Child using drum sticks on railing at the Royal Docks

Art & Culture

Discover how Addictive TV are hoping to change your perceptions of landmarks around the Royal Docks with Drum & Docks

Drum & Docks is a new project created by electronic artists Addictive TV that sees the Royal Docks turn into a landscape full of instruments! Fronted by Newham-born local artist, Graham Daniels, Drum & Docks is a brand-new audio-visual film which sees percussionists utilising the buildings, railings, cranes and historic landmarks around the Docks as instruments.

Discover the Drum & Docks film:

We caught up with Graham to then tell us more about how this film was created.

Tell us about the history of Addictive TV

As artists we've always been into visual media, since back in the days of being VJs and mixing visuals in clubs and at festivals, all of which led directly to the whole idea of sampling and remixing both audio and video.

For a good twenty years or so now, the musical fusion created by sampling the sounds you see in visual media has been our focus, so we’ve moved into creating live cinema projects, installations, remixing archives, films and so on, for both artistic and commercial projects. You might have heard our work and not known it! Over the years several movie studios have asked us to create alternative official trailers, remixing sounds for some Hollywood blockbuster movies such as Iron Man and Fast & Furious which has been amazing.

With our own artistic work, for the last ten years we've been concentrating on a world music project called Orchestra of Samples. This project is a huge endevour, we’ve been creating music by sampling hundreds of musicians we filmed around the planet while on tour, in fact we performed a short version of the Orchestra of Samples a few months ago at the Newham Unlocked online-only festival, which you can listen to and watch, here:

What do the Royal Docks mean to the Addictive TV team?

Pre-pandemic for us it meant flights to gigs abroad from London City Airport and sunny afternoon walks as it’s quite local to us, but now it means something very different than before; to us now it’s a stage full of instruments and one giant recording studio!

Drum & Docks is a very different project and when you talk about using buildings as instruments it sounds very unique, how have you created this piece for Join the Docks?

The technique of shooting this type of piece is something we’ve actually done many times before, but we’ve never created something specifically from drummers playing boats, railings and bridges! We first set about looking for places to create music from, then acquired permission to film and record across these spaces and then set about shooting and recording all the sounds and images to get a large audio visual pool to sample from. We had to instruct all the local musicians we worked with to drum at a specific tempo to make sure that the samples would work well when combined.

Tell us about your collaborators on the project?

We worked with a number of percussionists on the project, Jasdeep Bhamra and Michael Forde we’ve worked with on live shows many times before, including in the closing show of last year’s London Mela 2019. However, for this project, most of the percussionists were completely new to us, particularly the students from our project partners Newham Music and the professional drummers that came via Flat 50 Arts. It was really great working with these organisations who run music activities in the borough, teaching music and showcasing emerging artists.

Where in the Royal Docks did you film Drum & Docks?

We filmed in a number of really exciting locations that you’ll see on the film, including at City Airport and Thames Barrier Park but being able to film and record aboard the SS Robin, the oldest existing steamship in the world, and the King George V Lock entrance from The Thames was incredible. We were all really excited about filming there and didn’t know what sounds to expect from the architecture, as we'd hoped, they were great and we recorded a lot of fantastic material in both.

We hope people will watch the film quite a few times, to really see what's happening as there’s a lot going on at once. Outside of the larger structures and landmarks, we wonder if people can see what everyday surfaces around the Royal Docks have been used to create music as part of this piece.