Your weekly go-to new music guide brought to you by our London music journo, Peggy as she uncovers the latest ‘bands and artists to watch’ in the post-punk, new wave, jazz and indie communities. This week she discusses the christmas festival season, 'The Apprentice' style advice and the future of live music with Sam Tucker, founder of live music promotions, label and booking agency, CloseUp.
Ticking off the boxes as a music label, agent and promoter, how did you first come to start working in the music industry? It’s actually a pretty unexciting story, a guy I knew from my hometown of Winchester put a show on under the name of his blog, I always wanted to get into putting on live music/events & we decided to put a few on together. From that it was totally trial and error into forming CloseUp and everything that’s come since, I started whilst doing my masters at uni in Portsmouth, coming up to London & hitting different cities (usually where my pals were at uni so I had a sofa to crash on) and went from there. Follow your dreams kids.
How many acts do you have on your roster and who’re your most recent signings? At the moment on CloseUp we have 11 acts signed to the CloseUp Booking Agency, 10 to myself. We’ve got a few more artists we’re going to be announcing soon as well joining the fam, all very exciting times. Our most recent signings are Llovers, a wonderful dream-pop quintet from the North East, getting lots of Spotify/Radio love and with new dates TBA soon, damn Corona! Then Sad Boys Club, with their romantic alt-indie who're having a crazy few months with lots of festivals planned plus Marsicans & Slow Readers Club album tours still to happen, DAMN CORONA! Having promoted events up and down the UK, which music scene feels most like home? Ahhhhh, great question, really making my friends in different cities hate me here.. I think it’s probably always been London, it’s just where we’re most active (and always have been) and now I live here, even more so. Absolutely miss the South-Coast and venues like Heartbreakers & The Wedgewood Rooms though, deserves an honourable mention and some amazing folk work around these special places. Who should we be looking out for on your recorded release schedule this summer? Because of the shift in people indoors/the lack of venues to promote/have our artists play in, the label is something we’ve really been focusing on internally so expect a busy summer. Can’t name any names jussssst yet, but 2/3 new acts will be releasing tunes via our CloseUp Label in the next 8 weeks or so.. Having rescheduled your summertime ‘CloseUp Festival’ to 5th December 2020, what can we expect to look forward to? A one-dayer, absolutely jam packed party around christmas, with a combination of artists announced (and not announced) from our original 2 day plans. Oh and maybe even yourself making an appearance amiright Peggy???? You are most definitely right. In dyer need of a party. As, for the most-part, festival season has been well and truly trashed this summertime, what’s your fondest festival memory that we can vicariously live through? Oh god, the one that’s hit me hardest (as anyone who knows me would have heard numerous times by now) is 110 Above festival not going ahead. But fondest festival memory? No idea, but I do gladly remember Bestival 2017 in the forbidden forest, stumbling across a secret coliseum and a Bowie tribute hour DJ set at sunset. As pretentious and great as it sounds. What measures can we take as punters to ensure the future of live music? Keep buying tickets, I think that’s the easiest solution. The shows you have tickets for will likely go ahead, especially in smaller venues (where it’s most important), so keep supporting the industry. Support the music venues trust as well, we’re working with them on something cool and the work they do to keep venues in danger (and all the staff/culture these establishments hold) alive is actually incredible. Which artists and/or bands would have you getting the rounds in if they signed to CloseUp (let’s hope they’re reading…)? Hahaha, i’d be broke if I could write all the acts i’d wanna sign, no comment from me on this one. Can you offer some words of wisdom to any budding entrepreneurs who’re looking to kick start their careers working in the music industry? I honestly think the best thing to do is just throw yourself at it, be tactful, and ask people you know in the industry advice first (god I wish i’d done that), but there really is no better way than learning on the job, especially in say promoting shows. There is nothing more fulfilling than getting to promote/platform the artists you love, so even if it takes some time/you have some tough shows, keep at it, keep learning/adapting. Is that an ‘Apprentice candidate’ enough of an answer? Solid advice indeed. To end on a high, when lockdown measures are fully lifted and sticky-floored gig venues declared open for business, what is the first thing that you’ll do? Probably the same thing everyone will be doing to be fair, getting the team together for the first show we can get along too. Of course I'll personally be heading straight to Colours... @closeuppromo CloseUp website: https://closeuppromo.com/ CloseUp Festival 2020: https://www.facebook.com/events/771086706738685/