On 15th January 2011 at 13:39 Brett Lee Music wrote...
Rebecca Atkinson speaks to Richard Watson of 360 Club.
How did you get started in the music industry?
I am an industrial chemist by profession but no longer. It was an obsession with music really, going to lots of different gigs and clubs, becoming aware of a very underground scene at the time which was stuff like Mr Scruff and DJ Shadow before people knew who they were. Basically I wasn't happy with what I wanted to hear musically and after moaning about it for a while me and a mate, who is now the producer for Nightmares On Wax, we thought 'why don't we have a go at putting a night on for some mates?'. It was just a party really, we got some people together and some tunes, booked a couple of acts so we just put a night on from there. It was just a party and it went well, people were saying 'That was wicked why don't you do another?' and it became a night and from that grew another night. Then all these acts started emerging, people like Coldcut and it kind of grew from there; I started working for these big house clubs and took over a lot of big dance brands and did loads of dance stuff, Ibiza and MTV and all that and it went on from there.
How did 360 Club come about? Tell us a bit about it.
360 Club is mainly a night which is proper music night. It's well programmed and great for all the acts, there's a lot of them from the region with a great amount of talent and really I put it together because I thought it was great for the music scene. Through doing the industry panels which I am involved in, doing workshops, working with the college of music and advising various bands, I realised that I was just frustrated with what was happening with the scene in that nobody seemed to be trying to work with the bands and develop them. So I thought I would take the work that I do through my education company and all the free stuff and put it together in a night. The nights come from that with really good quality gigs but behind the scenes it's all about helping the bands out, teaching them the things I have learnt over the years and trying to get them reviews and things that are really important like that.
How do you find bands to play?
Various ways, really. I do spend an incredible amount of time cruising round the internet, radio, magazines and listings looking for bands that I have not heard. I love listening to music so I will listen to a lot of stuff that way and then contact bands. Even though the night is doing very well and the profile's doing alright, I still like looking for stuff as well as having people chasing me. We have had a lot of stuff come through people being aware of the night and from Alan (Raw) from the BBC and through other bands as well.
What kind of bands do you put on? Any specific genre?
The nights are never the same. We put on stuff across the board whether it be electronic, acoustic, folk, rock or post-punk. I just believe that if I have heard something and I believe there is something there with a band even if I know that they need some work or there are better bands out there I will give them a go. The nights are varied throughout as well but I won't put on completely different bands on the same night because it just doesn't work. The night is about the bands but my focus is on entertaining the people who come and giving them a good quality night because that's where the bands feel the benefit.
The local music scene in Leeds has been spoken about very positively recently, what are feelings towards it?
I think the music scene is pretty good in Leeds. There is a lot of stuff, there's a lot of very good stuff, there's some good events, there's some great events and there is a lot of rubbish. On the whole I don't come across many very bad bands, I am always amazed at the amount of varied bands and acts that I come across that are very good quality. Some of them could be better but they are only just starting out and you think 'wow how good could these guys be if they are like that now?'. There are a lot of bands who have been around a while and should have broken or been spotted by now but that's just a numbers game.
I think it's very healthy but there are some venues which are struggling and I know from speaking to the bands that there are a lot of crap gigs out there where the promoters don't care or they don't know what there are doing. There are a lot of bands who have had awful experiences with the PA or the sound or the engineer or whatever else. I think there are a lot of great promoters in Leeds but there are very few actually working in an old school way actually working with the bands. There is far too much sort of give a band a book of tickets and take their money and maybe not even advertise or turn up to the gigs.
360 Club has been linked closely with Alan Raw from BBC introducing recently how did that come about?
The links with Alan are basically through meeting Alan many years ago through an industry panel together in the Yorkshire region and staying in touch really. Alan does a lot of work with mentoring and advice and workshops with musicians and, through my education company, I do a lot so we have always linked through that rather than the promotion side of things. The 360 Club's ethos is about supporting bands and Alan became very interested in that because there is a lot more to it than just putting bands on and I am interested in having links with his shows because it's a great way to expose bands so it just made sense to work together.
What does 2011 hold for the 360 Club?
Even though it is doing very well and we are having a lot of busy shows with quite a few selling out. I just want to keep the focus fully on that, keep my foot on the gas and try and make it bigger. I am never happy unless a show has sold out so I want to maintain that quality for the bands and for the audience but I am now ready to raise the profile more and shout about the night because it's a great quality night if you like music. The main thing is to do a lot more stuff with Alan this year. We are currently planning some industry workshops and seminars and stuff together. I am also talking to a lot of people in the music industry about plans which I don't want to reveal quite yet but we are talking major labels and publishers and managers and independent labels, national press and radio. Really I just want to keep focussed on the night and maybe do some one off specials.
Finally if people want to contact you about 360 Club, be it bands or people who just want to get involved, how would they go about that?
Come to the night and check it out or alternatively email me (email@example.com) or find me on Facebook.
The 360 Club is most Friday nights upstairs at the Library pub (starting again from the 21st January). Check the Facebook group for line-up details here.
All replies to this article. Log in to post a reply.
On 15th January 2011 at 13:39 Brett Lee Music wrote...
On 17th January 2011 at 12:20 life beyond life wrote...
Good stuff Rich.
See Dan Audio @ Club 360
On 17th January 2011 at 13:42 clairecameron wrote...
Nice interview Can't wait til Friday!