• The unofficial Independent Local Radio Nostalgia site

Jingle Bells

THERE'S ONLY ONE Kenny Everett when it comes to jingles! His zany tunes can be heard morning, noon and night on Capital - and they're all his own work.
He has his own studio at his farm, tucked away in the Cotswolds, and it's there that this jingle maker extraordinaire comes up with his seemingly endless ideas.
Remember that silly little song he made that consisted of a lot of hellos? Well, here's Kenny's explanation of how he made it.
"First, you sidle up to the microphone, then you cue yourself by saying 'one, two three' and sing the first line of hellos into a tape machine.
"Then you take a second tape machine and whilst singing a second set of hellos, you play back the first tape, so you end up with two voices singing in harmony. Then you add a third voice in a different harmony until you end up with a whole bunch of harmonies that fit together quite nicely!"
Kenny reckons that the minimum you can get away with if you want to make his kind of jingles are two tape machines joined together by wire, a microphone and a turntable.
He explained: "The sort of equipment I've got here is just a sophisticated version of the home equipment. The turntables are special big ones with motors like washing machines so that you can park the needle where you want and stop the record with the tip of your finger without anything terrible happening. When you want the music to start, you just let the record go." Kenny's got quite a few gadgets to help him with some of the weirder effects he achieves.
"I've got an instant phasing machine which phases my voice and makes it go all psychedelic. And then there's this twiddly knob called a varispeed control, that speeds my voice up or slows it down depending on which way I twiddle it."
Then, of course, there's the echo chamber. "A very dangerous piece of equipment, that," said Kenny. "Many a good dj has got lost in an echo chamber by turning it up too much. There's a chance that you might never come out...
Kenny uses a special set of effects for his Captain Kremmen adventures.
"They're just silly sound effects that come up at the press of a button," he explained. "There's one monster sound that I didn't do, I think it was probably recorded at the zoo. Then there's a modern monster sound that reminds people of a belch. Which isn't surprising because that's exactly what it is! It happened when Tommy Vance and I were looning about in the studio. I felt a burp coming on, so I recorded it. I twiddled with the dials and put the tape machine into playback, so the sound reverberated."
Then there's that blood-curdling scream that is featured so often.
"That was easy," said Kenny, "I just stuffed my wife in the oven!"
The music Kenny uses to introduce Captain Kremmen sounds like an original 78 record. And again, that's not surprising, 'cos it is!
"It's called 'Women In Uniform'," said Kenny, "and it's all authentic stuff with real scratches and crackles. I think it was made in 1920."
And lastly, there's an even more blood-curdling scream that Kenny uses quite often.
"Another easy one," said Kenny, "I just took the wife out of the oven and stuffed her up the mains!" So now you know!
Another aspect of sound effects is covered by the production team who make the Capital commercials. Jan Bradshaw heads the team whose job is to co-ordinate and make the commercial tapes.
"About 5000 of the commercials come in ready taped from advertising agencies," said Jan, "and we make the rest on behalf of the advertiser. Clients either send in a script or come in to chat with us and discuss their ideas. Some will specifically ask for a particular person to do the voice-over, but we've got a bank of voices we can call on for making commercials. You'd be surprised the number of times that we use a girl's voice to sound like a young boy - or vice versa!
"Some clients just want a straight script, but others often want a special sound effect. Some sound effects are quite straight forward, like the client who wanted the sound of a bottle of wine being uncorked. We simply sat in front of the microphone and uncorked a real bottle of wine. The sound effect was perfect... and so was the wine!
"Another time, a client asked for the sound of 10,000 cartoon-style feet running, so we got on our hands and knees and scrabbled our finger nails on a metal waste-paper basket!"

From the Capital Fun Book.
See also: Engineering the sound of success