Backbeat Soundsystem’s Guide to Getting Booked for Festivals

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Festivals festivals festivals. We do love them so dearly here in the UK, don’t we? So much so that we held an eye-watering number festivals in the 2016 calendar year – over a thousand. With such a huge volume of festivals taking place on a yearly basis, you’d think it’d be relatively easy to chance your way onto a lineup in a Somerset field, right? But the reality is that it can often feel like a shot in the dark for musicians who have no previous experience in making that step.

Aside from the rather obvious statement that festival-fever is in full swing of late, it’s also the case that festivals can offer a wealth of opportunity for emerging acts. Dean of Backbeat Soundsystem, a band that averages upwards of 20 festival performances a year to throw down their signature take on upbeat dub-reggae goodness, points out that festivals are generally attended by “a load of people that have never heard you before”. This opens up an invaluable chance for acts to further their reach and, with some good fortune, increase their followings.

Check out Backbeat Soundsystem’s now legendary Pirate Live session:

Dean continues on to give us five valuable tips on getting booked for those coveted festival slots:

Get in touch with festival bookers early. The earlier, the better.

The first point Dean mentions is one that’s all too often overlooked. “Get in there early. Festivals can start booking up for next summer from now onwards. You have to think about it quite far in advance to have any chance.” It’s quite easy to fall into the trap of spending autumn and winter twiddling your thumbs, and come the spring sunshine begin to start thinking about festivals. If you’re serious about playing one, make that initial contact as soon as you can.

Breathe some emotion into your live sets.

The importance of this point cannot be stressed enough by Dean. “Your live presence is the most crucial factor. You can have the best songs in the world, but if there’s no emotion – it amounts to nothing in a live sense… the energy you bring to a live show, as well as being tight and well-rehearsed is a massive part of it for sure.” It takes an awful lot to impress festival bookers nowadays, and making sure your live sets have an abundance of energy is a surefire way to make your act stand out.

Enter competitions; what have you got to lose?

When the Pirate Stage voyages to a festival, we tend to hold competitions for our users to get in on the action with a slot. Interestingly enough, Dean mentions that Backbeat Soundsystem earned their first ever festival slot through a similar kind of arrangement. “Our first festival slot was at Sunrise festival in 2009. We won a competition put on by Chai Wallahs to perform on their stage – that’s how we got our foot in the door there. If you think you’re good enough, there’s no reason not to enter these things.”

Learn to craft your set into a journey.

Festivals are a different beast to your run-of-the-mill club or bar gig. You’re competing against a whole host of other acts on a variety of different stages at the same time for an audience’s attention. As such, Dean highlights how important it is to craft your sets to your advantage. “It’s important to craft your set as a whole, rather than just playing one song after another. Write your setlist so that you’ve got connections between tracks. For instance, you could do the first 4 songs back to back and then have a little break to interact with the crowd. It gives you a bit more structure, and adds to your professionalism.” If you can impress bookers with a seamless, flowing set – they’ll surely be more likely to book you.

Ensure you have a video recording of your live shows.

Dean suggests that getting your hands on a decent quality recording of one of your performances can be an excellent way of gaining an edge with festival bookers. “Having some kind of live video recording is another important aspect. Bookers are able see for themselves that you can actually play live – that’s why it was so good to do the Pirate Live session with you guys.”

“Talk to people and make friends. You’d be surprised at how far that can take you” – Honey Lung

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“It felt like we were just jamming out by ourselves.. As if we were tracking for a record”. Back in May of this year, Honey Lung came down to our London Earlsfield rehearsal studios and put the pedal to the metal with a Pirate Live session that rocked us to our core. “My mum was watching from her office today. She sent me a text saying she was rocking on”

If you’ve never heard of Honey Lung, they’re the band that recently released their debut single ‘Sophomore’ to critical acclaim from renowned tastemakers such as Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Radio X’s John Kennedy. Their unmistakeable post-grunge sound is one surely on the rise, and one that you’ll be familiar with before you know it.

The band were kind enough to stick around after their set and sit down for a chat, with the exception of Charlie – who actually had to dash to work on an imminent hand-in for his Master’s degree. As reasons for ducking out go –  Charlie’s was more than valid.

