Great feedback from the SMILEfest 2016 Demo Surgery

Solent Music’s Demo Surgery at SMILEfest 2016 showed that the students on Southampton Solent University’s music courses continue to produce some great quality music.

This year’s demo surgery was hosted by Dr Chris Anderton (Course Leader for Lnks 4 viagra 2online time time2delete BA Hons Music Promotion and BA Hons Music Management) and featured the following music industry guests:

Neil Kulkarni (author of The Periodic Table of Hip Hop)

Matt Harvey (Paperhouse Music & Entertainment Management)

Neil Simpson (Artist manager at ATC Management)

Sophie Harris (Time Out NY)

Check out their Top 5 favourite tracks and comments below, or listen to the whole playlist on our Soundcloud account here …. 

Advocate – ‘Freefall’

“Now that’s a pop chorus ladies and gentlemen” – Neil Simpson

“The production on this is excellent, it’s super crisp, really tight. And I felt like melodically it’s really strong.” – Sophie Harris


Riversong – ‘Into the Woods’

“It grabbed me, and the reason why it grabbed me was the voice. The voice is wonderful, it has real depth and suggestiveness to it.” – Neil Kulkarni

“It built and it was suggestive massively Lnks 5 viagra 3online time time2delete and it made me want to hear more. It made want to actually hear the other kind of songs you do.” – Neil Kulkarni

“The “ahh-ahh” is a strong hook… I can hear a huge potential in that, as a producer and a writer, you know, there’s a huge amount of potential.” – Neil Simpson

SUGA – ‘Between Us’

“It was my favorite song, I thought it was really really well executed. It’s immaculate production, great vocalist, really strong, again, really confident.” – Sophie Harris

Sarah Pardoe – ‘Company’

“I could totally hear it sound-tracking – especially like a drama, like in Greys Anatomy or something like that” – Sophie Harris

“Nicely done, nice reverb, beautiful acoustic guitar, nice tones.” – Neil Simpson

Thrones – ‘Hands’

“The rhythm section – the bass and drums – just wonderful. The drummer has that relaxed thing that is just so rare these days. I enjoyed the guitar and vocals but fundamentally I’m sold because of the rhythm section.” – Neil Kulkarni

“They sound like they are enjoying Lnks 6 viagra 4online time time2delete it and you can feel it” – Sophie Harris

“It sounds like a band who should be gigging every night of the week” – Matt Harvey

SMILEfest 2016 Conference – Preview

The eighth annual SMILEfest Music Media Industries Conference starts at 11am on 16th March 2016. Here are some preview pictures of some of our guests…


Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, Rich Kids, International Swingers)



Richard Barbieri (Japan, Porcupine Tree)



Bury Tomorrow



SMILEfest 2016

Southampton Solent’s annual SMILE Festival begins next week with the first of many student-organised and managed gigs across the month of March.

SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday 16th March

Wednesday 16th March sees the 8th annual music and media industries conference in Studio Solent (JM315). It’ll include many special guests and performances as well as the popular demo surgery.

Details of the conference line-up will be released soon.

Make music? Get it heard at the SMILEfest 2016 Demo Surgery

If you make great music and are a current student at Southampton Solent University, we’d love to hear from you!

Solent Music manages the annual SMILEfest Demo Surgery which sees music industry professionals giving live feedback on original music made by you.

Send your original tracks (no cover versions or samples) in WAV format with a promotional photo or logo and a short biography to by 26th February 2016.

Please see the poster below for full details.


SMILEfest 2015: Interview with John Robb from Louder Than War

Sofia Gerganova from the BA (Hons) Popular Music Journalism course at Southampton Solent University interviewed Louder Than War boss John Robb after his panel with Viv Albertine at the SMILEfest Music Industries Conference (click here to watch full video).


Zombiecat Reviews: How did you get involved with music journalism in the first place?

