Welcome to Epic Earworm’s new series Industry Insider. This week we look at music promotion with guests Heavy Soul Events.
New on the music promoter scene is Heavy Soul Events (HSE), an Oxford based music promotion team. Co-founders Max Paley and Samuel Jenkins-Strong caught up with Epic Earworm’s Helen Weston to discuss starting-up, early success, promoter pit-falls and looking to the future.
Helen Weston: Can you introduce yourselves and tell us briefly about your backgrounds in music?
Heavy Soul Events (HSE aka Max & Sam): HELLO! We are Max and Sam, the boys from Oxford. We have been attending gigs since before we can remember, but our first together was Kasabian [in] 2011 at the O2 arena. Since then, we have been broke due to the sheer amount gigs and festivals that we go to – We LOVE live music!
Helen Weston: How did Heavy Soul Events (HSE) begin?
HSE: [Max] I organised a fundraising gig for Oxfam back in April this year. Then it just clicked that promoting was what I am here for, being partners in crime that very night was the birth of Heavy Soul.
Helen Weston: What has been the biggest challenges faced in starting up HSE?
HSE: Not having time to listen to Fleetwood Mac anymore, way too many awesome new bands that we are constantly discovering.
Helen Weston: What services do you offer to artists wanting to be a part of your events?
HSE: Gin and bitter Lemon.
Helen Weston: Heavy Soul Events recently got off tour with Whyte Lytes. How was the tour?
HSE: Really great. We met lots of amazing people, witnessed some ground shattering guitar riffs and gained a hell of a lot of experience. Whyte Lytes are always welcome with us.
Helen Weston: What are the pros and cons of tours from a promoter’s perspective?
HSE: Pros I would say that getting to put on a show in iconic venues all over the place, Manchester is the heart of British music in my opinion, so that was cool. Cons has got to be all of the travelling on the trains.
Helen Weston: Does HSE have plans to take tours beyond UK shores?
HSE: When the time is right, most definitely!
Helen Weston: Do you have any favourite HSE shows so far?
HSE: Paves headlined the Bullingdon in Oxford for us back in July, that was wicked.
Helen Weston: Any memorable shows for the wrong reasons?
HSE: Our first show as HSE in London didn’t go quite to plan, on the night we realised a few mistakes that were never made again.
Helen Weston: What have been your proudest HSE moments so far?
HSE: Just in general, hosting Rock ‘N’ Roll stars. Oh and being told I [Sam] had great hair in the Zanzibar club [Liverpool].
Helen Weston: What do you look for when approaching artists to work with?
HSE: That they’re going to bring the noise.
Helen Weston: Is it important to you that a band have backing eg management, label deal (or interest) when they’re seeking a promoter to tour with?
HSE: No not at all, if we like the music they make, then we always consider booking them.
Helen Weston: What would you say to newer artists, weary of approaching a great company like Heavy Soul Events because of promoter horror stories?
HSE: Have confidence, we want to hear from you and help as much as we can to get your music out there.
Helen Weston: For those artists starting out, what’s the best way for them to land a gig with a company like HSE?
HSE: Send over some material and links to your sites explaining what the crack is. If we have the gigs, we’d love to give them to you.
Helen Weston: What can artists do to help promoters in getting an audience in for their shows particularly on a weekday or in a new town?
HSE: Liaising with each other’s social networking posts is absolute gold. Always mention the other artists that share the stage with you whenever possible, everybody is in it together.
Helen Weston: What advice would you give to aspiring promoters?
HSE: Just go for it! If you have a good ear for music and know the scene, you will do it.
Helen Weston: What’s coming up next for Heavy Soul Events?
HSE: We hit Brighton’s Hope and Ruin on the 1st September. Then a whole load of Autumn dates in glorious Oxford. Guaranteed smashing night.
Artists can contact HSE via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Weston. Photography: © Heavy Soul Events//Whyte Lytes//Of Empires (2016)