London Calling artists on the highs and lows of taking part in dwell


Acts acting at this 12 months’s London Calling showcase on the Worldwide Reside Music Convention have spoken to NME concerning the highs and lows of taking part in dwell within the present local weather, and shared recommendation for rising acts about taking to the stage.

The occasion, showcasing unsigned music throughout the capital, is set to return for its second 12 months tomorrow (Wednesday, February 28) as a core factor of the ILMC. With over 1,000 brokers, promoters and dwell music professionals on the town, ILMC presents a platform for artists to carry out in entrance of a probably career-changing crowd.

Throughout 5 intimate venues throughout Soho – The 100 Membership, 21Soho, The Decrease Third, Phoenix Arts Membership and The Spice of Life – London Calling boasts a stacked line-up of August Charles, b1no*, Babymorocco, Backroad Gee, Emilia Tarrant, Forgetting The Future, freekind, Gia Ford, Hyphen, Lala Hayden, Luna Morgenstern, LYVIA, MAVICA, Noah and the Loners, Nxdia, The New Eves and YIIGAA.

With the ILMC internet hosting talks, workshops, mentor classes, particular occasions and extra throughout based mostly across the enterprise and tradition of touring, competition and dwell leisure, three of the acts showing at London Calling caught up with NME to share some perception about their life on the highway.

Laura Hayden of Anteros performs at O2 Academy Leeds (Photo by Andrew Benge/Redferns)
Laura Hayden of Anteros performs at O2 Academy Leeds (Photograph by Andrew Benge/Redferns)

Taking to the stage on the Phoenix Arts Membership, Lala Hayden stated that she was trying ahead to the subsequent step of her “surreal” journey after taking an “indefinite break” as frontwoman of earlier band Anteros. 

“I put an EP out final 12 months and thought that might be it, however then slowly stuff has been falling into place,” Hayden informed NME. “We’ll be placing extra new music out this 12 months and now we’re reserving extra festivals and reveals. I’m feeling actually, actually fortunate that I get to do that and that issues are taking place naturally.”

Along with her expertise of touring the world with Anteros, Hayden stated that she felt particularly grateful to have the ability to exist as an artist given all of the monetary challenges challenges dealing with artists and the pressures of grassroots venues closing.

“Loads of rising artists can fall into the entice of spending some huge cash on touring logistics,” Hayden informed NME. “We have been actually fortunate [with Anteros] in that we’d by no means e-book a gig that we’d should lose cash on. We’d at all times be sure we might cowl prices.

“There are issues that you are able to do, however you simply should be ready to price range. Now it’s attention-grabbing – by way of me planning my dwell present with my solo stuff, I’d should carry session musicians on board after which the journey could be actually costly. Whenever you spank all of it on the primary three reveals you then’re not going to get to play extra gigs. For the dwell present now it’s simply me on stage alone, and we’ve put cash behind getting actually good mixes on monitor.”

Hayden added: “Particularly with social media, you at all times should placed on this entrance that issues are going nice. There are lots of people working different jobs with a purpose to preserve doing this. For me, it’s about being actually aware and as actual as doable with that. In the end, the objective is to do that for so long as doable. I can’t try this if I’m then owing a great deal of cash or always at a loss.”

Hayden additionally spoke of the well being impression of touring – urging artists to concentrate on giving themselves time to get well as they play.

“I discover it actually attention-grabbing that, particularly while you’re up-and-coming, most venues pay you in beer, alcohol and crisps,” she stated. “You’re like, ‘Can I possibly get an apple or one thing that’s not gonna fuck me up extra?’ Since Brexit and post-pandemic, touring actually is extra of a slog than it was, however I’ve realized rather a lot. The primary time I went on tour I obtained laryngitis by night time three and nonetheless had two weeks to go.

In addition to taking time to make sure that her weight loss plan and sleep sample have been in test, Hayden stated that a very powerful factor was feeling like touring was a “sustainable” way of life in order that taking part in dwell wouldn’t undergo.

“What issues essentially the most is that point you’re on stage,” she stated. “That’s your showcase. I’ve prepped every part round that, principally. It’s not as enjoyable as staying out all night time, nevertheless it’s not sustainable while you’re touring to try this on a regular basis anyway.”

Trying ahead to her upcoming dwell reveals as a solo artist, Hayden described the expertise as “actually fucking enjoyable and actually liberating”.

“My solo EP [‘Girl Becomes’] is sort of like a homecoming – about coming into womanhood with this idea of being the lady who would dance in entrance of a mirror whereas singing right into a hairbrush,” she stated. “It’s the factor that none of us ever wish to be seen as being, so for me being on stage is admittedly cathartic now. I get to be all of the issues that used to make me really feel insecure. All of my loopy can come out and it’s truly nice and enjoyable. If that encourages different folks to let go of the masks a bit, then possibly it might carry out extra of them.

