Interview by Graham Finney
10 questions with …. Alan Raw
How did the idea for #360RAW come about?
We discovered long ago that we have the same values regarding the music industry. Especially the experience of artists entering it. We both do a lot to improve that experience, but we feel we can help more. So, we will build on what Richard already does at 360 club, and see if we can develop the audience for emerging talent, whilst helping the artists and creating an entertaining night out for everyone who supports the project.
How are preparations going for the opening night in a few weeks?
It’s coming together very quickly because Richard is such an experienced promoter. The bands are all involved too and it feels really exciting.
You’ve got four local bands for the opening night; why did you pick those four bands?
We decided to start with a rock based line up for the first month as we can see a need for more performance opportunities in that genre around here at the moment, compared to other genres. These are breakthrough acts who are very capable and have worked hard. We want to point a spotlight at them.
How can bands get involved in future nights?
We will be inviting acts who we rate locally and want to applaud for their art and their effort. Artists can just speak to us too. I would suggest coming to a show and seeing if it’s right for them to play then, if they feel it is right, they can let us know that they are interested.
You’ve been heavily involved in promoting up and coming bands for years; what is your advice for a band who are just starting out?
How long have you got?
In complete contrast to the advice given to Prince in the fine movie Purple Rain; make music that you enjoy and be true to yourself. It will be more authentic and valuable. “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” (Cyril Connolly)
Put your heart and your art into the performance of your music. When you are on the stage, you own it.
Be good to the people who support you and support as many other artists as you can. That’s how a scene develops and that’s an exciting thing to be part of. Stay in the room with your mates when the support act is on and cheer them on. You will have a much better time when you follow them.
Learn about the industry. It can work for you if you understand it. Far too many artists don’t bother to study it and miss out on things like royalties that could help to pay for their instruments.
I could go on, but I’m starting to lecture.
Who are the up and coming bands in Yorkshire you think we should be looking out for?
Come and find out by seeing them live at #360RAW. You could also listen to BBC Leeds Introducing on Saturday nights 8pm-10pm for a fine selection.
Across the country there are small venues closing to be replaced by even more apartment blocks. How damaging is this for the live music scene for bands like the ones playing #360RAW? And can anything be done to stop it?
It’s very difficult to get people in power to understand what value is being lost when a venue closes. It is happening for lots of reasons, especially noise control. Usually in relation to new residents who have invested in property near the existing venue. All too often artists move into places where industry has failed or property has been vacant for a long time for other reasons.
They start a scene there by simply practicing their art. Starting studios for music and other arts, rehearsal rooms and small performance venues. The place can then get pretty cool and start to redevelop, with maybe a cafe or two and artistic events. This is unfortunately regularly followed by property re-developers cashing in and pushing artists out, often developing the area for apartments. If you are not aware of it yet, look into Agent of Change and try to show your support.
After the opening night, what are your plans for further nights going forward?
We are hoping to do a series of #360RAW events and have two more already planned. Look out for the April line-up announcement. You’re in for a treat.
Thanks for your time. We’re a few weeks into 2018; what would you like to achieve with #360RAW over the next 12 months?
I’d like to look back at 2018 and know that I have helped Richard to help a lot of local artists. Developing an audience for them and cheering them onto great things. I also intend to have a right good time doing it.