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 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 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 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 . 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.
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.