“It is a lot extra free and free [than my time with the band]. It’s a bit extra scary typically. I’ve to create the vibe on stage and hope for that ripple impact no matter how many individuals are within the viewers.”

Rising Sheffield artist Gia Ford will likely be celebrating the discharge of latest single ‘Poolside’ forward of a tour with Marika Hackman and a busy summer season of festivals by making a cease at London Calling with a set on the iconic 100 Membership.

Along with her alt-folk songs taking over extra of “rocky and punk-y vitality” on stage because of her dwell band, Ford stated her reveals noticed her “disappear into her personal world” including: “The songs are tales in themselves, so I’d like to have the ability to transport folks into these tales as a lot as doable.”

Gia Ford
Gia Ford for London Calling at ILMC. Credit score: Press

Ford agreed that essentially the most difficult a part of touring in 2024 was “the associated fee and deciding what’s the neatest thing to spend your cash on”.

“For me and the band, the extra reveals we play the higher – not solely as a result of it’s wonderful and a lot enjoyable, nevertheless it’s such a key element to getting your music in entrance of individuals,” Ford informed NME. “It’s a little bit of a shot at the hours of darkness and you need to belief your self and the folks you’re working with to decide on these gigs and the precise second, the precise viewers to place your music in entrance of.”

“I’m honoured to have the ability to do that in any respect as a result of lots of people would kill to take action. I’m tremendous grateful for it, however you possibly can’t afford to say sure to every part. That’s the primary battle thus far.”

The singer-songwriter stated that she’d “at all times recognized that she would do that and attempt to make it occur in any method that she might”, and that artists ought to seize each alternative they might.

“I haven’t given myself another choice,” she admitted. “It’s important to make room for that; if you wish to do one thing sufficient you then simply do. You may’t second-chance it. Being the age you might be and having the joy that you just do within the second, you need to take a leap and go for it.

“It’s so enjoyable and an enormous shot of life to share that second with the gang and your band. Being nervous is nice for sure causes, however concern is unquestionably a little bit of a fork within the highway for no cause. You’re lacking out on such an unimaginable expertise.”

Having come up via Sheffield’s vibrant dwell scene – and taking a second to shout out the venue Sidney & Matilda and native band Minds Idle – Ford stated that she’d come to be taught that dwell music was the driving pressure behind why she does what she does.

“It’s such a thrill,” she added. “There’s nothing fairly like sharing music with folks instantly in entrance of you – particularly these days of Instagram and streaming. It’s considered one of final vestiges of how music has at all times been.

“Stroll the trail of the folks that you just love. Enjoying dwell is so essential.”

Having performed at The O2, Wi-fi, Studying & Leeds, Sunset competition, The Roundhouse, KOKO, and past, Backroad Gee’s subsequent present will likely be performing for London Calling at The Decrease Third. After that includes on two tracks on Dizzee Rascal‘s ‘Don’t Take It Private’ – launched earlier this month – now Gee was trying ahead to a packed 2024.

“This 12 months is treating me properly, bro – I can’t complain,” he informed NME. “I’m working arduous. It’s trying main, man. We’ve gotta hella music on the way in which. It’s indescribable. You’ve simply obtained to listen to it to imagine it. I’m engaged on different stuff exterior of music too. There’s rather a lot to return.”

Waiting for his London Calling present, Gee stated that followers ought to “count on vitality”.

“Count on one thing you haven’t seen earlier than and a superb time,” he promised. “You gained’t be upset with what I carry to the desk.”

BackRoad Gee performs at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on November 24, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns)
BackRoad Gee performs at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on November 24, 2021 in London, England. (Photograph by Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Having pulled off some landmark gigs and visitor appearances, Gee admitted that his life as a performer hadn’t been with out its challenges – however they have been all price it ultimately.

“It’s at all times arduous,” he stated. “Every little thing you do in life is difficult. Even you’re on the heights and it’s going properly, there’ll at all times be obstacles hitting you. It’s about the way you overcome and rise. The business is a tricky nut to crack. With out getting too deep, you’ve simply obtained to have a civil head, preserve agency and preserve going – you’ve obtained to imagine in your self and your finish objective.”

As for recommendation for different would-be artists contemplating their first foray into dwell music, Gee added: “Rome wasn’t inbuilt a day. If you happen to actually need it you then’ve started working for it. There was an enormous hole for me to get to this stage, however I wouldn’t be right here if I gave up the combat.”

NME acts as a media associate of London Calling and the 2024 ILMC alongside the Music Venue Belief (MVT), Mad Cool Pageant, Ticketmaster and extra.

The ILMC, which started in 1989, describes itself as “the first-ever devoted gathering of main figures concerned on the earth’s live performance business, a lot of whom had solely ever spoken on the telephone”.

Go to right here for tickets and extra info.



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