Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Martyn Peters- 'Veins' Review!

Martyn Peters is a singer songwriter from North Wales whose passion and love of Music has brought him to London. He is currently gigging around various venues in London promoting his first solo album Veins.

Martyn is abit of a one man band providing all the lead and backing vocals on the album and playing the guitar, organ, piano,bass and even the percussion on his the track Once (show off ha). There are 10 tracks on his debut album and the overall theme seems to be one of  love and relationships. Veins to me is like a great novel using music and intelligent lyrics to tell a story. Martyn's writing style flows beautifully and from start to finish his tracks take you on a bitter sweet journey, with each track creating a different mood. Interestingly Martyn told me how three of his tracks on the album are actually linked, something he didn't intentionally do at first. The first track of the three Drowning is describing an end to a relationship, the following track Sunday prelude is a instrumental piece about the moments just after it ends and Sunday is about moving on and pretending you are ok when really you are still hurting. These are definitely my favourite tracks on the album the power and pain of Drowning can be heard in Martyn's deeper powerful vocals. The songs seem to be a turning point for the more serious part of the album, and I feel the relationships Martyn writes about on the album change more from friendships to lovers from the song Drowning onwards. 

Sunday is a magnificent track and I can't help but imagine what a great Movie soundtrack it would make, I can just picture the ending scene of a great Rom com movie with this track on in the background and the credits start to role, leaving you feeling calm and warm inside. These three songs are not the only thing linked on the album. The title track of the album "veins" is taken from the line in the song This City 'Like blood we flow through the veins of this city'. Which in turn is reflected in the street map imposed on Martyn's face for the album cover. The album for me shows off Martyn's story telling talents which makes you connect with the songs on a deeper level and I think people will be able to relate to Veins on a personal level. Martyn has a great way of building a song up to a powerful ending which leaves you intrigued when listening to all ten tracks on the album. This is a very exciting debut album from Martyn and he definitely has a raw talent and a lot of dedication to his music.

I am looking forward to hearing more from Martyn and catching him live in some cool music venues around London. Unsigned artists like Martyn are really what the music industry today should be about. He is hardworking, talented and original.

Useful Links:

'Veins' out now and available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Support live music and unsigned artists and make sure you give this album a listen.


Friday, 8 December 2017

Acoustic Superboy Fraser Morgan!

Hi Friends,

This weeks blog is a little early Christmas present for you all and the stocking filler is Fraser Morgan. I first met Fraser when I watched him perform at The Redrock Jam open mic night. As soon as Fraser got up on the stage you could see he was a cheeky chappy with a big smile for the audience and amazing stage presence. His set made the crowd laugh, dance and singalong just the right mixture for a gig. Fraser has a very clever songwriting style, he is a story teller and uses lyrics people can relate to. He touches on a wide range of issues in his songs from romance, loss and being a superhero in a Tesco's carrier bag ha.
Another thing that made Fraser stand out to me was the continued hard work he put in after his performance. He made sure he had  time to go around around and talk to everyone after the gig getting feedback and promoting his music. Fraser is someone I would love people to get behind and he is exactly what my blog is about! A talented unsigned musician working hard in London to make it and get his music out there. London is a great place for a musician to be, but it comes with hard times too particularly cost of living and funding yourself as an unsigned artist. However with determination, hardwork and bit of support  I believe London is still a city an artist can come and make it. I have included an interview with Fraser in this blog and I hope after reading it some of you will support Fraser on his journey and check out his music for yourselves.

Hey Fraser so I seen you perform at the Dublin Castle , You were great, very confident and had incredible stage presence. How long have you been doing open mic nights for?

Oh, thank you so much! Yeah I'm really comfortable with playing live, its my favourite aspect of being a musician. So, my first open mic I ever did, which was also my first ever gig, was on January 22nd 2014, in a rough, shabby little pub in my hometown Braintree Essex.

What age have you been playing guitar since?

I actually didn't pick up a guitar until I was 15 years old! I didn't actually mean to get into music, but after my first gig I discovered this whole new level of euphoria, and from then I was addicted to gigging.

Gigging is pretty addictive. So when did you write your first song ? and what was it about ?

So, I've always written poetry, I remember writing and loving it from around 7/8 years old, it was nothing major, but i knew it made me happy. The first song i wrote myself was a few months after i picked up a guitar. My uncle had passed away about 2 years beforehand but he was my role model, so his passing really shook the ground beneath me , so the first song i wrote was actually about him. I still have the piece of paper i wrote it on till this day.

So Who are your influences? What made you want to pick up that guitar and sing?