We got to chatting with (most of) the band about a variety of topics – including their impending release schedule, who they’d like to see on Pirate Live, the future of live music, and their thoughts on Pirate Studios’ rehearsal spaces. Check out the clip below to see the full interview!

Interested in following the likes of Honey Lung, Bang Bang Romeo and Carl Barât to perform for Pirate Live? – Head to this link, and begin rehearsing with us.


“Get smashed, play all night and record it. That’s what we do” – Demob Happy

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We caught up with Demob Happy, the Brighton-based grunge demigods with a penchant for utterly blitzing their live shows, just after they’d closed out The Pirate Stage for us at Bristol Harbour Fest 2017. Needless to say, we thought they played an absolute howitzer of a set. Demob drummer Tom appeared to share our sentiment. “It was fucking loud, fun, and raucous. People seemed to be responding to us, which is always really cool”. A fitting way to end an incredibly diverse showcase of up and coming music that featured, alongside Demob, the likes of April Towers, Rozelle, Dead Royalties, and a whole host of fantastic support acts.

In spite of being hauled unceremoniously into the green room by us directly after finishing their set, the Demob Happy boys were happy to talk through a number of topics with us. We chatted about impending release plans for their album (due sometime around next February), and the band also offered some interesting thoughts on the concept of rehearsals. “I think when you’re a younger band, it’s important to get it tight – and that’s when rehearsal is key”. Wise words indeed from frontman Matt, with added insight from guitarist Adam, “when you’ve got no boundaries, and you’re kind of unhinged, [you need] somewhere you can just rehearse for 24 hours – like what you guys offer”.

Check out the video below for the full interview with Demob Happy.

Demob Happy will be playing an exclusive, live streamed set for the DIY Mag takeover of Pirate Live on the 13th September at our London rehearsal studios. If you’re interested in coming along, head over to this link and click ‘going’ on the event page.



Pirate Studios at Bristol Harbour Festival 2017

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On Saturday 22nd July, The Pirate Stage returns in its long-awaited second iteration. It would’ve been a crime not to bring The Pirate Stage back following its wildly successful maiden voyage at Sound City 2017. This time around, we’ll be taking over Hy-Brasil Music Club as part of Bristol’s much-lauded Harbour Fest.

Bristol Harbour Fest – a council-funded, free-to-attend event – has considerable history behind it. The festival was started all the way back in 1971 as an attempt to save Bristol’s docks, home to Brunel’s SS Great Britain, from being filled in for good. Needless to say, Harbour Fest achieved its noble aim of saving the docks, and continues every summer as a celebration of Bristol’s illustrious maritime heritage to this very day.

The festival is now a cultural behemoth. In 2012, its record year for attendance, Harbour Fest attracted over 300,000 visitors to Bristol. It now boasts an eclectic variety of creative arts to showcase including dance performances, interactive theatre, touring circus acts and of course – music from some of the world’s biggest acts.

Here at Pirate, we’re suitably delighted to be contributing to an event so amiably intertwined with the city of Bristol – the city where it all began for us. We’ll be handing out free Pirate Studios T-shirts to the first 50 people through the doors, and we’ll also be dishing out free drinks throughout the day. The Pirate Studios Virtual Reality Experience will also be in action.


The Pirate Stage again features a hand-curated, choice selection of the finest up and coming musicians of today and tomorrow. We’d like to take you on a brief run-through of the acts we’ve chosen to represent us at Bristol Harbour Fest 2017. Here they are in alphabetical order:

April Towers

Nottingham’s April Towers duo: backed by none other than the legendary Catherine Marks – producer for the likes of Foals and Wolf Alice.

Boris a Bono

The electrically pulsating, delicately hazy Boris a Bono – burrowing his soundscapes deep into your dreams.

Dead Royalties

Bristolian art-rock punks Dead Royalties will be turning it up a notch or two for us, boasting support from the likes of BBC Introducing and Punk online.

Demob Happy

Our headline act for the day: Demob Happy. Brighton’s premier grunge trio are set to close out The Pirate Stage with their signature rattling riffs.


Febueder, critically acclaimed by publications such as NME, Clash Music and DIY Mag, will be experimenting and pushing boundaries for us – as has become the norm for these guys.


