EDITORS LETTER So you’ve brought The Unsigned Guide, logged onto the website, trawled your way through our ever expanding contact directory and still after more? Well lucky for you you are now reading the first edition of our new publication “Unsigned” which aims to work injunction with The Unsigned Guide. This magazine takes off where the guide finishes, stocked with even more information and contact details on studios, venues and producers, we also offer you interviews and features on the people who control the music industry. We also have stacks of equipment reviews and everything you need if you’re intent on making it in the industry. As well as free delivered right to your door every month. Wow... that really does sound good, and how much is this going to cost you ask? Well as you’ve already brought The Unsigned Guide all of this comes to you completely free as a thank you to you guys forking out for our publication. This issue focuses on the people behind the scenes of the industry, the producers and promoters who often, undeservedly, get forgotten about, we have interviews with the producer Mark Joy, who’s worked with the likes of The Saturdays, as well as taking to local gig promoter Kiran Ramsaroop and his take on what makes a successful band. Unsigned Editor Alic Joy
Guide to gigging - 4 Editors Experience - 5 Telfords Warehouse - 6 Acoustic Vs Electric - 7
Interviews Reviews Marc Joy - 8 Kiran Ramsaroop - 11 Capture Kendal - 13
Ebow - 14 G7th Capo - 14 Marshall Amp - 15 Crafter Acoustic - 16 Boss PhaseShifter - 16 Fender Telecaster - 17
FEATURES Here we attempt to help you though the, fun, exciting, nervous, traumatic and energetic world of the live gig. Playing a show is not just about getting on the stage, getting drunk and going home, it`s the preparation you put into it, the way you present yourself and it`s all about professionalism. Everyone watches the band,
it`s not just the fans, the promoters, the owners, the sound engineers, even the door staff, it`s these people that run the evening, the band exists in that situation for one night only, don`t make it awkward by being a difficult musician.
Getting the gig Venues Most venues won’t touch you without a demo, a MySpace page, or at least some way for them to listen to your music. Home or studio recording are both appropriate for getting gigs, though don’t spend too much of a studio recorded demo if all you intend to do with it is send it to venues. Send your tracks to anyone who will take them, but don’t rely on them to listen to them. Don’t be scared to get on the phone to people, a passionate phone call to a promoter can get stop your band from being over looked. Put your band name and contact details on the CD, inlays and cases get lost, by writing on the CD it stops this happening to you.
Any gig is a good gig, headlining a stadium or being six places down the list at your local pub, each one is as important as the last. Venues normally supply bands with a P.A. system, cables and occasionally a backline, but don’t get complacent always call ahead to find out what equipment they want you to bring. Always send a list of your equipment and requirements to the venue before you turn up, this gives you and the promoter’s time to prepare. In fear of sounding like you parents I’ll just quickly say, be polite, it’s not hard, don’t storm off, don’t make difficult demands, a good impression will get you invited back.
Avoid paying a deposit, some venues will ask for a deposit for you performance to encourage you to bring a large crowd.
Never pay to play a gig. Unless of course they are asking for a deposit on some equipment , then that is only polite.
The Show Don’t get drunk, no matter how well you think you can handle your drink it brings you across in a very unprofessional manner. You’re not Mick Jagger. Embrace the crowd, if you’re not getting the reaction you want don’t sulk and don’t have a go at the crowd, you’re not guaranteed respect just by being in the band Play to your strength, you’re not playing Wembley, you can’t do whatever you please, leave your ego behind and have fun.
What Happens Next? Don’t be unsociable, talk to the crowd, the sound engineers, the owners, find out how it went, what they thought. Don’t be afraid to ask for payment, you’re giving them a service, they are profiting from you, so there is no shame in asking for something in return. Though don’t get arrogant, don’t demand hundreds of pounds for your presence, I’m still happy if I get a free drink when I perform. So get out there and try and get more out of your live performances.
