Richard Sadler and Irene Serra talk all things -isq!

Who or what is -isq? …

R: -isq (pronounced ‘isk’ like ‘disk’) is a diversely influenced, musical project by four jazz musicians who love lots of music other than jazz. (I wrote that 4 years ago!)

I: -isq represents everything that I love about music-making! I like to think we are 4 improvising musicians who love playing all types of good music, including our own!

Who/what are your influences…

R: Every piece of music we have ever heard! We all come from different corners – as well as jazz, there is pop, rock, flamenco, electronica etc etc – it is all about the song – good music and lyrics! Personally, Mingus, Ellington, Nirvana, Little Richard, The Bad Plus, Elvis Costello, John Barry, John Martyn, Led Zeppelin and on and on…then there’s the bass players, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro etc etc…it’s never ending!!!

I: I remember the first time that I ever heard E.S.T. (it was actually Richard that downloaded one of their albums onto my MP3 player) and my jaw (and the proverbial penny) just dropped! These guys were playing all this wonderful music and you could obviously tell they were all great, improvising musicians who transcended any genre and just created this awesome soundscape. I knew I wanted to be in a band like that so Richard and I talked about it and got Chris and John onboard. And then I thought, right, we better get writing! And here we are 5 years later…

How has -isq ‘TOO’, moved on from the debut album…

R: ‘TOO’ very much consolidates what we set out to do – writing and performing as a band. Taking songs, simple or ‘complicated’ and making them accessible to the listener. The musical interaction between band members. The relevance of the music for ‘the song’. We are definitely not being lead in any one direction. One of the joys of producing your own albums is that you have complete creative control over the entire process. We were involved in everything – writing, recording, mixing, mastering, artwork, production etc etc – it’s soooo knackering but so satisfying! The interesting thing now will be to see where the music takes -isq next.

I: I think we consolidated our sound and I definitely had a much clearer idea about this album as a whole, both musically and visually in regards to the CD artwork and the accompanying music video. In retrospect, the first album seems so much more tentative. I wish I had recorded our very first rehearsals as -isq. I don’t think any of the tunes we played actually made it on to any of the albums!

-isq career highlight to date…

R: People ‘getting’ what we do – live and on recordings. It’s the most rewarding thing to find that you are moving people with your music and it changes their lives (hopefully for the better!)

I: One of my sisters texting me to say she “REALLY” liked the new album. They are usually quite non-plussed about these things.

Interesting fact about -isq…

R: ‘-isq’ isn’t actually ‘The Irene Serra Quartet’ – shhhh!

I: We seem to spend a lot more time drinking coffee and chatting when we’re together than actually making music! I think that must be the secret to our success…

What’s next for -isq? (aside from world domination) …

R: More gigs, more writing, another video, the next -isq album, a long holiday?

I: Definitely many more musical adventures! I’m really excited to see where we can take the music and the performance aspect of the live gigs. And yes please, a holiday.

A ROUND UP | Brides The Show

Brides The Show

Sound Generation will be exhibiting at Brides The Show later this year. It’s our first time exhibiting at this prestigious, annual showcase, and needless to say, we are very excited about it!
For any brides to be, Brides The Show is an absolute must for getting inspiration for your big day.

This year’s show takes place at The Business Design Centre in Islington from the 2nd – 4th October, and will feature the very best in Bridal including some of our acts performing for you, LIVE!

More details coming soon. To book your tickets to the show, click HERE.

Music for Venues | The Butcher’s Hook

Live Music at Butcher's Hook

The Butcher’s Hook is a newly refurbished, award-winning pub in Ravenscourt Park. She also has a fun-loving sister in Fulham! They serve great pub food and have a seriously tempting wine list to boot.

We were thrilled to work with The Butcher’s Hook on their very first live music night last Saturday evening where Soul vocalist, Libby, performed an acoustic set in the bar.


