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Industry Interviews

NMC Guest: Sean (Sofar Sounds Newcastle)

How long have you been active in the north-east music scene and what do you do?
Sofar Sounds is an organisation that set up secret, intimate gigs in hundreds of cities worldwide and the Newcastle branch has been around since 2013. Our shows aim to put the focus back onto the musicians, and allow our inquisitive guests to discover a wide variety of talented emerging artists, both local and from around the world, in unusual settings.
I am the city leader for the Newcastle team. I plan and organise all our shows with the help of our amazing team of volunteers. We take care of everything from the line-up to the theme and the venues.

How did you become involved in music and what have you done to get where you are today?
Music has always been a part of my life even as a kid, and I’ve loved live gigs since my questionable punk-pop days of the mid-noughties. I used to play a little myself in school and college but have found that I’d rather champion those that can do it so much better.
I was invited to a Sofar show in 2015 when I lived in London and was captivated by everything that made it unique. Soon afterwards, I joined the London team, originally as an MC – presenting the shows on the night. My deep loud voice cuts through a crowd quite easily! I transferred to the Sofar Sounds Newcastle team when I moved up north in the summer of 2017 and began to take on more organisational roles. I became city leader at the start of 2020.

What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music?
Firstly that you don’t have to be an amazing singer or play an instrument! Everyone is involved in music in some way, even if it’s just listening to your favourite tracks while out running or winding down with a beer.
Do check out your local scene – there are hundreds of artists bubbling under the surface waiting for lift-off and you will be guaranteed to find someone you like. Support your favourites by going to gigs or on social media. Look out for when they release new material. Tell your friends and family about them. You can play a huge part in the development of home-grown musicians by championing them and giving them the confidence to succeed.
If you’re an artist, use your passion and experiences within your own life to create truly unique work. Anyone can learn how to copy other people’s music and lyrics, but when you write and develop your own, it gives your music a heck load more gravitas. Don’t be nervous, don’t be embarrassed and definitely don’t keep those songs hidden in a sketchbook somewhere. Other people will want to hear them too. We organise events like Sofar to get your music out there to folk that perhaps wouldn’t normally discover you otherwise.

What are your favourite things about the north-east music scene? Are there any particular highlights from your experiences?
I personally love how welcoming and inclusive the scene is, and that you can build up a network of friends and familiar faces just by attending a few shows and supporting your favourite artists. Across the dozens of Sofar shows that I have been involved in, one of the best things is being able to mingle with the guests and artists during the show, to find out more about their personal stories.
It is also amazing to see artists that played a Sofar show near the start of their journey, that now after months or years of building their brand, are getting the recognition they deserve in tour support slots, record deals or airplay on national radio, etc.
For us at Sofar, we hope to provide a music experience that people will remember. It’s also thanks to our volunteer crew and hosts that every show is different. We have had rock music in a church, folk in an opticians, synth solos in a museum and I’ve been very lucky to host not one but two shows in my own house! Our International Women’s Day shows are also definitely one of our yearly highlights.

Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch?
At the moment, our gigs are obviously paused due to the global pandemic, but when we are allowed to put on shows again, you can find all information including the chance to apply for tickets at https://www.sofarsounds.com/cities/newcastle

Sofar Sounds: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

We also have a Spotify playlist featuring most of our artists that have played a show to date (Sofar So Good: The Definitive Sofar Newcastle Collection).

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Industry Interviews

NMC Guest: Charlotte (Events Manager & BIMM Student)

How long have you been active in the north east music scene and what do you do?
I’ve been going to gigs since I was around 12, but the first concert I organised myself was when I was 14. I’ve been putting on gigs in Newcastle and working in/at events for around 5 years, and I now work as a Music Journalist for Quite Great PR and study Events Management at BIMM Manchester, but plan to be home for festival season. I currently run online concerts for BIMM and work as Head of Events for BIMM Radio but hope to be putting gigs on as soon as things open up again.

How did you become involved in music and what have you done to get where you are today?
My first gig was a charity fundraiser at The Globe which allowed me to start booking gigs at Think Tank. I’ve spent the last few years networking as much as possible, working with companies and festivals such as SSD Concerts, Curious Arts and Tipping Point Live to get my foot in the door with the local music scene.