So before 15 years old, I never really listened to music, I'd listen to what ever my mum would play and then i listen to the radio, but the first time i heard guitar was by the man himself ; Ed Sheeran. But what drew me in to him wasn't the usual "I want to be him" it was " I have a lot to say, if he can do it with just a guitar,then so can I. " Before that, I though you had to be in bands to express yourself, so hearing someone with just a guitar, expressing themselves, really appealed to me, and even more so really inspired me.
I'd say what really expires me musically these days would be predominately Jamie T and The 1975; it's all very honest music. However when it comes to my rap side , it's Eminem. He was actually the first artist i listened to off my own back. I was 8 years old when my mum brought me Curtain Call for Christmas. Mockingbird was the first song i ever learnt all the words to.

Can you remember that moment when you thought, That's it I want to be a musician?

So going on from my point in my second answer, I remember the exact moment I wanted to be a musician. So the first gig I played was in a pub, to a small (disinterested) crowd. But after I finished my set, they actually asked for more! And I thought "man... this feels pretty good you know". Then came the next day. It was 9am, I was sat in my Philosophy lesson just feeling unfulfilled and empty, and I couldn't work out what it was... and then it clicked; I wanted to be a musician. I knew for a fact that that would be the only thing in life that would ever bring me true happiness ever again. So I did just that.

Do you have a certain routine when it comes to writing songs ?

Asking someone if they have a song writing routine is like asking someone to predict British weather; it's unpredictable. For me at least. I mean, sometimes I'll just be having a bash on my guitar strings and I'll just start writing words over the top, but 85-90% of the time I'll either 1) Have an idea for a song 2) Something inspired me or 3) I'll just have a random like or 2 come into my head. However, no matter where the idea/song started, it'll always start with me writing this idea into my notes on my phone, and then slowly progressing and working at it. Some songs take a month or two of coming back to it and adding a little bit every time, and then others will be written and finished in under an hour.

Are you doing gigs as well as open mic nights?

 I'm doing the whole shebang! From open mics, to busking, parties, pubs, restaurants and even weddings. I don't care what it is or where it is, give me my guitar and I'll perform; I just really, really love performing.

What made you want to come and live in London ?

So, I was going to go to Brighton BIMM so I could pursue my music in Brighton, however I was speaking to my friend who was the A & R  guy for the High Time (he discovered and signed The Hunna and Coasts, so i trust his word) and he told me that if I wanna go somewhere to and pursue my music, London is the place. It's where all the big guys from companies go and there's always something going on! I didn't actually come to BIMM for the degree, I've told them this. I never panned to go to uni, and I accidentally passed college, but I wanted to live in London, so I thought I'd apply for uni and use my student loan to live and gig in London. Despite a degree not being my aim, that doesn't mean I'm not going to try, I mean, I'm lucky I have the opportunity to go to uni. But I'm here for music; I'm here for business. I'm here to show people why they need my music in their life, and if I get a degree then that's just a bonus.

 What do you find the hardest part about being a musician?

Being a musician... is the hardest part about a musician. Especially if you're unsigned. Because you don't turn off. You do everything yourself. From arranging gigs, talking money, planning journeys, managing all your social medias, setting up campaigns, arrange promotion. Then that's not including the performing itself, writing the songs, practising, recording; there's just so many aspects to being a musician. And if you're like me, I never leave the mindset of "Fraser Morgan The Artist". Whether I'm at work, at uni, in the street or at the pub with my mates, I never turn off. I'm always thinking music and always carrying business cards, because you don't know who knows who, and I've heard many stories of an artist doing something bad to someone and it's been passed down like 10 friends and now those 10 friends have a stained image of that artist, all because they may have caught that artist on a bad day, so I also try to generally stay quite happy and open. I only really turn off when I'm sat at home, in my room, laying on my bed, binge watching Netflix for hours (lately it's been Spongebob.) I'd like to think of myself as a nice, approachable person, because I love people, I think they're awesome. So when I say "turn off" I don't mean I show my real colours and I'm a dick, I mean "turn off" as in I don't have to worry about anything or anyone around me, because I'm the only person who's in my company. So I'd say there's no "one" particularly hard part, it's all hard, but I'm not complaining, I love it, and if I ever obtain a degree of success one day, at least I know I've worked for it, which will help me appreciate it more.

On bit more of a positive note do you have a favourite open mic/gig night?

I have 2 favourite moments: the first one I'm playing a gig to a crowd of literally 2 people. I'm on stage and I'm like "why am I even plugged in and mic'ed up?" So I unplug, hop off the stage and I play "Chasing Cars" this this couple, I'm about 5 feet away from them, and I'm looking at them, they're looking at me, and we're all just singing, and then they just start looking into each others eyes and just hold each other whilst I sing this song to them acoustically, it was really special and really intimate. The second is I'm playing this gig, and there's a huge bunch of squaddies (army guys) in the crowd, so I bust out "The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem, and they're vibing to it, I'm vibing to it, and I'm feeling like a gangster right now, then out of no where this squaddie comes up to me whilst I'm on stage. And at this point I'm like "oh fuck here we go, I'm either gonna get abuse or he's gonna take the mic"... and then he just pulls this jägerbomb out of nowhere and hands it to me, so I'm like “… yeah alright then", I stop playing, mid-song, on stage, shot this jägerbomb, and continue playing again and everyone cheered and went mental. Honestly... I've never felt so cool in all my life.

