LAUNCHPAD FUND SHARES £50,000 IN RECORD YEAR

A total of 38 talented artists and bands from across Wales have been successful in their bid for a music bursary worth a total of £50,000.

The up-and-coming Wales-based artists have been awarded up to £2,000 each to help support them in shaping their careers, developing their music and supporting activities that will help them to fulfil their potential.

The Launchpad fund, created as part of the BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales’ Horizons scheme to develop new contemporary music in Wales received over 200 applications from across Wales, the highest number of applicants since its conception in 2014. A panel made-up of 15 music industry experts were selected to help choose the most eligible applicants.

Launchpad fund applications opened in September to Wales-based artists and bands writing, producing and performing original contemporary popular music. The fund was also open to applicants to the ‘Horizons 12’ scheme, artists who were selected earlier in the year to benefit from a support programme to assist with the development of their careers.

Year on year the number of applications has continued to rise - a 41% increase in applications in 2015 and a 34% increase in 2016. This year, the successful 38 artists applied for the funding to help support a range of ideas, from purchasing recording equipment and hiring rehearsal space to working with talented producers and recording professionally.

From the diverse mix of applications, many have been supported in their creative work with grants towards studio time, specially commissioned photography and artwork, promotion of releases, equipment, video production and for transport and touring costs.

Cardiff indie band TIBET follow a year of memorable live gigs and a number of Radio 1 DJ champions with a confirmed headline tour of the UK this autumn. The Launchpad Fund will support them with their upcoming tour.

Successful applicant, up-and-coming singer-songwriter CALLY RHODES, from Borth, has had a successful few months with the release of her debut EP which hit the Top 10 in the iTunes UK Singer/Songwriter chart. The Launchpad Fund will allow her to follow up on her recent success and spend time in the studio recording her next EP.

ESTRONS, a truly alternative rock band who have received countless radio plays across the UK will use Launchpad funding to support the promotion of their next release with a promotional campaign which will help cement their diverse and unique reputation further with a Welsh and UK audience.

Estrons guitarist Rhodri Daniel responded to the good news, saying:

“It’s a real honour and a surprise to be included in this year’s list of great bands chosen to recieve Launchpad funding. “We were lucky enough to be chosen two years ago for assistance in funding studio time and a music video, we made every penny count and the results most certainly helped paved the way for success so far.

We have since brought on board a fantastic team of people, and after a full year of touring and recording we‘re at a crucial junction in our careers. This additional funding and support will no doubt help us increase our exposure and reach a wider audience.”

JOHN ADAMS, a singer-songwriter hailing from Aberdare, funded his debut album, aptly named The Pavement is My Stage by busking across the country. Launchpad funding will enable him to produce a professional music video to launch the release of his new EP.

Hailing from Blackwood, duo INTRO THE ARK, who spent the summer of 2015 touring the country in an old van travelling over 60,000 miles around the UK and playing over 130 gigs, show that determination results in success, with sold-out shows and now Launchpad funding towards the promotion and release of two new singles.

Betsan Moses, Head of Communications, Arts Council of Wales commented:

“Through Launchpad we’re able to help talented bands and artists to further their careers by providing them with vital access to the finance they need. We were really impressed with the breadth of applications – proof of the diverse and vibrant music scene in Wales right now. We look forward to seeing the real difference Launchpad makes to these artists over the next year.”

Successful Launchpad applicant, singer-songwriter JODIE MARIE from Narberth, Pembrokeshire said:

“The Launchpad fund couldn't have come at a better time for me. It’s allowing me to focus on the creative side of music again and I can’t wait to show everyone what I’ve been up to in this next release. Thank you!”

South Wales based post-hardcore quintet, BREATHE IN THE SILENCE, who have also been awarded funding this year said:

“The Launchpad fund allows us to be able to achieve our goals, allowing us to progress on to the next step as a band, sooner than we thought possible.

We put everything we have into this band so having that extra bit of help is incredibly humbling.”

Successfully funded Tredegar band THE SANDINISTAS, who have been championed by Welsh actor Jonny Owen, added:

“The money we’ll receive will enable us to finish our debut album. Without this funding we’d wait longer and feel that would hold us back. But now we’re able to keep the momentum, as well as have an opportunity that not many acts have.

We’d like to thank Launchpad’, not only for the funding but for potentially furthering our careers as individuals and band members.”

