The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
Although being a professional musician is high-risk, it can also be high reward. Thousands of indie bands across the UK and the US struggle every day to get their name known. There seems to be a variety of factors that can keep you from reaching superstardom: lack of attention, lack of fans and bad music.
Thankfully, many bands in the past have done their part to override these factors by playing smart and having a strategy. In fact, many have stated that the best way to begin your rise to superstardom is to get on the radio. How is this done?
Step 1: Write and Create Compelling Music
If you’re in a beginner band, make sure you have mastered your instruments. Sure, it could take a while, but if you don’t know how to play your instrument, your music will surely reflect it and your potential fans could notice.
Most of the focus will center on the guitar player (usually the vocalist). If need be, use beginner guitars to learn the ins and outs of your instrument. Even using children’s guitars will help you develop muscle memory for a larger, quality guitar. Once mastered, the band now needs a couple of good songwriters to add words to music. Veer far away from commercial speech. Stick to raw, gritty and honest lyrics that will captivate fans.
Step 2: Build a Fan base
After getting to know your style of music and bringing together rhythm, beats and lyrics, it’s time to hit the stages. This is where you have the ability to build your image amongst fans. In all honesty, fans don’t want to see bands just play on stage. They want the band to experience the concert with them. There’s nothing worse than having a band play just play, sing and immediately bolt off the stage. Fans want to bands to interact with them. This way, they’re left with a good impression.
Fans also feed of the energy you exude during your performance. If you need to, get a little crazy on stage, as most memorable artists do. After your performance, don’t close yourself off. Make sure you and your band are available for pictures. It’s true what they say in the music and film/TV industry, the fans will make or break you. If you cultivate the relationships with fans, they’ll return the favor and support all your future ventures.
The relationship with fans doesn’t stop there! Bands nowadays are seeing the importance of social media when it comes to building a fan base. Using social media pages like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will help you actively promote your music even when you’re not playing a show. Once you build a good following, it’s time to look for bigger opportunities.
Step 3: Build Relationships
With support from your fans, it’ll now be easier to build new relationships with radio hosts and radio program directors. Take every opportunity to invite high-level radio execs to your shows. If you have a good enough following, they’ll most likely go. During this time, it’s best to create demo CDs to hand out to radio station personnel (DJs) personally. Don’t just hand over a demo CD, it’s best to pitch your band and prove your following.
Once radio program directors see that you’re the real deal, they may ask you for a single to play on the radio. Fans could also be a huge help if you’re trying to get on the radio. Although it’s an old school trick, you could always ask your fans to contact their favorite radio station and request your single. Once radio stations see that more of their listeners want to hear from your band, they’ll play your song a lot more.
Following these steps could be a little time consuming, but in order to make it big in the music industry, you require unwavering patience. Most bands don’t get a record deal the day after they’re formed. If you follow these steps, there’s no doubt that fame will come your way.
Where to catch One D – top locations of One Direction’s latest tour
Get ready because the world’s biggest boyband are back! X Factor giants One Direction are taking to the road for their 2014 Where We Are Tour.
The band have scheduled in four massive UK stadium shows as part of their jaw dropping global showcase. Members Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson will be kick-starting the One Direction 2014 Tour at Sunderland’s Stadium Of Light on May 28 so be sure to get in early and avoid disappointment by getting your One Direction tickets now.
Fame and fortune
Just three years after forming on X Factor, One Direction narrowly missed not being the great success they are today. Initially all band members were rejected as solo performers on the encapsulating ITV talent show before acclaimed singer and show judge Nicole Scherzinger advised they join arms and challenge the programme’s group category.
Despite only finishing third in the contest, the band quickly made USA chart history by becoming the first British band to go straight to the Billboard No. 1 slot with their debut album Up All Night. Not surprisingly, the band repeated this fantastic achievement with their multi-platinum title Take Me Home which followed in 2012.
One Direction then went on and completed a sell out arena tour in 2013 before announcing their 2014 tour. Now the band grab the headlines with record sales in excess of 20 million to their name and an impressive array of awards, not to mention a business empire worth around $50 million.