Harvey Causon

Lay back, close your eyes, and soak up the mellow sounds of Harvey Causon. The Bristolian solo artist blends atmospheric instrumentalism and drifting, delicate vocals at will.


Spanning a wide range of influences from R&B and neo-soul to punk and noise-rock, Iyabe’s explorative sound is ready to take you on a cathartic journey through musical diversity.

Kayla Painter

Kayla Painter will be presenting us with a welcome electronic interlude. She’ll be performing a DJ set centred around her trademark, space-cadet atmospheric aura.


We’re over the moon to have one of our favourite bands and long time pals Rozelle back on The Pirate Stage. Pirate Studios is proud to present the mystifyingly good Rozelle – live from Bristol Harbour Fest 2017.

Stone Cold Fiction

Our competition winners Stone Cold Fiction have rapidly made a name for themselves with their unique blend of riff-infused rock and psych-blues.

Isle of Wight Festival 2017: Our Top Acts

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Isle of Wight Festival is finally upon us in its 2017 incarnation! There are some gargantuan names on the lineup for the festival. The likes of Run DMC, Arcade Fire, Bastille and The Kooks will be dominating the attentions of the bill with the gravitas of their star statuses, but there are some fantastic up-and-comers scheduled to play over the weekend that may end up flying under your radar. To help make sure you don’t miss out on discovering the next generation of UK music, we’ve pulled together a list of acts that we think will make a serious mark on the festival this weekend.

Bang Bang Romeo

Over time, Bang Bang Romeo frontwoman Anastasia has developed a penchant for exhibiting a powerful, charismatic stage presence coupled with mesmeric vocal range. These guys are on the cusp of something special. Tom Robinson of BBC 6Music described them as “a rousing, soulful gem”, Radio X likened them to “a hard-edged Fleetwood Mac”, and Radio 1’s Huw Stephens compared their sound to “a Tarantino soundtrack”.

Such endorsements don’t come easily, but here at Pirate we’ve been lucky enough to have them perform on the Pirate Stage at Sound City festival and for a Pirate Live session back in March. Needless to say, Bang Bang Romeo blew us away on both occasions. We’d bet our bottom dollar on them doing the same again at Isle of Wight fest 2017.


We can’t stress to you what an exciting bunch these boys are. Paves have been causing an almighty ruckus up and down the country in recent times, with gigs across London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Brighton, and most recently for the Pirate Stage at Sound City 2017. Fred Perry Subculture named them as one of the most exciting new band of 2016, and they’ve delivered on their early promise and more so far.
Paves’ Pirate Live session, recorded for us in our London studios, has attained fabled status here at the Pirate office.

If their performance at Isle of Wight fest 2017 is even half as good as we’ve witnessed at Sound City and Pirate Live, it’ll be one of the highlights of the entire weekend.

The Assist

Walsall is a pretty dreary place. The West Midlands town isn’t exactly famed for its rich culture or musical history, but out of the ashes of its looming, industrial overtone hails one of the most exciting young bands in British music. Meet The Assist. We were lucky enough to have these council-rocking, stage-melting, indie-raconteurs in for a Pirate Live session during our Nottingham launch party. And boy did they light the place up.

If a highly energetic young band with heavy endorsements from BBC Introducing and Radio X sounds like your cup of tea, catch The Assist performing on the Hard Rock stage, Saturday evening.

Check out what The Zine had to say about our series of launch events here.


There are a multitude of new bands emerging across the UK at the moment, riding the underground’s considerable wave of current interest in the grass-roots music scene. It’s often difficult for bands to stand out from the masses of competition in today’s somewhat saturated market. Sheafs on the other hand, have suffered no such hardships – this is mainly down to them simply being unequivocally wonderful. Their meteoric rise has been heralded by the likes of BBC 6Music, BBC Introducing, Steve Lamacq and Edith Bowman to name just a few of those singing their praises.

Fancy being “that guy” that bangs on about having seen a band “before they got big”? Do yourself a favour, and get yourself down to This Feeling’s Jack Rocks stage to see these guys perform.

Unfamiliar with This Feeling? Find out more via their website here.

