Happy Independent Venue Week!
This week, venues all around the UK will be joining forces to celebrate all things independent. To honour the occasion, we’ll be bringing you all the latest news about the shows taking place this week, as well exclusive interviews. First stop – Cardiff!
We’ve all been there. Discovering your new favourite band so close you can smell them, in the toasty confines of your local music venue. There’s an individual charm to the atmosphere of the local venues and promoters working tirelessly to bring the cream of the new crop of bands to round the proverbial corner, and it’s about time we gave them a big pat on the back.
Introducing the aptly named Independent Venue Week! In celebration of the spirit of independence and the culture of live music, 18 venues around the country are coming together to mark their importance as a centre of the community, acting as a crucial stepping stone in the development of new artists, and a glowing bulb for us social gig-moths. With Colin Greenwood, of Radiohead, working as an ambassador, and support from a ton of industry big-guns, including BBC Introducing, it’s set to be a glorious gig-athon worthy of these venues’ deserved reputations.
To pay our dues to these unsung heroes, we’ll be bringing you a week-long series of interviews to promote the week of shows these guys have got planned for you. Whether you’re from Belfast or Bristol, Stoke or Southampton, Glasgow or Guildford – there’s a treat a-happening in your local musical hub. For a full run-down of the shows taking place this week, head to the week’s dedicated website.
If you’re from London, Glasgow or Norwich – good news! You’re first up, with tomorrow’s first batch of shows: Archie Bronson Outfit and The Amazing Snakeheads will be playing a Domino Records curated night at the Half Moon, in Putney (details here), Lemon Party will be playing the famous King Tut’s in Glasgow (details here), and Unix will be heading to Norwich Arts Centre (details here).
But for now, we’re heading to Cardiff, to talk to local Welshmen Continents. They’ll be playing the nationally-renowned Clwb Ifor Bach on Wednesday 29th. For more information and to buy your tickets, head here. As Google Translate tells us they in Wales, Hapus Wythnos Lleoliad Annibynnol!
What role do local independent venues play in your local music scene/atmosphere?
They play a big part because if it wasn’t for these venues, local bands or young touring bands would not get the chance they need to play to new fans or existing fans. Also, some of these venues run small club nights for students, so during these nights students or locals get to go out and see flyers and posters of what’s coming up – creating more exposure again for live music.
How important are venues of this size and with an independent ethos to you as an up-and-coming band, both locally and nationally?
Venues of this size and smaller are hugely important to us as a band because we wouldn’t get to headline tours without them, as local promoters in that area are not going to put you in a 1000 cap venue when you can only pull 100-200 people.
And how about the importance of playing live in the development of your band and your fanbase in the early part of your career?
With regards to ourselves playing live is everything. We have had a great response since our debut album came out, but with so many Metalcore bands being about, it’s hard to stand out on this scene. So our live show is an essential part in what we do to stand out with the best. It’s up to us to deliver 110% every night – even if only 25 people turn up we will still give those 25 people the same show that we would play at a sold out show or festival.
What difficulties do these venues face in your area?
Some venues face closure as some people are just not willing to go to shows. With venues paying out expenses for say, 10 people to turn up to a show, they are the ones sometimes making the loss, hence why it’s expensive for promoters to book certain venues. Not because of their size, but they need to cover themselves with regards to overheads, staff, cleaners, sound guy and other things.
Are there any specific independent venues that have been particularly important/influential for you and your band that you’d give a special shout out to?
When we first started out as a band we used to play a practice room with a licensed bar called Green Rooms – they played a big part when we started. Also Hobos in Bridgend and Clwb Ifor Bach, where we played our first official headline sold out show.
Do have have any special memories of shows you’ve seen or played in such a venue? Any loveable imperfections in your local indie that you wouldn’t find in a corporate sponsored cavern?
Yeah, I remember a venue called TJs in Newport. I went to watch one of my favourite bands from the States, and they blew the roof off the place! People there were constantly stage diving, it was that rammed you couldn’t hear the band, and just hear the fans singing every word. It came to the point where people would jump off the bar at the back to crowd surf to the front to get on the stage. It was amazing night – though unfortunately that venue is now closed down.
Don’t forget – tickets are on-sale for Continents’ Wednesday show now. Information can be found here. Check back tomorrow, where we’ll be heading to Stoke to talk to the up-and-coming Camp Stag!