What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music?
Speak to as many people as possible and take every opportunity you’re given. There’s no point in being shy and most people involved in the music industry are really friendly anyway, the worst someone will do is say “no” and even then they may know other people who can help you.

What are your favourite things about the north east music scene? Are there any particular highlights from your experiences?
I love the community feel of the industry and the great range of events and festivals that we have, working as a stage hand at Hit The North at Riverside and as a box office assistant at This Is Tomorrow Festival have been some of my highlights.

Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch?
You can find me on LinkedIn (just search Charlotte Bredael) or you can check out my online gigs ‘Freshly Locked-Up’ on Facebook, @BIMMRadio on Instagram and follow my blog @NewMusicPF on Twitter.
Freshly Locked-Up | Bimm Radio | NewMusicPF

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Industry Interviews

NMC Guest: Rebecca (The Alternative Fix)

How long have you been active in the north east music scene and what do you do?
I’ve been involved for about five years when I started presenting local radio at University on Spark Sunderland and worked doing a few shows across the schedule including producing the local music show. But it’s only been about the past year I’ve really got knee deep in the local scene with getting my new music blog up and running and taking up lots of local opportunities with that!

How did you become involved in music and what have you done to get where you are today?
I’ve always had a love of music from a young age and always knew growing up that I wanted a career in the thing I love. I did my degree at uni in Broadcast Media and through that got really involved with local radio and our amazing local scene (that has only got better and better over the years too). I fell in love with finding new music and getting to talk about it for hours each week and knew it was what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to start a website for years but kept putting it off because I’d never gave written journalism a go but during lockdown in March I just went for it and launched my music blog and never looked back since!

What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music?
Honestly just grab any opportunity you can take because I wish I had sooner. Over the past year especially, I’ve learnt there’s so many amazing, talented and kind people on our scene, so just reach out to places like local radio stations, blogs etc and try and get as much experience as possible! The key to the music industry is trying to get as much experience as possible and at the beginning most of that is unpaid but it really is worth it with the skills, contacts and friends you make along the way. It’s always handy as well to try build up as many skills as you can across the industry because it really does come in useful, for example I’ve tried to teach myself graphic design this year for my blog posts and there’s plenty of apps you can get these days that are very user friendly and free too! As cliché as it may sound, don’t put off your goals and ambitions and just go for it because our North-East music scene is full of lovely, supportive people whether it be other journalists, artists, promoters… you name it!

What are your favourite things about the north east music scene? Are there any particular highlights from your experiences?
One of my favourite things like I just mentioned is how lovely 99% of the people I’ve came across on the scene are! I love how supportive fellow artists and music journo’s are of each other. I suffer from really bad mental health and although we’ve been in a pandemic for the past year I’ve met some of the most amazing and talented people this year all through music and doing my blog, we have a lovely little network so get stuck in! Another thing I love is what huge names we have on our scene at the moment, it is definitely the strongest I’ve seen the scene since getting involved five years ago and not to be biased but I think locally, we have the strongest and most diverse music scene in the country. So many artists on the North-East scene are destined for some BIG things!

Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch?
My music blog I run is for new indie, alternative and rock music and is named The Alternative Fix. I started this up during lockdown so only been doing it around 7 months but it’s going really well! I now get artists getting in touch not just locally or nationally but globally from the likes of America and Australia, it’s insane! The support and comments I’ve received have been so lovely and positive, it’s crazy how well it’s gone already and feel really proud I run and produce 100% of the content all by myself!
The Alternative Fix: Facebook | Instagram | Website

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Uncategorized

The Northern Music Collective: Our Story

In January 2019 a group of promoters, journalists and musicians began assisting one another in relation to the music scene of northern England around Newcastle upon Tyne and the surrounding region.

Realising that, through working together, they could better support live music collectively, the group launch a collaborative project to do this. The new year of 2019 sees the launch of the Northern Music Collective as it strives to support musicians in and around Newcastle upon Tyne.

The Northern Music Collective has a very simple aim: to champion music in the North East of England. To do this, the project brings together those whose love of music is their driving force; the very source of their passion. It unites us all as we work together for the benefit of the northern music scene.