What have been doing to try and promote yourself and get your music heard?

I'm pretty shit at social media and filming myself, so my best, and favourite, form of promotion for me is... gigging of course! Before and after every gig I go round, talk to loads of people, and just have a laugh, and if anyone wants a CD then awesome, if not then no worries because I've just made a bunch of  awesome friends. And then we get each other on Facebook, then that way I can keep up to date with what my new friends are doing, and being as they're music lovers, I can keep them updated on my music. I'm getting better at social media though, I'm gonna really push some stuff when I release my first single. My EPs sold well, but I didn't promote them really, so imagine what the results would be if I did next time.

Whats your favourite type of venue to play at?

At the minute my favourite type of venues are pubs. I'm a pub guy y'know. I don't drink, but I grew up in pubs literally since birth, my Mum always worked in pubs so I'm used to them. I love them. I love the atmosphere, I love the people, and pub people seem to love my music more than anyone else, so it's a win-win. But I also do love a good birthday/wedding, because, for me anyway, it usually ends with me being sat with some strangers' family at the end of a night, after I've played the gig, round a table, being given food by elderly people and having a drink and laugh with loads of people I don't know. They're always great.

What advice would you give to any other musicians thinking about making the move to London?

My advice to new artists moving to London would be "Get Stuck In." Do everything. Go to every open mic, talk to everyone you meet and play as often as possible. Feeling tired isn't an excuse. Fear isn't an excuse. No matter your mood, no matter your feeling, you go out there and you give it your all. Every. Single. Time. Get out of bed, get changed, and just go, you can sleep later, you can cry later, you can finish that episode later. 2 of my favourite quotes are from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man who succeeds at everything, and he says 1) "You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets." and 2) Whilst you're sleeping, there's always going to be someone else working harder than you, and getting better than you."

So whats the big plan? What does the future hold for Fraser Morgan?

Good question... i have no idea specifically. But what I do know is that I'm really stepping up my game now. I'm not playing about. I'm writing a lot of songs, a lot of which I'm actually impressed with, and I'm usually my worst critic. There's sad songs, happy songs, angry songs, rappy songs and grimey songs. I've been doing a lot of growing and changing and I've realised a lot. So, I'm just gonna release a bunch of singles, but they're all gonna be different. I'm also looking to put on my first headline show next year in London which is going to be awesome, definitely gonna get some BIMM students to support me because there's so much damn talent here, it's incredible. Other than that; it's just gonna be gigs, gigs, gigs, and a whole lot of happiness and laughter. Basically, just shits 'n' gigs really.


Spotify and itunes: Fraser Morgan

Hey so i seen you perform mic , u were great very confident and incredible stage presence. How long have you been performing at open mic for ?

Friday, 24 November 2017

Common People The Showdown Interview!

Hey guys a few weeks ago i had the pleasure of heading down to one of the Common People open mic nights. The Common People open mic's are spread over 3 venues and i visited the original location Old St Records. It was a great night and the lovely Rosie Hopkins who manages the night agreed to give me a quick interview to fill me in how the night started, further plans and the 1st ever Common People competition The Showdown!

How long has common people open mic been going ?3 years in January

What made you decide to start doing a open mic night ?I was gigging in Venn St Records every Wednesday and chatting to the general manager about how this music venue needed to open a night where anyone could sing. We had been worried about open mic as it can actually be a tricky night to do well. It can be stale, poor in turn out and sometimes it's more of a deterrent for the public to come in. I had been going to Open mic nights for years and thought i know what not to do so I can avoid common mistakes. Also as a musician myself i know how important it is to feel good on stage and have good sound so i said let me run it. And from there its gone from 1 venue to 3 in three years and it's become a really great night!

You are also a musician , are you part of a band?
Yes. I play solo gigs. I am also in a duo called Super Spokes that play different residencies 3 nights a week and then a trio which does events 1 night a week.

How long you been singing and performing?10 years now

Whats your favourite success story from a common people open mic night?It might actually be meeting the two guys who host at two of the venues for me. So Common People is at three venues. I opened each one and therefore had to hand over the night to someone else to run when i went to the next venue. When i met Nic & Joe they were also open mic performers at my night. I thought they were both lovely people (which is think is super important for a host) and they played really well. We did a few sessions on how to use the desk and all the nitty gritty and now they run Venn St Records & Northcote Records for me every week in style! It's so cool that they used to come in to play and now its their job. And they are awesome!

