Updated: Aug 6, 2018
The Indie DIY culture and how it’s thriving.
From post-punk revival to Britpop, this country has developed and grown some of the world's greatest influencers and artists. It’s common knowledge that musical genres grow and die, as is the cycle of life. Then why is it that the UK Indie scene refuses to wither and gracefully depart our ears?
It’s the DIY ‘go-get’ attitude that has been showcased by the greats; The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Smiths, and that has been nothing short of inspiring to our current generation of musicians and promoters. The very foundations that this music genre was built upon is, unsurprisingly, the very thing that is keeping it alive.
However, it’s important to remember how this attitude and genre evolved. Back in the 50’s and 60’s, record labels were huge. So big in fact that they bullied young and independent start up labels and bands from making a living. You, as a band, either sold out and signed some horrendous deal or gave up your dream. Thankfully, the 1970’s indie movement said “enough is enough” and saved the music industry, which has played a major role in the state it is in today. However, as of recent, big corporate record labels are slowly tightening their grip on our beloved industry. The 3 big labels (Warner, Sony and Universal) have started investing and taking controlling stakes in new and upcoming music startup labels and established streaming services. Incase you havent noticed - this is bad. If these music giants take back control of the industry, young bands and fresh talent will be forced to either sign ‘slavery’ contracts, or bullied out of the market (e.g. record label only venues…) altogether.
Will Randall, promoter & booker at HURL, decided to take the fight back to them. Tired and fed up with corporate record labels and overpriced tickets, Will organised and booked his own Indie club nights held at The Camden Assembly. An event that has only been going for a few months, HURL has already attracted big and upcoming talent.
The one thing that makes HURL stand out above the rest is that this is a club night for the bands, by the bands. Dedicated to discovering the freshest unsigned indie talent our country has to offer, HURL’s philosophy is to create a jump pad for upcoming artists who are faced with growth barriers.
What even inspired you to do this? It’s a bloody big leap.
Because I wanted to put on the bands I listened to, like Himalayas or Valeras. I love live music, and I wanted to see them live. So I did it myself. I wanted to meet them and put them on a bill.
So, it was rather for the community rather than to bolster your career in the music industry?
100%. I absolutely love it. The stuff I do is for the bands and supporting young talent.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Funding. That’s the biggest one. And also not having a reputation in the industry. I’ve come from nowhere and threw myself in the deep end. I’ve had to learn how to do this myself, and not having an established network in the industry sucks.
So, you’re going into your own pocket? Isn’t that a bit daunting for other people?
I guess, yeah. But if you’re serious about it, you gotta think about your return on investment. It’s an investment in your future. You spend money on cameras and lenses, but I spend my money on putting on club nights.
What’s the number 1 piece of advice you’d offer to others wanting to do the same?
Be 100% confident and believe in your ideas. If you got that nailed you’re gonna find it easy to get to the top. Without sounding too cheesy.
So, what’s in the works for HURL?
We’re currently in the midst of moving over to The Queens Head in Islington, where shows will be played from September onwards. A few mini shows and festivals in the pipeline, but all hush hush unfortunately.
Cheers Will. When’s your next one?
6th of September at The Queens Head in Islington. It’s a free show in collaboration with HOT VOX. Come on down and get a drink! It’s gonna be a packed night.”
In the age of dying journalism and corporate greed, it’s vital that groups like HURL keep this tradition alive and kicking. I guess that’s the independent spirit in a nutshell; when you’re tired of mainstream culture and oversaturated shit, do it yourself. Proper Rock N Roll that.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY JORDAN LOGAN