Where to see them
With four shows scheduled for their 2014 tour, fans of the band can be sure of an exhilarating and energetic experience next year. Each venue has been carefully chosen to support the high number of fans expected to fill the stands and here are the places where you can catch the legendary One D:
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland: May 28
The starting point of the tour, this stadium is a seating-only venue with the capacity to support 49,000 punters. Boasting the fifth largest capacity of any football stadium in England, the name is a proud tribute to the mining industry which first brought Sunderland wealth and prosperity.
•Etihad Stadium, Manchester: May 31
Manchester City FC’s home ground, seating capacity here reaches just under 48,000. As well as football matches, the stadium is also a top venue for other sports, including world title boxing, rugby league matches and is even set to host a match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
• Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh: June 3
Another all-seater stadium, Murrayfield Stadium has the capacity to support more than 67,000 people as the largest stadium in Scotland. A venue predominantly used for rugby matches – as the home of the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) – this event will be a welcomed change for Scottish fans.
• Wembley Stadium, London: June7
With room for both standing and seating, London’s Wembley Stadium is an obvious choice for the end of the tour. With a combined capacity of 105,000, this is the largest stadium on the top and the second largest stadium in Europe.
Tickets for their 2014 tour will be released for general sale on May 25 and demand is expected to exceed all previous records so make sure you keep up-to-date with the latest listings. Visit this site to buy your One Direction tickets for current and future tours to avoid disappointment.
The countdown has started… there are only 48 days remaining until the scenic English village of Pilton plays host to an impossible to forget live performance by the legendary Rolling Stones during the Glastonbury Festival. Tickets have already sold out!
It’s been long considered a Mecca among British summer music festivals. This year the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts takes place from June 26th to June 30th on the same land it did last year… Michael Eavis’ Worthy Farm, six miles due east of Glastonbury between Pylle and Pilton in Somerset’s Medip district.
The headliners playing the main stage — the famous Pyramid Stage — include the Rolling Stones performing on June 29th, the Arctic Monkeys (June 28th), Primal Scream, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and Mumford & Sons (on June 30th). Other bands playing the Pyramid Stage are Rita Ora, Dizzee Rascal, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Kenny Rogers, The Vaccines, Professor Green, and Vampire Weekend.
Headlining the Other Stage will be The Smashing Pumpkins, The Hives, Portishead, and Alabama Shakes.
The Acoustic Stage will feature Steve Winwood and Sinead O’Connor, while headliners on the Avalon Stage will be Beverly Knight, the Crowns, and Ben Caplan.
Bobbay Womack will make their only appearance in 2013 at a UK festival on June 30th in a night performance at the West Holts Stage.
More acts and attractions will be announced, spanning the Festival’s more than 100 different stages — from The Park Stage, the West Holts Stage, the John Peel Stage, Block9, and the Spirit of ’71 and many more.
The Glastonbury festival has gotten increasingly popular since the first one took place — featuring rock band T.Rex in front of 1500 people — in 1970. It’s one of the most famous summer festivals in Britain today.
As well as music, the Glastonbury Festival features theatre, comedy, dance, cabaret, and many other performing arts. It was founded by dairy farmer Michael Eavis, who’s been awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by England’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Glastonbury’s popularity is driven by some of the music industry’s most famous artists giving fantastic live entertainment over extremely high performing sound system. The festival takes a holistic view on life, supporting causes that include WaterAid, Greenpeace, and Oxfam. The mission of Glastonbury is working for a fairer, greener, cleaner world — thanks to performing arts and music lovers who come regularly, millions of pounds in revenue have been raised for worthy causes.
The Glastonbury Festival isn’t just about incredible live music entertainment. The Festival aims to raise awareness of the importance of conserving our environment, water, and food supplies. In keeping with this holistic approach, the organisers partnership wtih charity causes continues this year as they support organizations that provide healthy food, clean water, and unpolluted ecosystems. The festival also makes an important contribution to the local economy, spending part of the profits on local projects like the restoration of Pilton’s 14th century Tithe Barn monument.
While Pilton residents get free tickets, everyone else will need a ticket to attend. 2013 Glastonbury Festival ticket sales opened in October 2012, selling more than 135,000 tickets in under an hour. At the moment all tickets have been sold, and resale tickets have been sold out since April.
