BBC ELECTRIC PROMS – NEXT STAGE
The BBC Electric Proms: Next Stage team then connected the talent with mentors and industry experts who have provided invaluable advice to help the artists improve their acts. BBC Electric Proms has provided a unique chance for artists to gain direct access to some of the most influential and experienced music industry talent for masterclasses which could revolutionise their careers. Just some examples of the opportunities for the Next Stage artists are Londoners ‘Friends of the Bride’ who are working on a new BBC THREE comedy commission to write a TV theme. Meanwhile Scots indie-rockers The Favours are working with a BBC film crew to turn their video idea into reality
Each of the 13 acts are working towards honing their performances for their big shows as part of BBC Electric Proms. They will appear alongside some of the UK’s most exciting music acts in an eight-hour back to back music session at the Barfly on Sunday 29th October. As well as this, one of the acts, punjabi folk duo Tigerstyle, will perform as part of the BBC Asian Network night in the FREEDM studio at the Roundhouse. Newcomer artist Jont will also be creating his own unique impact with a live webcast from a location to be announced.
Read on for an overview of all the acts performing from the Next Stage project:
BBC Asian Network – Tigerstyle at the FREEDM Studio, Roundhouse
Tigerstyle are a Punjabi folk duo. As well as producing their own work, they perform with Indian percussionists trained in classical tabla, gurmat sangeet, punjabi folk music and instrumentation as well as guest MC's. They will unveil their long awaited album (three years in the making) at BBC Electric Proms. They will bring to life their unique take on contemporary music – ranging from hip-hop to drum ’n’ bass and dance – as part of the BBC Asian Network night at the FREEDM Studio on Sat 28th October, with full backing from a string quartet.
BBC Radio 1 – Enid Blitz
Enid Blitz, formed in 2005, play catchy, stripped back guitar-pop about rubbish 1960’s architecture, doctor's surgeries and anything else that doesn't fall into the 'I love her/I love beer/I love hair metal and I refuse to tidy my room' category. Enid Blitz are working with a producer for the Next Stage project to help them create a livelier and more dynamically broad sound both in recording and live performance. They have also tried to escape the usual confines of the studio and re-recorded some of their material.
BBC Radio 2 – Jont (live webcast)
Jont’s music draws on elements of Leonard Cohen, new age acoustics, electronica, and psychedelic melodies and lyrics. His album is an intimate and deeply personal collection of six songs that drift from tender moments of folk-influenced pop to more rousing moments that are designed to celebrate the best achievements in his life. Jont’s development as part of Next Stage centres on live music gigs that he hosts called ‘Unlit Nights’ – based in homes in the UK and USA. He invites guests to join him for intimate performances and he will fulfill an ambition to webcast his gig via the Radio 2 website at BBC Electric Proms with the full support of a technical team.
BBC 1Xtra – Kyra
Despite being born in 1988, London-born Kyra’s deep love of the 80’s is the driving factor behind her debut album. An era where boundaries were crossed and the airwaves were alight with innovative sounding vocals, Kyra was mesmerised by the wave of artists which went on to become today’s icons including Shalamar, Randy Crawford, Prince, and Earth Wind & Fire. Kyra has been given the opportunity by the Next Stage team to develop her songwriting and vocal skills as she records music across the 80’s genres of soul, funk and electronica.
BBC Scotland – FOUND
FOUND, a pop band from Edinburgh, stand out from other unsigned acts because of the range of instruments and sounds they use. They have an unusual approach to song writing and experiment with different recording techniques to achieve a unique quality of sound. FOUND are working with the Next Stage team to devise an ambitious performance that will incorporate some unusual ideas. This includes a unique audio / visual experience fusing technologies and instruments from previous performances into a multi-media, multi-discipline explosion, and collaborating for the first time with a professional sound crew. They will also create a special instrument – taking the form of a large-scale sculptural piece that can be played by touching it.