Any favourite moments, performances? Favourite moment... that's so so hard! There have been times when we had a featured act perform and the whole venue has been rammed, not a single free seat in the house and just a buzz in the room where we are all in it together... theres this amazing music for FREE and we are all in a basement in Shoreditch experiencing this beautiful music with the hustle and bustle above us.
There have also been a few times when someone has gotten up on stage and silenced the crowd. One performer called Amy does it every time... she isn't confident, she gets up and you can feel how shy she is... then she slays it. The whole room falls silent and jaws drop, that's special. And i love it when i leave the open mic at 11:30 and there's musicians who met on the night sat outside jamming, i love that!

Why do you think Old St records makes a great venue?When the night is in the basement at Old St the whole night is dedicated to the open mic. It is intimate and fully equipped for live music. Everyone in that room is there for the music, and the respect given to the performers is beautiful. Every seat has a view of the stage, and the vibe in there is very cool but also cosy and just the perfect space to come and try out new music. People who don't play now even come and book a table to watch because its a night with so many amazing performers and you can actually hear them sing! You have to come and feel it... so awesome. I would go as far as to say its the perfect venue for an open mic if you don't want loud and rowdy.

There is a common people open mic competition starting, can you tell us bit of information about that and the idea behind it ?The Showdown! Since the first year of doing Common People i wanted to do a battle of the bands style comp. And now with all three Records venues up and running we thought it would be amazing to make it happen. Nearly 100 people submitted an application to compete, and 45 got through. For three weeks 15 acts will compete and a total of 9 chosen by the judges and 1 by the public will go into the final on Nov 29th. The prize is 3 day in a recording studio and a limited edition vinyl run, plus 2nd and 3rd prizes. It just seems mad not to do it, with so many musicians coming in to our venues each week its an really good chance for people to meet other musicians and to step up their game. And we are utilising all three locations, going between the venues taking our regulars from one space to the other. It's all just going to be a lot of fun with a big party at the end, who doesn't love a good battle hey!

Will the open mic nights take a break over Christmas?
So open mic won't be on at Old St over December sadly due to bookings. But it will be on at the other venues. All dates will be posted online on our FB.

What can we expect in the new year from Common people open mic nights and from you as a musician any big plans ?
In the new year we will be bringing back our featured acts. Every months we ask a musician to feature and do a longer slot. This is on the back burner due to the music competition but that will be back! And myself as a musician... well i often end up forgetting to do my own music as i gig for a living and it sucks up a lot of my time. So i have a deadline from my music managers for getting more material ready. So once xmas is over I'm back to writing and focusing on my own music.

                                         Rosie Hopkins on the right at one of The Showdown Heats!

The Showdown final is on Wednesday the 29th at Old St Records in Shoreditch. If you love live music please go and support this night and venue. A lot of time and organisations goes into events like this and the support is really appreciated. If you are a musician this is a great chance to go down and check out how it all works and next year you could be entering and possibly competing yourselves in the competition (how ace would that be). Furthermore Rosie is a very talented down to earth musician and i am sure she would be happy to give you some great advice and support. In addition to this she is very professional and dedicated and her nights won smoothly and she makes all the acts feel very comfortable.

If you are a musician wanting to play at one of the Common People open mic's or you enjoy live music head down to one of the records venues. The venues are very unique and trendy and the atmosphere is always great. The staff are fun and chatty and very experienced when it comes to cocktail making. The bars have great happy hour offers and the pizzas are yummy (what more could you want). The venues are dedicated to putting on live music acts so check there pages for the latest line ups.

Useful Links

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The unique Guitar Social Open Mic Night!

Not sure where to start really I have so much to say about my experience at this open mic and the night was very close to my heart. One reason being, it was organised by my good friend Thomas who is the founder and director of the fabulous The Guitar Social. Secondly I got to witness the results of some amazing charity work I am hoping to get involved in and hopefully after reading this a few of my lovely readers will want to as well.
First some background information on The Guitar Social company and the concept of it all. The Guitar social was set up by Thomas Binns a guitar teacher who relocated to London from up North, definitely the Norths loss and the Souths gain. The idea behind it was to be able to give group guitar lessons at an affordable price and, well make the experience more social (the clue is in the title). By joining one of The Guitar Social courses not only do you get to have guitar lessons, but hopefully make friends with people with similar interests and get involved in weekly activities and social events. Furthermore to make sure everyone feels comfortable there are different levels of guitar classes ranging from beginners to advanced. On top of all this there are also weekly workshops including jamming sessions, song writing sessions and finger picking lessons. I experienced The Guitar Social community first hand when I joined in 2015 on the beginners course. It was a great experience, I made great friends, started a band, and got to experience camping The Guitar Social Style. To summarise its a great community to get involved in, a lot of hard work and preparation goes into classes, events, workshops and you won't be disappointed if you join.

