Hit band to use ‘Titanic sounds’

London-based band Public Service Broadcasting will debut new songs in Belfast later this year that pay tribute to the city's shipbuilding industry
London-based band Public Service Broadcasting will debut new songs in Belfast later this year that pay tribute to the city's shipbuilding industry

A popular UK band are to use archive recordings relating to the Titanic to create a series of songs dedicated to Belfast’s shipbuilding industry.

Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) have carved a niche for themselves in the music industry as a band who breath new life into soundbites from key moments in history.

The BBC Music concert will take place on the Titanic slipways

The BBC Music concert will take place on the Titanic slipways

The London band – whose current album got to number four in the UK chart – have created songs using old recordings from the first moon landing and the Welsh mining tradition and now their focus has turned to the Titanic.

PSB – the brainchild of J Willgoose Esq – will be performing the ‘Titanic tunes’ for the first time in Belfast as part of BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend on May 25 and 26.

Willgoose explained how the Titanic project came about: “Because of the type of music we make using archive recordings and the location of the gig on the Titanic slipways, the BBC suggested to us putting together some songs specifically for the Belfast gig.

“When we first started talking about it we thought maybe a song or two at most because of the time constraints, but now we’re thinking three or four, maybe a mini EP of sorts. We want to try to tell the story from start to very sad finish.”

PSB's brainchild J Willgoose Esq

PSB's brainchild J Willgoose Esq

In terms of sourcing archive recordings to form the basis of the songs, Willgoose said: “We’ve identified some of the stuff from the BBC’s archive, some from other sources and Titanic Belfast have been very helpful.

“When we debut the songs in Belfast we’re hoping to play some video footage of the Titanic as a backdrop to the songs, although the slipway itself provides a great backdrop.

“It should be a pretty powerful moment.”

Willgoose added: “I’ve not spent a great deal of time in Belfast but the time I have spent there has been very enjoyable. When we were over for last week’s gig in the Limelight I got to spend a bit of time in the city.

“As an outsider coming over from London there’s lot of things I can’t understand but at the same time wandering around down by the shipyards you can’t help but feel that sense of history.

“It was interesting to look into the history and learn how important Belfast had been as an industrial hub. A lot of people over in mainland Britain are a bit ignorant of it, so it’s nice to be doing something that highlights that.”

• Tickets for BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend at Titanic Slipways which will also include performances from Beck and Manic Street Preachers go on sale on February 12 at 10am