The Surrenders

The Surrenders are another act we welcomed to the Pirate Stage at Sound City 2017. Sound City was actually their maiden festival appearance, but you’d have been forgiven for thinking they were seasoned, festival tour pros. Their Pirate Live session, performed for us in our London studios, was packed full of groove and energy.

With a heart of disco and a soul of rock n’ roll, their modern twist on 60s inspired R&B should be tailor-made for the programming on the Jack Rocks stage at Isle of Wight fest 2017.

False Heads

These lads really do know how to get a crowd roaring. False Heads closed out the Pirate Stage at Sound City 2017 for us with a fittingly dynamic set on the Sunday night – we couldn’t have asked for a better curtain call on the weekend’s mayhem. False Heads are also set to bring their delinquent, punk-driven assault to Pirate Live very soon, so keep an eye out for that.

It would be remiss not to go see a band who’ve been hailed by Iggy Pop as one of his favourite bands of the moment. Go see them strut their stuff, in their element at the Jack Rocks stage over the weekend.

Heavy Suns

Heavy Suns are the dreamy, psych-gaze rock n’ rollers who’ve been making considerable waves in all the right places. The Barnsley quintet came down to the London studios last month to thrash out a hypersonic Pirate Live session for us, and they’ll be continuing their rapid ascent to the top with a performance on the Jack Rocks stage at Isle of Wight fest 2017.

Heavy Suns manage to hit that fabled sweet spot between enticing familiarity and fresh-feeling innovation to create an end product that should steal the show.

Heavy Suns (Live Stream) // Pirate Live London

Heavy Suns and their dreamy, psych-gaze rock n’ roll sound have been causing quite the ruckus in recent times. The Barnsley quintet, formed in 2015, have already been tipped as ones to watch for 2017 by Fred Perry, and also boast a firm backing by Pirate friends This Feeling. A stellar 2016 has been followed by sellout shows in Leeds, Sheffield, as well the release of their hypersonic new single Hide. Citing their biggest influences as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, Heavy Suns manage to hit that perfect sweet spot between familiarity and boundary-pushing innovation. To watch regular gigs and discover amazing new bands, subscribe now: you’d like to find out about playing Pirate Live: find out who’s performing in the studios next, follow us:Facebook:@piratestudiosukTwitter: @piratestudiosukInstagram: @piratestudios

Posted by Pirate Studios on Wednesday, 10 May 2017


Way back in March, Pirate Studios held a launch party to celebrate the grand opening of the London rehearsal studios. Naturally, this turned out to be one of the most memorable Pirate Live events we’ve ever held. This was in no small part down to BlackWaters’ seamless and virtuoso performance alongside none other than Carl Baråt of The Libertines.

The Guildford-based BlackWaters will be bringing their trademark, indie-punk sound to Isle of Wight fest 2017 on the Jack Rocks stage.

Check out what Clash Music had to say about our London launch event here.

Our Top Acts for Sound City 2017

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Liverpool Sound City 2017 is finally just around the corner! If you’re joining us at the festival this weekend, you might be a little bit worried about the sheer volume of fantastic acts on display. Naturally, it won’t be possible to experience them all, so we’ve endeavoured to help you make your decisions with this list of acts that we at Pirate Studios think are unmissable.

Carl Barât & The Jackals

We’ll kick things off with the big guns. Carl Barât headlined the Pirate Studios London launch event back in March with BlackWaters, and tore the roof off with a rousing live rendition of ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’. Carl will be headlining The Atlantic Stage at Sound City this year with his band The Jackals, and if his Pirate Live session was anything to go by, his set alongside The Jackals should linger long in the memory after the festival’s done and dusted. 

For more info on our launch series, check out what Clash Music had to say here, and watch Carl’s full Pirate Live session with BlackWaters here.


There are precious few voices in the world that can match XamVolo’s in range and soulfulness. His music has been heralded by the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Mistajam, and for very good reason, as we found out from his spectacular Pirate Live session. Originally hailing from London, XamVolo now qualifies as a local lad representing Liverpool, having lived in the city for over 5 years. He takes to the stage at Tim Peak’s Diner, 15:30 on Sunday for some (fingers crossed) sun-soaked afternoon fun.

Take a look at what Metropolis Studios had to say about XamVolo here.


