Advice for Unsigned Bands: Fearless Vampire Killers

Fearless Vampire Killers are one of the hottest bands in the UK at the moment. They were featured in The Music Mag before they broke in to the mainstream, and they have been kind enough to get back in touch and offer some advice for unsigned bands.

kier fearless vampire killers

Kier of Fearless Vampire Killers

There are so many bands out just starting out, what advice would you give to them?

Think about this every minute of every day. Being amazing is the lowest point of entry and if you don’t then someone else will. More importantly enjoy yourself.

With gigging around work and other commitments in the early stages, what area would you suggest a band to focus on?

Playing regularly is the most important thing for sure. But not just playing anywhere. Make sure you’re making an effort to play in front of the right audience. Think who you’re appealing to and go find them! We spent years playing in Youth centres.

How have the FVK gone about getting heard?

Years and years of hard work. Sorry to burst the bubble but that’s the only way. We’ve been a band for 5 years. Nothing happens quickly and people will often try to capitalise on your ignorance. So be clever, work hard and find really good people to do it with.

Is social media important to stay connected with fans?

Absolutely essential. People live on the internet. Where are we now? No brainer.

Your look is brilliant, but how can other bands stand out from the crowd?

I always think just be true to yourself. You don’t need to go the whole hog. But it is really really important to not look like you’re just Jim the local handy man. You need to be an icon.

Do you have any advice with contacting labels?

I wouldn’t get too pre-occupied with that in the early stages. We founded our own one. Labels don’t throw money away. You’ll need to be a safe bet before they invest. So build your own thing.

Thank you for talking to us, anything else you’d like to add?

None of this is easy. But take it from me, every little victory is the most satisfying feeling ever. Be smart, work hard and for god sake be nice. If you’re a cunt people will talk.

To see more of the Fearless Vampire Killers, check out their facebook page.

The Strypes @ Rough Trade East

the strypes

I went to Rough Trade East for Record Store Day, and I was lucky enough to see The Strypes while I was there. Right now, this up and coming blues rock band are most notable for their ages (between 15 and 17). Many are sceptical because at the moment most of their back catalogue consists of covers, however I am pleased to say that any naysayers who have seen them play live will have been proved utterly and completely wrong. I cannot begin to describe how epic these teenagers were, and although their age is a bit of a novelty factor at first, once they start to play that thought is forced out of your mind by their immense talent.

They are impressively tight and oh so confident on stage. Most notable was lead guitarist Josh McClorey, whose fingers moved like they had minds of their own. Another surprise was to see lead singer Ross Farrelly play so proficiently on the harmonica. On stage they look like Princes of Mod in their button-up suits and with Farrelly in Ray Bans, which would seem a bit arrogant but, well, he’s bloody earned the right in my eyes. Altogether their set was mesmerising and explosive, with their own material blending in unnoticeably with the covers. It’s easy to be doubtful about The Strypes when you read about them as two dimensional youths-who-can-play-instruments, but in the flesh it’s a completely different story.

The Strypes performing Blue Collar Jane

The Strypes ‘Blue Collar Jane’ EP is out now on iTunes. Download it here

Unsigned Music Competition with Boohoo

Calling all unsigned musicians!

As an unsigned artist, leading online fashion retailer boohoo.com knows how keen you are to have your music heard by a wider audience. That’s why they’ve launched a competition offering you the chance to have your tunes featured on boohoo’s TV channel and product videos!

The competition is open to all unsigned songwriters, DJs, music producers, bands and artists, and is a fantastic opportunity to show off your great music to a large audience of fashion-savvy listeners.

In addition, the artist whose track is chosen by boohoo as their favourite each month will win £50!

Entering the competition is simple. Just follow these easy steps:

1: Click the Banner to visit the competition page of the boohoo website:


2: Enter a link to where your music can be heard – this might be on SoundCloud, Mixcloud, YouTube etc.

3: Tell us your name and email address.