I’ve played gigs around the country, playing little pubs, to dodgy clubs, playing at mini festivals and even at Liverpool’s prestigious Cavern Club. Sometimes the crowds are good, and other times you just end up playing to the other bands and their girlfriends, it’s a right of passage for everyone trying to make it on the gigging circuit. The point of playing gigs, for me any way, isn’t a promotional tool, playing you’re music, you’ve written, to people who enjoy it is the best part about a gig. If you start treating every show like a job interview you’ll stop enjoying it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything bad about treating every show like your playing Wembley but if you put too much effort into it you’re going to stop enjoying it. Simply taking some time out to enjoy your gig instead of getting stressed out as to whether or not their are people from record studios there and whether or not you’ve got a good or bad crowd will really bring across a better attitude in your performance. So remember, don’t stress yourself out, don’t get hung up over who is watching you and most importantly, embrace the cliché and just enjoy yourself.
This pub, lost in the residential maze of Chester may seem little more than a quaint pub on the edge of the canal, but drenched in history and bursting with culture it makes it the hottest gigging venue in the historic little city. For a pub, of which not many outside of Chester have never heard of, it is able to attract some pretty big names. The intimate nature of the venue has drawn such artists as, Coldplay, Robert Plant, John Martyn and Duffy to perform gigs and acoustic sets in this idyllic location. The building itself, designed by the legendary
engineer (I think it’s the first time I’ve put those words together) Thomas Telford, was originally used as a cargo warehouse for the canal system, but now, with some historic interior it is one of the most popular venues in Chester. The venue holds an array of events, some of which are free, including acoustic sets, open mic nights, charity gigs as well as band nights. So how is this any different from your local pub I hear you ask? And what makes Telfords Warehouse so special? Well, it’s the atmosphere, I know it’s a cope-out and I
know it’s a generic answer but there is no other way to explain it. The customers ranger from the local university students right up to the local, “older gentlemen” who appear to be part of the furniture, and it’s only in this venue do they come together without people thinking twice. The audiences for the bands are always up for a good time and responsive, to such a level as Telfords Warehouse is a heavily fought for gig for any local band. www.telfordswarehousechester.com Tel: 01244 390 090
The range of sound of which a drummer can achieve from the classic acoustic kit is far greater then that of the electric, the feel and sound of skins as they are hit give the drummer a sense of satisfaction that can only come from an acoustic kit. The acoustic drums just feel right, it’s what a drummer should be playing, from the first time you hit your first skin it’s a sensation that can’t be replicated. And on the sensible side, your money will go a lot further when buying an acoustic kit as well as offering more variation in brand then the electric kit.
sti u o c A
Vs. The electric kit is perfect for a learner, with no skins to tune, which means no sloppy drumming, and no need to pull back from hitting the kit as hard as your arms can cope it’s ideal for the heavy handed enthusiast. It’s one of the few instruments which is neighbour friendly, plug you headphones in and you can drum till the early hours without disturbing anyone. It is also able to fold away after use leaving you extra space to do... erm... anything you want really. Okay, here’s the bad bit... you’ll never get that acoustic sound we all love and you have to pay close to £1000 to get anywhere near it. Due to the compromised sound range of the equipment means it’s not very good for gigging either, unless you’re going for that 80’s sound.
