Shop Local: From touring with Jessie Ware and Bombay Bicycle Club to preserving family memories
- Credit: Steven Down/Ian West/PA
“I’m kind of in love with this little idea of bringing back some lovely old memories for people.”
Until March, Chris Stone was enjoying a life working as crew for the likes of Jessie Ware, Bombay Bicycle Club and Years & Years, but lockdown has forced a rethink and he has launched a business aiming to preserve people’s treasured memories.
Chris has worked in studios for much of his career and set up StoneCast Digital, through which he converts people’s old video and audio tapes, as well as other formats like minidisc and reel-to-reel, to digital.
Having put some old tapes on computer for his mother, the Muswell Hill resident did some for neighbour Ricky Grimes, in exchange for some classes from the ceramicist, and then put a posts out on Facebook.
He was astounded by the response from members of the Crouch End Appreciation Society and Muswell Hill & Friends groups.
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“I got more work than I can do - five to ten emails a day, bearing in mind everyone’s got at least 20-30 tapes,” he said. “Mainly old family videos, old relatives. I had someone messaging me the other day saying: ‘These are people that have passed that I haven’t seen for years.’
“A lot of people are handing me tapes saying: ‘I don’t know what’s on this.’
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“I had someone hand me a tape that had written on it ‘Christmas at...’ some cottage or whatever, and obviously their teenage self had recorded over it - they’d recorded Smash Hits over this old family tape.”
Chris didn’t charge for that one.
“There were a load of second unit X-Men tapes which was behind the scenes or captured by someone else that was working on site,” he said. “It’s just pockets of memories or things they might have worked on in the past.”
In recent years he’s worked in touring roles from stage manager to guitar tech for some huge acts at venues including Wembley Arena and the main stage at Glastonbury.
When coronavirus arrives he had been on tour with Bombay Bicycle Club - including two gigs at Alexandra Palace in February - and a return to American was lined up.
“I’m thinking of hitting up a couple of the bands that I work with because someone else told me that Jamiroquai has just hired one of his crew to start going through all his old tapes and he’s paying him a good day rate to do it,” said the 38-year-old.
“Maybe I should be hitting up some of the artists I know but really I’m kind of in love with this little idea of bringing back some lovely old memories for people.
“I can do it from home, I can pick my boy up from nursery and it’s lovely.”
Chris generally charges £15 an hour for the first tape and then more than three tapes at £12 an hour - pro rata to how many minutes they take - and he’ll collect and drop off.
StoneCast Digital can be found on Facebook or reached via firstname.lastname@example.org