Sunday, 10 April 2016

Weird on Purpose: This is Tmrw come over all Record Store Day

Another Brum compilation! Hooray!

On Saturday April 16thRecord Store Day - you are invited to a party at Stryx Gallery in Digbeth, celebrating the launch of the latest This is Tmrw project: Weird On Purpose, a 2016 compilation of Birmingham bands, centered on Indie and its variations.

This is something to be celebrated. This is Tmrw are Brum promoters who love their music. But any promoter will tell you it's one thing to run gigs because you love the music; there's a lot of sweat and financial risk in that alone. But it's quite another to try to put on record what's actually going on in our city. 

I've tried this a few times, and it's a LOT of work. I've got a bit about that after the jump too.

You heartless curator bastards, you...

I'm sitting upstairs at the Hare and Hounds, where This is Tmrw are now based, with Matt Beck and Tom Hopkins. One way or another, the pair have been working on promoting gigs for the best part of nine years now. And now there's an album.

You've picked the bands for the album. Is there a danger that you will now be forever cast as heartless bastards for ignoring someone and not including them? You know how local pride drives things....
Tom and Matt together: Yes!

Tom: We've never put out a CD. At one point there could have been 40 bands on this comp. We thought it we could limit it to 12 bands to start with, to learn the process, then we can develop it further in the future.

So there might be another album in 2017?
Matt: Yes. It's very DIY at the moment. We're happy with that. We want to do one thing right. And that will benefit all the bands in Birmingham. We're working with Pete Dixon from Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam – he came up with the name, he laid the foundations for the whole thing.

The triumphs! The tears! The terrifying losses!

This is Tmrw took their name from a captioned 60's fashion shoot – you have to admit, it does look very 60s when you add the vowels back in – and stripped it back for the minimalist noughties.
Tom: We thought it was suitable for new music, the bands of tomorrow. We didn't want to put on anything old hat. So it was new music, and music that wasn't coming to Birmingham.
Didn't you take a commercial risk by picking bands that people maybe didn't even know about? That's the hardest bit of being a promoter who loves music, isn't it?
Tom: Well, we were just thinking of bringing up bands that we wanted to see.
People lose money that way
Tom: Which happened! Me and Matt wound up going to loads of gigs, and there were loads of bands we wanted to see. So why not try to get them up ourselves?
Matt: It was the Steve Lamacq/Zane Lowe era of Radio, all about the hottest record in the world. That's where a lot our tastes came from.

Passion radio...
Matt: We'd google these bands, check their myspace, email their agents... We dipped out toes in the water that way.
How did you find your first gig?
We both had jobs. I was happy to lose a little bit of money. And we did... some of them were really quite painful.

Did you have budgets for gigs nine years ago?
Tom: I don't think we thought that way. Now we've got our spreadsheets, we know what we've got to do to make a show work.
Matt: I think I remember losing four hundred pounds on one show... and being devastated. Literally. No-one could console me. It was at the Yardbird. 
I stood outside. People were saying 'You win some, you lose some', and I was like... 'No, we don't! This shouldn't happen!'

OK. Now you absolutely have to tell me who it was you booked...
Matt: It was a band called Look See Proof. They supported The Twang. We just loved them. We begged them to come and play. So we had to pay them quite handsomely. There was no tour, no press. It completely bombed.
Tom: It was a learning curve...

Some History

Weird on Purpose is by no means the first Brum compilation. There's a long history of local band compilations. At least two compilations are out there as Brum Beat. There's a Brum Beat Live at The Barrell Organ. as well.

I did an album in 1979/80 - Bouncing In The Red - when I was BRMB's Rock Jock. It had all the names of the time, and we recorded it mainly at the Old Smithy in Worcester. Getting there and back for the sessions - twelve of them, before we got to remix, cost me a fortune in petrol. 

And the then programme director at BRMB, fearing payola and corruption, would not let the station play it, despite everyone working on it for free. Now? The album, on vinyl of course, goes for five or ten quid on ebay. So someone's making money from it. Not me and not the bands. Hey, that's showbusiness.

There are others. If you know of more, drop me a line. I'd love to do a bit more research on this. 

In the meantime, I raise a glass to This is Tmrw and Weird on Purpose.

This is Tmrw website 
Read about Lewes Herriot, who does This Is Tmrw's amazing posters

Weird On Purpose launch gig: Stryx Gallery Digbeth, 16 April. Tickets here


Matt and Tom guested on Brum Radio's Big Wheels.

More music business posts on Radio To Go


Tue 12th, 4pm: Big Wheels: Matt and Tom (This is Tmrw) 

Wed 13th, 11pm: Live and Local: Trevor Burton at The Roadhouse.
Sat 16th, 11am. 
 15th, 3 pm: Muso Takeover: Call Me Unique

After airing, these can be found on Brum Radio's Mixcloud page.

All Radio To Go shows are listed here


I'd love you to sign up to the mailing list 

The Radio To Mailing list is the best way I can keep in touch with you, and you with me. You get a short email, usually on Mondays, with big recent topics, and, once in a while, a special offer or a mailing list exclusive freebie. And I won't pass your address on, promise.

Put your email address in the box below, and you're all set. 

No comments: