Wolfgang Flur breaks free

with an open and frank discussion of his singularity and individualism.

Wolfgang discusses creativity, how being lucky in love keeps him young, and the difficult transformation

from being a Keith Moon-esque drummer, to his own evolution as Kraftwerk percussion/ drummer.

This interview is as much about the man as his music, and he talks passionately about his upbringing,

the fascinating, almost pre-destined moment of finding a drum set in the school basement,

and how playing in the rubble and bombsites of post-war Dusseldorf shaped his future.

He gives an honest and compelling insight into the inner dynamics of Kraftwerk, how he looks to the future based on his own endeavours, and the emotional reunion with Florian Schneider after 30 years.

#kraftwerk #edm #electronica #EDM #drums #drumming #drum #drummer #music #musicnews #interview

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