Will Rees started putting on little shows as “Electroacoustic Club” at the Walrus Social back in 2004. It has since moved to the Slaughtered Lamb Pub. Recently he has started promoting “old” and “new” folk, roots and world music as “Pull Up The Roots” at venues like Union Chapel, Cargo, The Luminaire and Lexington.
What exactly is the music promoter’s role?
Creating the best possible show with the objective of everyone involved having the best possible experience and their expectations surpassed.
From your point of view what are the good points and bad points of being a music promoter?
Good points: The people who make it most worthwhile are the hardcore regular attendees who come to more gigs than is possibly healthy. Getting to hear some of the newest music around, as well as discovering some of the oldest music around. Getting to meet a lot of great people (artists, managers, labels and even some agents) and to work with them and be part of their development.
Bad Points: Not having enough time to listen to every possible CD or link and, as a result, some of the best new artists slipping through the net and the tube system stopping before 1am…
What are the key elements of promoting an unsigned evening?
Quality acts that complement each other, a good soundman (his name's Joe) and a supportive venue with a good PA
Seeing how record sales have dropped, how important do you think live performance has become?
As vital as ever, probably more vital in the past 10 years as music videos have become less relevant as a means to promote music and concert and festival attendances have boomed.
With all that is said about the decline of the music industry, have you seen many changes in the touring circuit and live market?
My friend Andy Inglis who runs The Luminaire tells me he quotes me regularly on this so it's probably best to repeat – a 120-capacity venue is no longer a small venue.
5 favourite London unsigned bands we should all check out?
Jack Cheshire, Pete Roe, Hyperpotamus, Josephine (Oniyama), Shona Foster
Any exciting acts you have booked for the rest of 2010?
Megafaun, Caitlin Rose, Annie & The Beekeepers, Jim Moray, Drever McCusker Woomble.
What’s the best way for an unsigned band to approach you?
Do your research first and foremost. Make sure that you know the music you play is relevant to us and the shows we promote. Then send a brief, personalised email with a link to some music and with your name and contact details.
Do you have any advice for somebody just starting as a promoter?
Stick to your guns, be adventurous but not unrealistic. Stick at it. Do the sums. See me after class and repeat.