“This is my last chance” – Manchester’s unsigned musicians on breaking through.

WITH the closure of live music venues such as Sound control and Roadhouse in recent years, unsigned artists are struggling now more than ever to get discovered.

This week, music venue Antwerp Mansion have announced their impending closure, which causes an issue for new up and coming talent in Manchester, as it means that there are, yet again, less places for them to play.

However, Manchester holds a stellar reputation for bringing out iconic artists, with the likes of The Smiths, Elbow, and The Stone Roses to name a few that hail from the city.

Still holding a number of performance spaces willing to be a platform for those without record labels, Manchester’s unsigned scene has become one of the most respected in the country, as competition has brought out the best in a number of bands.

Cameron Meekums-Spence plays guitar in the Mossley based band Freeda.

He said:, ‘We’ve been at it for about a year now, so I suppose there is still time but the thing is with us, we don’t have a manager, we don’t have a record label or anyone like that to take the load off us either were spending most of our time outside of work trying to promote the band, putting a lot of effort in.

‘When you start off gigging you’re making a loss really aren’t you, for god knows how long, until you hit that break really. When you hit it, then the money starts coming in I guess but we’re still some way to getting to that point.

‘In the past when I’ve been with bands I’ve always loved it but never really known how to go about it. This for me is giving it a proper go.

‘I’m in my early twenties, I’d say this is my last chance. I work in a call centre, which is a little bit mundane but it gives me my weekends, so I can do the gigs and whatever else comes to us which I would have been able to do otherwise.’

Alex Walker, presenter of ‘Flip the disk’ on Forge Radio, is a former member of Manchester band Wilson.

He said: ‘It’s a saturated market, for every great band there’s about fifty decent bands that have fallen by the wayside.

‘It’s hard to try and stick out amongst the crowd and to get exposure and get people down to your gigs, especially with the decline in gig venues which is not exactly helping.

‘I think because there are so many great bands from Manchester it can be a blessing and a curse – if you’re a band from Liverpool you’ll be compared to The Beatles, its not like that here, but it is so hard.’

Freeda’s debut single is out now.

“If they’ve got great songs and refuse to give up they’ll make it. I believe that.” – Says Musicians about unsigned artists

ESTABLISHED musicians from Britain have been commenting on the unsigned music scene.

In the UK, acts from all genres have to make their way as unsigned artists, before finding a fan base and eventually signing to a record label that can provide them with the resources to help them succeed in the industry.

The road to the record label is known as being incredibly difficult, as competition from other performers and issues with funding can get in the way of success, leading to band break ups, as members go in search for steady work.

Former Kaiser Chiefs drummer, Nick Hodgson released his debut album ‘Tell Your Friends’ independently on his own label.

He said: “Doing things independently is total freedom for me. I love being able to make instant decisions about things without having to go through a dozen people.

“It’s a lot of hard work though. For unsigned bands it’s always been hard but now is a particularly tricky time to get signed.

“If they’ve got great songs and refuse to give up they’ll make it. I believe that.”

Folk musician, John Smith has been successfully recording albums on his own for years, as he opts to remain unsigned.

He Said: “I think the music industry has changed a lot. I’ve been a professional musician for twelve years and it’s changed a lot in that time. There’s so many more people who have access to an audience.

“Now, any numpty with a guitar can make a record and put it out there. Some of it is frighteningly good, but some of it is terrible, so the competition is so much bigger and so much more diverse.

“People send me stuff and it sounds amazing and these people would never have had a platform a few years ago, but making it in any arts industry is never going to be easy.”

Ex-Kaiser Chief Launches Debut album in home town || D&A interviews…

 

Former Kaiser Chief, Nick J.D Hodgson launched his Debut Album, ‘Tell Your Friends’ at Headrow House, Leeds last night.

The event was free to fans and attracted an enthusiastic crowd for the former drummer’s first solo outing. D & A’s Tom Rogers interviewed Nick prior to the launch..

T: Hi Nick, Can you tell us a bit more about the journey you went on making this album and what you wanted to achieve with it?

N: At first I thought I’d write a couple of songs and just put them out online but as I continued to write I started getting more excited about it. I imagined at first that the songs would be similar to the ones I’d sung on the Kaiser Chiefs albums, like Boxing Champ and If You Will Have Me, delicate and understated. But I started surprising myself with some actual bangers! After I wrote RSVP I thought, OK let’s see how far this can go. So the goalposts have changed and now I’m totally into the idea of being a solo musician, playing gigs and making more records.

T: Obviously Leeds is an important place for you, but how influential do you feel the city is in your career?

N: I think that without the song I Predict A Riot my musical career wouldn’t be the same. The song is specifically about Leeds city centre so I owe it a lot. As well as that, the city’s music scene was always really inspiring. There were so many bands around the late 90s early 00s and the friendly competition was important to me. Being a big band in Leeds was the first goal.

T: How was it for you after leaving Kaiser Chiefs? Did you find the journey from band member to solo artist hard? Was there a defining factor musically that fuelled your change?

N: I left 5 years ago and went straight into writing and producing for other artists. I don’t like repeating myself so this transition was perfect for me. I was writing about three songs a week with totally different artists and going home every night, it was the opposite of life in the band. Then one day in March last year I felt like I was bored of this life too so I decided to make a change. I don’t like repeating myself (that’s a joke). The defining factor was simply writing a song and thinking, how about I sing this? The song was Thank You which is on the album.

T: And finally, what’s next for you after the album launch?

N: I’ve got some more live dates, then I’ll have a little break and do some more live dates. After all that I’ll go back to my studio and see what happens. I’d love to just make albums for the next ten years.

‘Tell Your Friends’ by Nick J.D Hodgson is out now & will be @ The Wardrobe, Leeds and Deaf Institute, Manchester in April. 

WHAT IS DAY & AGE?

Welcome to Day & Age. We are a journalistic music website that focuses on bringing you interviews, podcasts, reviews and much more.

We are based in Horsforth, Leeds and will aim provide you with coverage and previews for whats on in the north.

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