FEATURED ARTIST – MARCH | Irene, singer from SG band, -isq

Jazz singer London

Favourite artist/s…
My iTunes library would seriously indicate that I have multiple personality disorder! There is everything from Mozart to Bill Evans, an American composer and conductor called Eric Whitacre, Lambert, Hendricks And Ross, Carole King, Bjork, Tom Waits, Kurt Elling, John Martyn, Nirvana, Elis Regina, Tom Jobim, Ben Howard, Go Go Penguin. Basically, any music that I think is written and performed from a truthful place.

Favourite album…
Completely depends on what day you ask me but I have spent a lot of quality time listening to Solid Air by John Martyn and Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis. I mean, you really can’t fault them.

What does the future hold…
Lots of nice and wonderful musical adventures I hope! We have just released the second -isq album so am busy promoting that and we have our launch gig at the Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho on Wednesday 29th April. I am also in the process of writing and recording my solo project called Wolf And I, which will be a mix of jazz-tinged electronic pop. I hope to release an EP in the coming Autumn so those two projects are keeping me very busy for the minute!

Grew up listening to…
My mom was a massive music fan, always singing around the house, so from her side, I got to know and love Frank Sinatra and a lot of the classic Italian vocalists of her time such as Patty Pravo and Mina, 2 astounding Italian singers from the 60’s and 70’s. My big sister fed me on a diet of heavy metal like AC/DC, Sepultura, Metallica and Guns n’ Roses. I can probably remember most of the lyrics to Use Your Illusion 1 AND 2. And of course, the classic quality pop music like Micheal Jackson, Prince and Madonna. Yes, I was a slightly weird and confused child.

Artist/producer we should check out…
At the moment, I’m really into this wonderful Danish artist called Agnes Obel. I guess you would call it Chamber pop music. She’s a classical pianist that writes and sings beautiful songs with a string quartet. Breathtaking stuff. I’m listening to Emily King a lot as well, although, besides a few singles, her last full album was released in 2011. On the production side, I’ve been admiring Arca’s work through the FKA Twigs LP1 and Bjorks new album. He supposedly lives in Dalston as well so I really do hope I bump into him so I can hassle/hustle the life out of him! And Diplo, an American DJ and producer also does really interesting work. You might recognise him from his collaborations with M.I.A., Sia and Madonna.

Best gig you’ve seen this year…
Agnes Obel at the Shepherds Bush Empire hands down. The songs were amazing, the vocal harmonies were lush and there was obviously a lot of talent and musicianship onstage which always helps!

Music for Venues | Playlists for Businesses

Music playlists for businesses

We’re very excited about launching our new service: curating music playlists for businesses. If you are looking for music playlists to fit your venue’s brand, then we can help. With years of experience, we are experts in creating background music to suit any environment. We curate playlists for restaurants, bars, hotels, workspaces and everything in between! Listen to some of our playlists at all the Camino branches, as of March.

If you would like to make an enquiry about music playlists for your business please click HERE.

FEATURED ARTIST – FEBRUARY | Matt Holborn from SG Gypsy Jazz Band, Nouveau Bohème

London & UK Wedding Bands.

Watch a video of NBQ HERE | Click HERE to book NBQ

Matt Holborn is an outstanding violinist who performs with gypsy jazz band, Nouveau Bohème Quartet. NBQ comprises of some of the country’s finest Gypsy Jazz musicians. Between them they have performed at Wembley Stadium, The Royal Albert Hall, Buckingham Palace, Festival Django Reinhardt Samois sur Seine and at the BRITs after party. They have performed extensively across Europe, South America, and the Middle East.

Favourite album…
Didier Lockwood-tribute to Stephane Grapelli.

What does the future hold…
Lots of playing, practise and more playing.

Grew up listening to…
Bob Dylan, Django Reinhardt and Metallica.

Artist/producer we should check out…
Noya Rao 

Claims to fame…
I’ve played at Buckingham Palace.

Career highlight…
Playing the main stage at Samois Gypsy Jazz Festival in France.

A ROUND UP | An SG guide to Wedding Entertainment Hire & Live Wedding Bands & Musicians

An SG guide to Wedding Entertainment Hire & Live Wedding Bands & Musicians

Music is hugely important on your wedding day. It’s proven (by scientists, no less) to be one of the most powerful ways of evoking emotions and memories, reminding you of all the wonderful moments you’ve shared with, not only your partner but your closest family and friends.

