Claudia Arnold Discusses: The Boileroom & UK Live Music
With Guildford venue the Boileroom facing the possibility of closure, TMMP caught up with local singer-songwriter Claudia Arnold to discuss the Boileroom and the state of the UK’s live music scene.
This interview is part of a larger TMMP feature which can be read in full here.
What is your general opinion of the Boileroom?
Every time I’ve been to watch a show at the Boileroom, the bar staff have been incredibly friendly and the same goes for door staff where applicable. Playing shows at the Boileroom is even more enjoyable as, alongside the bar service, the sound is always great and the engineers are helpful and accommodating. I’ve never had an exception to the above in all the years I’ve been watching and/or playing there!
What would happen if the Boileroom were to shut down? What impact would that event have?
The Boileroom shutting down would represent a massive hit to the Guildford live music scene, not to mention the Surrey scene. Not only does the Boileroom accommodate locals acts such as myself, but they also put on intimate shows for much bigger acts who’re emerging (past examples being Ed Sheeran, Arcane Roots and Bastille).
What is your favourite Boileroom-related memory?
My favourite memory of the Boileroom is either when I supported El Born at the end of June or, alternatively, the first time I went to a show at the Boileroom back in 2008 to see Frank Hamilton.
How do you feel about the state of the UK’s live music scene right now? What could be done to improve things?
The UK’s live music scene is both an unbelievably exciting and overwhelming place to be working in as an artist/band.
Social media has had such a big impact on what is expected of musicians when they’re looking for shows and the tricky thing is there’s no general expectation that every promoter / venue / artist shares. People sometimes talk about it being as simple as “Are you talented? Are there other people who think you’re talented too? You should have the show!” But obviously with such a saturated pool of talented musicians in every city, it’s not an option. Each promoter has their individual take on what an artist / band should do in return for being given a show, so it comes down to their discretion at the end of the day.
The general consensus tends to be “can you bring X amount of people to the show?” which is, understandably, necessary for any promoter / venue’s business but doesn’t always work out well for a local band who’re still trying to build a fan base, or a band on tour who aren’t yet known in a certain area. It’s a very delicate balance trying to keep everyone happy, and I think if there was an easy solution then it would be in place already!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The most important thing is that independent music venues shouldn’t be suffering when they are the institutions opening up the field for a whole array of new and emerging talent. It would be unbelievable to see the Boileroom added to the list of tragic independent venue closures.
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