The 38 successful artists include:

Afro Cluster, Cardiff, £1300 to finish album with studio time at Giant Wafer Studios, Mid Wales.
Anelog, Denbigh, £670 towards home recording equipment.
Argrph, Carmarthen, £500 for studio time with Llyr Parri in Llanrwst.
Baby Queens, Cardiff, £1200 video production for 3rd single from freshly released debut album.
Band Pres Llareggub, Bangor, £2000 for recording at Orange Sound Recording Studios, Penmaenmawr, with Russ Hayes, mastering at Hafod.
Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles, Llandudno, £1500 recording at Orange Sound Recording Studios, Penmaenmawr.
Breathe in the Silence, Maesteg, £1000 contribution towards recording at Longwave Studios.
Bryony Sier, Troedyrhiw, Merthyr, £1500 towards PR campaign with ‘Badge of Friendship’ agency.
Cadno, Cardiff, £1000 towards recording debut 4 track ep.
Cally Rhodes, Borth, Ceredigion, £1,400 contribution towards recording at Toy Studios Cardiff.
CaStles, Caernarfon, £800 towards equipment
Chroma, Mountain Ash, Rhondda, £1800 recording at Giant Wafer Studios with Soundquake, mastering with Mei Gwynedd.
Chupa Cabra, Buckley, Flintshire, £1500 towards studio time, touring costs and PR towards debut EP release.
Endaf, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, £1000 contribution towards home studio equipment
Estrons, Cardiff, £1500 contribution towards PR for their second EP.
Fleur De Lys, Anglesey, £1000 contribution towards studio time with Rich Roberts, in Ferlas Studios.
Florence Black, Cardiff, £1250 contribution towards studio time.
Gintis, Rhyl, £1440 towards recording with Bill Ryder Jones (Coral/ Domino Records) in Mwnci Studios, Mid Wales.
Hannah Grace, Cardiff, £1400 towards touring costs.
Himalayas, Cardiff, £2000 towards a van.
Hipicat, Cardiff, £600 towards recording at Fieldgate Studios.
Hyll, Cardiff, £1000 towards recording with Mei Gwynedd, and drum kit breakables.
Into the Ark, Blackwood, £1000 towards promotional events around the UK.
Iwan Huws, Cardiff, £1200 towards recording at Mwnci and session musicians on solo project.
Jodie Marie, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, £2000, towards recording of third album at StudioOwz, Pembrokeshire.
John Adams, Hirwaun, Aberdare, £700, towards a professional music video for new EP
Kidsmoke, Wrexham, £1550 recording new ep at Orange Sound Studios, and artwork for EP from local artists Mike Payne.
LSN audio, Llanllechid, Gwynedd, £1000 contribution towards production equipment
Mace, Cardiff, £2000 towards studio, video and PR of next release.
Monico Blonde, Cardiff, £2000 towards recording at Gethin Pearson’s Vada Studios.
Palomino Party, Cardiff, £1100 contribution towards Lost Agency PR campaign.
Reuel Elijah, Cardiff, £1000 contribution towards studio, video and PR of next release.
Sonny Double 1, Cardiff, £2000 towards studio time, music video production and distribution of songs online.
The Sandinistas, Caerphilly, £1000 towards studio time.
Tibet, Cardiff, £1289 towards touring costs and home equipment.
Upbeat Sneakers, Merthyr, £2000 towards a van.
Violet Skies, Chepstow, £1725 towards PR campaign.
Ysgol Sul, Caerfyrddin, £1,075 towards recording with Llyr Pari at Melin y Coed

The Launchpad panel included:

Bethan Elfyn, Horizons Project Manager, BBC Wales; Betsan Moses, Head of Communications, Arts Council of Wales; Aeron Roberts, Arts Council of Wales; Adam Walton, BBC Radio Wales; Gareth Iwan, BBC Radio Cymru; Emily Dicks, BBC Radio 1Xtra; Ashli Todd, Spillers Records, Cardiff; Kaptain, Boomtown Festival Promoter & DJ; Carl Gosling, Heavenly Records; Andrew Rodgers, Head of Live Music, BBC Music; Neal Thompson, Focus Wales, Wrexham; Adam Ryan, Great Escape; Nicholas Otaegui, Liverpool Sound City; Dave Driscoll, Orchard Events; Julie Weir, Sony Music.

2016 AWARDEES