Wedding Band
Music is also a fantastic way of setting the mood. Try to encourage a range of emotions on your wedding day. Guests should feel moved, happy, and of course – it goes without saying – so ecstatic that they’ll lose all inhibitions and bust their best moves on the dance floor later in the evening!

Most couples will refer to ‘their song’, which will almost certainly feature on the big day, but there may also be a song that you first danced to together, a song that was a big hit the year you met, a song you both find hilariously funny etc, etc… So it’s a good idea to compile a list of all those songs you will want to feature, well ahead of your wedding day.


During the ceremony – this is one of the most emotional parts of the days. Whilst traditionally couples would opt for classical music, couples are now often choosing more contemporary songs to accompany the procession and recessional. Artists such as Adele and John Legend are popular; have a look at our list below for more inspiration.

Suggested styles: classical, jazz or acoustic
Example Sound Generation acts: Cecilia (classical), Elisa (jazz) or Libby (pop/soul)

Drinks reception – post-ceremony everyone will be socialising and no doubt talking about the bride’s dress, so you should select an act that’s just going to create a bit of ambience. Guests won’t really want to be entertained yet as they’ll be too distracted.
Suggested styles: classical, gypsy jazz, jazz
Example Sound Generation acts: Vicenza (classical), Nouveau Boheme (world/specialist), Nina (jazz)

Wedding breakfast – again, this is a time when guests will be chatting and later, listening to those all-important speeches, so as with the drinks reception you want to choose something that’s not too intrusive.
Suggested styles: solo piano, solo guitar
Example Sound Generation acts: Ed, Jo (instrumental)

Evening – this is when the party really gets going so you want a band or a great DJ that’s going to get everyone up on their feet and that can really work the room. For wedding bands, a five-piece is generally recommended, although if budget is an issue, a four-piece works well, or even a three-piece if the vocalist also plays an instrument. Bear in mind, the more musicians you have, the bigger the impact.
Suggested styles: soul, funk, blues
Example Sound Generation acts: Replay (bands), Copper Roads (bands), DJ Zulu (DJ’s)


Music to fit your theme – most weddings have a theme and couples increasingly want their music selection to fit that theme. For example you might decide on a vintage-style wedding, in which case a jazz trio or a vintage vocal group would work very well.
Sound Generation suggests: Scarlet Starlets (bands)

Mini music festival – creating a festival vibe is very popular at the moment. Book a selection of varied acts for a real festival experience. Go for independent artists as opposed to ‘wedding bands’ for an authentic feel.
Sound Generation suggests: Louise, Dan, Charlie (all pop/soul artists)

Element of surprise – a lot of couples want to book a wedding band that put a twist on instantly recognisable songs. For example a blues band performing a Rihanna track, or a classical string quartet performing a Jay Z tune. It’s totally unexpected and creates that ‘wow’ factor.
Sound Generation suggests: Copper Roads (bands), Cecilia (classical), Raff (pop/soul)


Consider your guests (I know, it should be all about you!) – generally wedding guests will cross several generations so bear that in mind when you’re selecting what songs you want the band to perform. Try to choose a range of music that spans several eras so that you can be sure everyone has a great time.

If you’re on a tight budget – if you’re working to a budget then prioritise the evening band/DJ and see what’s left for anything else. The evening music should be the highlight, as it’s most often what guests remember most (providing they don’t knock back too many glasses of bubbly!) A lot of acts can also provide a laptop DJ set as well as a live band set, so you might not need to book both. You can also look at cutting back on the number of musicians to rein in costs e.g. a harpist or classical duo instead of a string quartet.

CD’s as favours – often acts have released albums & CD’s. Why not give your guests a copy as a unique wedding favour.


Power supply – usually acts will have their own PA equipment, so all they will need is somewhere to plugin.

Catering for the musicians – musicians will often be on site for several hours so will need a hot meal and soft drinks to ensure they have the energy to get your party started!

Set up/set down – musicians will need time to set up and set down, typically around 60 minutes. This will be included in your fees, but if the time on site runs over a surcharge will sometimes be applied.

