Writer, engineer, and producer Adrian Sear, was gracious enough to allow Brit-funk Heaven time for this interview:

How did you get started in the music business?

At 21 I jumped from account handling at a Regent street ad agency to joining a small sound studio that ran a ‘radio station’ UBN - United Biscuits Network. This coincided with my prediction of commercial radio in the UK. The Passing of the Sound Broadcasting Act 1972 facilitated licenses which were issued and started a new era.

What does the job of an engineer entail?

Pre computers: Originally to record (instruments & voice) to tape, microphone placement, tape machine alignment and session management between producer/client and artist/musicians.

Do you play any instruments?

Guitar ,but only adequately.

What awards did you win, and what were they for?

London Chamber of Commerce in Copywriting. Royal Society of Arts in Design. Advertising Clios for Heinz, Jamaican Airways - I’ve forgotten. BPI Silver discs for ‘Wikka Wrap’100,000 sales

How did you first meet Nigel Martinez and Graham De Wilde?

Graham worked for J. Walter Thompson Advertising in the TV dept, he was a producer / musician / client. We worked on hundreds of ad accounts, Kelloggs, National Express Coaches, Yorkie, Dulux, Clark Shoes,Lion Bar. Nigel was a drummer Real Thing, Marvin Gaye, Al Jarreau etc. I introduced him to Graham to play on tv jingles. The rest is history.

Are you still in touch with any of the Evasions?

Both Graham and Nigel, regularly, yes.

Do you know what any of the band members are doing at present?

Nigel works and lives in LA. Graham continues to write his orchestral projects.

Many of the so-called “Classic” radio stations, seem to ignore British Soul and Funkrecords from the past, even if they were top 10 hits. Do you know if the band’s back catalogue of music is on rotation anywhere in the UK?

Wikka Wrap is a novelty ‘81 minor Top Twenty hit, it gets aired occasionally. Germany & France do also.

Did you ever find out if Alan Whicker had heard the Wikka Rap single? If so, what was his reaction to it?

Yes he did hear it. He mentioned his milkman

(delivering to his Jersey home) had heard it and thought it was him!! I think there is a reference in Alan’s autobiog book. As fate would have it coincidently Graham and I were working on his tv programme Whicker’s World ‘Pavarotti’ and ‘Miss World in Sun City’ in 81- 82. He took our parody very well. He was a genuinely a charming man. Very intelligent and mannered.

Did you work with any other Brit-funk bands during the music’s heyday?

No. As an engineer I worked on possibly every type of music thrown at me. Japanese tonal poems, Muslim call to prayers, jazz, reggae, West African Hi-Life, Capital Radio Drama, corporate events, tv jingles and more weird and wonderful stuff. One particular session was with an ex-New York FBI agent who asked me to edit ‘no’ ‘not’ ‘did(‘nt) etc from President Nixon’s ‘Watergate’ denial speech. The next evening it was played on BBC tv News as an example that tapes could be tampered!

How did you get to meet Billy Ocean?

Nigel was writing and producing Billy.

Did you write any songs for / with him?


Can you recall how long it took to complete your work with him on his LP?

I think I only worked on 3 of the 12 songs. 3 songs used to take about 10 days or so !

How did the magnificent track "Keep Your Shoes On" by M.C. And His Great Googa-Moogas come about?

After ‘Wikka Wrap’ I wanted to move on in some way. EMI Records signed me up for comedy projects. ‘Shoes‘ was off the wall for its time. It was given good release reviews but no airplay then. Even now, I still get the odd interest in it ! Who knows.

Who was in the group?

The band was basically The Evasions of course. The vocal is the US actor Clarke Peters (The Wire, Mona Lisa).

Your lyrics from the Wikka Wrap have been sampled by Coolio and used by Snoop Dogg. Were you involved in any of those recordings?

The band was basically The Evasions of course. The vocal is the US actor Clarke Peters (The Wire, Mona Lisa).

Your lyrics from the Wikka Wrap have been sampled by Coolio and used by Snoop Dogg. Were you involved in any of those recordings?

No, they were cloned by them in LA.

As some of the Evasions' singles were released on Chris Palmer's Groove label, do you know much about him, or his current status?

OK. This is a sore point, primarily as Palmer was not transparent with royalty returns collected worldwide. (It was a top 20 R&B in the US) He licensed our track to local labels: Sam in US, Friends in Holland and exported Groove everywhere to France,Mexico etc etc etc. And eventually Coolio and Snoop Dog’s sampling generated royalties and Sam Records also defaulted on royalties. We now have a problem with Demon Music London who obtained the title from Nervous (previously Sam US defunct in ‘91) that has been logged with Itunes !! However these types of stories are not unusual in the ‘record’ business. We get Performing Rights and Mechanical statements so we can see who and where the song has gone.

Producing Spike Milligan’s Unspun Socks must have been hilarious. Do you have any fond memories of this?

Spike was a dream for me to work with. I knew exactly where he was coming from. The BBC couldn’t handle him, but they did give him a ‘Q’ tv series to placate him. He was charming,mannered,intelligent and comfortable to be with(unlike some artistes I had worked with. I asked Graham to arrange all the music content. Spike could have sat and chatted all day about Sellers / Secombe anecdotes, all of which I’m sure archived on various books. But we had an album to do.

How did you get involved with the Hitch-hiker’s Guide?

Douglas Adams and Geoffrey Perkins chose Sound Developments Studios where I was Chief Engineer. The studios were a voice led facility; Ideal for a BBC Radio 4 projects. But the BBC did not want to go to vinyl, so Original Records produced the albums. They subsequently asked me to produce Spike.

Were you also involved with the movie?

No. Film producers often look the other way. Nobody from the radio / lp shows were hired.

What effects if any, do you think the advent of music downloading has had on the production of music?

Downloading / streaming is just a delivery method. The possession of CD/Vinyl is optional. The greatest advantage is cutting out the record company, but conversely it attracts poor talent. The consumption of music has changed so total markets are fragmented. 100 million hits on YouTube is considered a success but unfortunately is not commensurate with performance royalties. The ITunes royalty contract particularly is derisory. It’s now up to all musicians to work around the download portals that don’t distribute a reasonable rate. The Musicians Union is toothless.

Special thanks and appreciation to Adrian Sear, for his participation in this interview. * * * Updated 5 April 2015