Archives for July 2012

BBC Introducing at Reading & Leeds - A response to your questions

Claire Thomas | 11:04 UK time, Tuesday, 31 July 2012

I wanted to add a bit more detail to the booking process for our stage at Reading & Leeds and indeed our other festival stages. It's obvious from some of your comments on this blog that a lot of our selection processes and policies aren't clear enough on our website. We will aim to improve these sections over time, to cover all the opportunities we offer new musicians; from how artists get a play on local radio, or a slot on the Radio 1 playlist, an invite to the BBC Introducing Masterclass or the opportunity to play a stage.

But today I want to focus on The Reading & Leeds Stage. We have had a stage at Reading & Leeds since 2008 and it has been a place for some really great early performances from the likes of Joy Formidable, Don Broco and Pulled Apart by Horses. We have always programmed the stage in the same way, and always given artists the opportunity to play both sites. The two sites and the movement of the same artists between the two is key to the festival and we feel it's right to treat the BBC Introducing stage like all the others.

In terms of the programming, as you can see in our FAQ section of the site we state that "at some events, we also take suggestions for bands from the festival promoters and local organisations". At Reading & Leeds and the other festivals we go to, we feel it's important to work with the promoters and give them the opportunity to place a few artists on the stage at their festival. Historically at Leeds Festival there has always been a 'new local bands stage' and when we started the BBC Introducing stage there we wanted to acknowledge this tradition, so decided to continue working with local promoter Futuresound, via Festival Republic. This is why there is a bigger representation of Leeds and North West bands on this particular line up.

Holding relationships with other organisations who also support new musicians is important to us and you can see it across our work, be it working with local Hackney organisations at this year's Radio 1 & 1Xtra Academy, or with PRS last year when we took four new artists to LA to perform at Musexpo. However, it is worth explaining that when we work with a third party to select acts for our stages, those acts don't get the same degree of exposure as the artists we select ourselves. We are happy to allow the third party promoters to use our stage as a platform for new bands they support, but we don't film or record them as BBC content.

So, onto how we select these artists. We ask all of the BBC Introducing shows across the UK to send us suggestions of the artists they would like to put forward for the opportunity of playing the festivals. All of this music (over 160 tracks) is then sent to our Reading & Leeds Panel. The panels, which consist of 6-8 well respected music specialists only get the music, not information on which area they are from. This is to ensure the music is judged purely on the music; we want to make sure the quality acts come through. This year's panel included Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq and the Head of Music for Radio 1. (Just as an aside, we change the panel for each festival we programme, so we get a range of people listening to the music.) The panel then send us their top choices from the selection and based on this we draw up the majority of our line up. I as Executive Producer of BBC Introducing then work with the Editor to agree the final elements of the programming, resulting in the final line up you see.

BBC Introducing has always supported unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar musicians via our local BBC Introducing shows and the Uploader. Artists that engage with BBC Introducing are often at different stages in their journey, and at a local level may have been known to the shows long before they go on to suggest them for a BBC Introducing stage. This means that some acts do have agents, have perhaps played a festival before, or may even be signed to a label, but the key is that in terms of wider exposure they are under the radar - their experience or inexperience (to a point) is not what the selection criteria is about, it's about the quality of the music our panel hear.

As I touched on earlier, for the BBC Introducing stages we just send the music to our panels and they make an editorial judgement on what they hear and then ultimately the Editor of BBC Introducing has the final say as to which artists play on the BBC Introducing stages. I hope this gives you a clearer picture of our selection process and as I said at the beginning of this post we will look at ensuring this is made clearer to you all via the site. Our purpose is to support new musicians across the UK and we will work hard to continue to offer meaningful opportunities to as many talented new artists as we can across the BBC.

