Hiya mate take a seat, tell us all a little bit about yourself away from music?
Hi! Well I’m from Hartlepool but I moved down to Manchester a couple of years ago. I’m a big football fan, I support the hometown team Hartlepool United and I go to games when I can. I usually do some form of yearly sporting event, last year I ended up doing Tough Mudder in Skipton and I did the Great North Run for the third time as well!
What made you move from Hartlepool to Manchester?
I moved down here to give University a crack basically, so right now I’m in my final year of doing a music degree at BIMM, which is basically a music institute. But yeah! It was a bit strange adjusting to city life at first and it has taken a couple of years but its starting to feel more and more like home.
How is Hartlepool different to Manchester as a musician?
I think the fact that Hartlepool is a town and Manchester is a city pretty much sums it up really. Manchester’s known for its music identity and history so it’s probably a given that there is a strong music scene here. There’s a lot more accessibility to venues and easier to generally network with other musicians or people working within the industry in whatever capacity they are in.
Do you feel like you are progressing through the industry?
I think I have more of an understanding of the industry in the grand scheme of things. But as an artist, I’m slowly finding my feet again as I’m doing something new and I’m in a different region, so I think it’s just a case of seeing what happens and make myself a platform to build myself from.
What do you think about how effective social media channels are? Which one do you like best and why?
It’s probably a given that musicians having an online presence is pretty much a requirement these days. It’s the easiest way to interact with people that are interested in what you do, which helps if you are promoting something. Facebook has always been my personal preference but I’ve recently found it a lot easier using Instagram for the music stuff. I think you get a lot more in terms of engagement with Instagram, people are more likely to respond to visual posts of what you are up to rather than texts.
People are unaware of just how tough the music industry is to break through, how do you stay motivated?
At the moment, doing a music degree is definitely helping the motivational side of things and encouraging you to branch out of your way to do things. Another thing is just being constantly surrounded by lots of likeminded people that are in a similar boat to what you are doing and just in general being supportive in what you do. But even taking that side of it out, sometimes simply writing a tune that you become really enthusiastic about can be all the motivation you need as well to keep the fire burning.
Is there enough support out there for new artists?
There’s a few angles you could take on this. The basic boring answer to this is that it all depends on the artist, how much leg work they put in and if they have great songs that people want to engage with. If you do well with those, the support should get reciprocated. But there is a lot more factors than just that.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
My old band Aces & Sinners back in the North East played the main stage at the 02 Academy in Newcastle. Basically, it was a final of a local competition so there was a big mixture of bands and solo artists that were performing. We had a decent sized following that came along with us, and I just remember just looking at the crowd during our last song and seeing people being really into the set. it was just a really really fun experience. I think we finished 2ndas well on the night out of about 13 so I can’t complain!
What was the worst experience on stage?
Haha! I’ve thankfully only ever had one gig that felt like an absolute car crash, but it was more organisational and communicational problems between band and venue rather than us being shit.
Basically the old band got pencilled into headlining a gig back home that was in the wrong end of town. We found out on the day that there was no PA at the venue so we had to ask a friends band at the last minute if they could support us and so we could borrow theirs. They were a great band but the downside was that they were more on the heavy side, so when they played they pretty much went down like a lead balloon with the locals.
After they finished, we got told we had to rap up in 15 minutes because the venue had booked at DJ and he was supposedly due on very shortly. So we ended up having to set up really quickly, played 3 songs to a mixture of friends that came to see us and some already slightly pissed off locals. Thankfully nothing bad got said to us but I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to a leave a gig more, so maybe only playing 3 songs was a blessing!
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I think me saying about my choice in football team earlier would be an appropriate answer for this! I think for those that have never met me before and are listening to the solo stuff for the first time, I’d imagine they would probably be surprised I come from a heavy rock background and I’m big on bands like Metallica, Muse and Biffy Clyro.
Right now, whats pissing you off the most?
It’s a mundane thing to winge about I’d definitely have to say the never-ending combination of dark clouds, sideways rain and wind that Storms Ciara and Dennis have kindly left us. I say this but annoyingly it’s actually sunny as I’m sat here so feeling pissed off about the weather doesn’t feel as legitimate now! I swear it’s the first time I’ve seen the sun in about 2 weeks. It’s Manchester though, it’ll probably revert back in an hour I’m sure…
I hear you have a new music brewing, what can you tell us about it?
Yes! I have a new single out on Friday 13th March on all the streaming platforms! It’s called “Recover”, its my first release I’ve done on my own. As I said, I come from a bit of a heavy rock background, which Aces & Sinners pretty much was, so this is quite a bit of a departure from that as its more “singer/songwriterey”. Songwriterey being the official technical term obviously haha!
The theme of it has a bit of a serious tone to it, as it deals with struggles people go through in life. But there’s a message throughout that there there is a light at the end of the tunnel and these things do ride themselves out. It also has quite a happy pop melody throughout as a bit of a contrast to the subject matter so touch wood when you listen, it shouldn’t feel all doom and gloom.
What’s coming up in 2020 for you?
Well there’s been a few songs that have been recorded through the same sessions as “Recover”, so throughout 2020 there will be a few more releases that will be gradually filtering through, and hopefully a couple of gigs so I can properly showcase them to people!