Independent Venue Week Part Five – Tunbridge Wells

Four down, one to go! Read our grand finale in the last interview of the week, as we talk to Propellers about the state of things in the South East.


Parting is such sweet sorrow. All good things must come to an end. Here commences the final piece of our week-long Independent Venue Week blog puzzle. If you’ve been resting on your laurels till now, here’s your chance to catch up on our interview with Cardiff’s Continents, Stokies Camp Stag, Liverpool’s The Cheap Thrills, Leeds-based Forever Cult, and Manchester’s boys from the SWAYS Records clan – Kult Country and Naked (On Drugs).

But don’t worry – there’s another batch of ace events lined up around the country to make everything better again. Tomorrow (Saturday 1st February) sees the Colin Greenwood curated Oxford night take to the Jericho, with Glass Animals headlining (details here), The Blackout head to Sheffield’s Leadmill (details here) and Woahnows getting tropical at the Tiki Bar (details here). Alongside the aforementioned Sways special in Manchester, Sunday sees Blind Eye head to York’s Fibbers (details here), and Propellers head to The Forum in Tunbridge Wells – voted the UK’s Best Small Venue by NME in 2012 (details here).

Read on for our interview with Propellers themselves:

What role do local independent venues play in your local music scene/atmosphere?

They give a great opportunity for small bands to get good exposure, but they also let you get to see some of the biggest bands before they get massive.

How important are venues of this size and with an independent ethos to you as an up-and-coming band, both locally and nationally?

For us, when we were starting out playing live and in front of people you’ve never met before was a massive learning curve. Independent venues are a great way to build a fan base, locally and nationally and get an honest reaction from a room full of strangers who are in there to hear new music.

And how about the importance of playing live in the development of your band and your fanbase in the early part of your career?

When we first started we didn’t stop playing live. We’d play 2 to 3 shows a week, travelling up and down the country on absolutely no budget. This also helped us work out what people like, what people don’t like and how to create a flowing set.

What difficulties do these venues face in your area?

I guess the only problem would be maintaining the balance between getting big bands in and keeping it local. The Tunbridge Wells Forum is the main venue in our area (and rightfully so), and not long ago The Foals & Palma Violets were playing in town which was pretty cool.

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?

The Tunbridge Wells Forum has supported us massively, they’re also really chilled and easy to book shows and do business with.

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?

We played in a venue called Thekla in Bristol, it was pretty amazing as it’s inside a ship. Felt like pirates.

Don’t forget to bid these guys a hearty Ahoy Sunday night – Tunbridge Wells Forum, Sunday night!


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