Each of the finalists from our 2009 Emerging Talent Competition will be performing at this year's Festival. Ahead of their trip down to Somerset, we've asked them to write a blog telling us about their experience of the competition and their plans for the Festival. Here they are...
DEAD LIKE HARRY
I'm writing this from the confines of a recording studio in Sheffield. It's raining outside, but in here we are putting the final touches to an album we have spent the last couple of months working on. It seems like we are a long way from the summer and the festival season but as I write this I realise that summer is fast approaching (even if the is rain beating down outside). I have been asked to write a short blog about our Glastonbury experience so far, so here it is...
...I was sat in almost exactly the same place in the studio when in February I got a call telling me Dead Like Harry had been picked as one of the 11 finalists to take part in Glastonbury's Emerging Talent competition. It already felt like we had won when we were also told that whatever happened we would be playing at the Festival and we would all get weekend tickets! The finals approached and the evening went by in a whirlwind. It was a great experience to play in front of all those judges and I felt it was a real success even though we didn't win. All the bands were great and we were just happy to be a part of it.
Now with the finals over our thoughts moved to the summer and the Festival itself. I have never been to Glastonbury before, a Glastonbury virgin I guess. I am sure it will be everything it is said to be and with headliners such as Bruce Springsteen (my musical hero) it is going to be a brilliant weekend. We are playing on the Friday on the Queens Head Stage at 3pm. A great slot. I hope that the Glastonbury gig and the many other great festival slots we are doing this summer lead to an increase in the interest of the band nationally. The band has been growing steadily for a long time now and with the added interest this competition has given us and the radio play and newspaper coverage that followed we feel things have really started to move forward and the ball has started to roll. Hopefully come the end of the summer and the approach of Christmas we will get our album released and continue the push to take the band to the next level!
See you at the Queens Head stage on Friday at 3pm!
(Sam) Dead Like Harry x
Click here to check out Dead Like Harry's website
THE GENTLE GOOD
In January I entered the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition not because I thought I’d get anywhere, but simply because I thought a booker somewhere at the Festival might like my music and put me on a small stage. I went to the Festival in 2005 and got my bronze swimming certificate and since then I have been very keen to return and see if I can progress further. I was more surprised than anyone when the organisers rang and said I’d got through to the last twelve. It was a strange feeling – a blend of joy and dread. Joy at having been picked by such a prestigious panel and dread at having been picked by such a prestigious panel. There was also my natural distaste of "battle of the bands" style gigs, which I feared would devalue the musical experience and compromise my integrity as an artist. I soon brushed that aside however when it became clear that I would get to hang around with famous people.
It was great to perform at Pilton Working Men’s Club and to meet some of the other bands. I felt that my set went alright but I let my nerves get the better of me and didn’t quite pull off the blindingly brilliant show I’d been planning. It was all worth it though just to get the chance to play at Glastonbury Festival, and to meet Michael Eavis of course! I understand that the Queen's Head Stage is massive and even if it is half empty it will still be the largest audience I’ve ever played to. I’m also playing at the Avalon Café Stage earlier in the day and I’m really looking forward to that too, as I have a slightly longer set to sink my teeth into.
I have a really hectic summer of gigs ahead of me but I’m sure the Glastonbury gigs will be special. I’m not going to be able to hang around for the rest of the Festival however as I have to fly to Washington DC on the Friday morning to play at the Smithsonian Folklife festival that weekend. I’m really sad to be missing the bulk of the Festival but I’m also very excited about playing in the States – it’ll only be my second trip there. Hopefully I’ll play Glastonbury again in the future and I’ll be able to stay for the whole weekend!
Click here to check out The Gentle Good's MySpace.
City Stereo have been pretty crazy busy since the ETC finals, as we have been finishing off our debut album which we’ll be releasing later this year. Lots of time has been spent in the studio, and it’s coming together really nicely, we can’t wait for people to hear it. We are preparing to release this independently, subject to label interest, so have also been doing a great amount of planning, research, promo etc which has eaten up a lot of the 2 months since the finals.
We’ve been keeping busy on the live front, and have had some extremely fun shows, with our audiences getting bigger and bigger all the time. All of this of course, is building up to Glastonbury which is going to be something else!
We just can’t wait! I don’t think it’s really going to hit home that WE are playing GLASTONBURY festival until we take to the stage, even now it’s still surreal.
I’m just so glad we entered! In fact, we very almost didn’t… it was by chance that I suddenly remembered about the competition having entered it before, thinking "I’m sure the Glasto competition is run around now. I’ll check it out just in case" so I looked it up, and there it was. 1 hour from the deadline! So at 11pm on the final day for submissions, I entered the band... and I’ve been thanking my lucky stars since. This whole whirlwind ride was only an hour away from not happening at all!
