Black and white band photography

The Pre-Amps

Four music students at Edge Hill University can now add a big screen credit to their burgeoning CVs, in the form of the critically-acclaimed comedy-drama Sometimes Always Never.

Released in the UK and Ireland in June 2019, the film marked a directorial debut for Edge Hill University Senior Lecturer Carl Hunter, and stars BAFTA-award-winning actor Bill Nighy in the lead role.

Kelvin Banks (guitar), Rob Gray (bass), Scott Charlton (drums) and Lyndon Philliskirk (keyboard), who perform as band The Pre-Amps, study Music Production at the University, having chosen to move to the North West from Newcastle-upon-Tyne due to the hi-tech facilities at the Ormskirk campus.

The Pre-Amps in the Cavern Club

From left:, Rob Gray (bass), Kelvin Banks (guitar), Scott Charlton (drums) and Lyndon Philliskirk (keyboard)

The young band, who have just completed their second year at Edge Hill, are renowned for performing Rock & Roll/Mod covers as well as writing their own material. They have played at venues across the UK, with gigs over this summer concentrating mainly on their native North East.

And it was this live experience which meant they were first choice to re-record the music for the track It’s a Heartache in the campus’ state-of-the-art recording studios. The song was made famous by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler in the late ‘70s and has since been covered by a host of other artists including Rod Stewart.

Heard in a key scene in the picture playing on a car radio, the vocals were performed by another prominent cast member, actor Tim McInnerny.

Carl and The Pre-Amps“The film production team could not get access to the original session tapes for Tim to sing along to, but Carl was keen for the song to be used as it was a key narrative element,” revealed Gary. “When it was decided to choose a band to re-record the song, The Pre-Amps were the first name on the list.

The band spent a day working on the track, which was recorded and produced by Gary Westhead, Senior Lecturer in Music Sound and Audio Production and Programme leader for Music Production at Edge Hill.

“Even for students barely out of their teens their level of musicianship, tireless dedication to live performance, and overall professional approach to all things music meant they were the ideal candidates”.

“They were able to prepare quickly and replicate the sound we wanted over the course of the day”.

“It is a great opportunity for them and gives them exposure which should enhance their reputation in the industry.”

The Pre-Amps also compose and perform their own songs, two of which; With My Baby and Hard to Say can be found on the EHU Music Production Playlist 2017-2019.