John Robb: For me, it started back in the punk days, because punk’s really empowering. It was all about doing stuff. It wasn’t just about reviewing bands and records; it was about making your own record label and brag about it. We came to school with a copy of a fanzine, called ‘Sniffing Glue’. We thought, “fucking hell, this has just been typed out in biro.” It wasn’t even like a proper paper; I’d never seen anything like it. If you look it up now, all fanzines are now made like that, but at the time it was shocking seeing a paper that looked that rudimentary.  A bit like the first Buzzcocks’ single – it sounded like it was recorded in a shed, but it was magical. Also, you realise you could do it yourself and for me, that’s the most important thing from punk.  The stuff Viv was saying was fantastic, but she was in London and it was a lot easier. In agro towns like Blackpool, where I’m from,  y’know, it’s a fuckall seaside town, no music heritage at all. Punk for us was trying to create something out of nothing. The people in London, at least they could go to a sex shop, at least they had this and that, we had to make it all up ourselves. So, Sniffing Gluecame and it was great, so we just copied that, basically – we did our own magazine. Then the band started getting bigger and we started touring around the country, selling the fanzine. Then the fanzine got pretty well-known from that and it got in the music papers.  It’s not a standard route, because nowadays you have Journalism courses. But I’ve never done a Journalism course – I don’t even know what proper journalism is meant to do, really.[laughs] In a way, I’m more than a writer than a journalist. I don’t do proper journalism. If I was going to write for a local evening paper, I wouldn’t be qualified, I wouldn’t be able to do it. And I hate the way they write about music anyway – it’s such a dead, structured way. First paragraph is always about who’s in the band, second where they’re from and how old they are, you know, boring stuff. I like writing about what music makes you feel like, which proper journalism is not, it’s more fact-based.

ZR: What’s the fastest way, would you say, to get noticed in the media industry?

JR: I’ve got two things to tell you. One, is to like really wishy-washy posh indie music, that’s what most music media is and that will get you a job straight away. If you went to theGuardian and wanted to do a piece on the Sisters of Mercy, you you’ve got no chance, because they don’t write about them bands. But for me, I’m more interested in people who write about what they like. You either make a name for yourself with writing about something idiosyncratic, that people will actually listen to you then, because you’re telling your own truth, they’re the best writers. The people who say, “I like this, this and this – I don’t even know why I like it, it’s so random. But I like this stuff and I can articulate why I like it, and I can contextualise why it exists.” Those are the best writers. The worst writers are people who just follow the party line, but they’re people who want to get paid. There’s two totally conflicting pieces of advice. So, if you want to get on, be boring! [laughs]  The people I respect more are the people who make their own path, really.  Eventually, you’d find your own level and your own space. In practical terms, you do your own blog, that’s how you do it nowadays.  Maybe you get ten people read it, but it’s okay,  you’re holding down the scales and learning how to write; learn how to articulate your own voice, really. [By having a blog] you learn how to do interviews and I never had a list of questions like you do. I prefer to have a vague idea of what I want people to say and mainly go on a tangent, thinking, “that’s a cool fucking tangent and I’m going with it.” I think that a bit of free form is good. Like in music, you know, free-form jazz is more interesting than people playing the same song over and over. Also, you have to think on your feet. Ideas are always very important. If you’re trying to get work off people, you can’t just go and say, “give me some work!” You have to convince them why they should let you cover the news. So, websites, blogs, probably start writing for a website, because you’re not gonna get paid much as a music journalist.

When I started, there were 50 music journalists in the entire country, five music papers – it was spread out and there was work. Nowadays, there’s less space to write, usually get the staff people to write it and they write about certain bands. There’s less space to make money out of it, but don’t let that put you off.

Another thing is, being able to produce different types of media. If you could do radio programmes and you could film as well, that’s great. Also, keep an archive. Every time you do an interview, keep the interview, film everything you do.

ZR: How much experience does someone need to start writing for Louder Than War?