FUSS are another Liverpool act throwing it down for their hometown at Sound City 2017. They’ll be painting their trademark sonic landscape of psychedelic space grooves with all the flair and guile that we’ve become accustomed to from FUSS. Their truly unique and mesmerising “drone pop cosmonaut” sound should correlate excellently into Saturday night’s programming at the North Shore Troubadour afterparty.

Check out what The National Student had to say about FUSS here.

Fizzy Blood

Sometimes, less is more. And only two words are necessary describe these guys to a tee: full throttle. Fizzy Blood will add some welcome debauchery to the proceedings at The Cavern Stage on Sunday evening. Here at Pirate, we were lucky enough to experience them in all their explosive glory during their face-melter of a Pirate Live session. Expect high octane, supercharged fun.

WithGuitar wrote up about Fizzy Blood’s single ‘Pawn’, which you can take a peek at here.


There’s even more hometown glory in store, this time coming from Liverpudlian quartet Sugarmen. Signed to Warner’s Sire Records by legendary A&R man Seymour Stein, Sugarmen’s charming, retro-infused sound made for one of the most entertaining Pirate Live sessions that we’ve ever hosted. Saturday night in the Invisible Factory’s main room looks to be a safe place to hedge your bets.

GetIntoThis had some very nice things to say about Sugarmen’s single ‘Dirt’. Read all about it here.

Bang Bang Romeo

Where to start with Bang Bang Romeo? How about lead singer Anastasia’s powerful, soulful voice that blends commanding swagger with delicate control? Or Huw Stephens likening their sound to a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack? Or Radio X describing them as a “hard-edged Fleetwood Mac”? Our Sound City 2017 competition winners take to the Pirate Stage on Saturday afternoon.

Bang Bang Romeo also made it into GetIntoThis’ list of acts not to miss at Sound City festival, which you can check out here.


Rounding off our top picks for the weekend, it’s Mancunian quartet Proletariat. These guys are another of our Sound City 2017 competition winners, who completely wowed us with their 70s punk inspired aura. Be sure to check out their rip-roaring guitar riffs and spiky vocals at our very own Pirate Stage on Sunday evening; they’re absolute certainties to cause an almighty ruckus.

The Punk Site left a glowing review of Proletariat’s ‘Always The Same’ EP, which you can take a look at here.

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of the acts we’ve mentioned have previously performed a Pirate Live session for us. That’s either just pure coincidence, or Pirate Live’s programming is just really, really great. We’ll let you be the judge on that one. To find out more about our revolutionary Pirate Live initiative, click here.

See you at Sound City guys!


The VOX AC30Vr amp competition winner

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The Winner

Last month we grabbed your attention with another online competition but this time with a bigger prize to be won – a Vox AC30Vr amplifier.

Our Facebook-based competition asked our audience that is made up of bands, musicians and songwriters to comment with a link to their best song. The response was incredible and the composition standard was high. After working our way through pages of comments and replies, eventually, a shortlist was formed which led to a final decision.

The winner of the competition is London based Count Counsellor. He’s a regular at our London rehearsal studios and a talented young producer dedicated to writing disco fused pop music. After receiving critical acclaim from his debut EP released on Quality Time Recordings last year, he has been popular on the London gigging circuit selling out venues such as the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in Shoreditch.

The track ‘Disco dodo’ demonstrates skilful arrangements of crisp percussive layers which blend with lively electro ear snacks. With a fat and groovy bass line driving the song forward during the verse, you remain hooked and refreshed by the display of sophisticated synths and dreamy sonics that feature throughout.

By the end of the song, you can’t help but sing back the chorus line and whack it into your weekend playlist. We love this track and all of its bright synths and grooves. We are excited to see how Count Counsellor grows this year and will certainly be following his journey.

