Jonny Williams, the man behind the funky BoomBocs portable player has produced more tracks for landmark artists than you can shake a rhythm stick at.
Join us for his handpicked songs that have inspired him to get your system shaking.
My selection by Jonny Williams
1. Queen – Somebody to Love
There is no other reason for choosing this other than it being a fantastic song. The vocal harmonies and arrangements are complex, coupled with the intricate guitar parts and walking bass line just make for a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.
2. Pink Floyd – Time
Given that this was recorded in 1972, when recording technology was still limited, you have to have been pretty bold to write songs that were long and consisted of multiple sections. Having an intro over two minutes, triggered by alarm clocks was not something that had been done before. Pink Floyd broke the mould and mesmerised people with their wild sounds and epic guitar solos. Probably the greatest band to ever exist.
3. AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
The ultimate rock and roll band! What they play isn’t complicated – it’s just pure rock and catchy lyrics. My dream band to go on tour with as a sound engineer.
4. John Mayer – Vultures
For years I used this song for tuning sound systems in stadiums and arenas around the world. John Mayer is one of the modern-day great guitar players that really understands what music should sound like. His albums are well-produced and pleasant to listen to. Using this track lets me to evaluate how all aspects of the frequency spectrum react in the venue I’m in. I can then tune the sound system to suit the acoustics of that venue.
5. Dr Dre – Still D.R.E
I love hip-hop music, as you may have guessed by the ’80s-inspired boombox speaker I’ve created. Dr Dre is a legend of the West Coast hip-hop scene, having started out in NWA and then gone on to build a massive back catalogue for himself. He’s produced some of the biggest hip-hop records ever known, but not only that, he’s also mixed many of them himself. He’s a man that really understands sound and the equipment needed to manipulate it a musical way.
6. Rage Against the Machine – Know Your Enemy
Many people don’t know that RATM recorded their first album by playing it live, as a band (together), with all of their mates present in the studio so they had a crowd. What band does that?! Most recordings are done by recording each instrument one-by-one but not RATM. It’s a simple setup of drums, bass, guitar and vocals but if you listen to their records, you’d think there’s something else going on. Tom Morello (guitarist) invented sounds and methods for creating them on a guitar and became a revolutionary musician in doing so.
7. Kylie – Love at First Sight
This is where the guilt pleasure starts. Kylie is just a great pop act with some huge hits under her belt. I’ve been fortunate to work with her on and off over the last 10 years, my last show with her being the headline slot at Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park in 2018. Love at First Sight is just a brilliant pop song with a groovy bass line.
8. All Saints – Pure Shores
One of the greatest pop songs written in the last 20 years. I will argue with anyone that contests it! I was the front of house sound engineer for All Saints for many years and have toured the world with the girls many times over. I loved mixing their shows and this song was always a highlight.
9. Maribou State – Feel Good
If you don’t know Maribou State, get to know them. Another client of mine and probably one of my favourites (no offence to the others) to mix on the road.
10. Thundercat – Them Changes
Another client of mine! Thundercat has won multiple Grammy awards and is regarded as the greatest bass guitarist in the world right now. This song has such a great groove that it’s impossible not to like it.
11. Pendulum – Fasten Your Seatbelts
I worked for this band about 10 years ago but was a fan prior to that. They were pioneers of the drum and bass genre and took their show on the road with a live band to make it even more impressive. Fasten Your Seatbelts was on their debut album and left a huge impression on me when I first heard it.
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Read more about the story of BoomBocs in Jonny’s blog for Audiograde.
Read our in-depth review of BoomBocs Studio portable player.