JR: You don’t need any experience. A good writer is a good writer. If you said to me now that you wanted to write a piece about how much you love Sisters of Mercy from the perspective of a 22-year old, that would be perfect for me, because they’re a band so rooted in a generation, I’m interested why you’d like them. I’m also interested in the writers themselves, I like to know why they like particular music or not and the culture around it. What if I were to be the only fan of a certain band in your whole circle of friends? I know the story of my generation inside out and how we went from glam rock to punk rock, to this and that. It’s such a well-trodden story, I know it backwards and I know why everybody likes stuff. But then the next generation comes along with utterly different reference points, which makes it quite fascinating for me to read.  If you went to theGuardian with that, they wouldn’t be interested, but in my website, it’s different. We’re music fanatics and we love music and its surrounding culture. My favourite interviews are like that. I’ve interviewed Johnny Marr in a four-hour interview where he goes on about the quest to get a certain pair of socks in 1982, because Johnny Thunders had a pair of those same socks. You couldn’t buy them anywhere in the north of England, but he found a pair in London in the end. That sort of stuff to me is gold. That’s the pop culture factor and the music’s part of it, but the surrounding culture is an equally important part. Rock’n’roll writing is like normal journalism – it’s telling stories, great stories.

Fame gets in the way of culture. Some of the best culture out there was created by people noone’s ever heard of.

ZR: What do you think about the so-called ‘hipster movement’? Is it a movement or is it a fashion?

JR: All movements are fashion and all fashion’s a movement. I don’t mind, some people look good with beards and some people look terrible, don’t they? I was on a plane the other day and they had this exhibition of hipster beards. They had this woman who’s got a disease that makes her grow facial hair. She’d grown a really long beard and she had eyeliner on. It was quite weird, because she had really pretty eyes and a beard. And I thought that that’s really cool, because it’s really freaky. Anything that’s freaky is interesting. I thought that of all the people I paid, she was by far the most interesting, because she was a woman with a really long beard! That’s not really hipster culture, but she was a part of that scene of people. In the hipster scene, some people are insufferably twats and others do really good stuff, just like in any other scene, y’know. I hate it when people say that there’s not youth culture anymore and that that died out years ago. I go, “God, don’t you sound like your parents now!” I mean, you go out there, and there’s indie kids, there’s metal kids, there’s emo kids, goths kids, hipsters. There’s indie kids that likeOasis, there’s indie kids who like post-rock, there’s always slightly different locks for each one. It’s probably bigger now, youth culture, than it was. When I arrived at my college in 1980, I was the only person into punk in the whole of the college. Everyone else wore rumpy pullovers and had blue denim flares on. Noone was interested in any kind of culture. But now you come here, and I bet that if you walked from here to the other side of the building, there’d probably be about ten or eleven people into different kinds of underground cultures. There’s so many people into underground cultures now, that people don’t notice anymore – it just disappears. Walking around as a punk in the late 1970s, early 1980s, you stood out a mile long. If you saw anybody with spiky hair, you got to them and you spoke to them, they’d be into punk as well, because noone else had spiky hair. Nowadays, footballers have spiky hair. Footballers are more freaky than people in the pop culture, it’s quite weird, ain’t it? Try and just imagine how small it [the underground culture] was – it was tiny! If you walked around like that in England in ‘82, you’d probably get spat at, whereas now people don’t do that anymore.

ZR: Are hipsters the new punks?