I’ve heard quite a bit about Merchandise through the grapevine, and word is that this mope-rock trio are pretty much the second coming of The Smiths. Well, not entirely (maybe more related to Joy Division or Echo and the Bunnymen in my personal opinion) but I can definitely see where they are coming from, Morrissey-esque vocals and reverb-lathered drums definitely echo something of the early rattlers on Meat is Murder or The World Won’t Listen.
But Merchandise, who sprung out of the Tampa DIY hardcore scene, are a little bit different – I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the band have a grim quirk to them that’s pretty infectious. It’s 80’s miserablism but with a modern twist.
The stand out track to me on Totale Night has to be Anxieties Door, mainly because it’s such a throw back to a real 80’s –dystopian indie pop classic. Programmed dance beats, catchy guitar riffs smothered in reverb and plaintive crooning from front man Cox. A lot of bands do this sort of thing, diminished recording quality to show that their record obviously harks back to a time of early digital recording, but when it’s done wrong it’s sort of like filming in black and white, what’s the point? But Merchandise does it right. The track is so long and eerie that you just sort of get lost in it, and that’s a beautiful quality for a track to possess.
The title track of the record is also a decent tune, coming in at a massive 9 minutes and 20 seconds; it sort of runs along the same vein as Anxieties Door, only a lot weirder. But it’s asking quite a lot to be listened to through to the end – it’s not particularly catchy, shrill and caked in white noise. However I’d say at about the 4-minute mark you get it, and something about the spooky, psychedelic atmosphere really works. And it’s sure to be a hit with the music buffs who will really appreciate all the audio geekery used to create such a commendable level of sonic weirdness.
But the slower songs on the record tend to drag a little bit, which is a shame because I really do love this LP. ‘Winters Dream’ could do with being about 3 minutes shorter. And ‘I’ll Be Gone’ gets a tad repetitious and could probably do with the same. But these two extremely Smithsy tracks are good nonetheless. If you’re miserable and mopey I bet they get about 10 times better.
So overall, psychedelic, melancholy and strangely beautiful – Totale Night is a great LP. Not a classic though. But I get what Merchandise are doing and I really like it.
I reckon I’d give the guys a solid 7/10.
Based in Blackburn, Lancashire, The Dark Rooms have slowly but surely been gathering buzz through word of mouth and some eye-catching support gigs. Sharing the bill with their musical their musical forefathers Heaven 17, has brought the band to a larger audience and with that more confidence.
The question is, do they have the songs to warrant the hype. Bringing to mind the slick jangly guitar of 80s indie, along with the heavily accented vocals in Lets Go Home showcases a band with fresh but not entirely original ideas. Saturated by the North West’s musical tradition of creativity breaking out of the industrial landscapes, The Dark Rooms pay homage to their influences and reward listeners with endlessly catchy tunes.
Written by Talkshow Host
What better way to celebrate Robert Trujillo’s 10 year Metallica-versary than to take you through our take on the best Metallica songs of all time!
Rob has been with Metallica for 10 years and boy how does time fly! The California based metal icons have themselves been going since 1981 after James Hetfield responded to a local ad placed in a paper by Lars Ulrich.
With 30 years of music, 9 albums, and 37 singles under their belts and too many great songs to have on this list, we’ve decided to split it down in to decades! So let’s start where it all began – in the 1980s.
Top 5 Metallica Songs of the 1980s
There is not much doubt that the 1980s were the years of Metallica: Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets are all masterpieces of the metal genre and still today set the bar. Metallica’s first ever gig was on 14th March 1982 at Radio City in Anaheim, California.
Did you know The Call of Ktulu off of Ride The Lightning was intentionally misspelled because the band did not want to actually call upon the mythical creature by spelling out its name?
4: Creeping Death
3: Master of Puppets
2: Seek and Destroy
We chose One due to the unbelievable music video and message behind the track – not forgetting the rifftastic fast sections with the lyrics:
“Darkness imprisoning me, All that I see, Absolute horror… I cannot live, I cannot die, Trapped in myself, Body my holding cell”
Top 5 Metallica Songs of the 1990s
1990 saw the album which helped to entice a large portion of the mainstream in to Metallica: The Black Album (Metallica). Released in 1991, it has sold over 30 million copies… not bad guys.
