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Winchester-based record producer spinning a new tune
5:44pm Friday 25th October 2013 in Hampshire Business
SAT behind a desk in an office at the back of a shop, in a quiet Winchester side street, father-of-two Mike Peden is recalling the night he played bass guitar at a little nightclub in Edinburgh.
Mike’s sons wouldn’t be dissimilar to most youngsters if they had heard their dad reliving the glory days – and rolled their eyes — many times before.
Where they would differ from most boys, is that in this case, dad had been drafted into play alongside the American outfit Parliament-Funkadelic — one of the most important and successful funk bands of all time.
From David Bowie, The Lighthouse Family and Daryl Hall, of Hall and Oates fame, to ex-Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Mica Paris and Will Young, Mike has worked with them all.
In the early 1990s he enjoyed international chart success with his band, The Chimes, before forging a career as one of the premier European record producers of his generation, perhaps most notably as the producer of The Lighthouse Family’s first two albums, Ocean Drive and Postcards From Heaven.
Both albums sold in the millions, and the band’s smooth, uplifting style became one of the defining sounds of the 1990s.
But it came at a price.
“Every one of us had a nervous breakdown during the second album. I was under pressure from the record label to make the second album better than the first,” he says.
“Added to that, the band actually wanted to produce their own album, but I had been told to make it.
“That’s part of why we have set up the shop — I had 20 years in the trench. It’s been quite stressful,” he explains.
His CV is littered with household names, but surely none bigger than David Bowie.
“I was working on Outside, and I was playing him a track for the first time and I had been told that if he doesn’t like something, he goes a bit quiet.
“He was stood behind me, so I couldn’t see him, and we were both facing the speakers. He wasn’t saying anything and I was worrying that he thought it was crap, and then I felt his arm round my neck and he was shouting ‘Yes! This is what we want!’”
Now living in St Giles Hill, Mike, 53, and wife Judy, 49, relocated here from the New Forest to be closer to Peter Symonds College, where their younger son was studying.
After “manning the fort” for 20 years, as Mike puts it, the shop on Parchment Street is Judy’s vision.
With its luxurious Caribbean beach house feel, the store looks like the Lighthouse Family should be playing in the background.
But it’s not easily categorised, selling as it does everything from armchairs and stools, to bags and accessories. And the Pedens like it that way.
Judy says: “People who come here should expect a mixture of everything: you don’t know if you’re going to find a great T-shirt or come away with an amazing duvet.
“And I think it’s quite easy to get in a comfort zone but we want to introduce people to new things — a lot of what is in here you can’t get anywhere else in the UK.”
The couple acknowledge that, even putting aside the name Ocean Drive Living, Mike’s music has influenced what they’re offering.
“It’s that kind of chilled-out atmosphere,” Judy says.
Mike agrees: “Most of the records I have made have a feel-good factor and they tend to be geared towards the over-25s — most of the stuff in this shop is geared towards the same people.”
A look around the boutique would suggest a genuine passion and flair for their new venture.
Judy says: “I have always had an eye, not just for what I like, but for what will work.
“I have always wanted to do this and the people we’re working with all have the same kind of ethos.”
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