Platinum Promotions and Square Peg Promotions
Throughout the 1980s, I took great interest in the pop charts and studied commercial music, leading to an interest in promoting emerging musicians. In the 1990s, I put on various live band nights at venues across London, from the Laurel Tree in Camden (1997) to the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden, Oxygen in Leicester Square, The Phoenix in Cavendish Square, Verge in Kentish Town, Infinity in Piccadilly then in 2004 I ran a weekly new band night at 333 in Old Street before passing the business onto Malcolm Griffiths, who continued for up to 2008.
During this time I wrote for various regional newspapers and interviewed bands and musicians as well as writing music reviews and compiling live music listings.
I booked the bands for various live music festivals in North London, including Crouch End, Muswell Hill and East Finchley between 1997 and 2000.
2015 – Scrumpstock
2013 – present – press releases for Matchbox Recordings‘ artists
November 2014 – January 2015 – Eyes for Gertrude
April 2014 – Mohammad Reza Mortazavi – West Briton.
Sophie’s Spring Board Show
Since graduating from a professional writing MA in 2012, I worked for the Fish Factory art space in Falmouth then freelanced for Matchbox Recordings and then provided A&R and PR services for Aardvark Records. From October 2012 until December 2019 I did a weekly radio show on SourceFM in Falmouth. Below is the story with Pinterest boards and links to articles on Scribd.
In 1996, I went to report on the live music scene in Camden and found a vibrant rock and indie scene in full swing. Prowling around on the hunt for musical talent were DJs – Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley – the music press and scrums of record company executives who wanted to be the first to sign up the next big thing. To see this feature, click here.
Today, many previous music venues are used for live comedy. I wrote about what the comedy scene could learn from the live music scene for Chortle, the online comedy guide. Please follow the link to see my article.
The Coldplay and Starfish
In contrast to TV talent shows today, original acts could attract the attention of the music industry and start a buzz. In the 1990s, licking Simon Cowell’s shoes was not required, nor were synchronised choreography, revealing costumes or steamy videos.
In 1997, Coldplay played at the Laurel Tree in Camden as a band called Starfish and then swopped names with another band called The Coldplay (see flyer). At the same venue, I hosted a Tuesday night for new bands to get on the gig ladder, so they could break onto the London scene. I have a Starfish biography.
As well as gaining publicity for my live music nights in the music press, (examples available on request) I wrote a series of articles about new acts and interviewed some slightly famous people.
I also organised the live music for the Muswell Hill and Crouch End Festivals, as well as hosting live bands at various top venues such as the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden.
I gained entry to two festivals in Finsbury Park and, after the fun, I actually did my work and wrote up about them. Talking of festivals, I volunteered my services to the Muswell Hill and Crouch End street festivals and wrote about the experience and the musical delights.
In 2004, I started another live music night, at Club 333 in Hoxton. By this time, Metro had launched and Melody Maker was no more.
Purposeful music people
My Tuesday live music nights at 333 Old Street often clashed with tube strikes and football matches.
But what am I complaining about? On the first night on 6 April 2004, a new band called The Departure filled the venue with A&R people who all wanted to sign the band to their label.
Live Music MC
I decided to introduce each act and faced a crowd of purposeful looking record business people who were waiting, many with their arms crossed, to see the Departure. The band got a record contract soon afterwards and played at Leeds and Reading that year, with their retro 80s sound which was reminiscent of Duran Duran. As often happens, this sound didn’t catch on in the charts for a few years.
The Dirty Whites played a few times on those Tuesday nights. I saw them five years later at the Koola Shaker club in Bristol – their hometown – and they had kept up their strong fan base.
Here are some Music, Film and Book reviews I wrote for a regional London newspaper.