ri t c e El
It was the Hollywood Western that coined the phrase “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us” but in the case of Buckley, the small Welsh town that plays home for Marc Joy, this town doesn’t even seem big enough for the one of him. It really is a tiny area, not a lot of shops, a couple of greasy cafes and some pubs that look a little suspect, but it’s here where we find Marc Joy, a man who has worked with the likes of The Saturdays, worked on an Oasis album, helped endless amounts of bands find their sound and even found time to perform in a hugely successful T-Rex tribute band. Meeting in his, anything but extravagant, studio, a quick tour shows a small recording room, a drum room, his control room and his pride and joy, his “kitchlet”, that’s right half kitchen, half toilet. Hygienic. It feels like you’re inside someone’s garage, it’s small, cramped and not the best looking place, but it feels special. “It’s not very big here, I have been thinking of upgrading, I’ve even been in talks to move to a
residential studio, but it just feels like home here.” Marc has been recording for many years now, working with friends, local bands, not so local bands, pop acts and even the Rolan Bolan the son of the legendary T-Rex front
being used on both TV and radio. “It was that really that gave me my biggest boost, I’d worked with some big names before but now everyone wanted to work with the man who can got you ‘that Tim and Sam
`everyone wanted to work with the man who can get you that Tim and Sam sound` man. “People travel to my little studio from miles away, we’ve just had a band leave who came up from London, they slept right here on the floor. I do seem to attract a good crowd of artists.” Marc first began to attract attention after recording for The Tim and Sam Band, a folk band who are forever gaining popularity on the gigging circuit. The Ep he produced got well played,
sound’” Marc still remains in close contact with Tim and Sam, who he accredits for a lot of his business. “They keep coming back to record more, I think that’s the biggest compliment you can get, someone coming back for seconds.” As well as recording smaller bands Marc recently got invited go guest produce a track on The Saturdays album, which meant his name
Interviews appeared on a Top Ten album. In addition to The Saturdays he has even worked on an oasis album. “I don’t give myself too much credit for the Oasis stuff, I did some remastering a few years back, so there was very little input from me, it was still fun to do, working on an oasis project, it’s a big deal.” As well as his recording job Marc also calls himself a musician, playing in a band Called Lo-Fi Lung, and experimental rock back, heavily influenced by The Stone Roses, he is still a performer, still a musician. Marc has also struck up a friendship with Rolan
obscure tracks from the T-Rex catalogue quickly gave them the reputation as being the tribute act for true fans, as well as being one of the top acts in the
`we were just in it to play some T-Rex songs` Bolan, Mark Bolan’s son, after meeting him at some gigs. The pair now record together and play together trying to fit in an odd gig wherever they can. “I met Rolan when I was playing in a T-Rex tribute band. The band was only supposed to be a bit of fun, but it ended up taking us to America to perform in some pretty cool places, we even did a couple of festivals.” Marc prided himself with their take on the TRex tribute band, playing
country. “Unlike other acts we never deluded ourselves into thinking we were actually T-Rex, so many of the bands keep hold of their stage personas after the show, we were just in it to play some T-Rex songs.” Marc is soon to pick up his own management team after being produced by an agency who wanted him to reach a greater audience. Under new management he will be getting a new studio, new equipment
and hopefully a lot of new talent. Away from the studio Marc has a quiet family life, though with long studio hours he often talks about how he’d like more time at home with his three children, who also share his love of music. “My kids are amazing, I know all parents are proud but my kids are special. They all play instruments, guitar, drums and piano and I think there are more instruments scattered across my house, thanks to the kids, then there are in the studio.” Brimming with talent as well as the ability to bring it out in others, Marc really is a top quality producer who is really beginning to leave his mark on the music industry.
Introducing himself as the rocket scientist rockstar, this University student turned gig promoter talks to Unsigned giving us an inside look at the gigging circuit.
I’m based in Liverpool so that’s where the events are. Most of my work is in Liverpool, having been a student there I know the city and still have a lot of contacts here. I’m still known with some students as well so I get a lot of their bands putting on gigs
How long have you been promoting gigs? I started whilst I was in my final year at university, so I was 20 or 21 and have been doing it for a couple of years now. What kind of shows do you put on? It really depends, I work with so many different bands it changes every time. At the minute I’m focusing my time on a series of Battle of the Band evenings we have coming up, they’re kind of a big deal as well. There’s about 30 different bands, so we have heats, semi-finals and a huge final where the winner will get time in a recording studio and £500. Where are the events being held?
through me. So what does your job actually consist of? We do a number of different things, with the Battles of the Bands we’re doing we rented out the venues beforehand then book acts and fill the slots. I also get contacted by bands trying to find venues, this is mainly from
people outside the city and I try and find places for them. I also put on band showcase evenings where I contact bands and venues and put on a show of about 3 bands. You must have seen a lot of bands, any that really stuck in you head? Pocket Apocalypse. They’re a really good, tight, rock band, sound a bit like muse and put on a really energetic show, I enjoy working with them a lot. What is you favourite venue in the city? I have to confess it’s not a venue I work with but I love seeing bands at The Cavern Club, it would be impossible to say that wasn’t my favourite venue. Though out of the ones I work with, I love putting on shows at the university, it’s always full of a great crowd and you always get such a vast array of bands and sounds coming out of the student sector, it really does make for a good night.
