Interviews with wildlife sound recordists

Geoff Sample interviewed by Mark Peter Wright (1 of 4)

  • 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

    Sample, Geoff (speaker, male, interviewee)

  • Interviewers

    Wright, Mark Peter (speaker, male, interviewer)

  • Recordist

    Wright, Mark Peter

  • Abstract

    Track 1 [00:56:12]. [00:00.00] GS reflects on growing up in Alnwick, Northumberland and developing an interest in nature and wildlife through spending time with his Grandparents in Warkworth, Northumberland. [00:06.28] GS discusses time spent in school (Ridley Hall) and how it affected and encouraged his relationship to wildlife. [00:06.28] GS discusses wanting to be a naturalist and how that didn’t fit into the career expectations from his family. Continues to discuss studying A levels in Maths, Latin, Greek before moving onto Oxford University, at first to study Law but changed quickly to Classics and Greek literature. [00:11.37] GS reflects on receiving his second bird book, Kirkman and Jourdain’s “British Birds”, and how it influenced his growing appreciation for highland birds. Continues to discuss a trip to Abernethy Forest, Scotland with his Grandparents and how he went there each summer from the age of 11, which aided his growing interest and awareness for birdsong. [00:14.46] GS talks about his relationship to music and sound recording during his late teen years during and after Oxford University. Continues to discuss acquiring Revox recorder and how that opened up musical arrangement and recording sound more broadly. [00:18.16] GS discusses life after University, jobs, playing in bands and being part of psychology experiments in sound at the university with Dr Bruce Henning. Continues to discuss his re-engagement with the Highlands, visiting his grandfather and focusing on Golden Eagles. [00:21.18] GS reflects on moving to Leeds and then to London where he got Portastudio, 4-track cassette recorder and developed his compositional approach which included programming sounds, and eventually set up a 16 track recording studio within a house with his partner Jane (circa 1985-1987). Continues to discuss recording demos and albums for other people along with purchasing a portable DAT machine, which he then used to start recording birds with. At the same time GS says how he was continually going back to Scotland, which developed an ecological awareness. [00:25.55] GS discusses developing more interest in birdsong during the 1980’s through visits to Loch Ossian. Continues to discuses the relationship of wildlife to music and a desire to learn about the relationship to birds. [00:27.41] GS reflects on taking his DAT recorder and a cheap stereo microphone to make his first wildlife recordings in 1990. Continues to discuss first recordings he made including one of a Garden Warbler and recalls wanting to capture different ‘scenes’. [00:30.20] GS discusses finding wildlife recordings that already existed by the likes of Jean Roche, working for Jools Holland and a particularly impressive record by Walter Tilgner called “Spring Concert”. Continues to discuss being motivated to do a British version and deciding to sell studio gear to pay for an increasing focus on recording wildlife (1992). [00:35.14] GS discusses doing a course in Ecology and Conservation at Birkbeck and also doing some dubbing work for the British Library. Continues to discuss making a publication that focused on the bird communities and habitats of Britain called “Birdsong in Britain”. [00:38.44] GS discusses giving CD to a friend (Andrew) at Birkbeck, an experienced publisher, who took it to Harper Collins where Miles Archibald (Natural History Editor) offered GS the chance to produce a guide to birdsong and calls for the publisher. [00:39.52] GS reflects on discovering the WSRS and how the society and the competitions influenced his recording style initially. GS continues to discuss the evolution of his archival process in relation to recording. [00:45.19] GS discusses documentation and note taking in relation to recording and listening back to recordings. Continues to discuss his archival system and the difficulties in categorising habitats. [00:50.25] GS discusses how other people and himself access his archive of sound. [00:56.07] Phone interruption [end of track]

  • Description

    Interview with Geoff Sample (1 of 4). The wildlife recordist discusses his personal history and growing appreciation for wildlife sounds.

  • Metadata record:

    View full metadata for this item