Claire Thomas is the Executive Producer for BBC Introducing

Tip of the Week: More Than Conquerors - Bear Knuckle Fight

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Tom Young Tom Young | 11:00 UK time, Monday, 30 July 2012

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More Than Conquerors have long been championed by BBC Radio Ulster's Across The Line show and it's no surprise to see their charms opened up to an even wider audience with a spot on the BBC Radio 1 playlist this week.
The Belfast group make punk funk an artform and Bear Knuckle Fight is a blinding example of their rabble rousing abilities. The chunky riffs and furious drums form a tune that's bound to put a glint in the eye of fans of Biffy Clyro, Foo Fighters, early Arctic Monkeys and Six Star Hotel, also from Northern Ireland. And of course, this blog post would be totally pointless if I forgot to mention the cowbell breakdown. Blinding!
Bear Knuckle Fight features on the band's current EP, Boots & Bones. Follow the band on Twitter for their latest news and check out their performance on our stage at T in the Park for plenty of reasons why you should see them live next time they are in a town near you.

Let us know what you think of the track using the comments below.

Label of Love: Fika Recordings

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Huw Stephens Huw Stephens | 11:26 UK time, Friday, 27 July 2012

Label of Love time! This week, we get all indie on your collective asses and meet Tom Ashton from Fika Recordings. Urged by his mate to finally set up a label after talking about it for so long, Fika is going from strength to strength. Here's Tom to tell us more...

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Tracks played: Harper Lee by Tigercats and Hard To Be Good by Making Marks.

Follow Fika Recordings on Twitter and download Huw's amazing Introducing podcast for FREE while we have you your attention.

Tip of the Week: Phantom Limb - Good Fortune

Tom Young Tom Young | 14:13 UK time, Tuesday, 24 July 2012

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Making their way onto the Radio 1 playlist this week are Bristol sextet Phantom Limb and their soulful track Good Fortune.

In comparison to our usual Tip of the Week picks Phantom Limb's offering is a definite gear change - and a welcome one too. Stripped back to the essentials (piano, strings and acoustic guitar), Good Fortune is a delicate country ballad orchestrated by frontwoman Yolanda Quartey's startling and emotional vocal.

Good Fortune actually featured on the band's self-titled and self-produced debut from 2008, four years after the group came together. This year, they released their second album, The Pines, which was recorded on the road and produced in Signal Hill, California continuing a journey of discovery for the band which bleeds into both records.

The group, comprised of seasoned session and industry musicians, have already played South By Southwest, Glastonbury and opened shows for Candi Staton, Solomon Burke and Rumer (at her personal request). This summer sees them hit more UK festivals before a prestigious show at London Jazz Festival on November 9th.

Find out more about Phantom Limb on their official site and deliver your verdict on the track in the comments below.

BBC Introducing at Manchester Jazz Festival

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Tom Young Tom Young | 16:24 UK time, Monday, 23 July 2012

On Monday 23rd July 2012,  highlights of Jazz on 3's BBC Introducing night at Manchester Jazz Festival hit the airwaves at 11pm on BBC Radio 3. To celebrate, JO3 presenter Jez Nelson (that's him below) wrote a few words for us to guide listeners through the night's entertainment. The show is available to listen to on iPlayer until July 30th 2012.



Here at Jazz on 3 we like to think we have our collective finger on the pulse, a shared ear to the ground and - it seems - our nose in a book of idiomatic phrases about how informed we are! But BBC Introducing has played an important role for us over the last five years in bringing some of the UK's most exciting new jazz groups to our attention, bands like Trio VD, Saltwater Samurai and World Service Project being notable examples of those who uploaded their music and kick-started their assaults on the jazz establishment.

For this year's Manchester Jazz Festival, I - along with fellow judges Gilles Peterson (BBC Radio 6 Music) and Kevin Le Gendre (BBC Radio 3) - selected four acts from the longlist to perform at the city's legendary Band on the Wall.

Three hundred lucky - and by the sound of it - jazz-hungry ticket-holders crammed into the venue for our BBC Introducing showcase, and you can hear the results on tonight's Jazz on 3 from 11pm on BBC Radio 3. But for those of you who can't wait, check out the taster tracks on our Soundcloud page.

Jazz on 3 at Manchester Jazz Festival

First up, Dakhla, a Bristol-based quartet comprising drums and horns, who opened the night with half an hour of Afro-beat energy and twisting Balkan melodies.

Listen to Itis by Dakhla on Soundcloud

Next, a change of mood courtesy of im, four improvisers of an older generation whose atmospheric music blends electronic splats, tuneful improv. and synth loops.