From there we got the call informing us of the amazing news, and to be honest, it didn’t really sink in! I was delighted, but part of me was thinking, "Maybe there’s been a mistake, maybe they called the wrong band or something?" Because there was that element of self-doubt, we actually didn’t tell anyone about it until it was up on the Glastonbury, and Q websites. Then we started to be believe it that little bit more!
Obviously, we were over the moon. US... GLASTONBURY... WOW!!!
Next up was the live final; a great experience. We got to meet some top people, play with some awesome bands, all of whom are very different from us in style, it was a real pleasure. We were pretty happy with our performance on the night. I’d be lying if I said it all went swimmingly though... Our drummer Ben felt something snap in his hand on the first song and was playing through the pain barrier for the rest of the set. He did a great job, as we took a look at his hand after the show, and it looked like he was holding a golf ball in his palm! Of all the times for that to happen! It was never going to stop him, the man is a true pro.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Michael Eavis, and we can’t thank him and the team enough for giving up and coming bands like us a chance. Being an ETC finalist has certainly boosted our profile, and we’ve secured a number of other festival performances over the summer. It’s also been terrific experience that will hold us in good stead for anything that may lie ahead.
Now we are all counting down to the performance. The Queens Head stage, Friday, 1.50pm. Game on! We have also been asked to play the Avalon Crew Stage on the Thursday around 8pm, which we are also looking forward to, as well as playing some live acoustic tracks for Worthy FM on Sunday. We are super eager to introduce the people of Glastonbury to our little pop-rock band from Salisbury. We just hope they like what they hear, and enjoy the performances.
As for future hopes for the band, right now we are all about making our album the biggest success it can be. We’ve put everything into this, and we just want as many people to hear it and enjoy it as possible. We hope this can reach out to as many people as possible, and that we will continue to go from strength to strength. Ultimately, the dream would be to live off of our music. This is what we love doing, it’s our passion, and it’s all any of us ever want to do.
With 2 singles, 2 music videos, our album, and loads of shows (including 2 UK tours) in the pipeline, this year is going to be massive for us. It all kicks off with Glastonbury, and hopefully, this is just the beginning for City Stereo.
Click here to check out City Stereo's MySpace
We're good friend with previous GETC runners-up and fellow Oxford band The Epstein, who encouraged us to get involved in the competition. While Brian was away in Ecuador buying Alpaca-wool hats for the rest of the band (with no internet), we received the email saying we'd made the finals. We were all astounded. To get through all those thousand of acts who'd entered, with our simple songs and humble Oxford following, was a huge surprise and pretty daunting. It turned out a friend had a bus driver's license, so we hired a proper 15 seater tour bus and, feeling like schoolboys about to embark on a field trip, set off for Glastonbury. The passengers included:
- five postdoctoral researchers in Zoology,
- three organic farmers,
- two third year chemists,
- two A level geographers,
- one wildlife documentary ghost writer,
- one plumber,
- one BBC radio DJ.
After taking a pre-gig walk out to the scaffolds of the Pyramid stage to set our nerves straight, and getting our cameras out to photograph the Tor in the sunset, we went back to the green room for a quick drink. Possibly the strangest and most nervous moment of the whole night was while the announcer talked us up to a crowd who were suddenly totally silent in anticipation of the music. The four songs went well, although the adrenalin meant all the music seemed much slower than usual, as we forced ourselves to concentrate fully for every moment of the set. After the final cheers and a handshake with Mr Eavis, it was time for a quick game of hacki-sack. Before leaving I think every one of our 15-strong tour team had drunkenly hugged Huw Stephens, and told the Eavis family how much we were looking forward to the Festival in June. Eventually we all crammed into the bus and spent the three hour journey being interviewed by the hilariously drunk Tim Bearder from BBC Oxford.
Since the competition we've strengthened relationships with a lot of BBC Radio One personalities, including Huw Stephens and Colin Murray, and been played on Rob da Bank, Steve Lamacq and Zane Lowe's shows. Steve actually turned up to a gig in London recently which was a massive surprise! Tom Robinson from BBC 6Music also likes us, and introduced our slot at Radio One's Big Weekend in May. We'll be playing on his stage at Wychwood festival at end of the month.
We've also been reviewed in the Independent, Guardian, and online at several blog sites, so the Glastonbury experience so far has really been very enjoyable and helpful to us. We can't wait to see it through with the festival next month. It happens to be on the day after we all finish exams and jobs, and will mark the start of our biggest summer yet.
Amazingly, we now have five slots at the Festival!
- Queen's Head Stage, thanks to the Emerging Talent Competition. Apparently we're on second. We're really looking forward to this as it'll be like the competition itself, with all those great bands performing together, but with longer sets from each so we will get to hear alot more of everyone.