Count Counsellor – Disco Dodo

Runners Up

Although it all boiled down to one track, we can’t ignore there were so many great entries for this competition. Here are 10 tracks that made our shortlist :

1. Sam BrockingtonPiece of mind

2. Amani AMIFeathers Falling

3. Tom ForbesTurpentine –

4. Regime Queenie

5. PhonesYou Don’t Know Me

6. Hot DreamsPlunge pool

7. FedericaHuman –

8. Daniels Gold Seal – June –

9. Sam Jackson Emily –

10. English WeatherResham Firiri –


Picture – Sam Brockington

Introducing acoustic acts : URI, Joe Corbin and Sam Brockington

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Here at Pirate Studios we love all genres and welcome all musicians to use our Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff rehearsal rooms. We love all music genres and never forget some of the classic acoustic singer songwriters like James Taylor, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley. You can’t beat a bit of honest lyric writing and guitar playing. Acoustic guitar and vocals often form the basics of a great song and that’s why we love acoustic songwriters. Recently we have been finding lots of emerging acoustic acts across the UK and we want to share them with you!

First is URI, a London based artist originally from Te-Aviv. URI aka Uri Sade, moved to London 3 years ago after winning the Shure song writing award, which was judged by Frank turner that year. Within his music you can here clear influences from Jeff Buckley, Elliot Smith and Nick Drake, to current artists such as Bon Iver and St.vincent. This is reflected in the diversity of his debut E.P ‘Black Flag’, released on October 2015, which was produced by Richard Fomby (Wild Beats, Ghostpoet) and Orel Tamuz.

The EP opens with “Back To The Ship”,  a track that starts with a luscious, and simplistic picked guitar which evolves into a euphoric anthem. The song encompasses intelligent arrangements of ambient acoustic percussion and haunting harmonies providing a magical journey for the listener. The EP picks up with the track “Diamonds” which offers a rhythmic push and a darker and dramatic message. This track quenches your thirst to hear some harsher, grittier tones before arriving at the track “Black Flag” which begins with a soft acoustic guitar progression similar to Nick Drake. Lyrically, this track delivers powerful imagery which is supported by subtle, ambient soundscapes, capturing a simple and strong arrangement that keeps the listener engaged. Concluding the EP is the song “Adjusted Virgin”. This track sways towards an electronic atmosphere with experimental tones and colorful sonics throughout. You can hear the production skill from Richard Fomby clearly here. Fomby’s dark, electro arrangements compliment and collaborate with URI’s captivating vocal creating something very unique. The EP demonstrates a real talent for song craft and showcases a real consistency; it is a piece of timeless art.

Uri has played a number of London venues such as Bull In A China Shop, The Monarch and Fu Manchu. His performance is truly mesmerising and refreshing . This summer he plans to make new music and play a number of different shows across the UK, you can find him on Facebook or Soundcloud to find out where he is heading next.

U.R.I : A Thousand Ringing Bells (live) –

Another musical talent smashing it out on the London gigging scene is Joe Corbin. We found Joe at an intimate acoustic night at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London and have followed him since. His stage presence is truly captivating; he grabs your attention with his advanced blues guitar style and with a vocal that is full of soul. Corbin’s music bleeds out influences from Ray Lamontagne, Jeff Buckley and Bill Withers recreating a mammoth sound that embodies rich tones.

Joe’s lyrical style is insightful and wise. His song “Brother part 1” demonstrates his slick blues guitar style and delivers a complex story, capturing thoughts of a character that is angry, frustrated or lost, then he sketches out another individual or perspective that wants to share a new outlook to help the person that is struggling. It is emotional disputes and situations like this that echo throughout Joe’s work. He also steps into more biographical spheres with tracks like ‘Butchers Blues’, revealing personal reflection and his own beliefs. There is a dark depth to his writing style that offers multiple interoperation for the listener and also stylish repetition within his lyric writing which make his tracks very addictive. This year Joe will continue his musical journey playing shows up and down the country, and our rehearsal rooms will always be open to him if he ever needs a practice in South West London.

Joe Corbin : Brother part 1 (live @ Spiritual Sessions) –

Our last musical discovery is Bristol’s Sam Brockington. He’s a regular in our Bristol practice rooms and is dedicated to sharing his music with the UK. Sam shows off a powerful and dynamic vocal range that combines with a alternative / blues guitar style. His music can be compared to the likes of Matt Corby and Jeff Buckley. His writing can be dark and fragile and then upbeat and hooky, he has no limits.  This year he has been busy forming a band in order to amplify his sound. His track “Follow” has exceeded over 100,000 plays on Spotify over the last few months which has launched him comfortably into 2016. We have no doubt that he is going to become increasingly popular over the coming months, especially with the amount of festivals and shows planned. We are looking forward to hearing more of his music and seeing his fan base grow.