Listen to Pocket Kitchens on Soundcloud

Roller Trio from Leeds played third, doing a demolition job on the venue's subwoofers with a powerful and varied set of funk and thrash-jazz originals either side of a saxophone-led ballad. These guys are going to go far.

Listen to Two Minutes to Twelve by Roller Trio on Soundcloud

From the same city but with a very different sound, acoustic piano trio Eyes Shut Tight closed the evening and kept the crowd enthusiastic with half an hour of tuneful and groove-filled pieces.

Listen to Mr C by Eyes Shut Tight on Soundcloud

So there you have it: four bands that reflect the variety of jazz on offer in the UK, acts that aren't waiting around to be discovered but are busy introducing themselves.

Jez Nelson presents Jazz on 3 every Monday from 11pm

BBC Introducing line-up at Reading & Leeds Festival announced

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Tom Young Tom Young | 12:03 UK time, Monday, 23 July 2012

Today is a good day. We can now announce the line-up for the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading & Leeds Festival which takes place from August 24th-26th 2012.

Celebrating its fifth year at the festival, the stage has previously seen debut performances from Pulled Apart By Horses (who will make their Main Stage debut this year), Two Door Cinema Club (NME/Radio 1 Stage second headliner 2012) and Don Broco, who move onto the Festival Republic Stage this year after their amazing performance in 2011 on the BBC Introducing Stage.

The bands that play are chosen through a combination of the BBC's countrywide Introducing shows, Leeds promoters Futuresound, festival promoters Festival Republic and Martin House's Centre Stage competition.

Here's the list of bands in alphabetical order. The breakdown of the days at both festivals can be found on the Reading & Leeds line-up page.
Attention Thieves
Bearfoot Beware
Black Moth
Crooked Tongues
Cut Ribbons
Danica Hunter
Deaf Club
Dear Prudence
Dingus Khan
Empror & Duppy Beatz
Escape To New York
The Establishment
Family of the Year
Fish Tank
Hawk Eyes
Ifan Dafydd
Lady Lykez
Max Raptor
Mikill Pane
Park Bench Society
Rachel Sermanni
Sarah Williams White
Vengeance and the Panther Queen
Wet Nuns
We Walk On Ice
We Were Frontiers
Plus more to be announced...

As always, we will bring you highlights from the Introducing Stage across the weekend including videos, photos and updates on Twitter. Details of the full Festival line-up as it stands can be found on the BBC's Reading & Leeds Festival website which is where you'll also be able to see sets from Foo Fighters, The Cure, Kasabian and many more over the weekend.

Read all about how bands are selected for BBC Introducing stages at festivals.

Huw's Label of Love: Sex Farm Records

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Huw Stephens Huw Stephens | 17:25 UK time, Thursday, 19 July 2012

Sex Farm Records founder Paul says the label is 'an eccentric, bearded man releasing records from the comfort of his own bedroom'. They've had some intriguing releases including the brilliant Yolanda The Panda EP by Free Swim (all about a panda who climbs Mt Everest), so we asked head honcho Paul to tell us more about the label....

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Follow Sex Farm Records on Twitter and make sure you get hold of Huw's lovely, lovely Introducing podcast straight away.

BBC Introducing in Jersey on the road

Tom Young Tom Young | 15:34 UK time, Thursday, 19 July 2012

The summer is always a busy time for our local BBC Introducing shows across the country. The festivals come thick and fast with plenty of opportunities for the teams to step out of the studio.
Ryan Morrison presents BBC Introducing in Jersey - he's written a guest blog post for the site about his summer on the road so far.

Behind the scenes as Ryan Morrison takes BBC Introducing in Jersey on the road

Every week on BBC Introducing in Jersey I have between two and six live musical guests, everything from solo acoustic to full bands.

They perform in what is normally the Editors office during the week, but for two hours on a Saturday turns into the Live Room.

But for two weeks in June and July the show went on the road, first to the Folklore festival and then to a small tent in a muddy field.

The Folklore festival featured acts like Van Morrison, Ray Davies, Jake Bugg and Joan Armatrading perform in the main arena.

My show was coming from the Agapanthus Stage for the first two hours of the event on Saturday. The stage would later play host to a number of Jersey acts as well as John Cooper Clarke.

