Music has always been therapeutic and allows us to feel out emotions we hold within; the same goes with how this music is made. Artists are not always comfortable with the conditions allotted to them which in turn hurts the music giving it a manufactured feel. For most, a change in surroundings/scenery helps calm oneself and bring everything into focus. In the mid-60s brothers Kingsley and Charles Ward converted their parent’s Welsh farm into a full blown recording studio making it a musician’s oasis surrounded by animals and nature. The documentary Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm directed by Hannah Berryman tells the historic tale of how a middle of nowhere farm produced the biggest albums of all time and housed some of the greatest musicians throughout the decades. The film is not short on musical talent offering interviews to discuss their time spent at Rockfield: Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Liam Gallagher and Robert Plant are just a few.
The film offers the story of how Rockfield Studios came to be with the eventual splitting off between the Ward brothers and the formation of Monnow Valley Studios. The business truly was and is family run with Kingsley’s wife, Anne, being a vital role along with his young daughters also aiding in day to day roles. The Studios have an extensive rolodex of artists that have come and gone including: David Bowie, Queen, Motörhead and Rush. The film’s focus though is shifted more towards the defining acts that had direct impact on the Studios and helped carry them through each new decade. The stories shared by all though are the same in how this very simple, rustic, rundown farm helped them re-center and rejuvenate whatever it was inside themselves to make music.
There are also poignant moments in the film: Ozzy reminiscing recording his first ever song and how along with Black Sabbath inadvertently creating Heavy Metal, Liam Gallagher talking about the iconic Oasis album (What’s the Story?) Morning Glory and Chris Martin from Coldplay discussing coming up with the lyrics to Yellow simply by looking up at the stars over the Rockfield Studios. I was quite astounded hearing tale after tale of how great music was being created but in the end with such a setting it was no surprise because we all need to hit the reset button sometimes.
3 out of 5
Film is Available Now via VOD through Vimeo
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