Special requests – if you have any special requests for the band, make sure you provide them in plenty of time. Also, bear in mind some of your requests might not work given the band you choose.


You Do Something To Me – Paul Weller
May You Never – John Martyn
Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls
With Or Without You – U2
Nowhere – Dan Wilde
I Love Every Little Thing About You – Stevie Wonder
Til There Was You – Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
Where You Lead – Carole King
If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys
Let’s Stay Together – Al Green

Music for Venues | Harpists at the Hansom Lounge, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

Harpist for Hire



We’re now providing harpists for the Hansom Lounge at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, every Sunday as well as Saturday. Catch some of SG’s harpists performing from 2:30 – 5pm. Whilst you’re there, why not enjoy a spot of afternoon tea too?

You can also catch SG acts performing in the Booking Office every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7pm.

All live music events are free to drinkers & diners.





Favourite album…
Illusions by Ibrahim Maalouf.

Grew up listening to…
Miles Davis, Astor Piazzolla, Didier Lockwood, Maxim Vengerov, Jascha Heifetz, Jeff Buckley, Norah Jones and Lauryn Hill.

Artists we should check out…
Rhye, Ibrahim Maalouf, Meshell Ndegeocello, Camille, Robert Glasper, Hiromi Uehara, Emeli Sande and Ray Chen.

Career highlight…
Emeli Sande’s live DVD recording, discovering Tokyo for 10 days for Louis Vuitton, Elvis Tour sharing conversations with the King’s Musicians, Gospel gig with 1000 children at Royal Albert Hall…

Best gig you’ve seen this year…
Live lounge session with Kodaline.

A ROUND UP | Music Vouchers with Sound Generation

Christmas Presents

This Christmas, why not get something a bit different for your nearest and dearest? We now sell Sound Generation vouchers which can be used towards various musical activities including:

Baby & Toddler Music Sessions (Ealing, London)
for mums and dads looking for something musical to do with their little one/s. For more info on our classes, visit our sister website: www.soundgeneration.org.uk

Private Instrumental Yuition (London | North & West Yorkshire)
perhaps you know someone with a burning desire to learn to play the harp, or maybe your other half could do with improving their rendition of ‘Hey Jude’ on piano. For more info on instrumental tuition, visit our sister website: www.soundgeneration.org.uk

Hire an Act! (Nationwide)
to perform in your home for you and your friends or at a special event.

To enquire about vouchers please e-mail:



DJ for hire London and UK

Favourite artists…
Obviously Michael Jackson! I am also a big admirer of Otis Jackson, Jr (Madlib/Quasimoto)

Favourite album…
Michael Jackson’s ‘Off the Wall’, truly a masterpiece of an album. There is literally a song for everyone on that. A strong favourite for me would be ‘Get on the Floor’.

What does the future hold…
Gigging about as much as possible in London at the moment, in hope that one day I can travel the globe playing songs tailored to each city I visit.

Grew up listening to…
I grew up listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, Donna Summer, The Police and Ghanaian High Life, all through my mother. I would often be rummaging through her record collection finding all sorts of music.

Artist/producer we should check out…
Trudie Dawn Smith, South London native. With so much to offer musically and a journey ahead, I’d say definitely look out for them.

Claims to fame…
I was in a Kylie Minogue music video a couple years back. She even followed me down Soho in one section of the video.

Best gig you’ve seen this year…
Madlib at Koko’s. He’s a real inspiration to DJs both in how well he selects each track as well as performing them.


Harpist for Hire

Which artists/performers are your greatest influence? 
I’ve been influenced by so many musicians throughout my life from various genres and countries. Out of the many fantastic harpists I’ve heard, there are a couple that really stick out for me for completely different reasons. Marissa Robles, a wonderful Spanish harpist who lives in the UK has influenced me so much as a player over the years, her way of teaching and clarity of performance is always an inspiration. My teacher of many years, Daphne Boden has always been so supportive and taught me so much over the many years I have known her.

