Interviews with wildlife sound recordists

Richard Beard interviewed by Mark Peter Wright (1 of 2)

  • Add a note
    Log in to add a note at the bottom of this page.
  • All notes
  • My notes
  • Hide notes
Please click to leave a note

The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »

Tags (top 25):
(No tags found for this item)
  • Type


  • Duration


  • Shelf mark


  • Recording date


  • Recording locations


  • Interviewees

    Beard, Richard (speaker, male, interviewee)

  • Interviewers

    Wright, Mark Peter (speaker, male, interviewer)

  • Recordist

    Wright, Mark Peter

  • Abstract

    Track 1 [01:18:53]. [00:00:00] RB reflects on his childhood in Harlow; riding his bike; having no sense of birdsong variation at the time. [00:03:55] RB talks about the significance of seeing and hearing a Wren for the first time and realising that each bird has a different song. [00:06:00] RB reflects on relationship to music and its influence upon RB’s interest in birdsong; going to Brick Lane with his father; RB mentions there was never parental encouragement. [00:09:00] RB discusses the influence of Third Stone From The Sun by Jimi Hendrix along with Pink Floyd and other bands that experimented with sound. [00:10:00] RB reflects on school days, playing truant and wandering in fields; wanted to be a vet but was discouraged by biology teacher. [00:12:15] RB reflects on listening habits at home and with friends; listening to Billy Cotton’s Bandhouse and armed forces programmes on the radio. [00:14:40] RB mentions Isle of Wight, walking and the joy felt from being outdoors amongst wildlife. [00:16:10] RB reflects on leaving school aged 16; working at Trumans Brewery in 1969; joining Whitechapel Library and loaning music records; first one was Stockhausen’s Kontakte; reflects on buying a cassette recorder and its manual functions (circa 1971); describes how different the experience from being there and then recording is to returning and listening; RB never kept the material and had no sense of archive, just used the same tape over and over. [00:22:00] RB reflects on recording not just wildlife but the whole environment; describes the difference between active listening and passive hearing and the potential to listen to recordings as forms of composition; reflects on painting at the time but again, felt only discouragement. [00:24:20] RB reflects on Alf Cummings and Fred Carter at Truman Brewery, who encouraged him to explore his creativity; describes enrolling in an arts foundation course at Harlow Tech and how sound became a focus as an art-form. [00:27:00] Anecdote about playing music with brother Bruce and friends. [00:30:00] RB reflects on time at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry (circa 1974) [00:37:00] RB reflects on building an electric guitar and ring modulator for early sound experiments; felt the college did not appreciate anything like sonic art and had no way of grading his work in sound; began working in film; arranged to play the synthesiser at Warwick University via Paul Patterson (composer) along with loaning sound recording equipment. [00:45:20] RB reflects on an essay that motivated him as an artist. [00:47:50] RB reflects on meeting future wife (Fern) in a lift and a project that involved her voice along with others; reflects on other artistic projects for voice and tape. [01:00:00] RB reflects on working with Fern via a talking newspaper for blind and partially sighted people: Hackney sounds; through this RB became interested in local habitats. [1hr. 4 min] RB reflects on a birthday present of a book and cassette tapes of birdsong; this was an America reference point, so RB was inspired to find a British one. [01:06:00] RB reflects on other references (circa 1999-2000); British Library talk on the history of wildlife recording; (Circa 2000) joined the WSRS. [01:10:00] RB reflects on society meetings and workshops and how it focused RB’s technical awareness. [01:16:00] RB final anecdote of first meeting with Richard Ranft; becoming a cataloguer in the British Library Sound Archive and the importance of donating [end of track].

  • Description

    Interview with Richard Beard (1 of 2). The wildlife recordist discusses his personal history and background within sound and visual arts.

  • Metadata record:

    View full metadata for this item