I am a long term lurker on this forum, all credit to the Sound/Process podcast being by best friend on my hour long walk to work.
I have been producing electronic music for the last 4/5 years. I have been confident enough to release some pieces on Spotify/Soundcloud and much like anyone who releases music I have a desire for it to be heard by a live audience.
I have found it difficult to find a shows in London for someone who has literally no “contacts” or even a musical following.
Does anyone have any solid advice on booking shows in London UK and how to manoeuvre through the ranks of live electronic performance?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
p.s if it helps, here is a link to some of my pieces:
I haven’t played a huge number of live shows, but I’d say that by far the most important aspects are the two things you’ve already mentioned: developing a network of contacts & building an audience.
For better or worse, a decent chunk of the underground / independent music scene runs on social connections - being in the same place as people, developing friendships, and all that stuff. There are bound to be people in your neighbourhood putting on small-scale shows - if you can find out what’s happening around you and start tapping into those little networks, rather than assuming you have to build everything from scratch yourself, you’ll have better odds of making something happen.
In terms of audience - London’s got a million things happening all the time, which is brilliant in lots of ways, but it also makes it really hard to cut through the noise and get people to pay attention to what you’re doing. Playing and promoting live shows can be exhausting, way more than most places, and it’s really easy to lose confidence and burn out.
You don’t necessarily need to have a whole business plan thought out before you start, but I reckon it’s helpful to start by having a bit of a think about who your potential audience is, why they’d come to your show rather than someone else’s, and how you’re going to reach or grow them, then using that to guide your approach to planning and playing shows.
Thank you so much for the advice. I will take that all on board. I often find myself over encumbered with the notion of starting and where to actually begin, instead of walking out my door and finding nights and venues to perform.
another issue is I am unsure what market to portray my music, for example, I consider some of my pieces to be “experimental electronic” however promoters may not consider it “experimental enough” so finding a venue (off the top of my head Cafe Oto/E1 London) maybe too niche.
Or more over. Perhaps I am over thinking the entire thing!
Listening to the track you posted, I would say that it is of a quality that you’re definitely on the right track to start exposing it to an audience. Props! It’s cool.
I’ve been an active performer in Seattle, USA for about a decade. But I think the basic principle apply anywhere. The above advice is really spot on… rather than feeling daunted by an all-or-nothing approach to performing live, the best thing you could possibly do is some homework around the more DIY/intimate/small-scale venues and shows going on around town, and figuring out who runs them. Just showing up is half the battle, the other half is introducing yourself to the artists and organizers. This can obviously feel a bit awkward but I find that just coming correct with humility and transparency goes a long way. Rather than building a transactional relationship, it helps to build one on common ground and shared interests. Opportunities usually won’t come instantly, but planting the seeds will benefit exponentially in the long run. The internet can be really useful to continue that relationship building, but tends to be a bust in taking the first step.
The other piece of advice I would give… in absence of having any content or footage of a live performance, make a video. Any video. Film something on your phone or make something generative. People are way way more likely to engage with your content if there’s a visual component, and it’s a lot easier to envision how a live show might take shape. It’s kind of a secret weapon
oh and to your comment about classification and genre above… don’t worry about it. Stand by your music and don’t stress about tailoring to venue/audience. Again just judging from that one track, your music is quite digestible and not necessarily what I would describe as inscrutably experimental… that word can be somewhat nuclear in my experience
Given you mention Café Oto, which also came up in a similar discussion a while back: be aware that they currently receive more event proposals than they can reply to, let alone provide space for.
That’s not to discourage you from putting on shows, but to underline how competitive things are out there, and to encourage you to think about behind-the-scenes infrastructure and who your audience is, before setting your sights on a particular venue.
First of all thank you so much! I really appreciate listening and offering up your advice! glad you liked it!
I know it is all about creating a networking trail and generally meeting like minded people. I have a few events that I want to attend this month and the following months in great efforts to spread the word.
I have been looking into creating some generative visuals for the live shows, so it makes sense to use these as releasable videos! Thanks for the heads up!
I know I shouldn’t bog myself down with genre consideration but that is totally where finding the “right market” comes in. and what market to point myself toward? if that makes sense? however i’m sure clarity will appear as I attend more gigs.
Check out some shows at Iklectik, it’s a beautiful space near Lambeth north. I played there a few years ago with an improv group. The owner was super nice, into the music, and up for hosting relatively unknown musicians.
Looks like they have a modular meetup and a Hackoustic event over the next few days, definitely worth checking out.
Is that event a reoccurring night? (as in monthly/weekly) I would love to come but I have to work the evening classes (Im a teacher…) That type of night would be a perfect! Thank you so much for the feedback!