Hailing from Telford UK, frontman Alex Weston, speaks to Unsigned to discuss their new EP, their first studio experience and how they they find life in a band. How did the band start? The band first started under the name Inertia, I knew Matt (Guitar) from school and we we’re introduced to Jon (Drums) though mutual friends, though for the last six months we’ve been playing under the name
of Leon, The Silversun Pickups and Radiohead, though how we write songs depends on what we are listening to at the time, we’ve all got such varied musical taste every song we have is slightly different.
`We used to be called Inertia but no-one could spell it` Capture Kendal and two weeks ago we got a new guitarist, Dan. Why did you change your name from Intertia? We all really liked the name Inertia but no-one could spell it. We ended up being called Capture Kendal because we have a friend named Kendal and we though it sounded quite catchy. What do Capture Kendal sound like? I think we sound like a good mix between Kings
What are the best gigs you play? Recently we have been lucky enough to be able to play the Wolverhampton Civic and Birmingham Academy 3, both were really good gigs, but some of my favourites are playing venues back home at Oakengates, we always have a good crowd there. Do you just play your own gigs or have you taken part in and competitions? We recently got to the semi-finals of the
Birmingham Barfly unsigned band competition which was a huge confidence boost. we’ve also won a few local battle of the bands competitions which are always fun to do. What’s your highlight of being in this band? We’ve recently just come back from recording an EP, that’s going to be made available to buy through our website. It was defiantly one of my favourite parts of being in a band, it’s really brought the band together and things are really starting to take shape... I hope. We have stand out gigs that I really enjoy but recording has definitely been a highlight for me. What’s your favourite piece of equipment? It’s got to be my Bass Guitar, I have an Epiphone T-Bird Pro, I got it for my eighteenth birthday and it is sweet. www.myspace.com/capturekendal
Plastic and grey... not the most defining points of this piece but when they are the only two negative things idetified about this gadget then it begins to show what an extrodinary item this . The EBow is one of the most intriguing pieces of equipment for a guitarist, used badly and it can lead to uncontrollable feedback and a harassment to the ears, though when used correctly it can open the door to infinite sustain and a whole new way of playing your guitar. Used by a large array of artists, from Matt Bellamy of Muse to Glen Frey of The Eagles, the EBow is very versatile allowing the used to create soaring and endless notes of to create psychedelic sound effects of seagulls and fog horns. Invented by Greg Hart in 1969, though not available for public purchase until 1974, the EBow offers an alternate way of playing
the guitar, it removes the need for plectrums or even fingers to be used on the strings. The item itself uses an electromagnetic field in order to vibrate the strings of a guitar. By doing this it also allows for the string to produce a higher, harmonic tone then the general string output. Often mistakenly thought of as an “electronic bow” the EBow was actually initially marketed as “The
Energy Bow”. Currently on the fourth generation version of the device and cleverly named The PlusEBow, it gives you the promise of achieving the PlusEBow Effect (say it out loud). The beauty of the guitar accessory is it pure simplicity, one switch, two power settings, and as long as you are pointing the right end of it towards the strings then there is nothing stopping you getting started. The G7th Capo an innovation in the engineering world of the capo. Okay so it’s not a world that has a lot of historic break throughs but this little piece of equipment really broke the mold, in the way it looks and the way it is
Classic looks, versatile in sound and purpose as well as being amazing value, this essential piece of equipment is a favourite here in the Unsigned offices, as well as being a favourite piece of equipment for backlines, schools, practice rooms as well as bedrooms. This amp has been around for a good few years now, first introduced to the shops just shy of ten years ago and has quickly become a favourite, standard amp, for performers in many different disciplines, and though it is slowly growing in age its popularity is not fading at all. The beauty of this amp is its simplicity, the easy de-
sign and layout of the dials and switches. With three clear channels of sound, “Clean”, “Overdrive” and “Digital FX” it doesn’t take long at all to find your way around. This amp was one of the first of its kind to successfully integrate digital effects into the amp,
used. With no screws to tighten and no fabric to pull taut the G7th Capo works by the used applying a small amount of pressure to the device and the Capo’s internal lock keeps everything gripped. It’s simple
and it works. The capo is also versatile, it can be used on electric, acoustic and even bass guitars and will hold it’s pressure regardless of the tension of the strings or their positioning above the neck.