- Acoustic stage, probably our biggest slot and what we're most looking forward to. It won't actually be "acoustic" as in unplugged, so we'll have our full band sound and there'll be lots of other "acoustic" sounding acts similar to us.
- Avalon stage
- Avalon cafe stage
- Worthy FM session
It's going to be a busy few days! None of us have been to Glastonbury before, and coming from South Africa, Rob and I had never actually heard about it before, until a few summers ago our neighbour appeared walking mudshod up the street, carrying his wellies and grinning wildly, saying he'd "just come back from seeing James Brown" and spent five days unwashed to do so.
It's a really exciting time for the band. We don't have any idea at the moment what's in store for us - anything could happen! Being unsigned we aren't yet at a touring stage - but this is great as we're getting a lot of exposure through smaller festivals and getting more rehearsed every time we play.
My personal hopes would be for some European touring later this year (we've already recieved offers of gigs in Norway and Germany), a small tour up North before Christmas, SXSW in Texas next April, and then another summer of festivals as these are definitely our favourite gigs. We've always had this vague idea of setting up our amps on a boat and sailing up to Scotland, to visit the real Stornoway town - perhaps this is something for late summer 2009 to promote our second single!
But our real hope is to take Stornoway as far as possible, which means a good few albums and many years working together. We have diverse musical tastes and ideas, so it's great being part of this - it's unpredictable and endless fun.
Click here to check out Stornoway's MySpace
Wow... well.. erm...Things are going really well, which is nice! I've been on three back-to-back tours this year as well as the Glastonbury competition, so things have been pretty full on! After Glastonbury I'm going straight into recording my album - after one of those "post-Glastonbury baths" of course! You know the type... Where you have to refill it a few times... and that's after you've showered off the top layer that you thought was a tan... but was really some of the finest mud England has to offer! (and only offers it up on the weekend Glastonbury Festival falls on- like some kinda ritual)
I entered the competition last year and re-entered this year. Apparently noone has got through twice, but I wasn't expecting to win... As long as I got to the Festival - that's all I wanted!! When I turned up to Glastonbury town on the night of the finals... checked into the George and Pilgrim hotel... got given the key to my room... BUT IT WAS THE WRONG ROOM!! I walked in on two people... doing fuzzy tingle time things! I didn't see... too much... but erm... yeah... *ouch? you couldn't do that easily in a tent!*
Anyho... I can't wait for the Festival this year.. last year I played a hell of a lot of shows and this year I'm only doing a handful of small stage things... After touring for most of the year, Glastonbury is looking more like a holiday to me then anything else! I'm praying for the sunshine!
A good Glastonbury would be a nice "close" to the 6 months of intense gigging and hopefully I'll chill out my core to start recording the album in July! Though let's face it... We'll probably all be worn out by the end... I don't think it's possible not to be exhausted after doing a Glastonbury!
Sleep Goodly x x x . . .
Click here to check out Charlens Soraia's website
It was Dreams who entered us, the rest of us didn't really remember him even doing it, so when we were told we were in the final we were pretty chuffed. To be picked from thousands of bands is definitely an achievement, especially as we were the only MC/rap group in the running. The night went really well, and we enjoyed the other bands there, especially the winners We Have Band, they were on top form!
We're well excited about playing at the Festival. Us 4 have never been before but we can't wait! Actually, though, we saw Jay-Z and Amy Winehouse at Glasto on TV last year, does that count? As for camping.. Sub-U aren't hippies!!...(joking!). Camping looks like fun but we'll be driving in from Bristol most days. Let's hope the Glasto family will have a good time and enjoy our set, how ever it goes we are just gonna go nuts on stage and enjoy ourselves! Maybe we should have be practicing our crowd surfing/stage diving technique?
As for the future, we hope that more and more people will hear our music and eventually we'll be able to make music for a living. That's the goal. Our latest release, the Computer Game EP is now on iTunes, which we're very happy with. We've had lots of people saying how much they love the song 'Computer Game' so we're quite proud at the mo. Radio 1's Huw Stephens also played one of our tracks on his show!! (Big grin!) We've always believed in our songs and our unique sound, so we're pleased to see the amount of exposure and progress we've made without any management deals and stuff like that. We would love to be signed and well promoted though!!! We'll always write catchy songs. It would be cool to tour the world too. We've heard that Brazillian girls are quite nice ;)....
Since entering the Emerging Talent Comp, we're millionnaires now. We even cancelled our X Factor auditions, which Juva wasn't happy about. Lol, on a real though, many thanks to Q Magazine and the Glastonbury team - see you lot down there!
Click here to check out Sub-Universe's MySpace