What does the future hold? …
I graduated from The Royal College of Music this summer so am currently embracing freelancing! Currently, I’ve got a few recitals and cruises lined up which I’m very excited about.

Grew up listening to…
When I was younger my parents constantly had classical music playing in the house which is probably where my love of harp and orchestral music came from. Since being in London I’ve been making an effort to discover as much as I can.

Career highlight…
I recently performed at The Wigmore Hall which is an incredible and intimate venue to play at. I have also been fortunate enough to play at several private events for HRH Prince Charles on his personal harp!

Claims to fame…
I think my biggest claim to fame has to have been playing in a commercial for Walkers Crisps and being fed crisps by Stephen Fry….!

Listen to Cecilia’s duo, Aeolia, perform ‘The Christmas Song’ HERE | Watch Cecilia in the Walkers Crisps advert HERE | And HERE’S Cecilia being fed crisps by Stephen Fry!

A ROUND UP | Halloween at Camino

This weekend our freakishly good DJ’s will be helping Camino get their Halloween parties started!

There’ll be DJ sets on Friday 31st at Camino (Kings Cross, Blackfriars & Monument) from 6pm – late, and there’s double the ghoulish trouble at Kings Cross, with a second night of Halloween fun on Saturday 1st November!

FREE entry & prizes for the best costumes. Good luck!

Click here for more info.


Music for Venues | The Yellow House


We’ve been working with The Yellow House on their live music programme for over four years now and we’re about to break our usual ‘last Thursday of the month’ rule and shift to the first Saturday of the month.

The live music will also be moving from the bar into the dining room and will now feature a mix of soul, acoustic and jazz acts.
The Live music on Saturdays be launching on November 1st! So watch this space for further details coming soon!

Oh, and did we mention that their pizzas are FABULOUS!

A ROUND UP | Goodbye London, ‘Hei’ Norway

Bands & Musicians to hi

Earlier this month we said goodbye to SG act Kelly Dickson and Werner Kristiansen, who left London for one of the world’s happiest countries, Norway!

We are incredibly sad to see them go although reassured by their promise (after much begging) to return for the occasional gig.

Kelly and Werner have been with us since the very beginning, and have been involved in pretty much every gig we’ve booked! They’re not only incredible musicians but super-pro (aka extremely professional) and stupidly nice! So it makes seeing them go all the more difficult (tissues please)…

We wish them the very best of luck with their adventure in Norway, and we can’t wait for the first excuse to go over and visit!


DJ's for Weddings and Events

Favourite artist/s…
Way too many too choose but if I had to make a choice right now Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, ATCQ, Common, J.Dilla and Robert Nesta Marley they all pretty much highlight what I love about music.

Favourite album…
This is an easy one, my favourite album of all time is Marvin Gaye “What’s Goin’ On” funnily enough my favourite Marvin Gaye song is “Let’s Get It On” which is not on that album. Sly and the Family Stone’s rendition of “Que Sera Sera” and The Five Stairsteps “Ooh Child” are my all time favourite songs though.

What does the future hold…
I live for each day so don’t really plan too far ahead.  Though saying that I’d like to start my own clothing label one day and I am planning to take a course on pattern cutting. I like how some fellas these days are making an effort in their appearance and see a gap in the market for well-designed tailored men’s shirts.

Grew up listening to…
I grew up pretty much listening to everything, my dad loved Jazz/Motown and my mom loved easy listening artists and Filipino folk music which I’ve recently started exploring, my earliest memories of record shopping/collecting would be in the 80s heading down to Our Price on Marble Arch with my dad so I could get the latest Street Sounds / Electro compilations for my birthday so my friends and I could breakdance in the garden. I still have and play those records today

Artist/producer we should check out…
SevnthWonder, Phazz, TroyBoi and Snakehips are producers I’m currently feeling. Artist-wise, I’m keeping a close eye on Sinead Harnett and really loving “Goddess” album by Banks at the moment.

Claims to fame…
I do extra work so right now I’m in an advert with Lorraine Kelly, it’s funny I don’t watch or even own a TV and I was DJing one Friday evening in Camino Kings Cross and suddenly my phone and facebook was blowing up with messages from my friends who had just seen the advert. I am also in a film called “Anomaly” and am in a shot with a good friend of mine Noel Clarke and Ian Somerhalder. Unfortunately, I didn’t get invited to the premiere so still haven’t seen flick yet.


