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the official distractions website

Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue Recording Studios, Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester.

We're still a couple of weeks off the official 13th September 2010 release date of the Black Velvet EP but those wise enough to order the promo CD with free mp3 or the digital download should have already had a sneak preview of this mid-1990s material. We've mentioned these sessions before, describing them as "the lost 1995 sessions". Well it may be that these tracks - Black Velvet, Still It Doesn't Ring, If You Were Mine, (I Thought You Were Dead) Josephine, Land of Opportunity, Good Girls Don't Get To Paris and Come Back To Me - were actually recorded in 1994, but that's by-the-by. What's interesting is where they were recorded.

Out of the Blue adverts.

Out of the Blue studios were a partnership between Nick Garside (bass and keyboards on the Black Velvet EP) and Adam Lesser. Nick concentrated on working with guitar bands from Manchester and Liverpool and Out of the Blue is regarded as the original "Madchester studios", although some Mancunian legends that won't take kindly to such a tag - the likes of The Fall and 808 State - also rehearsed and recorded there. Adam carved a niche for himself in dance music and was the drummer for a while in Cath Carroll's band, The Gay Animals. Perhaps the most famous band to use the studios were Oasis, exemplified by 2009's "Out of the Blue - The Oasis Photographs" collection:

"In a five year journey which began with a photo-shoot of an unknown band at Manchester's Out of the Blue studios in 1993, Michael Spencer Jones worked closely with Oasis to create a series of enduring images which adorned the bands' first three albums and their accompanying singles."

Out of the Blue Recording Studios, Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester.

Out of the Blue was in Ancoats, an area just north-east of the city centre which is recognised as the birthplace of the industrial revolution. It was in Ancoats where the towering cotton mills and warehouses were constructed with thousands of tiny terraced, back-to-back and cellar dwellings crammed between, housing the impoverished workers. If Ancoats was the engine that powered arguably the most important trading city in the world in the 18th century, then this engine had well and truly stalled and died by the time the Manchester punk scene emerged in the late 1970s. Factories had closed, streets and houses flattened, and communities dispersed. Amongst the debris, some warehouses and mills did survive, and in the 21st century are actually being restored and converted into flats and business premises. It was in one such decaying factory that Out of the Blue was housed on Blossom Street, and although the studio is no more, the building has been restored. A less likely candidate for restoration is the sadly derelict Edinburgh Castle pub, three doors down, where bands would often retire for liquid refreshment.

Former Out of the Blue, Blossom Street. (c) CDX at skyscrapercity.

Out of the Blue Recording Studios, Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester.

This advert below shows Out of the Blue promoted alongside a couple of other Manchester institutions that play a part in The Distractions' history - FAC 51, The Hacienda, and Band On The Wall on nearby Swan Street where they played several times. Pleasingly, like The Distractions, both these venues have had a rebirth of sorts, with Peter Hook's FAC251 club opening in the old Factory Records HQ on Princess Street, and Band On The Wall relaunching in 2009 as a charitable institution, remaining committed to local music.

Out of the Blue Recording Studios advert.

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