allowing for the effects to be used in conjunction with the overdrive or clean tones already selected. The amp allows for the user to access, Flange, Chorus, Delay, Delay and Chorus as well as the standard Reverb, with the footswitch (which comes as standard for this model) you are able to switch with ease. With a heavy sound for a small price this amp has been favoured by such band as Velvet Revolver and the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath, this little, penny saving amp hits well above its weighting.
And now the most important part or the item, and the reason why I brought it, it just looks cool, it’s futuristic shape will make you guitar look sexy. Though costing £30 it’s a little on the pricey side.
Not the most loved of guitars but Crafter have always tried their hardest to bring us decent instruments and reasonable prices. Unfortunately this guitar follows the pattern of being not the most loved. The first thing to strike you when playing this guitar is the positioning of the strings, they extrude a fair distance away from the next making it a complete finger work-out in order to get the held down on the frets. The wood of the next also is very slow actioned making fast finger work very difficult. It also does nothing for itself regarding its looks, it’s not ugly but it’s by no
means pretty either, it’s generic looking and for something that doesn’t play too well it should at least look good. The sound of the guitar also leaves a lot to be desired, it is full of bass and the string rattle when strummed. The guitar fails again when plugged into an amp as the feedback it gives off means it’s easier to play it through a microphone, making the fact the it’s an electric acoustic absolutely redundant. Unsigned never try to be harsh in a review but this guitar really did disappoint us, maybe one day Crafter will make a guitar that’ll excite us, but this guitar really doesn’t.
The PhaseShifter pedal by Boss is a huge favourite here in the Unsigned officer, with three great setting it can make your guitar sound like seagulls, lasers or ever like it’s gargling water. As a serious guitar pedal it has very limited applications but as soon as you’ve had a go with one of them you will trying you best to incorporate it into your songs.
Favoured by Jeff Buckley, this guitar has, without doubt, earned it’s way into the “classic” section of any self respecting music store, but what makes it so special? The guitar itself is very basic, basic shape, basic pick-up, basic sound but that is where it’s beauty is. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else, the sound it produces defines the word “twang” but you wouldn’t have it any other way. Everything about this guitar screams simple: one volume dial, one tone dial, two single coiled pick-ups and a pick-up selector and to be fair it goes a long way to show that is all you need. Though it produces what can only be described as a simple twang the guitar itself is very versatile with it’s sound. The guitar has been used through out a number of genres, most famously blues but also funk, rock and jazz. The two pick-ups on the guitar offers huge
variety, something that is lacking in most other guitars. The pick-up by the next is ideal of lead guitar allowing subtle tones and picking up harmonics beautifully, though when switching to the bottom pick-up you’re given all the tone you need for that perfect blues sound. The bottom pick up, at times, can sound a little heavy with “treble” but it’s a problem that can not be overcome with a little fiddling with the tone dial. In terms of looks this guitar is unbeatable, the traditional tobacco sunburst body is iconic and the chrome is... there’s
not a lot to really to say about the chrome, it’s nice anyway. On the reliability front it performs perfectly as a guitar, the strings hold their tune well and their positioning on the neck doesn’t allow for any rattling. It’s also problem free guitar due to it’s simple design, there’s not a lot there which means there’s not a lot that could go wrong. This guitar is for anyone who desires versatility, it carries the sound for any punk/rock/soul/funk/ jazz/indie band and looks good whilst doing it. The guitar also lends itself to modifications, if that’s what you are into. There are a number of pick-ups on the market that work beautifully in the guitar, our favourite here at Unsigned is the Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder, which is designed for a post-rock sound, ideal for anyone trying to imitate the sound of Sigur Ros or Explosions in the Sky.
Chain Vs. Independant