This Months The Guitar Social open mic took place in the basement room of The Roebuck, Hampstead Heath, which was a really nice intimate space. I arrived early and was surprised at how fast the room started to fill. Soon the corridors were filled with musicians practising for their performances, I thought this was great and made me smile because it reminded me of a scene from one of my favourite films The Commitments (which is a must watch by the way). From the first performance the respect in the room was high everyone was silent and very supportive. The variety was great from Radio One live lounge worthy covers to original classics. Some acts featured songs they had written and worked on in The Guitar Social songwriting workshop which was a great insight into the outcome of taking part in one of these workshops.

One of the many highlights from the night for me was  an instrumental guitar piece performed by William Goodfellow. With the help of his loop pedals he captivated the room and with the silence of the audience it was quite a haunting piece... definitely a hair standing on end moment for me. As much as I love lyrics I do enjoy some instrumental pieces, I find them very raw and they leave little room for mistake so they can put a lot of pressure on a player at times. To hold a crowd and keep them interested when it is just you and your instrument is not an easy task and this is why this performance was one of my highlights. Like many of The Guitar Social performers he finished his performance and left the stage oblivious to how good he actually was. More highlights included a family performance, they were like the Von Trapp family (but way cooler) and we got to witness beautiful harmonies from the brother and sister. The wonderful Eric finished the night off demonstrating his excellent slide skills playing some cool blues on one of his handmade cigar box guitars. I have to add I also won the raffle (proceeds going to the guitar social foundation) and got to take home my very own handmade guitar courtesy of Eric and was even given a quick tutorial by Eric on how to play it.

                           Handmade Cigar box guitar, crafted by Eric @

                                          William performing his instrumental piece 👏

Now I come to the main highlight of the night (and I think everyone that attended would agree), The Guitar Social Foundation performance. The Guitar Social Foundation is a charity ran by The Guitar Social which offers free guitar tuition to those who might benefit from it most but may not be in a position to pay the cost of guitar tuition. This cause is very important to me and I believe music therapy can really change peoples lives and its a career I hope to go into after my studies. Thomas and the team work in a variety of settings with different groups that a third party referrer has suggested may have a need for it. The main aim behind it is social connection and what this can do for peoples health and generally happiness. Being part of a community, having a hobby and having friends around us are sometime things we take for granted, as not everyone has these things. It was a beautiful thing to see this group who have only been learning guitar for 10 weeks have the confidence to get up and perform. Lead by Thomas and with the support of the crowd the groups performance ended in a singalong with the whole room singing together, we had our own Guitar Social choir. The smiles on the faces of the performers said it all, the moment was heart warming and it actually started to feel like Christmas ha!

I am going to be Interviewing Thomas for the blog and hopefully getting lots more info for any of you guys wanting to help or get involved with The Guitar Social Foundation.

Also you can find out information on guitar lessons and joining one of The Guitar Social courses. If you are thinking of learning guitar, improving your skills or just getting involved with a guitar loving community there really is only one place in London and its The Guitar Social.

                                                            Two wonderful performers
                                    Mr Thomas Binns , The Guitar Social founder and teacher!

Useful Links

Further reading and watching 😃

The Commitments movie

Les Paul


Friday, 3 November 2017

She speaks five languages and one of them is definitely music!

Interview with singer songwriter Annie Green:

Hi Annie i seen you perform at a recent open mic night and i thought you were amazing, you have great stage presence and a beautiful voice. Can i ask what age you are and where you are from?

So I am from Bulgaria. Though I have something Greek and Russian from my mother’s side and I speak about 5 languages so I look and sound like nothing 😄 I’m 22.

How long have you been doing the open mic nights for?

I haven’t been doing open mics for long actually. It’s been literally like a couple of weeks. I am trying to do them more regularly so about 4-5 times a week. So I usually go spice of life or the library (the library because it has a nicer vibe), Dublin Castle, the Destiller, King William fourth, Noteworthy or the one in Hideaway on Sunday. I’m still not doing gigs but that is going to change soon.

What genre would you class yourself as ?

I do pop, with occasional pop-rock and hip-hop.

As a singer songwriter do you have a routine when you write your lyrics? do you need to be in a certain place, like somewhere quiet?

I usually either snap and start thinking about a situation (usually on the public transport) then slap me it’s December, or I sit in my room in the quiet and start analysing ‘okay why are you angry/upset/grateful?’, ‘ where does it come from?’, etc. Weird but oh well.

Then everything flows and I just want everything to make sense. And I tend to sometimes use a lot of metaphors.

The rest of the time it’s just literally what you hear is what it is. But I think it’s quite easy to get when am I being descriptive and when am I trying to be Kendrick Lamar with all those metaphors 😄

So when you are songwriting you think of a mixture of things really?

songwriting-wise I would say... I don’t know if you have heard the term emotionally unaware ( I’m really into psychology) but that’s basically whenever you are afraid of emotions and refuse to acknowledge them or recognise them. Songwriting is actually my way of facing the emotion usually. The second song you heard on Tuesday was mine and that was so far the only song I’ve written and I was completely aware how I felt. It’s actually about 3 different people whose selfish need of self-validation annoyed me. All 3 people i wrote about were looking for guys to lead on, use for money and let down, and that’s something I do not approve of. Because who are they to make themselves feel better by using other people for money or by making them feel bad, sad, etc.