During the show we had live acoustic sets from Rosie Barrett, Stanley Forbes, Lloyd Yates Band and a very impromtu set by Jersey Norman French alt folk band Badlabecques and all music being played out from my iPad taped to a microphone stand.

The following week the show moved to the West Show, a small country show in Jersey surrounded by tractors, sheds, dancing diggers and mud.

This time I invited a selection of the best of Jersey's thriving open mic scene as well as dark folk band Soulless Kings.

Despite the mud, rain and a woman complaining about too much 'pop music' on the radio - it was a great atmosphere and a chance to hear from people we don't normally play.

The next live show is at the Jersey Live festival in September, with main stage acts like Noel Gallagher, Chase and Status, Primal Scream, Professor Green and the return of Jake Bugg - it should be an interesting gig.

Ryan Morrison presents BBC Introducing in Jersey live on BBC Radio Jersey every Saturday from 12-2pm.

Tip of the Week: La Shark - Magazine Cover

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Tom Young Tom Young | 11:41 UK time, Tuesday, 17 July 2012


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During their performance on the Introducing Stage at T in the Park, La Shark frontman Samuel Geronimo Deschamps jumped over the crowd barrier, rolled around in the mud and then did a front flip straight onto the very dirty floor (you can watch it here from about 8 mins in). It took the crowd by surprise and they were delighted to see it happen - which sums up New Cross band La Shark nicely.

Sitting pretty on the Radio 1 playlist this week is Magazine Cover. Yesterday Fearne Cotton played it between Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry and La Shark comfortably give these two a run for their money when it comes to experimentation. Magazine Cover is peculiar pop that sticks out at angles and catches you off guard. It's a delight.

The band, who have supported The Maccabees, Mumford & Sons and Paloma Faith, have established a following for their creative and arty videos and first class live shows. They hope to announce a UK headline tour and European dates very soon.

Follow La Shark on Twitter and let us know what you make of Magazine Cover below.

Huw's Label of Love: Denizen Recordings

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Huw Stephens Huw Stephens | 16:05 UK time, Monday, 16 July 2012

Denizen Recordings is based in Nottingham and works with up and coming artists and labels in the area to release their music. I spoke to Peter at Denizen to find out more!

Follow Denizen Recordings on Twitter and find out more about their roster on their official site.

Note from Introducing online: this Label of Love audio comes from Huw's show on July 5th 2012. We can only apologise for it going up so late and point you in the direction of Huw's weekly podcast to make up for it!

Tip of the Week: Swami Baracus - The Recipe

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Tom Young Tom Young | 14:47 UK time, Tuesday, 10 July 2012

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Last Sunday, Swami Baracus opened up the BBC Introducing Stage at T in the Park 2012. In the middle of his set (and featured in his T in the Park highlights video), Swami dropped his single The Recipe, which has been playlisted on Radio 1 for airplay across this week.

Swami, who has been well supported by Nihal, DJ Kayper and Friction, is very easy to like. He's a confident rapper, often working with classic hip hop beats and trading in playful lyricisim akin to the older sounds of Jurassic 5 and Ugly Duckling and more recently Professor Green and Wiley.

The Recipe (produced by Zaheer) pulls out more cookery references than Nigella, Jamie and Gordon could ever muster producing a silky smooth tune that's sure to get you smiling.

Follow Swami's progress on Twitter and share your thoughts on the track below.

Tip of the Week: Spring Offensive - Worry Fill My Heart

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Tom Young Tom Young | 11:15 UK time, Tuesday, 3 July 2012

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It's turning out to be a pretty good week for Oxford quintet Spring Offensive. Their single Worry Fill My Heart is getting airplay on Radio 1 all week and on Saturday, they perform on the BBC Introducing Stage at T in the Park. All richly deserved for a band that continue to produce innovative indie guitar music.

Worry Fill My Heart is a great example of what Spring Offensive do so well. It has the angular guitars and interesting drum rhythms that have led to comparisons fellow Oxford band Foals alongside the deftly balanced vocal harmonies led by passionate frontman Lucas Whitworth. The blend is perfect and this is a cracking tune wrought with controlled passion.

Find out more about Spring Offensive on their website and share your comments about Worry Fill My Heart below.

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