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Local bands supporting Tonic by making music

Pete Coote, of the Brain Booster Music collective, writes about South Specific – an album celebrating music from Portsmouth – and how it’s already raised over £1,500 for Tonic.


I enjoyed reading Jade’s blog about the positive effects music has on the serotonin levels in our brains, and how this can help to regulate mood, reduce anxiety, and increase feelings of happiness. I hope that the 61 songs on the newly released triple album SOUTH SPECIFIC 2020 will have the right effect for you too. Last year, the Brain Booster Music collective corralled 23 local bands to contribute original songs and cash to release the SOUTH SPECIFIC 2020 triple CD, celebrating a wide range of music from Portsmouth, including Tonic’s very own Ska Choir. One disc contains music from 1980, the year the original vinyl album SOUTH SPECIFIC was released.

It’s amazing how music can bring people together, even during the pandemic. I was lucky enough to be part of the Brain Booster Music collective who succeeded in getting the album off the ground. COVID-19 prevented us meeting in person; it was all done on social media, Zoom and emails. At the moment, most musicians are unable to meet in groups and practise, let alone perform. This is a frustrating time for all of us, but music keeps me going. I find that variety is the best approach, as my mood determines the style that I’d like to listen to. I’m in The Muvvas, who have managed to play just two gigs in 2020, either side of the first lockdown. Music is such a draw – we practised in a field when we were allowed to and we still meet on Zoom regularly to share musical ideas.

The origins of Brain Booster Music go back to 1979 when local groups Attic and The Frames were recording their first 7” singles and thought it would be a good idea to have a Portsmouth music label. A year later, these bands would also appear on Brain Booster’s first album – the original SOUTH SPECIFIC released in 1980.

You may have heard that, so far, we’ve raised £1,500 for Tonic from the sale of the album in the first two months of its release; so please help to promote sales as any album sold will contribute to Tonic’s wellbeing.

Please ask friends and family to buy a copy of this unique triple CD celebrating music from Portsmouth:

Pete Coote



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