4: Provide a short description of you and your music.

That’s it – best of luck!

Open Mic 2013 Audition Dates Announced

Dates for this year’s Open Mic UK singing competition have been announced, and with over 9,000 entrants last year, the 2013 competition is set to be the biggest yet! The search for the UK’s best singers, singer-songwriters, rappers and vocalists starts this August!

Open Mic UK is one of the largest national music competitions for singers and solo artists in the UK and is brought to you by Future Music, who’ve helped develop such acts as; Birdy, Jahmene Douglas and Lucy Spraggan.

open mic uk

FOR A LIST OF AUDITION VENUES GO TO: www.openmicuk.co.uk/singing-auditions

Those who make it through auditions will go on to perform in live showcases in front of a professional judging panel and packed out audience in some of the UK’s most prestigious live music venues. Acts talented enough to reach the Grand Final will perform within the UK’s most recognised live music venue, The O2 in London.

Events coordinator Chris Grayston can’t wait to see the class of 2013, “every year the bar is raised and the quality gets higher and higher, we’re really looking forward to seeing fresh talent from across the country. This is a great chance to let the country see your talent.”

Judging panels are made up of music industry specialists, A&R, vocal coaches and guest celebrities. Gracing the judging panel in previous years have been BBC Radio DJ’s Annie Nightingale and Ras Kwame, Kiss FM’s Charlie Hedges and Mark Hill, an Ivor Novello award winner. All are hopefully set to make another appearance for the 2013 competition!

There are plenty of opportunities for acts that enter Open Mic UK to win prizes throughout the competition with over £50,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, including recording studio time and music development classes, plus a main prize of £5,000 cash to the overall winner! The winning act will be crowned in front of a packed out crowd within The O2 in London!

Along the way to playing within The O2 acts get the chance to play in some of the most prestigious live music venues across the country including the Birmingham NEC, Sheffield City Hall and the Portsmouth Guildhall.

All ages are welcome to enter as Open Mic UK is divided into age categories; Under 16, 16-20, and 21 and over. It’s all about finding an act that has the ability to become a professional recording artist, be it singers, vocal performers, groups or acoustic singer/songwriters.

Previous winner Birdy continues to go from strength-to-strength having been signed to Warner Music. Since winning Open Mic UK aged 12, Birdy has had number one records in France, Holland, Belgium and Australia and enjoyed a UK top 20 hit with her spine-tingling version of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love.

So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to follow in her footsteps, enter now and get on the mic for Open Mic UK 2013!

Win Elvis DVDs & £75 Ticketmaster Voucher

Here at The Music Mag, we’re all about finding the next big thing – the unsigned bands that deserve recognition and the amazing songs that we want everyone to hear. From Nu Grunge to Acoustic Folk, Punk, Indie and everything in between, the variety of music available here in the UK is a great asset that we want to shout about! But, when we focus on the new, it’s easy to forget the classics that inspired them and made the wide range of sounds now featured on the music scene possible.

When Elvis Presley released his first single in 1956, the world got all shook up by rock ‘n’ roll – this was a new, exciting sound and the fans went crazy for it. Combining rockabilly with gospel, blues and country, and a few scandalous dance moves, Elvis and his contemporaries changed the face of music. Over here in the UK, it was The Beatles who were leading the way and trailblazing the rock ‘n’ roll styling of the 1950s and 60s – creating a level of mania that One Direction can only dream about and selling more singles than any UK act in history. Whilst the rock artists of today may be channelling a totally different vibe, there’s no denying that rock ‘n’ roll stars like Elvis, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash and The Fab Four have influenced the music that we make and listen to today.

So we’ve teamed up with Gala Casino in celebration of their Elvis A Little More Action slot game, in recognition of the great talents of the past who’ve paved the way for the incredible acts that we feature here on The Music Mag. One lucky winner will walk away with an Elvis DVD collection and £75 worth of Ticketmaster vouchers!

