Justin Myers talks to Eddie Sims, promoter of the Annihilation Nights in Leeds.
Eddie Sims runs a promotion company called Annihilation Nights that puts on monthly gigs in Leeds and Liverpool. He also runs a management company and has recently set up his own record label. Very recently, he started a sponsorship agreement with MySpace. I interviewed him to find out more.
How long have you been running Annihilation Nights?
Annihilation Nights... since September. Originally it was meant to be Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool but I... well I did two gigs in Manchester initially, but I couldn't find the right venue, so I stopped doing gigs in Manchester and just concentrated on Liverpool and Leeds. And I've just got a new night up in York, starting in the summer at Certificate 18.
Is this your first attempt at promotions?
Not really. I've been doing it on and off since I was 18, so because I live in Manchester, I used to do it in Manchester. The band I was in, I used to sort of manage that and managed all the affairs and book the gigs and stuff. We used to put on our own gigs at Rock World and Star & Garter in Manchester, so I've sort of been doing it on and off. But now I'm consistently doing them every month.
How successful would say they've been so far?
The Annihilation Nights have been really, really good. I've had one night which I'd say was disappointing, but apart from that they've been really, really good. It's just a case of trying to book the right bands on the right nights really. You know, try and have similar genres on the same nights, I know it's all generally metal but you've got hardcore, and you've got the more progressive stuff, so it's just trying to balance it up and trying to get the same types of bands and make it more of an event because then the bands think it much more advantageous to get people down and support the night.
Is it hard time wise, doing gigs in Leeds and Liverpool?
Well no, because I have a sort of promoter rep guy, I suppose you could call him, in Liverpool and there's actually a Liverpool gig tonight. And he deals with all the Liverpool bands. He deals with the venue there. I just book all the out-of-town bands for the Liverpool shows. So he sort of deals with everything really, except the out of town bands.
So what made you want to get into promotions?
I've always tried to think of it from a band's perspective, because I was in a band you know, and you get a lot of pay-to-play nights in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, London, and in Birmingham. All the major cities have this pay-to-play scheme, where you pay £25 and you have to sell tickets, and when you get there you have to give the promoter £25 or you don't play. I don't want it to be like that. I don't want to be booking bands or bands asking to play and me saying 'Well I need you to bring a minimum of 20 people'. I don't want to deal with contracts or anything like that, I wanted it to be as free and easy as possible, you know?
So you have another company, Collective Management?
How's that going?
It's going well. Like Nerve Engine, who were from Leeds, but split up. I managed them. Erm... three of the members of Nerve Engine are forming a new band which I'll probably be helping deal with, the management side of that. But I also manage a Croatian band called Father who are coming back in March, and their album is being released on a label I've set up [laughs] in the summer, so yeah I'm looking at the moment for another band to work with. On a full-time basis.
So what's your role in the record company?
Basically, just dealing with everything really. I mean, I've already got everything in place for the Father release in the summer, you know, distribution, the PR company, the manufacturer. I'm just basically waiting for the green light to get it all... you know. I have to get a license agreement done with the Croatian label which I've just written and sent to them so pretty much everything is in place for that so hopefully if that release is quite successful I can then go and get other bands to release stuff.
So have you quit you day job?
Ha ha, I don't have a day job. I'm in my last year of University, doing Music Management at Salford University. So as soon as I finish that in the summer, I'll either be doing this completely full time, even though I'm pretty much doing that now, or I'll have to get a crappy job like every one else!
Where do you think you'll be in 10 years?
In 10 years?! I don't know, I mean... the main thing I'm bothered about is my management company, basically, and managing bands. You know, that's the thing I want to be really successful in or whatever you class as being a success. I suppose making a living out of it. The Annihilation Nights, I would like... I've expanded to York, I'd like to get a night started in Manchester. I want to move onto other places in Northern England by the end of the year. The Annihilation Nights are run concurrently, so Liverpool would be on the Wednesday, the York I've started would be on the Thursday and the Leeds on Friday, so it's ideal for touring bands. I can book them in for three definite dates. So I want to expand those nights, so I have seven days of nights each month.
And the label... I just want to get this release done and hopefully then be in the position to offer some other releases to other bands really. But that's just something that's been set up mainly for the band I manage at the moment.
Eddie is currently looking for bands to manage and for live shows. He can be contacted through the websites below.