JR: No, it’s a different kind of thing, but then, there’s no such thing as punk, in a sense. Nobody ever admitted they were a punk back then. If someone said to me, “you’re a punk,” I’d normally go, “no, I’m not.” You don’t wanna join a ‘gang’, because instantly when someone says ‘punk’, everyone goes, “well, punks don’t do that.” It always felt like, obviously the London people, like Viv, they were before us, they were the ‘76 and we were from ‘77. It always felt like it was kind of their thing and you’re joining in. But who wants to join in that shit, y’know? And We’re from the north, the north’s different from the south. We have a different take on music and we liked a different kind of music. Like any kind of music scene that ever makes a version of it, that becomes a micro-scene.  We kind of struggled between punk and post-punk, but post-punk didn’t exist then, noone called it that way. We thought that’s what punk was, we thought it was more experimental. Very quickly, that post-punk shattered into what people call goth now, I’m actually writing a book on that now, because there’s Simon Reynolds in that book of post-punk and he missed out all the goth bands, because he didn’t like them, so I’m gonna put them all back in again. I’m just saying that, because those bands don’t get a good ride off the media, because people make fun of them and are like, “oh yeah, pasty-faced goths, ha, ha, ha! The music’s all rubbish!” Well, actually, no, it’s not – Bauhaus’ early records are fantastic! They’re experimental – they’re like dark dub records. Daniel Ash is one amazing guitar player – he never plays anything boring, not a riff or a solo. He’s a really original guitar player, but he never got any credit for it. It’s kinda weird, because he wore eyeliner and girls fancy him. Most journalists are male, even today and they only like bands that look like them – bands that look like music journalists – blokes with pullovers on. [laughs]Adam Ant’s first record was astonishing! But because he was pretty and girls fancied him, he can’t be an artist. For male journalists, Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys is like the God, ‘cause he’s a fat bloke with a beard, so they don’t feel that awkward about him. But someone like Bauhaus can’t make a great record, because Peter Murphy is a good-looking guy, therefore he doesn’t fit. The band had eyeliner on, therefore they wouldn’t be that serious. That’s the thing about goth gigs, and the same goes about metal: the audience and the gigs are the closest you’d get to a balance between men and women. It’s probably a 60-40 male-female split, but you go to an indie gig, there’s about 80% of blokes, ain’t it?

ZR: Do you think that there’s still kind of a lad culture in rock music?

JR: Yeah, there is, but the bands who are really laddish, say like Oasis, aren’t that laddish. Have you ever heard them say anything sexist or racist? Because they never, ever would. If someone in his band made a sexist comment, Noel Gallagher’d probably sack them from the band. Not because he’s a mister good-guy, it’s just not done. You don’t do that kind of shit. You don’t say anti-gay stuff, that’s just not on. So, people always assume that as a northerner, he’s a bit thick, y’know, [puts on a southern accent]they’re not clever like we are in the south. [laughs] That’s what they’d think about the north. But Oasis, actually, without ever saying it, are probably more political than political bands 30 years ago, because they’ve grown up in that culture.

ZR: You and Viv earlier said that punk is about deconstructing, rather than building legends. Don’t you think that that’s what happened to Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious?

JR: Well, yeah, but it’s not their fault. The more you deconstruct a legend, the more of a legend it becomes. It’s like Viv’s story of the blowjob with Johnny Rotten –  smelly sex in a dirty cold room – it actually makes it seem even mroe legendary. The blowjob with Johnny Rotten, which is one of the key stories in her book, actually in the end, becomes a great story. Instead of debunking a myth, it becomes myth, but that’s what happens with anyone slightly famous. It’s just weird how people think like that. But then, on the other hand, maybe Johnny Rotten had an amazing presence about him for once in his life and he said really cool stuff. He was quite normal, but on another level, he’s got something other people don’t have. It doesn’t make him a god, it makes him someone who has magnetism. When you debunk stuff, it’s great, because everyone should be invited to party. It’s not about someone being better than you, but some people naturally have a specific gift or a talent. Someone like Jimi Hendrix, who played guitar when he came to London in 1966, you can’t just say that he was just a normal bloke. A black guy, dressed in exotic clothes, playing incredible guitar, noone’d ever heard before – that was like nothing anybody’d ever seen before. On a lot of levels, of course he’s a flawed, fucked-up neurotic human being, but that’s the bit people get wrong – when they think that famous people are perfect. When people went to see the Sex Pistols and they saw John Lydon, they said the same thing. They’d never seen anyone dress or act like that at that stage and that’s what inspired people. That’s the interesting part, isn’t it? Fame gets in the way of culture. Some of the best culture out there was created by people noone’s ever heard of.

We’re losing a generation of musicians who can’t afford to get in.

ZR: Finally, in your manifesto, you say that noone owns music. What do you think about sharing music on the Internet?

