Following the last two highly successful sold-out nights of #360RAW, it’s no surprise that the next one – on the 13th of July – is set to sell out. Taking place at The Lending Room, the night will host to some of the region’s most exciting new acts: LATE NIGHT LEGACY, HANDS OFF GRETEL and PURPLE THREAD.
The ethos of #360RAW is purely about supporting emerging acts, a passion that organisers Richard Watson and Alan Raw share. Watson and Raw offer musicians their time and help and advice without any hidden agenda, as well as talking at free industry events, often arranged by the 360 Club themselves. As Friday is fast approaching, we took it upon ourselves to have a chat with the curators of this exciting new event Richard Watson, promoter of the 360 Club at Leeds Lending Room, and Alan Raw, presenter of BBC Introducing West Yorkshire and BBC Introducing Humberside.
How did you guys end up collaborating with each other to set-up the #360RAW events?
Richard: We discovered long ago that we have the same values regarding the music industry. Especially regarding the experience of artists when starting out. We both do a lot to improve that experience, but we realised we can help more together. So building on what Richard already does at 360 club, we are developing the audience for emerging talent, whilst helping the artists and creating an entertaining night out for everyone who supports the project. We both have a lot of industry experience and contacts in labels, management, publishing, events, festivals, media et al, that we’ve made over many years, it just seemed a no brainer to bring this together to champion new music and help the very talented people creating it, who often have no knowledge of the workings of the business, which they need to have to increase their chances of surviving.
Alan: building on what Richard already does at 360 club, we are developing the audience for emerging talent, whilst helping the artists and creating an entertaining night out for everyone who supports the project.
For anyone who does not know, tell us about the 360RAW4 event at 360 Club and what it’s all about?
Richard: It is a gig, showcasing three fantastic bands that we both love and believe in and think could go far. The gig is going to be an incredible night of live music, that would be difficult to rival, with the three acts we’ve invited to play. Any self-respecting fan of live music is in for a BIG treat!
Gus from alt-J came down to see me a few months ago, for a drink, and saw one of them live. He was blown away and became a big fan; you’ll have to come, to find out which one and see why!
Alan: We are hoping to do a series of #360RAW events and have had 3 really well attended exciting nights so far and you’re in for a treat at #360RAW4. High quality bands in a great club with a proper sound system & stage. It’s all about developing an audience for emerging talent and cheering them on to great things. We also have a right good time doing it.
Please also tell us about the artists playing with a brief description of them.
Alan: We decided to have another rock based line up for this one, as we can see a need for more performance opportunities in that genre around here at the moment. These are breakthrough acts who have worked hard and built a good following. We want to put them together to share those audiences. Hands Off Gretel delight the Alt Rock/ New Wave Grunge fans, Late Night Legacy are more of an out and out rock band, with extra dynamics, where as Purple Thread are like the other 2 put together with added grunge pop appeal. It’s a winning combination. You can read about them here: https://www.facebook.com/events/640756319649793
I am a real fan of the interactivity of the 360RAW events, and I read that people are invited to bring demos to the show. Please could you expand?
Richard: Thanks for the kind words, it means a lot to hear that. The bring-your-demo thing is really quite simple, although it is very special too. If you make music you can bring it and meet Alan and give him a copy, and make your music known to him, he may then announce it and play it during his set at the gig for all to hear and enjoy and, more importantly, he might play it on his BBC Introducing Radio show.
It is a good opportunity to meet me and give me a copy, we then might be talking about booking a show at 360 Club and giving some help and advice along the way, which is what I do behind the scenes. The business can be very much about who you know, so networking and meeting an BBC Introducing presenter and a promoter of new music is a golden opportunity!
Alan: It is an interactive model, because we believe in the power of creative communities, to make great things happen for everyone involved. I obviously want to hear new music and like any DJ, I want to play fresh tunes on the night. So bring your demos and lets let everyone hear them. The artists get to hear their recording through a big PA too. If the bands want them playing on the radio I can talk to the Producers at BBC about them, but they still need to put it through the BBC Uploader system.
Alan, can you tell us about the work you’ve done with BBC Introducing over the years and how artists can get involved?
I have been presenting BBC Introducing in Yorkshire since it started and BBC Raw Talent before that. I have had the huge privilege of hearing the best of local talent before anyone else on the radio. This is another opportunity to introduce those artists to a wider audience and cheer them on. If you want your music playing on the radio, just upload it to www.BBC.co.uk/introducing We listen to everything and play our selection every Saturday night 8-10.
How do you assess the current music scene in Leeds?
Alan; Vibrant, eclectic and it just feels like something big is going to happen all the time now.
Tell us about a British artist we should look out for.
Alan: You can listen to BBC Introducing on Saturday nights 8-10 for a fine selection.
Richard: Adore//Repel. They’re brilliant and manage to do their own thing and have a distinct and unique sound.
Do you think more could be done to support young musicians and artists in this country?
Richard: Yes, a lot more could be done, starting with making music in schools a compulsory part of what has to be funded by respective governments.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
- Make music that you enjoy and be true to yourself. It will be more authentic, original, unique and valuable for all of us.
- Put your heart and art into the performance of your music.
- Stay in the room with your mates when the support act is on and cheer them on. You will have a better time when you follow them.
- Learn about the industry. Many artists don’t bother to study it and miss out on things like royalties.
- Don’t just keep your eye on where you want to be all the time. Start enjoying it now.
Richard: It may take you a lifetime to ‘succeed’; love what you do, don’t do it if you don’t; and never quit!
Other than this event what are you most looking forward to this year?
Richard: A proper holiday. Work consumes me, I rarely take a real break, and I intend to this year and go diving, it has been too long since I got my fins wet!
Alan:Leeds Festival. I’ll see you at the BBC Introducing Stage
Tickets for 360RAW are available here: http://www.crashrecords.co.uk/product/360raw4-360-club-13-07-18-the-library/
Interview by Josh Crowe
Feature image by Meg Firth of Late Night Legacy at The Lending Room