BBC Radio Cymru – Genod Droog
Welsh Portmadoc based band Genod Droog formed at Christmas 2005 and have been described as a Welsh super group – Dyl Mei and Mr Phormula were founding members of hip hop band Pep Le Pew, while Geth Evs is also the drummer for rock band Kentucky AFC. Other members include a DJ and a folk singer, plus a new member called Nine Tonne who can rap in five different languages. The Welsh Mirror described their style of music as 'Sesame Street skipping rhymes progressing onto cheerleading chants, the tragic parts from the lassie soundtrack merged with the epic moments from knots landing'. Genod Droog will work with a music arranger, a choir and some members of an orchestra to create a more dramatic and organic sound without their usual use of samples and sound effects.
BBC Radio Wales – Spencer McGarry
This Cardiff based band are constantly gigging, and currently recording six albums with six distinct sounds ranging from straightforward rock, to classical and musical theatre. Due to the complexity of recording such diverse music, Spencer McGarry are working with the Next Stage team to find a way to perform their songs fully live and will bring in extra musicians to supplement the live experience.
BBC Radio Humberside – The Favours
The Favours are a gutsy, female fronted indie-rock band that headlined the Unsigned Stage at the Leeds Festival in 2005. The Next Stage team will be helping the band to make a video as their next step towards a promotional tool for their music and as an on stage visual. The Favours' Martin Knight says "We've never made a proper video before… it’s going to be hugely beneficial to the band and will really help us get to the level that we're aiming for."
BBC Southern Counties Radio – Hijera
Based in Southampton, Hijera have already been spotted by Drowned in Sound who wrote; “Baggy, funk, sleazy dance fuelled indie – Hijera have been labelled all of these and have consequently drawn comparisons with the likes of Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and most recently Kasabian. The truth is that they touch upon all of the above, but end up with something that stands out on its own.” Hijera have been recording their music at home and want to develop the quality of their work. Their project for Next Stage takes the form of two elements – to learn more about sound engineering and how to make their recordings better – but also to produce a proper demo for use as they move to establish and build their career.
BBC Radio Northampton – The All New Adventures Of Us (TANAOU)
Formed a few years ago with an ever changing line-up (except frontman Jamie), TANAOU recently recorded their debut album in Sweden and the band won the public 'Best Band' vote at last year's Weekender Awards. They currently perform a 30-minute set based on 'Best Loved Goodnight Tales'… For Next Stage they will work with a children’s/youth choir and youth string ensemble/string quartet. The aim is to push the aesthetic and sound of the performance and raise awareness of the power of music through collaborating with young performers. They will also incorporate instruments such as a grand piano, vibraphone and a double bass as part of their live performance.
BBC London – Friends of the Bride
Friends Of The Bride only formed in February this year. All in their early 20s, they're essentially an 'indie' band (guitar, bass, drums, vocals), but are inspired by late 50s west coast jazz, Sinatra and Steely Dan. They share a love of BBC theme tunes and feel that there hasn't been one to capture the imagination since the 70s. TV themes used to be an exciting and important part of the nation's culture. For their Next Stage development they are working with two giants of popular music and television themes – Alan Hawkshaw and Angela Morely. They have also been given the chance to work with a BBC commissioning editor to write an inspiring new BBC TV theme tune.
Northern Ireland – Cashier No.9
The sound of Cashier No.9 was born from Danny Todd's compulsion to create music despite having little means. A cheap sequencing package, a broken acoustic guitar and a head full of Nick Drake and the Beta Band were the jump off point for the electronic folk pioneer. For the past two years Cashier No.9 has been a loose project of low key gigs, self funded demo releases and chronic insomnia, while Danny held down day jobs with Belfast acts Corrigan and Alloy Mental (the former a snarling punkish outfit, the latter an ambitious live techno act). For BBC Electric Proms Cashier No.9 will perform with Austrian Schuhplatter dancers no less.
Watch this space…