Archives for September 2009

Wise words from the Pros at Jersey Live

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 10:53 UK time, Wednesday, 30 September 2009

This year's Jersey Live festival took place a few weekends ago, on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September at the Showground in Trinity. The festival attracts around 10,000 people, with more than 60 artists spread over seven stages, including big-hitting headline performances from Basement Jaxx and The Kooks.

Elsewhere on the main stage and smaller Les Inrocks stage there were plenty of familiar names, including Twisted Wheel, Chew Lips, Fight Like Apes, Golden Silvers and The Temper Trap, all of whom have performed on the BBC Introducing stage at a UK festival in the last couple of years.

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Backstage, BBC Introducing in Jersey's Ryan Morrison grabbed a handful of acts to garner their advice for aspiring artists, asking them all the same question: what single piece of advice would you give to new bands? Here are a few of the more coherent responses he got:


Craig Charles - presenter of BBC 6 Music's Funk and Soul show:

Massachusetts electro outfit, Passion Pit:

Ex-Million Dead frontman, Frank Turner:

Huw Stephens favourites, Golden Silvers:

There's more coverage of Jersey Live - including more wise words for new artists from Fight Like Apes and Doves frontman, Jimi Goodwin - at BBC Jersey. For more tips, check out our advice section, where we've got more than 100 video clips from artists, DJs and industry experts, text guides and downloadable PDFs.

Ryan Morrison and Claire Peters present BBC Introducing in Jersey every Saturday at 2.15pm. Listen again to the latest show on BBC iPlayer.

Making it in Music - two must-read PDFs

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 12:20 UK time, Wednesday, 23 September 2009

'10 Key Steps to Suceed in the Music Business' by Makeitinmusic.com

'Best Practices of the Online Promotion of New Musical Content' by Bas Grasmayer

We've been following @makeitinmusic on Twitter for a little while, and we recommend you do the same if you're looking for some expert tips and useful links about, well, making it in music. Ian Clifford and Amanda McGowan of Makeitinmusic.com set up their blog in March 2009 but claim 30 years of global music Industry experience between them.

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The winner takes it all - unsigned band competitions open now!

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 16:11 UK time, Thursday, 17 September 2009

We all need to catch a break in life at some point or other. If you're looking to get your music noticed, entering a competition could be just the ticket.

The 'Battle of the Bands' concept goes way back and the chances are you either went to one or played at one when you were at school (see Freaky Friday, School of Rock). At my school, it was called the Band Bash and I played guitar in a band named Button Moon (claim to pop fame: Bloc Party's drummer Matt Tong was our bassist).

If you missed out on this great rock 'n' roll tradition and are currently feeling like you've been living under a rock, go and watch Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, then set up your own contest locally. In the words of the great Jim Morrison in Wayne's World 2 - if you build it, they will come.

In the age of the Interweb and (whisper it) X Factor, the Battle of the Bands has inevitably evolved and there are now loads of national competitions open to unsigned and emerging artists that you can enter via the net. Nowadays, there's a lot at stake, too. Gone are the days when the winning band might take home a case of beer and a set of strings; today you could bag yourself anything from a recording deal to a support slot on a national tour. Some competitions are are even televised.

So, inspired by a comment we received on the site recently, here's a handful of high profile competitions that are currently accepting entries from unsigned artists:

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MEMusic - Online and On Tour '09
Prize: A 12-date tour supporting VV Brown, studio time to record your winning track and a digital release with Island Records
How it works: If the track you submit makes the cut, you'll bag a spot at one of five regional showdowns (Glasgow, York, Liverpool, Cardiff and London) where you must perform a cover from the Island Records back catalogue. Win there and you'll be going toe-to-toe with four other finalists in a public vote, with Metro readers picking the ultimate victor in October.
How to enter: Register and upload a track at MEMusic
Closing date: 18 September 2009 (blimey, that's TOMORROW - TODAY) Now closed.


The Hollyoaks Music Show
Prize: The winning act gets to perform in an episode of Hollyoaks.
How it works: A shortlist of nine acts will be chosen, with each act championed by a member of the Hollyoaks cast on a new TV series, imaginatively named The Hollyoaks Music Show. At the end of the series, the public will choose which act deserves to perform in an episode of the soap.
How to enter: Upload a video or audio track (must be under 2 minutes long) at e4.com.
Closing date for entries: 22 September 2009.


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Live and Unsigned 2010
Prize: Over £50,000 in prizes up for grabs, with the overall winner bagging a recording and management contract with up to £30,000 investment to release a single with Future Music.
How it works: Apply online and attend a live audition in January 2010. If you get through that, you'll be invited to the Regional Finals in front of an audience and judging panel. There you'll be competing for a spot at the Grand Final whic takes place at the Live and Unsigned Festival at London's O2 Arena in July 2010.
How to enter: Visit liveandunsigned.uk.com and apply for an audition (£10 fee).
Closing date for entries: Auditions start 16 January 2010 but places fill up quickly, so apply early to avoid disappointment.


*Disclaimer* - Please, please, please, always read the terms and conditions before sending off your music and entering any competition. And remember, BBC Introducing doesn't endorse any of the above contests, we just thought you'd be interested in them. Generally, we think there's a lot to be said for the hard grafting, DIY approach to making it in the music business. If you believe in what you do and work hard at it for long enough, good things will happen... eventually (just ask Speech Debelle).

Could your music make The Cut?

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 12:02 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

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The Cut is a shiny new soap from BBC Switch that starts this weekend.

You'll be able to watch a new 5 minute episode of the soap on the BBC Switch site every weekday at 5.10pm. On Saturdays at midday, you can see the previous week's worth of drama back to back in an omnibus on BBC Two.

"And how is this relevant?" I hear you cry. Well, in an amazing feat of joined-up-ness, BBC Introducing and BBC Switch are going to be working together to give under-the-radar artists an opportunity to get their music heard on the telly. Huzzah!

We've been speaking to the crew behind The Cut and we can exclusively reveal that in the first two episodes, those of you with keen ears will hear tracks by Thee Vicars, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kid Bass & Sincere and Master Shortie, all of whom have starred on the BBC Introducing stage at festivals this year.

In fact, judging by the early tracklisting in front of me now, the show is going to have a pretty (in)credible soundtrack in general, with tracks from Bright Eyes, The Cinematic Orchestra and Fionn Regan all making the cut (pun intended) in early episodes.

We've granted the makers of the The Cut access to the big database of music that's been uploaded to BBC Introducing to date. That means, if you've uploaded tunes to us in the past, you're already in with a chance of soundtracking this great new soap. If you haven't, there's still time for your music to be considered in future episodes, so get cracking and head on over to our upload page.

The first episode of The Cut will be officially unveiled by Annie and Nick on Radio 1 at 8.10pm this Sunday (13th September). Here's a sneaky peek:

*Update* - The first episode is now live - you can watch it here.

Now Playing on Radio 1, part 4 - Minnaars

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 09:53 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

This week, Leicester's Minnaars are the last of four acts taken from our Reading and Leeds line-up to be added to the Radio 1 daytime playlist.

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(If you're currently thinking 'Huh? Unsigned bands on Radio 1...during the day?!', you might want to catch up with these previous posts concerning A Plastic Rose, Everything Everything and Boney Black)

The track is called Are Lovers, and with its atmospheric intro and apocalyptic outro, the full version clocks in at a healthy 6'21" (no doubt there's a radio edit). You may have heard it played today on Jo Whiley's show just after 11am. If you missed it - or loved it and want to hear it over and over again - here you go, knock yourself out:



Produced by ¡Forward Russia!'s Tom Woodhead, they've labelled their Foals-esque blend of hypnotic, complex rhythms and riffs 'mop' (math-rock and pop, geddit?). Gavin and Stacey's Matt Horne declared himself a fan in an interview with NME, apparently. Those of you who were down at our stage at Reading or Leeds will need no telling, but Minnaars are a superb live act. The band only began playing live in 2008, but have already performed all over the UK and in Europe. If you weren't there, don't fret, you can watch the highlights of their set on the Reading and Leeds site. Here's a taster:

*Update*: Here's some of the instant feedback that Jo Whiley received just after playing Are Lovers on-air this morning:

  • Did that song say make bakewells at the start? Becky on my way to the beach x x
  • Jo, yes minnaars are a brilliant band, been to c them 5-6 times around leicester. Very tight band, obviously they practice well! Much love, claire Xx
  • They have such a good sound this band. It about time they start getting some serious radio play! Got a blocparty influence round about them.. Kev from ROMFORD
  • Its like bloc party have eaten the foals great tune!
  • I'm exhausted just listening - brilliant tho! Who r they again? Jules also from Leicester :-)...x

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Congrats, Speech!