Great stuff, i love psychology. 
So even though as musicians we are individuals and tend to have are own writing style, Who are your influences? Who made you want to start singing and writing music?

I properly started singing when I was about 10-11 and I watched High School Musical, beforehand I was doing arts. I Watched High School Musical 29 times exactly 😄 I knew all of the dances and the songs. Then I started sitting and learning the songs and karaoking (it’s a verb now) on them. Then I went from Hannah Montana and Justin bieber, to Tokyo Hotel and Linkin Park, to Eminem, to Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera. So I would say all of them influenced me and developed me music-wise as I went through listening to loads of different styles of music. I still try to listen to everything, I think the only artist I don’t listen to from the above mentioned are Tokyo Hotel and that’s only because I replaced them with slipknot.

So what are your plans for the future? What can we expect in the next 6 months from Annie Green?

I’m currently developing my social media presence. So concentrated over Facebook and Instagram, I used to have a YouTube channel. Mostly it got 12,000 views and then I remembered I needed to graduate so kinda left it for a while. I think if I restarted it now, because it’s been awhile, it would be pretty much like starting from scratch so might as well do Facebook and Instagram for now. At least it makes sense in my head 😄

Thanks a lot for your time Annie I am sure you are going to go far you have the dedication, voice and are really putting the time in. I am sure the gigs will start coming soon.

If you are interested in following Annie's journey and checking out some of her stuff here are some of her links:

Thanks for reading as always guys. Remember you could be reading about the next big superstar on this blog so please keep checking it out. Keep supporting your local live music venues and if you hear something you like share it. It's a tough old world out there sometimes for musicians so a like or a follow and some words of encouragement go along way.

More Interviews this week guys. So like my Facebook page or subscribed to my blog  by email to be the first to know. Peace out.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The wonder that was The Dublin Castle open mic known as Redrock Jam!

The crowd dancing and having fun to local talent Jon Crabb.

Oh what a night is all I can say! I knew to expect great things from an open mic in such a historical music venue as the The Dublin Castle but Redrock Jam certainly didn't disappoint. If you don't know a lot about The Dublin Castle Pub in Camden, then well shame on you ha! But here is abit of history. Like many other pubs in Camden the venue was originally built to serve Irish immigrants working on the railway nearby, and the apart from the occasional tradition Irish session it was not known as a music venue. 
In the seventies Camden Town started to change and lots of popular music venues started to open making it a hub for live music, this meant the musicians started to flock to this part of London. Along with these musicians was a band called Madness, then still known as The Camden Invaders and invade they did. In January 1979 they performed for the first time in The Dublin Castle and were invited back by the landlord at the time Alo Conlon for further gigs to help establish their reputation. Soon enough the bands fanbase grew along with the crowd attending the gigs and a legendary music venue was born. Following on from the success of Madness many bands played some of there first major gigs in the venue. Amy Winehouse would often visit the bar to drink, sing and serve some lucky customers their drinks. Stories like this just add that bit of Camden magic to the venue.

Now as I spoke about in my previous blog supporting live music venues is something that is very close to my heart and very important to me, so it was a absolute pleasure to talk to the guys that organise Redrock Jam and watch them in action. When I first entered the room I could tell it was different to many Open mics I have been to before with a set up for a full band available so that anyone can just rock up and do their thing. The lighting was great and gave it a very edgy rock and roll feel and the energy was high in the room. The support that all the musicians gave each other was great too and a stand out factor with no musicians just leaving after there set, instead staying to listen to the other acts. The musicians socialise with each other and of course jumped back up on stage if needed to support another act. This was most notable when Dave Elvis (a Camden legend is his own right) who is an Elvis impersonator in his seventies, wanted to get up and sing a few songs. To help a fellow performer, a musician called Carlos got up to play guitar for him. Furthermore he was also supported by Dineshraj (one of the organisers of Redrock Jam) which I felt was a nice personal touch.

My overall experience at Redrock jam was one I will not forget. I laughed, danced and witnessed some raw London talent. Personally I couldn't ask for more from an open mic night. This was all topped off by being served by friendly bar staff and getting to socialise with some great, passionate musicians from all walks of life. My friend and I came up with the analogy that the open mic could be described as a big bag of all sorts and as each act got up you just didn't know what to expect, which brought a sense of excitement to each performance.  

For any London musician I can't recommend this open mic enough, and especially if you are new to the scene. You will be supported by all and its a great chance to meet new friends too, because as we all know London is a very big city and not always easy to live in. This is a great open mic to build your confidence up and really showcase what you have got. If you have one original song, a whole album or you want to sing some covers go along and you will be welcomed with open arms. Plus you get to say you have performed in a venue that's been honoured with the Music Heritage award. For my first blog open mic review I couldn't be happier I choose Redrock Jam as I was given great support from the team and Amie took the time to have a quick chat with me and I will feature her interview below.

