Under the Volcano: The Secret Birthplace of the 80s Greatest Hits

Under the Volcano: The Secret Birthplace of the 80s Greatest Hits

In 1979 The Beatles producer Sir George Martin turned a Caribbean paradise into a 1980s hit making crucible for the likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John, and such acts as the Rolling Stones, The Police, and Dire Straits. His vision was to create a studio where artists could come and be free to express their creativity and record albums. 

After a decade of hits, and at the peak of its popularity, AIR Studios Montserrat was destroyed when hurricane Hugo hit the island in 1989, followed by the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano in 1995. 

Acclaimed filmmaker Gracie Otto wrote and directed Under the Volcano (2021), in which she documented this incredible story. She shares how she tracked down all those who were involved with AIR Studios Montserrat in the 1980s and how she obtained the rights for the amazing soundtrack for the film (“Money for Nothing”, “Every Breath You Take”). 

Under the Volcano came out on digital platforms in the UK on July 26th and releases in the US on August 17th, and Australia and New Zealand on September 1st.

“AIR Studios Montserrat was such a representation of the time, of the music industry, of what was allowed, and how big the budgets were.” – Gracie Otto 

Time Stamps:

00:00 – Under the Volcano trailer. 
2:58 – Introducing our guest Gracie Otto. 
4:23 – What Under the Volcano is about. 
6:17 – What famous songs and albums were recorded in AIR Studios Montserrat. 
9:39 – What was so special about AIR Studios.  
13:20 – What made Montserrat in the Caribbean a special place for musicians. 
15:22 – How Gracie tracked down all the people who were involved with AIR Studios.  
20:10 – Montserrat’s woes since the hurricane in 1989 and the volcanic eruption in 1995. 
24:00 – How the music industry worked in the 1980s, and how it has changed since. 
26:16 – A clip from the film: Sting and others talking about AIR Studios at Montserrat. 
27:22 – How Gracie got involved with making this film. 
33:24 – The budget for music rights for the film soundtrack. 
35:35 – What other projects Gracie Otto is working on. 
39:00 – The different processes of working on documentaries, feature films and TV. 
41:48 – What it’s like to make a documentary about a parent or a family member. 


Under the Volcano (2021) 
Innersound Audio
Alamo Pictures

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Episode 71