Manchester music’s movers and shakers give us their unique perspective on the best (and worst) of working with unsigned acts…
Shell Zenner, DJ for Salford City Radio and writer for Chimp magazine, gives us her take on the local scene.
Favourite Manchester bands:
Young British Artists, Suzuki/Method, Slow Motion Shoes, Milk Maid, Weird Era, Blind Atlas, The Black Knights
What’s the best way for unsigned bands to approach you?
I’m a fan of contact through Twitter personally and I prefer not to deal in demos as there is not enough airspace in the world for them and formal releases! But I welcome any bands with formal releases (single/EP/albums) - even if they’re self-releases - to contact me; they often send them into Salford City Radio or contact me through social networking or email.
How can they make an impression?
I think it’s really important to not be too pushy, build a rapport up and generally gain respect for the musician/band you are. This is really easy to do through Twitter, where you can chat and build relations with likeminded people and remind them when you have a gig coming up or a release due out. No one likes being spammed by a million gig invites on Facebook which generally just fall into a big abyss.
Whilst it’s important to stand out from the crowd so you can be remembered, it's also useful to bear in mind that music taste is subjective and not everyone is going to like your band. Don't let one knock-back dent your ambition.
What’s you biggest bugbear when it comes to dealing with unsigned bands?
Being approached by aloof bands that think the world owes them a living. Manners cost nothing and it certainly won't endear your case for airplay or being watched/talked about. It’s amazing how nice, courteous and polite some of the biggest bands are!
Top tip for unsigned bands:
Use social networks to build relationships and contacts: on Twitter you can show your humorous side, your likes/dislikes, your musical passions etc. – basically, show that you are more than just another faceless band.
Regardless of what people say about MySpace, people still do use it to listen to your music so it is also useful to have names and pictures of the band members and a bit of a biog on there.
Soundcloud is great for posting your tracks as free downloads, getting your tracks out there and embedded on music blogs. You can also keep a track on the number of downloads and which countries people are downloading in.