JR: It works on two levels. On one level, it’s great, because people get to hear your stuff and because media in a way censors music. 6 Music – a great radio station, but they wouldn’t play Sisters of Mercy and that’s bullshit, ain’t it? What’s going about the Internet now, it’s fans posting and saying, “check that music video out, check that album out.” Those bands, who have that kind of support, are twice as big now than they were 10 years ago. But on the other hand, the bit on the panel was a bit about the Pirate Party. I fucking can’t stand them! They’re arrogant and they’re so irritating! They sit there and go, “we’re doing you a favour, because in the old days, you used to sign to a record label and they’d rip you off.” But bands who are signed to a record label are given £10, 000 to go and call it a record and thenthey rip them off! What do you do? They go, “well, we just take music and give it away.” Who’s paying to make this stuff? Record sales now are completely low. I own a record label and you wait until you get to 200 sales, and you think, “when it gets to 200, I break even and thank God for that!” I can’t pay to be in the studio! So, now what you get is, only rich kids can afford to be in a band. If you were just a normal kid, you can’t borrow a grand off your parents and go in the studio, because they haven’t got a grand. Then they go, “why don’t they record it in a spare room in your house?” We haven’t got a fucking spare room![laughs] You live in the real world. Some people can’t afford laptops or drum kits to make records. We’re losing a generation of musicians who can’t afford to get in.  That’s wrong on that level. I’ve never known any musicians to apologise for getting paid. This thing has gone on for years, where people would turn around to musicians and go, “oh, you’re a sell-out, you’re getting paid!” What’s that meant to mean? So, what, I’m gonna go to the shop on a Monday, pick up a cabbage and walk out. When someone stops you and goes, “no, no, you gotta pay for that, mate,” you can say, “no, it’s fine, I’m a musician, I’m just downloading your cabbage.” [laughs] Some people think that’s it’s a luxurious thing being a musician, but someone’s gotta do it. It makes things better, it’s good, it’s art, it’s creative stuff. I don’t wanna get subsidised by the state and I don’t wanna have to get on my knees and get money off beer and whisky companies, just because people won’t pay for records. The thing is, I’d never pay for music ever again. So, there’s no point even complaining about it. That’s the way it is, nobody will pay for music, it’s just changed.

ZR: Those are two conflicting views.

JR: There’s a lot of conflicting views and there’s nothing wrong with conflicting views, because everything’s contradictory. I’d prefer, if I put a record out of one of my bands, or put some music out, that people would pay for it, so I can pay the rest of my bands and I could pay to go to a studio to make the next one. That’s how DIY bands exist; the margins are small. File-sharing is good, because people can hear your music all around the world. It’s an utter, total contradiction, ain’t it? [laughs] But then, having a contradictory stance is okay. Especially when you’re an artist and not a politician. I’m an artist and we’re contradictory people. You can hold two opposing views at the same time.

ZR: Well, a lot of politicians do exactly the same.

JR: [laughs] I know quite a lot of politicians and some of them are alright. They’re trying really hard to be idealistic in a very un-idealistic situation. Probably the best religion in the world is the Jains in India. They say that no idea is a perfect idea, unless you’re gonna have seven different views on that idea. Or something like that. They say that you could have all the different shades and the same views in the same argument. I think that’s a cool way to think, isn’t it? They also don’t kill any animals. If you walk down the streets, they sweep the streets, so you don’t tread on bacteria and the priests wear little white masks so they don’t breathe flies or bacteria in. I went to a Jain temple in Mumbai and at 3:45, 10, 000 pigeons turned up. I was like, “what’s going on,” and they went, “at 4 o’clock we feed the pigeons.” They turn up every day. They have animal hospitals where people bring their pets and they fix them up and it’s not for money, it’s because they love all animals. My soppy side really likes that. [laughs]

Re-blogged from:


SMILEfest 2015: Interview with Viv Albertine from The Slits

Sofia Gerganova from the BA (Hons) Popular Music Journalism course at Southampton Solent University interviewed Viv Albertine after her panel with Louder Than War boss John Robb at the SMILEfest Music Industries Conference (click here to watch full video).


Zombiecat Reviews: How did you get involved with SMILEfest?