Links of interest to check out: 
Madness interview about the great Dublin Castle 

My Interview With Aimee Rivers: October 2017

Hi Amiee, so you are part of the band Redwire who are behind organising the Redrock jam, What type of band are you?

We're a London based hard rock band. We've played all over the country and abroad, and we put on a festival in October last year inviting a lot of the bands we've previously played with to come to London for an all-day free festival. It went extremely well, and we recently repeated it for a second year.

Great stuff , When did you start Redrock Jam? 

We began Redrock Jam in November last year as a follow-on from the very successful festival. 

And what made you choose The Dublin Castle as a venue?

The Dublin Castle is the obvious place for it, for its musical heritage and the friendly staff. It's also our second home; we're often to be found hanging out there.

What do you think makes you different from some of the open mics out there?

What I personally love about it so much is the variety and quality of the people we have come to perform. Each week there's a nice mix of newcomers and regulars, but without fail every week there will be something unexpected that blows my mind.

We are one of the few open mic nights that has a full back line so that a band can just turn up and play. We wished there was something like that when we were first starting out as a band. We've seen many bands do their first ever performance at Redrock Jam.

We like to put on a showcase band every week, which is a pre-arranged half-hour slot at 9pm. That is always very popular and breaks up the night nicely. It also encourages more bands to come along. Several of the bands that were a Redrock Jam showcase band also played at this year's Redrock Festival, including Broken Bones Matilda, LaFlamme, Wild Horse, Filthy Militia and Sofasonic.One of the other great things about Redrock Jam is the atmosphere. We cultivate a supportive approach, encouraging musicians not just to turn up and do their bit and leave, but to listen to each other, to cheer each other on. Lots of musical connections and collaborations are made, and we often see people trying new ideas out jamming with each other.

Whats one of the best examples, when you have seen this happen?

A great example of this is Bill Dury, whose dad was none other than Ian Dury, who also played at the Dublin Castle a few times! Bill loves to gather a collection of musicians together during the night to do a 15 minute improv performance. He calls it Bill Dury And The Collaborators. Nothing is planned, but amazing musical creations are created every time. Bill improvises some lyrics to go with the music that his collaborators are making.

What is one if the best success stories you have witnessed while doing Redrock Jam ?

A big success story is Martyn Peters. We supported him when he first moved to London from North Wales. His music is amazing and we've been helping to promote his album. He was recently played by Steve Lamaq on BBC 6 Music. He often comes back to play at Redrock Jam, or just to pop in and listen to the other musicians.

Great stuff Aimee and team keep up the good work. 

If you have enjoyed this blog/interview and are interested in experiencing Redrock Jam please visit The Dublin Castle, its on every Tuesday and sign up is from 7.30 pm or contact The Redrock Jam Team. Feel free to message me if you would like anymore details. Keep supporting the blog guys and your local music venues, feel free to message me any gigs or open mics you would like me to check out , open to lots of suggestions.

Useful Links:

Facebook: Redrock Jam

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Me my passion and my blog!

Hi there friends, musicians and music lovers,

This is my first post to you guys and i am very excited about this blog! I can’t wait to get to work, show you all my ideas and hopefully get some feedback. I would love to get you guys involved too. I need a musical army, some saviours of music! Our aim is to help keep music live, support each other and do our best to help promote all the unsigned artists out there as well as giving recognition to all those business's out there that are hiring real musicians and putting on live music events. I aim to go round the streets of London interviewing buskers promoting any material they have and hearing their stories. I will also be reviewing gigs around london and visiting different open mic nights to hear the raw talent out there on the streets and in the bars of London. Trust me, there’s a lot out there!

A bit about me: I am currently living in London as a student at the wonderful BIMM London where I study popular music performance vocals. I have experience of performing in a band and feel most comfortable with a mic in my hand, belting out some rock vocals. I enjoy a wide range of genres and artists, but my main passion is rock/indie music. You can never go wrong with some good old blues and I can sometimes be partial to the beautiful lyrics and melodies good old country brings us.

The bright lights of London have been like a mecca for many musicians and creative individuals for a long time now. In recent years, however, this seems to be changing and there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding life as a musician in London. A recent article spoke about the hardships musicians face trying to make it in London and how many are now being tempted to move to other cities, Berlin being a popular choice. Americans went to follow their dreams in New York City and the Irish, English and Scottish came to London. We should be very concerned that this soon could be a thing of the past!