Sam Brockington : Sea Anemone (live @ Red Dog Productions) –

Pirate Studios loves finding new songwriters at our studios in Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham as well as finding fresh talent online and at live shows. Tag, share, tag and post, we want to here what you guys are playing!

Writers Block : Lyric writing

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The clock is ticking – your tapping your pen and foot vigorously, and you begin to frown so that your brain squeezes out the words that will solve everything. It doesn’t work, so you start to think about quitting because, “are words really that important, No one really listens to what is being sung right?”…

Writers block can be painful. Lyric writing can be a tedious and effortless task. Sometimes you have too many syllables and not enough rhyme and other times you spurt out something that is just too cringey!

Whether you’re writing in your rehearsal in Bristol, finishing your final rhyme for upcoming studio time in Cardiff or planning a Birmingham practice, Pirate Studios is here to encourage all of those songwriters, lyric writers and creative individuals who are thinking about lyric writing.

We have 5 tips that can help cure the worst case of writers block and regain clarity within the writing process:

1. Cut and Stick it will do the trick

If you want to stop writing about your heartaches and regrets, and instead want to throw together some post-modern and abstract imagery then the Dadaist cutting and sticking method is the one for you.

This approach has aided artists such as Thom Yorke, Chris Martin and David Bowie in writing some of their best works. If you are used to writing about typical topics e.g. Love, loss and rejection, the Dadaist approach is product of randomness which creates depth, excitement and it can change how music is interpreted.

To attempt this method, you will need to grab a pile of random books, a pair of scissors and an envelope. For the best outcome pick a diverse selection of novels, fiction and non- fiction books and dig out last week’s newspaper – the more diverse the better. If you are struggling to find such things then go to a second hand store, book shop and search intensely around the house.

When you have collected an odd array of books – cut out a selection of different words shake them around in an envelope, spill them out on the kitchen table or your bedroom floor and begin to craft autonomous worlds and characters.

This method can feel strange at first but it will inspire you and lead your writing style down all sorts of bizarre and descriptive routes. We are intelligent beings we want to share our heartaches, knowledge and experiences, but sometimes you can take personal memories and stories and mix them up with abstract approaches like this to enhance and re-create their realities.

2. Know your word types

The Dadaist method is useful; but over time start identifying your randomness so you use a healthy balance of Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs and adverbs, and of course conjunctions and articles (and, the, an). Be aware and familiar with the types of words that you are using and eventually it will be a natural default to use a broader palette.

To some this may sound too basic and to others really confusing, it may even take you back to your school years, but it can be helpful to those who slip into using the similar descriptions and topics.

3. Do some homework

Do some solid research. It’s not about copying exactly what others have done, but instead acknowledging their success and skill. Pick 4 different genres and artists, print off lyric sheets and study different rhyming schemes.

4. Listen to the world around you

If your sitting on a bus, walking through the street or in general transit, tune into the loud talkers, pick a word that you hear and type it in your phone.

It might not always be the most successful method, but sometimes you can here a word that can make your brain go crazy. Targeting different social environments means you will be exposed to different people, which could lead to creating a unique tale.

Note – If you are not the subtle type or don’t want to come across invasive, try different channels on the TV. Pick a documentary on Ancient Egypt, then a soap opera and mix them up.

5. Learn from the best

Research some of your favourite artists and see how they have done it – focus on a individual track and see how they have delivered certain words, analyse and interpret the message and see if you can create something that has a similar flow and rhyme.

These are just a few steps to cure the classic songwriters syndrome. There are lots of other ways to stimulate the brain like visiting a new place or country, collaborating with a poet or lyricist like Elton John and Bernie Taupin and also using apps such as word pallet and Oblique that are free to download from the Itunes App store!

The main thing is don’t give up. Pirate Studios believe that practice always makes perfect. Our practice rooms love to be filled with creativity, innovation and passion, so give these 5 tips a go you never know what could happen! – no rhyme intended…

Cardiff you’ve got it going on!

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Cardiff you’ve got it going on!