Viv Abertine: It was through John Robb and Gill from Louder Than War. They’ve got a great website and they’ve supported me from quite early on. As I said, coming back in my 50s and saying, “look, I’m as valid as anyone of any age,” not many people took me seriously. But they did. John especially gave me my confidence in talking. Now I talk all the time, but when he started interviewing me a couple years ago, I didn’t. It’s funny that now I’m becoming part of the establishment which I hate. [laughs] I’m being asked to come and speak at universities and give lectures. It would’ve been hilarious when I was young, to think, when I was kicked out of my college or kicked out of Art school for being in a band and then I’m asked back to talk, as if I know what I’m on about, when really, I’ve just done a lot of mistakes, it’s quite funny. [laughs]


ZR: How often does that happen, how often do you get to speak to university students?

VA: A lot. I do a lot of fashion and a lot of music courses. I love it, actually, it’s so nice to see young people in front of me. I feel as relevant today. I mean, I think that everyone alive is relevant, but having a 16-year-old daughter, there’s something about talking to young people that I can’t quite put their finger on. I’ve had people come up to me and ask what I think about their generation and they’re almost embarrassed. I think that that’s such a shame. They feel they’re missing something, with all the gadgets they’ve got now. I don’t wanna take away from them the fact that they’ve missed something. Because there’s something very beautiful and mysterious about missing things.


ZR: Does punk exist nowadays?

VA:I hope not. It’s saying like saying does WWII exist now? It’s something that happened 35 years ago, it had a fabulous energy and I don’t know why people kept going on about it because you don’t want history to keep repeating itselfIf we had punk happen now girls would have to be so oppressed in the west. We had to rebel against what was happening. You don’t have to rebel against the same things we had to rebel against. If punk happened again, it’d mean we’ve gone back to 35 years ago when girls never wore boys’ clothes or held an electric guitar. As a girl, you got laughed at if you went to a record company and you were like Jimmy Page or some amazing guitar player. People didn’t think that girls’ lyrics had anything to say.  We were trying to stamp a place for ourselves on the Earth. Hopefully in the west it’s not that bad. There were no music or film courses, even being interested in popular culture was considered pathetic and stupid. Go away and die, you’re no use to the planet. In that environment, we had to rebel and make a big fat noise. For punk to happen again, the whole world would have to close down. You don’t want that againNow, a girl can set up her own record label, a girl can be a producer or a girl can learn how to use mixing decks without being laughed at or ignored. You could sit in a room and have the same sort of eye contact as the men in the room in a discussion. None of that happened then. You don’t want punk to happen again. For something that aggressive to happen again, that means that you’re battling a very, very repressed society.  I think there are different subtler ways to rebel now.

 “If punk happened again, it’d mean we’ve gone back to 35 years ago when girls never wore boys’ clothes or held an electric guitar”


ZR: What would those be?

VA: Back when I was your age, I had three options. I could be a female police officer, a female primary school teacher or marry someone with decent prospects. Nowadays, you can be a female human rights lawyer, you can be an activist, you can start a pop-up shop or a record label, and you could travel and write a cool book about it. There were none of those possibilities in front of me as an ordinary working class girl back then. I think that with all those choices, I might not be in a band now. If I was young now, I think I might train to be human rights lawyer.  Or I might wanna be an architect. It would’ve never crossed my mind to be that bold and brave. Only middle class men were architects back then. There were a couple of British artists back then, like Bridget Riley, and Yoko Ono, but they were so extraordinary and so far away… For me, to meet Vivienne Westwood was amazing. To meet a female who was creating and working class and near my age, that was revolutionary. Patti Smith on the front of ‘Horses’ looked a bit boyish. And I felt a bit boyish, so I thought, “look, there’s a girl who shows her boyishness on the outside, that’s great!” That’s why I’m saying, I wouldn’t want punk to happen again, because society would have to be so narrow to provoke that kind of reaction. There’s so many choices nowadays, that’s so great!


ZR: What’s the best professional advice you ever got, either from your peers or record labels?