Sound Generation Thanks
Welcome to our brand new website!
We’ve been so excited about launching the site because we feel that it represents us and our wonderful artists, perfectly.
So please have a look around – we hope you like what you see!

A huge thanks go out to Sam Devito, Tom Scott-Malden and Suj Gadhania  (web monkeys/uber friends), for their design, creativity, and for their infinite patience.


Special thanks also go out to…

Garrett & Garrett Videographers & Photographers

Cristina Sound Generation Artist


Garrett and Garrett are an award-winning videography team based in London. We began working with just recently, but from day one have been blown away by their creativity, skill behind the camera, and their positive attitude. We cannot thank them enough for the videos and photography they have done for us.

If you are ever in need of a promotional video – these are your guys!


Murray Clarke Wedding Photographer



Murray is a fantastic photographer who took the shots of us in and around Sam’s Brasserie in Chiswick, which we used for the ‘about us’ page, and whose work also features elsewhere on our site. He also very kindly let us use one of his photos on our new homepage! Murray has recently featured in several wedding blogs and magazines.

Planning a wedding? Need a photographer? You do the math!


Philip Hardman Photographer



He’s photographed the likes of Ed Miliband (no, not the now infamous bacon sandwich shot) and his clients include Tatler, Land Rover, Evening Standard and Jaguar. We love his photography and were thrilled when he offered to work with us on a few projects including photographing Irene and her band performing at the Forge for the London Jazz Festival last year.


Soul Singer for weddings and events

Where does the inspiration come from for your songs? 
In general, my lyrics come from things I am feeling, going through or observations/stories about other people. Musically, melodies often pop into my head and then I tend to sit down at the piano and work out what chords work underneath.

Which artist is your greatest influence? …
I don’t have one particular artist who has influenced me but I have always loved Soul and Hip Hop. I’d say production wise my tracks are influenced by neo-soul artists such as D’Angelo, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu.

Tell us some news…
I AM going to do an album (hopefully by the end of this year).

Career highlight…
Supporting Roberta Flack at The Indig02 in May this year.

What does the future hold…
who knows? But I want to get my music on Radio 2. that is a big goal of mine. Oh and obviously I would love to perform on Jools Holland’s show.

Best gig you’ve seen this year…
Justin Timberlake at the 02! Incredible show. He is an amazing performer, I love all his songs and his band and dancers were all amazing.

Favourite album…
Lucy Pearl – Lucy Pearl

Someone we should check out…
Cecelia Stalin. Incredible Swedish Jazz singer based in London. Her voice is out of this world. She gives me goosebumps!

Claim to fame…
Ed Sheeran is an extra in one of my music videos! (for my track ‘A Little While Longer’) I sang on a Vaseline advert a few years ago. I have played at Glastonbury, and I recorded a track with Example just before his first album came out! We went to the same university.

A ROUND UP | Bar Pepito, Camino & Marriott

bar-pepito-front-doorWe are now providing Spanish guitarists for Bar Pepito in Kings Cross, a gorgeous Andalusian bodega, specialising in sherry, tapas and hand carved jamón. Our flamenco artists will be performing on Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm. (N.B. Castanets are obligatory.)

We’re also super excited to now be working with, not one, not two but TRES (that’s Spanish for three) Camino venues!
SG DJ’s will be throwing down soulful latin, old skool, and commercial flavours at Camino in Kings Cross, Blackfriars and Monument.


Live Music at Marriott West India Quay

Marriott, West India Quay

Last month we helped launch the brand new terrace of the Lobby Lounge at the London Marriott West India Quay Hotel. DJ Zulu provided the chilled and eclectic soundtrack. Starting September 11th, we will provide a DJ every Thursday evening in the Lobby Lounge. Make sure you pop in; it’s a fabulous space, with an incredible Gin selection and cocktail menu (we intend to work our way through it four drinks at a time), and of course – great tunes!