We’ve just opened a brand new Cardiff rehearsal studio! So here are a few words expressing our love for the Welsh city and its Musicians.

Cardiff is a city that brings a patriotic fizz, from rugby fanatics and extreme party goers to the heart of the city which comprises of the millennium stadium, surrounded by enough shops and bars to make your wallet appear gaunt.

Cardiff for years has been known as the place where the rugby happens, but what really makes the city the capital?

Your Nan might say that it’s the sweet deals of the old market stalls that offer strawberry bonbons and hot steamy Welsh cakes, whereas the younger folk will probably excite about the dance floors of Revolution and Walkabout on a Saturday night. “I don’t remember buying cheesy chips… or buying 7 rounds!”…

We believe the Welsh capital can be defined further by its artistic glory and the amount of musical talent that it has to offer.

Today the UK music industry is considered to predominantly thrive in London, with the live music scene spilling and spreading across cities such as Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool and so on…

However, the question that comes to mind – is musical success and progression simply determined by your environment?

We believe that your environment can influence how your music is heard and crafted, and it is this belief that has led us to create efficient rehearsal rooms across the country, providing fully equipped rooms that can bring clarity when casting creative spells.

Today you can release music from your bedroom with a cup of tea in your left hand and multiple online distribution companies in the other; or you can ignore the digital route, and instead harvest and develop your work until one day your firm arty butt cheeks are sat on top of a musical goldmine ready to explode into the earth’s atmosphere – just like Prince.

It is your choice what musical path you take. Whether you want to be a bedroom genius, a captivating live performer or maybe a bit of both! It’s important to remember that music is about expression, passion and escapism.  It is these fundamentals that help us hear the distant cry and crave for practice studios across multiple cities. We want to facilitate the Frank Zappa’s and the Simon and Garfunkel’s – so we’ve decided to build another musical home in Cardiff!

Cardiff has a burgeoning live music underbelly that shows off a plentiful pool of emerging musicians. We have recently discovered so many wonderful artists who manifest within the Welsh realm and want to share their work with you.

Clwb Ifor Bach and The Full Moon Bar located opposite each other on Womanby Street reek of an incredible musical stench that you want to smell over and over again. It is in these two venues’ that introduced us to HMS Morris and PARCS.

HMS Morris are a trio that can be credited for creating an unusual fusion of electronic pop and psychedelic welsh rock. The group showcases fat synth lines and adventurous vocal melodies that appear in both English and Welsh. The bands on stage chemistry and energy is truly captivating; watching them live is like walking through an old second hand shop and finding a rare, unwonted, colourful item that transcends and rebels it’s time and placement, you simply remain glued to the same spot, fascinated and captivated by its existence.

The band recently played The Great Escape festival in Brighton and have lots of exciting shows coming up this year, so you need to catch them! A track to listen to is “Shipping Forecast” – it embraces trippy, floating synth textures and gritty guitar tones.

At the other end of the spectrum is PARCS, a recently established group who explain they make “atmospheric/hip hop/beat things”. Their sound can be described as “laid back” and offers complex electronic hip-hop beat patterns that work with luscious vocals.

Their sound shows clear similarities to The XX, Little Dragon and MØ and their potential as a group is massive. Its early days but they are sure about their direction and have cultivated a solid sound. PARCS showcase advanced skills with live production and songs that are truly mesmerizing and articulate within their arrangements.

These are just two Welsh acts that demonstrate great musicianship. The Cardiff scene is so diverse and offers indie rock bands like Palomina Party and WETPAINTTT, as well as hardcore metal bands like Shaped by Fate, alternative rock bands such as Mumbleman and folk pop bands like Vince James!

Some may say the live scene isn’t what it used to be, however we believe it’s growing stronger. The lack of musical venues does not reflect the number of talented artists there are and despite the amount of venues in Cardiff, the ones that are around have a lot to offer.

Buffalo bar is spinning vinyl every day of the week.10 Feet Tall introduce singer-songwriters with a regular Monday Club, and Gwdihw carries a fat mixed bag of exciting promoters; the Cardiff scene is alive producing some quality music.

We love what we are finding in this city, so Cardiff musicians please keep doing what you do because we can’t wait to discover more great music!