independent venue week (ivw) highlights the work and support necessary to showcase the work brought to us from smaller music venues across the UK, ranging from promoters, media outlets, music fans through to musicians themselves. between monday 23rd– sunday 29th january, through a series of gigs hosted around some of the UK’s underlined venues, saw thousands of fans and a roster of bands put on live performances in recognition and support of the future of the music industry and its commitment to live shows.
Spotting the vinyl, battleborn by the killers, in relation to the artwork, it was somewhat brought to the conclusion – by Sam, from UK band Dead! – that “If there was no horse, it’d be way cooler”. Responding, louis questions, “why is there a horse?”
it’s art! #art
for any music fan or collector, having physical copies of classic – or, just generally decent albums – are a must have. We’re hanging out with Dead!, to talk all things music and their involvement with ivw.
“it’s the whole thing these days where you listen to it on spotify and never make a physical purchase and getting a record, it’s a nice thing to collect and we’ve got quite varied collections at home. i’ve got a few placebo vinyls and i haven’t played them yet, but the artwork is so good”.
you can make endless playlists on spotify, allowing for categorisation and the ability to listen to hours of tracks and discover new artists. with vinyl, you’re listening to one album at a time and the majority of time, you may only listen to it the once, until the next time you feel like going back to that album.
“it’s just the thing isn’t it, that when it’s on your phone and you just plug straight into the aux player and you’ve got people over. i understand the whole record thing is a big thing from the past, taking collections to each other’s house, but where everything’s on spotify, if someone says check this band out, you have access to everything these days. chances are i’ve already heard the album, which is a shame as that little bit of magic has gone. but there’s so much new music that you can get stuck into.”
with a quick side note, while browsing through vinyls and spotting the music of dexy’s midnight runners, alex mentions, “my dad held the door open for the lead singer of dexy’s and he told my dad to f off”.
Ahead of their birmingham show at the sunflower lounge, here are some aspects that may have been taken from their fans during their live show.
“i guess we just want people to have a good time. we’ve been a very small band, we’ve taken our time and we have a really loyal set of fans, that they know every word. we always post the tickets out ourselves and run our own merch store and there’s normally a bunch of names that we recognise.
“you might not know them, or you might not recognise them face to face, but you know their names and know they’ve been here for quite a while. so for them, we like them to just have fun and also now there seems to be a few people coming out of the woodwork who have heard our new songs or have seen us at a bunch of festivals we played last year in passing, now their checking out our headline set, we’re not really trying to win anyone over or anything.”
“to watch a real rock and roll band i’d like to think. yes it’s nice when you go to a show with production and theatrics, as certain bands can afford that, as you go to ally pally and it’s great, and we grew up listening to more rock and roll. the who, just that natural energy, like with young bands.”
independent venue week- spreading the word of smaller music venues across the uk to understand the importance of their stature in the music industry. this is what ivw means to the band.
“from the history of dead!, we’ve played so many venues, independently run. as we’ve gone up, we make sure we play in small venues across the country,” states alex.
“We do our own shows called the damned restless future shows, which are in small, sometimes they are venues and sometimes they are in weird locations. so that kind of small diy ethic is engrained into dead!.”
“you can’t be an idiot and brush over the fact that there is a lot less money in the music industry then there used to be,” he adds
“we wouldn’t have been able to get to the next level if there weren’t a bunch of independent venues that didn’t say fuck off when a kid called up and said ‘can i pay some money and i be the promoter for the night and can you suggest some locals.’ ‘only an indie venue would do that and they’re really nice and helpful about it. they always give you help with promotion, which you don’t see on the bigger levels
“If you take away the infrastructure of indie venues, then there is no live starting point for any young band. They cannot just go down to the joiners and play a local show. local bands supporting touring bands. It just won’t be a thing anymore.”
as a band, dead! know what they want from the music they create – a fans base that develops over time and their originality. taking factors from the way in which they grew up and the music they listened to, in order to bring in an element that sets them apart from being just another band on the scene- the importance of DIY.
“its just how you do it, isn’t it? it’s hard to imagine how other bands could not do it. we don’t always make our own merch as we have two separate things that is official band merch, but we make sure the designs are what we want to wear. If we aren’t wearing it, we aren’t selling it. then the other side, the way fashion started was with some kid doing it themselves and making it look like they wanted it to look like. We like to make some merch as well, it’s a limited thing fans can get their hands on, that’s made by the band and we think it looks cool. it’s kind of a win win overall.”
the more opportunities are able to be offered as recognition is gained. in relation to music, the more widespread a band or artist becomes, the higher they go in terms of the status they hold and the venues they are booked to play at. for a lot of us, wishing that the band we grew up listening to back in school had a handful of fans, for the pure fact of getting to see them play smaller, intimate shows, to take it back to how it was initially, just for a few hours.
“if the killers played hot fuzz, that would be good”. we all agree on that one.
even in the smallest of cities, there is a music scene established amongst the locals. supporting local artists helps with the success in their career and are then able to fulfil more opportunities. whether it’s sharing a music video on social media, writing a review or through an interview, this all helps when looking at the bigger picture.
“we’ve got an easy one here, london. but when we grew up on the isle of wight, it was quite sad actually. we had a really good music scene. We caught the tail end of it before the council shut it down.
“being on an island with buses being difficult to link everyone up and staying up late being quite difficult for the young people, quite expensive, there was kind of no way for it to sustain itself. so when they shut down the venues, there wasn’t really a way for someone to take a risk with another one of the same size.”
Independent venues are as important as they’ve ever been. Dead! are living proof.