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Huw Stephens Huw Stephens | 12:39 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The beauty of the Mercurys, year after year, is that you have no idea who's going to win. There's no right or wrong in music of course, just personal taste.

But I was delighted for Speech Debelle who has won this year's prestigious award. She was in session on my Radio 1 show back in January of this year on the strength of one single, Searching, and the realisation that here was a lady who was talented, had integrity, soul and skill, and wasn't afraid to bend the rules in order to tell the world her tales.

All of this was captured on her debut album, and that's why she won. She played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury with her friend Micachu joining her onstage, and I booked her to play my stage at Latitude. That didn't happen because her tour van broke down, but these things happen. (If there's a track on her 2nd album called 'Damn this Bus' or something, you'll know why).

There were so many brilliant albums nominated this year, a lot of worthy contenders. Huge congratulations, Speech!

Reading and Leeds 2009 local round-up

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 11:21 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

It seems like aeons ago now, but the weekend before last saw the return of the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festival.

If you're *really* quick, you can still listen again on BBC iPlayer to Huw's Radio 1 shows from Wednesday last week and hear live tracks from the BBC Introducing stage as well as a highlights from the main stage. [now expired, but the tracklistings are here and here]

Alternatively, try Bethan Elfyn's Radio 1 in Wales show for more live tracks, including some from Welsh wonderkids, Kutosis [expired now - tracklisting] or Rory McConnell's Northern Ireland show [also expired - tracklisting] for a focus on the performances from Beflast boys Not Squares and A Plastic Rose, who were both hugely impressive.

Our Reading and Leeds stages made their debut in 2008, with Dinosaur Pile-up, Attack! Attack!, General Fiasco, Flashguns, Fox Cubs and Pulled Apart by Horses all making a big impression and going on to bigger things this year.

This year, though, it was a triumph for our nationwide family of local shows, with around fifteen of them getting a local band they've championed on the bill. Many bands came to their attention and earned a slot on the line-up purely by uploading their music via our website.

There's loads of great festival coverage from local BBC Introducing shows to check out, so here's a round-up of links:

Phew! Ok, enough with the links. That's it for another year. Don't forget you can watch all of the performances from the BBC Introducing stage (filmed at Reading) right here. See you next year!

Now Playing on Radio 1, part 3 - Boney Black

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 14:12 UK time, Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Those of you who were at Leeds on Saturday or Reading on Sunday may have across an artist named Boney Black on the BBC Introducing stage. He's a MC from Preston, and was invited to play at the festival by BBC Introducing in Lancashire's Sean McGinty after he uploaded some tunes to us.

Here's a taster of his performance on our stage at Reading (you can see photos and two more videos on the BBC's Reading & Leeds site):



The great news for Boney is that his track, Save The World, is this week's unsigned addition to the Radio 1 daytime playlist, which means his music is nestled alongside the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Jay-Z. After two great tracks from Everything Everything and A Plastic Rose in the last couple of weeks, it was about time for a bit of hip-hop and this track has a catchy hook, positive message and really crisp production.

So far this week, Boney's track has been played by Greg James on Tuesday (listen again - fast forward to 02:15:00) and by Scott Mills on Wednesday (listen again - fast forward to 00:45:00) and you'll hear it again on Edith Bowman and Jo Whiley's shows before the week is over.

Screengrab from the BBC Reading and Leeds site - taken on 3/9/09

If the Reading and Leeds site is anything to go by, Radio 1 listeners are liking what they're hearing, because at the time of writing Boney Black is the most visited artist page on the festival site! That's pretty incredible, considering there are performances to watch on the same site from heavyweights like Kings of Leon, Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys.

As before, we've gotten hold of some of the texts which Scott received immediately after playing the track:

  • Its alright would be better if it Wasnt about mother nature have enough of politicians tellin us what to do now rappers goin on bout it
  • Loving new track altho sounds like a plan b wanna be!love the show as always!rachel in margate..luv u!xx
  • This song is good! I thought the rain and thunder at the start was really as it's raining outside atm!!!! Liv in harpenden
  • Wow i feel really inspired to save the world now -b in reading



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