Lydia Stockbridge – The Boileroom [Interview – Independent Venue Week 2015]
Festival season may be months away, but fans of live music across the UK will have plenty to look forward to next week as Independent Venue Week 2015 kicks off. IVW is all about celebrating the unsung heroes of the British live music industry – the people who work behind the scenes at small local venues, performing endless glamour-free and frequently thankless day-to-day tasks so that you and I can walk in one evening and have an epic time.
Collectively, the UK’s indie venues are often disparagingly referred to as the “toilet circuit” and snobbishly ignored in favour of world-famous festivals and high-profile arena shows. But to look down on independent music venues is to forget that every group of superstars is a local band somewhere – and they would never have gotten where they are today without the support of their local venues and the people who run them. For music fans, an indie venue is the best place to watch serious musicians pushing themselves to the next level; it’s certainly more of an experience than watching a freshly manufactured boy band fake-crying on some lame talent show while canned violins play in the background.
TMMP’s local venue – the Boileroom in Guildford – is set to host a huge range of events as part of Independent Venue Week, including a super-intimate set from You Me At Six (tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow; see the end of this post for details). I caught up with venue administrator Lydia Stockbridge to discuss life in live music and more…
A super-cheesy question to start: Which musical genre best fits your personality?
Lo-fi art rock! Creative and low maintenance!
Last year was a tough one for the Boileroom, to say the least. How does it feel to start a new year and look ahead at such a wide variety of Independent Venue Week events?
It feels really great to move forward in a positive way, being a part of IVW again and giving something back to our local community as well as involving local record labels, bands, photographers, blogs, and videographers. It’s great to bring everybody together!
Of all the shows you have coming up for Independent Venue Week, which are you most excited about?
That’s a tough one! I’m looking forward to them all!
Looking forward to see Hannah Lou Clark play with her full band for the Quatre Femmes Records pre-launch party this Saturday, and practising meditative mindfulness with Inner Pieces at the Music Meditation workshop on Monday for a bit of calm before the storm! It’ll be great to browse for some new records at the Local Label Showcase that Lockjaw, Failure By Design and Rose Coloured Records are curating on Tuesday; I’ve always wanted to see Frankie & The Heartstrings live so there’s my chance on Wednesday; and These Ghosts are a great new band that will be fun to watch.
You Me At Six will be an awesome show – always an unforgettable experience seeing such a big live act play intimate shows; and JP Cooper (nearly sold out now!) will be a lovely end to a lovely week on Sunday! We also have plans for Saturday, which are still to be announced!
How does it feel to have Surrey natives You Me At Six back on your stage?
Incredible – it’s really great that they’re coming back. Intimate shows like that one are always so memorable – to see such a big band in an intimate setting is always an experience. It’s great that they’re coming back to where it all started out and supporting independent venues – and if Twitter’s anything to go by, a lot of locals are really excited about the show too!
Why are independent venues important?
Indie venues provide a platform for local and national emerging artists to cut their teeth before they move up to bigger venues. We’re the backbone of the industry; a place where young music fans come along to some of their first shows and get the bug for seeing live music, as well as a community space for creatives to meet, see their favourite acts, and hone their skills.
We all have our own character as well – we’re all unique and have our own stories to tell, I think most live music fans have at least one story of that time they caught “[insert massive artist name here] at my local venue – an experience I’ll never forget”.
How can venues, musicians, government, and fans work together to improve the lot of underground live music in the years to come?
The Music Venue Trust have really got the ball rolling on this – it was great to attend Music Venues Day back in December. Everyone got the chance to meet and work together, to unify our voices so we can start talking to the right people about making the relevant changes to keep the circuit going. Working together is really key I think.
Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
Thanks for taking the time out to chat to us; see you down the front!
You Me At Six play the Boileroom on Friday January 30th. Visit The Boileroom’s official website for tickets – and be sure to check out the rest of their events too. Music isn’t just about the biggest names in town!
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