What did you do
I did a lot of the
grunt work. I was involved in the music, had nothing to do with the visual end,
but I determined how most of the audio would go:Kiloh had
conceived the project, had gotten people to send in their best material (or so
they thought), and found someone to put it together. It turned out he wasn't
quite up to the job, and so I was recruited. I got the mass of discs that had
been submitted to him and had to make some sense of it. Much of it was
unlabeled, mislabeled, redundant, in varying quality, and there were some hoax
tracks. It took a fair amount of time just sorting and comparing before there
was a rough idea of what would fit together and how.
The whole point
was to present the material more or less chronologically, in the best possible quality,
to give the clearest possible picture of Syd's career. It wasn't to be just
another bootleg recycling the same old stuff; we wanted the definitive
historical document, all under one roof. That hadn't been
done before, that I'm aware. The closest I'd ever seen was "The Afterhours
Tapes" by the Velvet Underground Appreciation Society. (I did some work on
those back in the 80s). They put out pretty much everything available, but
things were a bit scattered and a lot of solo material was mixed in. They
weren't chronological; each cassette had a theme or two. History doesn't fit
easily into 45-minute segments; they didn't have any wiggle room. Around 2000,
suddenly we had the freedom to burn our own CDs, and that was a revolution. And so, once we
had a rough template, it was my job to process the audio as well. This might
involve declicking acetates, noise reduction (a controversial topic), EQ, sound
levels, and sometimes speed correction as well.
There are a
handful of Syd tapes that had never been heard in the proper pitch, because
somebody's tape recorder had been wrong from the beginning. I've been a
musician all my life and I know all the chords to the songs. I've even been
known to play them in public. And if I hear a note, I can name it. So I knew for
a fact that, say, "Terrapin" from (6/6/70) had to be brought down
10%, because Syd would only ever have played or sung it in E, not in F#. And if
the tempo is slower than we were used to? That is what they played, so get used
to it. We'd fight among ourselves over things like that. That was one
particular skill I could bring that someone else couldn't, and I'm glad we got
So anyway, that's
essentially what I did. I organized the material, selected the best tracks,
processed them, and compiled the audio discs. I had help, of
course. Early on there was a member of the Yahoo Group, he went by the name
SwanLee. He had compiled and processed his own ten CD set of Syd and early
Floyd, called Early Effervescence. He donated that, and we borrowed a
fair amount of material. His audio processing involved some fairly radical
techniques. He's very talented but there was some controversy around that. (In
the second edition of HYGIY? we phased out the SwanLee tracks from the
core volumes, but much of it will be found on the later discs.) He was an
essential collaborator at the beginning, though, and helped us get off the
I also had
invaluable input from Pschnob and ChrisM, bouncing ideas off of them, sending
them proto discs to critique, that sort of thing. One pair of ears is never
enough, and I'll usually defer when somebody sees a flaw I might have missed. I
worked closely with Pschnob. He is a professional engineer, and a little
"bootlegging" on the side might not look so good. He is responsible
for the video discs though. ChrisM had a lot of input as well. He's always had
his ear to the ground, trying to locate material.
Mark Jones, from
How did you end up designing the covers of HYGIY? Did you offer your
I was always
interested in doing some covers for bootlegs but didn't really know how. It
just so happened that I'd not long just got a PC and had just started a full
time college course studying Graphic Design so by the time it came for some
covers to be made I'd had a little bit of practice. At the end of first year I
had to pick a biggish project to do and it so happened to tie in that it was at
the same time as the first batch of CD's being finished, so I volunteered my
services and did the first four covers as my end of year project.
Were you alone in the task?
Yes I did them all
myself, but I did get a guiding hand from my college tutors.
Did you follow any pattern for the design?
I love doing
collages and had a huge collection of photos to work from so used that as a
starting point. I learnt a lot making them and if I did them now they would be
much better. I've got better since then! For instance, looking at them now, I
would have used a bigger main image for each cover then surrounded them with
smaller ones, instead of just using smallish pictures all over. I would do that
differently now. I had sort of got the idea by Volume 4, where I used a bigger
image of Syd in the middle.
How did you find the Syd Yahoo group?
It's so long ago
now I don't really remember. It most probably would have been just me typing in
'Syd Barrett' into Google.
Once you had the first volumes on your hands, and listened to it… what did
It was amazing.
There was so much stuff all over the place that it was brilliant to have it all
in one place. For instance, I had the song 'Lucy Leave' on a bootleg called
'Magnesium Proverbs', it was great quality but the very beginning was missing.
I had the same song on another bootleg but in lesser sound quality, but the
start was there. I didn't want two versions that each had something the other
different. I sent off my complete 'Lucy Leave' to the compilers and they
grafted the missing beginning on to the better quality version from the
'Magnesium Proverbs' version so there you had it, the most complete and best
quality version. That's why 'Lucy Leave' now starts off a bit murky then
becomes clearer a few seconds in. It was great to have the best quality and
most complete versions of all these unreleased tracks in one place. Then there
was the discovery of the backing track of “In the Beechwoods” and the
“Vegetable Man” jam. Those had NEVER been on any bootlegs before. For Kiloh to
unearth them and put them on these CDs was the cherry on the cake. It was
brilliant to be able to hear them for the first time. [The story of these tracks are in part 1]
Volume 11 has every Syd picture available, from childhood to retirement, including articles,
clips and his paintings. Hard work, indeed, and in constant updating. Are you still working on it?
It was hard work
but didn't feel like it when I was doing it. I loved piecing together the photo
shoots, finding black and white photos in color and discovering new photos. I
loved every minute. I'll ALWAYS be working on it, I think, but since the
“Barrett” book came out, unearthing some brilliant unseen shots, the well has
sort of dried up for now. There's not been many new pics come to light since
that book came out. I'm sure they'll be some more though. I'm still here,
waiting for them to surface! Oh, and then to be asked to help with the official
Syd Barrett website by Pink Floyd's managers was amazing. Justification that I
hadn't been wasting my time for all those hours I'd put in collating this
stuff. That was great!
What is the most unexpected picture you’ve ended up receiving?
One sent to me by
one of Syd's girl friends that had never been published anywhere!