Can you believe it that in 1989 Metallica were nominated a grammy for best hard rock/heavy metal performance, but lost to Jethro Tull! Not to worry though – they won it in 1991!
4: Sad but True
3: The Unforgiven
2: Nothing Else Matters
1: Enter Sandman
Potentially the catchiest lyrics to a rock/metal song ever? The best music video of the 90s? The best rock/metal song ever made? Quite possibly.
Released in 1991, it was eventually decided to be the opening track from Metallica (The Black Album). Originally it was supposed to be Holier Than Thou, until Lars Ulrich interjected. Thanks Lars!
Top 5 Metallica Songs of the 2000s
The less said about St Anger the better… Whilst it did contain Frantic-tic-tic-tock and St Anger, it is really best being left forgotten. After St Anger a lot of fans were questioning whether Metallica still had it in them to write quality material… enter Death Magnetic.
Due to their influence on music, Metallica were elected into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2009. About damn time!
4: The Unforgiven III
3: The End of the Line
2: All Nightmare Long
1: The Day That Never Comes
The Day That Never Comes has one of the most recognisable riffs since their earlier work, along with some kick ass lyrics – what else do you expect from Metallica though? It was their lead single from Death Magnetic, originally called Casper before it was given its full title.
The Day That Never Comes spent a total of nine weeks at #1 on Hot Mainstream Rock Chart.
Covers / Extra Songs
Metallica have produced many awesome covers over the years, including So What, but in 1991, Hetfield blew his voice doing a cover and it had to be completely retrained.
Whisky in the Jar, So What & Am I Evil rank up there with the best of the rest. What’s your favourite cover? Please let us know below!
Ours is So What (In no way suitable for work!):
SERI is a hip-hop / soul / pop musician hailing from London. His new song called Cleopatra (no it’s nothing to do with that old girl band!) is out now.
SERI is releasing his EP in the coming months, and as his first music video Cleopatra is a very good debut.
Looking at the video, the track involves SERI’s romance with a lady – going by the name (or title) of Cleopatra. Whilst I can’t help of thinking about ‘that girl band’, hopefully SERI can help the world to move on and get people singing “She’s my Cleoppatraaaa”: A very catchy and well produced chorus.
Listen below and have a listen to the debut music video of SERI:
We The Undersigned (WTU) is the world’s first extradimensional band – a rag-tag crew of reggaefunk adventurers from another dimension of sound and colour. Featuring a plethora of musicians, singers and rappers – including the riotous Blowback Horns! They astound crowds with their colourful, high octane shows and their powerful STANKH music – a mixture of many influences including reggae, funk, jazz, afrobeat, rock and rap.
WTU has made a name for themselves as pioneers of musical creativity and synthesis; and harbingers of a revolutionary mindset of political, spiritual and personal liberation.
The band has supported such legendary artists as Toots and the Maytals (twice), the Skatalites, the Apples, Youngblood Brass Band. We have also played with the wonderful Dawn Penn as her backing band to great acclaim.
For 2013, they play around the UK and Europe to promote their second ‘do-it-yourself’ style recorded EP ‘Activation of the Groove’, which is available on www.wetheundersigned.co.uk, iTunes, Amazon and all other common online distribution sites. Live on stage, We The Undersigned will represent the STANKH at festivals such as Positive Vibrations, Vol. 1 (Kazimier Garden, Liverpool), Methusala Festival (Lancashire) and One Love Festival (Essex).
“There is no way that you can listen to We The Undersigned and not bob your head or tap your feet along. Go on… try!”
As the winners of Musician of the Month for May, why not check out some of We, The Undersigned’s music above. The track Archetype is especially funky and recommended highly by The Music Mag and they’re the type of band you just have to go and see live.
Richie Ashwin, based in the South East of the UK, has been building a name for himself within the Briitsh R&B scene.
His latest song ‘Hold Your Breath’ is indeed a breath of fresh air: soulful and full of emotion, with well thought out lyrics “mascara tears on your pillowcase, sambuca taste on your tongue… hold your breath there will be better days”. It’s obvious that heartbreak plays deep in to the tone of the song, and that’s shared with the listener in volumes! Take a listen here:
To listen to more of Richie Ashwin check out his facebook here.
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.
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.