My name is Nick Cattermole.

I grew up doing music and art, so this err, I never liked art that didn’t do anything so I ended up making music… musical instruments myself and then when I got into computers I was really interested in umm sampling, just because I’m interested in all sorts of textures of sound and sampling is a great way to use you know like velcro as a snare drum or something like that. It’s uhh, it it opens out a whole new uhh palette of sounds.

The work I have been involved in with Spare Tyre started umm some years ago when I was working with the special needs uhh group in err Redbridge umm and we were doing all sorts of uhh exploratory work around sound. We ended up sampling things and composing uhh their own soundtrack using the samples that they collected and then that turned into making their own instruments and playing them and then that turned into making the first Spare Tyre Street Band.

My whole thrust anyway and working on in schools and with adults anyway is to empower people to make their own music so to be composers not me coming in and telling them “we’re gonna play this tune” and as much as they can, if they can’t afford instruments, to make them. So you know we make uhh marimbas, tubular bells, sampled electronics uhh you know there’s lots of different ways of making stuff.
I love using different materials but I I like a I like a beautiful sound, I don’t like an ugly you know I, I’ve had enough of junk sounding like junk. I want junk to sound beautiful you know and it can be can be done.

Being on the stage with the Spare Tyre Band that’s been just, I look around and I see them smiling and I see the audience smiling and I get a real kick out of that.
I like working for Spare Tyre a lot because they they do umm they do actually care about you as a worker I think, you know, it’s like I work for other companies and you just come in and do your work and go home again. (laughs) Whereas this lot do feel like a uhh a crew you know? That uhh that that will help you through if you got a bad day on or umm yeah I I like that.

The attitude they have of just accepting people for who they are and what they are right now, not knowing so much about the history of where they’ve, how they’ve got to this and so you’re just dealing with a person as they are as opposed to “oh this is a person with Down’s Syndrome” or “this is a person who’s suffering with dementia” or “this is a person who’s got autism”. It’s it in some ways doesn’t really matter, you’re you’re dealing with a person, unique person, as they are now and being creative with them and hopefully empowering them to have a voice, have a say, have a go and play. It is a very unique way of thinking and umm I’m glad to be part of that.
The Spare Tyre show it’s uhh I’m always interested in the fact that uhh when we play in a care home the carers come out and just as much piece, and feel like they’ve witnessed something that’s art. Uhh just like the people with dementia, so it’s not just aimed at people with dementia it can be experienced as a piece of art by other people.

There was one show we did where we were working in a theatre, this was for people with dementia and their carers, so family members bringing people into the theatre to experience something and umm the stage manager and his assistants stayed and watched the show. Now that never happens because (laughs) stage managers and theatres just go, once they set you up they leave but afterwards they watched the show twice and some of them were obviously moved by it and the responses of the people who came and they stayed for the discussion and it’s amazing. Dementia’s affected just about everybody, everybody has a family member who’s had dementia or something that you know, a close person they’ve they’ve dealt with and so it’s a it’s a universal thing so that was a that was a that was a highlight to be a part of that day.

I’ve learned umm to slow down (laughs). These people with dementia take a lot longer to umm realise what’s going on and to just slow down and take care and to understand that ordinary people also think they get something but actually they don’t get it. You know it’s a slow down and then people really understand so it works for ordinary people as well, whatever that means, ordinary.

You really need to be present and umm find a way in to connect with somebody and then bring them out of it gently

Nick is a musician and teacher, we began working with him during our workshop sessions at Redbridge Drama Centre in the mid 2000s. Since then Nick has worked on projects including The Garden and the Spare Tyre Band. In 2018 he became one of our Associate Artists.

Nick spoke to us about what it’s like to work for Spare Tyre and the importance of creating a high quality of work.