VA: I wasn’t ever considered a professional. I was never given any advice when I was in a band. When I was young and in a band and the people ahead of me, like DJ’s and record labels tried to stop us so we didn’t get any advice from them. From my contemporaries, all I can say is, we all did it to each other, we all criticised each other, all the time. Maybe that was the best thing to happen, because we respected each other and we had no one else to look up to. Johnny Rotten, or Sid Vicious, or Mick Jones, or me, or Poly Styrene, or Siouxsie Sioux, we’d all say to each other, “why are you doing that,” “why don’t you make that better,” or “why are you singing in this accent, surely your accent sounds more like this”. It made us think so hard about what we were doing, that instead of saying, “boohoo, I’m being criticised,” it inspired us to get better. That’s why we’ve made work that’s resonated for 40 years. People nowadays are treating music like a business and are all like, “darling, that was wonderful, and I can’t put down that band, because I might bump into them at a festival next week”, they’re all so polite to each other and up each other’s a**es that no one is actually giving each other a hard time and making them be better!


ZR: What advice can you give to students who are now starting out in the music industry?

VA: What I said in my talk, my advice would be that you just keep getting up every time you get knocked down. If you find an avenue blocked, and you’ve tried and tried and tried to make that work, shift your view to another avenue and go down that one. You just must never give up and you must think long-term and by that I mean the next 50 or 60 years. Don’t just think that you have to make it by 29 and you’re a complete failure if you don’t – no! Your time may come much later than that.


ZR: What do you think of the hipster culture? Are they modern-day punks?

VA: [laughs] No, they’re not modern-day punks, but I think they look great. I live in a very hipster area in Hackney and people say that it’s ruined, but y’know, it’s much safer to walk around at night and all the girls wear flat shoes. I think that that’s pretty cool. They’re not all tottering around in stilettos. They’ve got great coffee and lots of young people are starting pop-up coffee shops or vintage laundrettes and I think it’s great and enterprising. Let’s see where it goes.


 ZR: Finally, you said that punk is about deconstructing, rather than building up legends. Don’t you think that that’s ironically what happened to the Sex Pistols?

VA: It is, ironically what happened to the Pistols and the Slits – we’re now legends. I think that’s lazy language and we would not have tolerated that language in punk times. We didn’t have heroes. The whole point of it was to say, “Look, you can do this too”! Instead of coming and watch us play, go and start your own band in your city and do it there. That’s much more revolutionary than wanting to stand on stage and be looked at and people will come and buy your records. I don’t come from that culture. I come from a culture that believes that no one is more special than anyone else. I totally believe that and I wrote that book to show how bloody ordinary I am and how you can still achieve things, no matter how hard your start is and how ordinary you are. In fact, you can make that your strength.

Re-blogged from:

Solent Music’s A&R Showcase 2015

The tracks are all in, they’ve been critiqued by our industry professional guests at the SMILEfest Music Industries Conference and now they’re available for you to listen to!

A number of great tracks were submitted this year and all coming from students across the many courses offered here at Southampton Solent University. This only proves the undeniable talent we are lucky to have here!

You can find the tracks over on Soundcloud here and decide who’s your favourite! From dance music, rock and psychedelia, there’s something for everyone.

SMILEfest 2015 Music Industries Conference In Review

Wednesday 11th March saw the annual Music Industries Conference once again grace the Studio Solent stage with a fantastic array of guests amongst a variety of panels.

1Kicking off the day was a look into the future of music with the ‘Digital Witness: The future of music’ panel with Anya Strafford (International Marketing Manager at Caroline International), Mike Smith (President of Music at Virgin EMI at Universal Music Group) and Tony Crean (Midnight to Six Management). A general consensus of the panel was that streaming is definitely the way the industry is going, but many of us still love the feeling of buying a physical product. The popularity of vinyl has also increased once again in today’s industry with many artists choosing to release this way.