Over the last 20 years more and more recording studios and live music venues are closing down. We now live in the digital age which has made the world seem like a lot smaller place, and although there are positives to take from this such as helping musicians get their stuff out there, it has also taken away a lot of the magic of music in my eyes and bad comes along with the good too. I find it so sad that famous places such as Olympic Studios, where Jimi Hendrix recorded Purple Haze; Hammersmith studios, where Phil Collins recorded his famous drum track for In The Air tonight; Wessex Sound Studios, where the production for the Clash’s London Calling took place (to name a few) have all closed down and been sold on to residential companies. This is in part due to skyrocketing property prices that studios such as these could not compete with and ironically, no musician before hitting the big time could ever afford to buy or rent! These places being built on are rock and roll heritage sites. Furthermore, with people being able to record on a decent laptop with some professional tools, a decent mic and monitor this is not going to stop. Now I am not against people learning to record their own stuff and I am certainly not against technological advances, but I do not want it to end up being the only way to record. I believe this is taking the fun and magic out of recording songs and albums and becoming more like a job than a passion for people. I would just like to take a moment to thank the people who worked to make Abbey Road a grade II listed building. I’m so glad we have that to hold on too in a time of increasing silence for London recording studios.

Now to everyone reading this that thinks we have got to move with the times and don't see why you should have to spend money on studio time when recording at home can be just as good, I want you to do a little research into or even better watch the documentary Muscle Shoals. This special place is just one of my favourite examples. Muscle Shoals was a tiny town in Alabama, there were no recording studios there, the closest ones being in Memphis and Nashville. A farmer called Rick Hall had a passion and decided he was going to open one and build his empire in muscle shoals. In 1967 Aretha Franklin being at a cross roads in her career travelled to muscle shoals and ended up recording the most famous song of her career, I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You). What made this track even more special was that the soulful backing vocals were sang by a white country boy band (when boybands were super cool). Now at this point in time white and black people singing on the same track in a place like Alabama was unheard of. This caused a lot of racial tension and Aretha Franklin, who got caught up in this, left with her hit song and never returned to Muscle Shoals. This tiny town and the Fame recording studios Rick Hall built was not only creating its own sound, it was building bridges between races and going against the norm. Musicians from all over the world including The Rolling Stones, U2 and Rod Stewart began to travel to Muscle Shoals wanting this sound saying it was like a magnet drawing them to it. Any artist that recorded in that place said you could feel the energy as soon as you entered; it was an enigma. Now people say that if you go down to the river at Muscle Shoals, known as the singing river, you can hear the river humming. Its magic is said to have come from past tribes who lived there. Now, who would not want to go and record their music in a place like this rather than at home sat in front of a laptop?! I know this is not the case for all studios, and that not everyone has a magical experience because they go to the studio but it’s about the excitement of being in a place with like-minded people, recording what could be your next hit. It’s a time to bond with your bandmates even if arguments out of passion happen, it’s about spending hours going over the same parts until you finally get that right sound and get that correct recording,  the one that gives you chills, and you can all celebrate together. It’s the feeling of standing in a room where one of your heroes was recorded singing into the mic. Its about more than just music, its life, its passion, its about standing together as one about not letting rich men in suits take all our recording studios and close down our music venues. I feel like painting my face and shouting freedom after writing that!

Back to me and my blog, I want to create a buzz about London again and I want musicians and promoters to start taking a stand, showing people that London still is the place to come and follow your dreams. That it’s not all about struggling as a musician, that there are fun times too with talented people working hard and not giving up on their dreams. Yeah, we are living in a celebrity, talent show driven world now and money does talk but so do numbers and passion. If we all help support each other; the people and the venues out there that are paying to put live music acts on, to arrange open mic nights, to busk on the streets and doing cover gigs to fund their own music project. Let’s promote this, let’s remind people and each other why we choose the hard life as a musician rather than having the nice car and the big house. But let’s also make sure that one day, when we have made it, we can have all this too, hopefully writing a few great songs about how we achieved it, and of course have fun along the way.

Looking back in History forty years ago, half a million people came together as one for Woodstock with no social media leading them, it was just the right time. It was historic and will never be forgotten. Again, 20 years later a quarter of a million people went to see a council estate band called Oasis at Knebworth. These were special times and I don't feel like those gatherings with the same feeling are happening anymore. Hey, times change but what I am worried about is what’s going to be happening in another 20 years time from now. We have to ask ourselves will rock and roll be dead? Will it survive ? Well, me and my little blog are going to take on the world and make sure it doesn't die.

Now that’s enough of me ranting, ha. Over the next few weeks I’ll be going round talking to buskers finding out what they are writing and doing, heading to open mic nights and hopefully reviewing lots of bands and solo artists. I am looking for people to help in anyway I can. I’ve had an amazing response from photographers and various creative individuals offering their help already. Please follow and subscribe to my blog if you like what I am doing and want to support me. All my contact info is on here, feel free to drop me a message if you are interested in being reviewed or have got any nights or events you would like me to come along to, please please message me.

Don’t forget to leave me some comments too.

Thanks for reading guys and rock on!