Radio 1 Article From August 2002
How four lads from Leeds became one of the country's most exciting unsigned bands and got their deal.
The Music represent many a young band's dream. At school they felt their lives weren't offering them anything worthwhile so they got some instruments and just started playing. "We were just jamming with our friends, tormenting the neighbours and playing at school - that sort of vibe," says Phil the drummer whose loud practising unsurprisingly lead to petitions against him by his entire street.
Getting the kit
Of course when you're at school your options are limited by many things, but mostly it's money. This is where The Music owe much to their parents. Aside from driving them to rehearsals and helping carrying their gear, they also bought their instruments. Not as presents mind you. As Phil says, "I cleaned the house for a drum kit." They also weren't scared of Saturday jobs.
Write from the start
But enough of the practicalities, it's the music that makes them stand out. Here at OneMusic we aren't going to discuss how they compare to seminal bands, we are more interested in how they found their sound. There's a clue in what Adam said when we asked him if they practised cover versions at early rehearsals, "We never ever did a cover and that's the one thing I'd advise bands not to do. Just write your own stuff straight from minute one. We could never agree on a cover anyway because the stuff we listened to was so different."
This is a band that played a lot. They would get together at school and then again two nights a week. Tuesdays they were upstairs in a pub and Fridays they were in a church hall just jamming and getting to know their stuff. As Adam explained, "We weren't concerned about sounds and what we sounded like - we were just having fun with it. We just whacked it up and played as hard as we could, as fast as we could, or as quiet as we could, as slow as we could - extremes."
There was only a month between the band's current line-up forming and their first gig. They knew they wanted to be a live band so there was no point hanging around. Adam takes up the story: "It was at the Cockpit in Leeds. A local promoter was putting on a few bands, it was an excuse to be on stage with a PA in front of people. That gave us a lot of confidence and made us crack on a bit more."
Standing out from the crowd
As anyone who heard their first demo on Steve Lamacq's 'Session Unsigned' will testify they stood out from all the other unsigned bands around at the time. Quite simply they were making a sound unlike anything heard for a long time. So when they entered a talent competition organised by Leeds City Council they won. "We just did it for a laugh because you got to play in some nice venues. We ended up winning it but that didn't matter," says Adam.
Whenever we at OneMusic are asked 'how do I get a manager' we say 'if you are good enough a manager will find you'. We're not sure if anyone believes us but it's true and the proof comes from Adam as he continues his talent show story, "What matters is at the final Tim Vigon, our manager now, saw us and said I want to manage you. That was two years ago. We signed a management deal with him and a year later we had a record deal."
Knowing the business
But how did they know they could trust their new manager? They didn't. They took a risk. Adam continues, "We didn't know anything we just thought let's just have fun. None of us, or our parents, knew anything about the music industry. We just had to go out on a whim - it was obviously a good one. We were excited and eager to learn and get on with it. It's like a fairy-tale business when you know nothing about it."
Just keep playing live
Another thing we keep saying here at OneMusic is get out there and play live before you think about approaching record labels. This is what new manager Tim encouraged The Music to do and they didn't argue. Stuart speaks for everyone when he says "We got a reputation as a live band before we did anything else. It's important to be a live band first - that's what's missing from a lot of music these days. Bands do an album and then try and go out on the road and cannot even do it."
Getting a deal
When they were ready to look for a record deal it was Tim who took charge. He targeted a select group of labels with their demo of 'Take A Long Road And Walk It'. At this point it's fair to say they were jammy and got shed loads of offers. However Tim knew there was still no need to rush, so they released a limited edition EP through Fierce Panda.
Building a fan base
The Fierce Panda move might seem strange but it wasn't to Robert, "It was cool. It seemed like a clever thing to do at the time. It's a vibey little label and most bands have released limited editions on Fierce Panda before they've done anything. Tim advised us to do that. He said keep it simple to start with and get a fan base who believe in us." After that EP they signed to Hut - a label with the money to support them but one that wouldn't boss them around. Perfect.