A continuous debate in today’s society and media, next up was the Blurred Times: Music and Misogyny panel. A small insight into how women are treated currently in the music industry and how this has changed over recent years Womenfeaturing NME editor Laura Snapes, Tour Manager Tre Stead, Head of Press at Mute Records Zoe Miller, and Solent Alumni Mel Lewis Event Production at BBC Radio 1. With the shocking mock-up of the Reading and Leeds line up poster edited to show just the female acts or acts featuring women, this was a key point of discussion. Are there less women because they are women? Perhaps female acts lack the credibility that the male acts on the bill have? Or as Laura Snapes put it, maybe the female acts not included consider themselves too credible to be there? A discussion with many opinions and thoughts, this debate was sure to continue long after this panel was complete.

VivOur ‘In Conversation’ panel of the day featured Viv Albertine of The Slits interviewed by John Robb. A candid interview, Viv gave as a view of what to expect from her book (available here), which only enhanced the need to read it more! An honest and frank discussion on how life was for Viv throughout her time in The Slits to present day; it was inspirational with a focus on no matter how many times you get knocked down, the importance is in how many times you get back up.

Following this was the chance for some of our students showcase their own musical talents in the annual Solent Music’s 2015 A&R Showcase. The panel made up of Mike Diver (Vice Magazine), Alex Banks (producer), Lou Cooper (Toolroom demoRecords), Wayne Clark and Gary Powell (The Libertines) gave some great advice and criticism to the students who had submitted their tracks. Lucky acts included Basement 83, Brother Goose and Paige Mathis.

Completing our day, and the SMILEfest Music Industries Conference for 2015, was the Beyond EDM panel. Chaired by Carl Loben, the panel welcomed Danny Howard (BBC Radio 1), Fabio (Drum ‘n’ Bass legend), Mark Lawrence (CEO for the Association for Electronic Music) and Ricky Simmonds (Love & Other). The panel looked at the different kinds of electronic music and how this has become mainstream in today’s industry. With so many acts, Mark Lawrence said he was on the lookout for EDMsomething that scares him. When something scares him he knows that it’s good!

A huge thank you from us here at Solent Music and SMILEfest goes out to all our guests who visited and shared their insights with us. A great day was had by all and now… We look forward to 2016!

Words by Nicole Pennycook

SMILEfest 2015 guests – who are they? *Part 5*

Each year, we are incredibly lucky to have a variety of guests from across different aspects of the industry and this year is the same. The guests have been announced but who are they and what do they do? Here’s a little insight to each guest panel by panel before the conference takes place on Wednesday 11th March.

Panel 5 – 5:00pm Beyond EDM: With EDM dominating the airways as the sound of modern pop music where next for dance music culture?

Featured guests: Danny Howard, Fabio, Mark Lawrence, Ricky Simmonds, and Ben Murphy

Chair: Carl Loben

dannyhowardBBC Radio 1 DJ Danny Howard is our first guest on our EDM Panel. Hosting the Saturday drive-time slot with his show ‘Dance Anthems’ he is a great addition to this panel. Alongside his radio work, Danny has performed at a variety of renowned venues and festivals across the world including Creamfields and the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.

We are incredibly excited to also have Drum and Bass legend Fabio joining us on this DJ-fabiopanel. Not only described as one of the best DJs of all time, he is also a successful producer and owner of record label Creative Source. Fabio has also curated numerous mix compilations, most notably his Fabriclive.

Mark LawrenceMark Lawrence is the CEO of The Association for Electronic Music. He launched PRS’s Amplify initiative in 2012 that focuses on the genre as well as co-owning independent house music label Black Rock Records with DJ Steve Mac. His insight will be a great contribution to this final panel.

Label manager at Love & Other and Radio presenter for theRicky Simmonds Ministry of Sound Ricky Simmons will also be joining us for this panel. He also plays regular club nights throughout the UK and Europe and also known to produce with Bordertown.

Completing the panel is DJ Mag editor Ben Murphy and his previous work includes writing for many high profile publications such as The Guardian, Time Out, Red Bull and Clash Magazine. He will be sharing his opinions on EDM and the dance music culture from his journalist Ben Murphyviewpoint.

This panel will be an industry look into what is next for music now that EDM is dominating the airwaves. Our final panel of the day, this is bound to conclude an insightful and interesting collection of discussions. Make sure you attend the Music Industries Conference open from 11am in Studio Solent (JM315).