To enter the competition, just leave a comment below with your answer to the following question:

In what year did Elvis release his first single, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’?

a) 1942
b) 1956
c) 1963

The competition closes on 3rd May and is open to UK residents only. Good luck!

Madame So – Sell By Date Video

Madame So has re-recorded Sell By Date and it’s kicking some serious butt on Youtube with a cool lil video to go along with it.

Take a listen to the Paris-born /London-based muso’s song right here:

Sarah Barthel of Phantogram

It was suggested on our hottest women in music post that Sarah Barthel should be on there. Unfortunately she wasn’t, but it’s opened our eyes and here, by popular demand are a few pictures of Sarah Barthel – the singer of Phantogram.

Phantogram's Sarah Barthel singing

Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel singing.


Sarah Barthel looking cute in her sunglasses

Sarah Barthel Phantogram

Sarah Barthel with Phantogram playing the keyboard.

Sarah Barthel

Sarah Barthel

Sarah Barthel

Sarah Barthel doing what she does best: music.

Al Keogh Freedom Review

Written by Talkshow Host

Freedom, the debut EP from Irish singer-songwriter Al Keogh proves one thing beyond any doubt: folk never dies for long. Written and produced by Keogh, while playing five to six nights a week anywhere he could; Freedom showcases the modern interpretation of folk music as assimilating into an electronic culture.
The acoustic guitar of these songs isn’t so much the driving force as it is the platform for the other instruments: take for example Smothering Walls crisp riffs with the warmer organic synths, or We Should Learn‘s ambient beats and dancing guitar.

Al Keogh

This is a folk record after all with all the familiar stapes: introverted lyrics, Keogh’s strong rich voice exhibiting both intimacy, and dread, and the elemental feel of the Irish coast: a powerful influence on the record. It is in the structure of each song that Keogh excels, particularly on Nothing’s Changed in which Keogh knows when to ramp up the tension and when to let the song breath.

Freedom is a very assured and impressive debut form Al Keogh and is sure to be one of the year’s most eye-catching and talked about independent releases of the year.

Check out more Al Keogh here.

Matchbox Heroes, Review

Review by Kevin Boyle

Norwich’s Matchbox Heroes have already gained, with their first EP, a reputation as up-starts in the indie music scene. With performances on BBC radio and Future Radio the bands profile and popularity are on the rise. With the first single, Hold On, from their forthcoming second EP “Nice to Know You” this forward trajectory is set to continue.

Written and produced by the band, Hold On with its smooth riffs and lyrics outlining the desire for something greater, and the drive and anxiety that comes with it, is a marked step forward for the band. Matchbox Heroes have crafted a simple but effectively relatable pop-rock song that has the ability to set up camp in your head even after the first listen.

matchbox heroes

Hold On represents a growth, in both confidence and craft, and with this the band has fire off a rallying melodic cry of where they want to go from here.

Tone Dollarz: From the Hood to the Recording Studio

“Dying Over a Dollar” is the highly anticipated mixtape released by Tone Dollarz. Gritty, yet personal, “Dying Over a Dollar” conveys life on the street to its listeners with emotion and aggression. An intro for the mixtape has been posted on Youtube and features Tone Dollarz rapping about crime and life in the hood.

Tone Dollarz

The aim of the mixtape is to recite his and other people’s struggles in music, on the street, and generally in life. The Mixtape shows that people can grow and flourish despite the environments they grew up in.

Growing up in The Bronx, Tone Dollars, 22, graduated college and considers himself a preacher for those living in the hood and ghetto environments. His music covers a lot of stories from his past, as well as from other people he knows. One major factor he calls upon in his music is his Father, who served 13 years in prison. This personal element found in his music is what separates him from others similar artists.

Tone uploads videos to his Youtube channel, songs to Soundcloud, and the mixtape is due to be released in mid May. To hear Tone Dollarz’s music please visit his Soundcloud page listed below:



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