Friday 19 February 2021

Music From The Edge of The Universe: The 5 Billion In Diamonds Story, a special Retrosonic Podcast with Butch Vig, Andy Jenks & James Grillo

Portraits by Helen White

We welcome 5 Billion In Diamonds founder members, the legendary producer and drummer with Garbage Butch Vig, Bristol UK producer Andy Jenks and UK DJ James Grillo into the virtual Retrosonic Podcast studio to get the definitive and fascinating story on how this star-studded Transatlantic project came to fruition. The band's second LP "Divine Accidents" released on Make Records (our Album of The Year 2020), the follow up to their eponymous 2017 debut is another imaginary soundtrack to another imaginary film - a dazzling sonic and thematic journey to the heavens, a reaction to and escape from the insanity of these times. The band have brought some 80's vibes into the cinematic mix of Psych Rock and Folk sounds and expanded their sonic palette using the same stellar cast of collaborators including singers Ebbot Lundberg of The Soundtrack of Our Lives and The Indigo Children, David Schelzel of The Ocean Blue, Damian O'Neill of The Undertones, Sandra Dedrick of The Free Design, singer Helen White and musicians including the Bristol Wrecking Crew of Alex Lee, Sean Cook and Damon Reece on guitars, bass and drums. The album also features new sublime contributions from James Bagshaw of British psych rockers Temples and gorgeous vocals from Martin Barnard from Jenk’s '90's combo Alpha. In this thoroughly entertaining journey through 5 Billion In Diamonds musical universe, Butch, Andy and James play and talk us through some of the many and varied influences on the 5BiD sound including John Barry, Ramases, John Carpenter, Jimmie Spheeris, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Michel Legrand, Linda Perhacs, Faust, Jeff Bridges and Richard Rodney Bennett. 


There's also a pick of their own music from both albums including the forthcoming single and a special sneak preview of the as yet unreleased vinyl-only bonus track featuring Jimmy Chamberlin from The Smashing Pumpkins. There's a comprehensive introduction to all of the 5BiD special guest musicians and vocalists and a Butch Vig edited medley of examples of their music. Along the way we find out how they all met, the influence of movie soundtracks and about the collaborative songwriting process. We also discover how bureaucracy got Butch and James drunk and their unorthodox tactics for approaching prospective special guests. If all that is not enough, James tells us who is next on his special guest wish list, Andy plays a track from his new project Ree-Vo and Butch gives us an update on the new Garbage album. We even find out how TV presenter, naturalist and conservationist Chris Packham is involved with 5 Billion In Diamonds. So, sit back, relax and enjoy this very special episode, packed full of music from the edge of the universe.

James Grillo, Ebbot Lundberg & Andy Jenks - Photo Copyright Paul Slattery

You can listen, download or stream directly from the Soundcloud site below or subscribe to Retrosonic Podcast at Spotify, Apple Podcasts/iTunes and Mixcloud. There are also special dedicated episodes with Ebbot Lundberg and Damian O'Neill in the archive where both discuss their involvement with 5 Billion In Diamonds and much more besides.

You can check out our 2016 feature on Five Billion In Diamonds in our archive here, which includes exclusive Paul Slattery photographs of recording sessions from Press Play Studios with Ebbot.

Ebbot Lundberg 5 Billion In Diamonds Session - Photo copyright Paul Slattery

The double vinyl version of "Divine Accidents" is available to pre-order from Make Records here and for more information on 5 Billion In Diamonds, please check out their official Facebook page here