The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: December

Blog by Michelle Lloyd under Artist Managers, Creative & Branding, Finance, Law & Music Business, Live, Media, Music Publishing, Music Training & Careers, Record Labels, Recording & Production, Selling & Distributing Your Music

So we blinked and November was gone! On the bright side though, a new month means new tracks and as it’s the season of goodwill and all that, we’ve a real corker for you. There might not be any jingle bells, talk of reindeer or Father Christmas in there but grab yourselves a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine and sit back and behold the glory of this month’s Spotlight; the final instalment for 2012.

Amusement – ‘King Of The World’ 

Croydon-based Amusement started out life as a duo (Andrew Smith and Joe Sigee) with their initial demos and remixes garnering praise from the likes of Huw Stephens, Rob Da Bank, The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit. Since then they’ve focused on building an arduous live show procuring the services of drummer Ulysses Alvarez and bass player Holly Hardy whilst supporting the likes of King Krule, Arthur Beatrice, Gabriel Bruce and Nikki & The Dove.
Describing  their sounds as “moody synth-pop”, they tell us ‘King of The World’ was one of the tracks that came from a series of nights spent recording raw ideas at Joe’s grandparents empty, old house. “The song is about a man. Most of our songs seem to be about this slightly sad, sinister character we have invented. He’s had some sort of nocturnal adventure and he has ended up by himself, feeling completely elated at the events he has experienced….but he has done some things he shouldn’t have”. 
With a spacious and intricate sound, there’s a definite air of mystery surrounding the 4 piece; soft, soulful and introspective. Having recently played a string of headline gigs at venues including The Old Blue Last, Birthdays, The Green Door Store and The Lock Tavern, they plan to release their first single in the new year with an accompanying tour. 
BLESSA – ‘Open Fields’ 
Formed at Sheffield University in 2011 the band made their live debut at Tramlines festival and have since only played a handful of shows. Conflating 1990’s and early 2000’s influences such as My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, Interpol and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, BLESSA have recently been in hibernation, concentrating on penning songs such as our chosen track ‘Open Fields’.
The track started as a mosaic of a few ideas they had sent to each other that served as a template for their new sound. They then re-grouped and pieced all the ideas together to form a song. Their sound has been described as “halcyon, atmospheric dream pop” in the past and they say they’re quite happy with that description. 
They cite their highlights to date as supporting Spector, 2:54 and O Children, but most prevalently sharing a bill with Peace, Childhood and Alt-J at this year’s Tramlines Festival. With a further release planned before the end of the year followed by a full EP in 2013, they also hope to get back out on the live circuit in the near future.
Waylayers – ‘Magnets’ 
Consisting of Harry Lee (vocals/synths), Dave Norman (bass) and Joe Andrews (guitar), together Waylayers fuse elements of electronica and indie rock with a pinch of pop sensibility.
After touring Europe and spending some time away in the studio honing and perfecting their craft, the East London trio have recently released our chosen track ‘Magnets’  which is a prime example of their characteristic sound; full of synths and catchy hooks.
When asked about the track, they told us: “Magnets came really quickly. We were all huddled around our computer studio set-up and it was done and dusted within 3 days. Sometimes it just happens that way. First came the chords, then came the riffs and melodies and lyrics and sounds and structure, and then we mixed it ourselves in a day or so. Sorted. Other times it takes a lot longer...but when they come quick, we usually ride off that wave of initial excitement, and it tends to be a quick process from that point.”
They also filled us in on what they’re currently focusing their time on: “We’re just working hard on getting the right team of people around us to help us move forward in the right way. We are super conscious of this, and have learned from mistakes made in the past. The most important thing for us is having people work with us who are on the same page and are passionate about the music, and of course, who we click with. Advice that has been given to us by you guys at The Unsigned Guide!”
With festivals already lined up for next year and an imminent EP release; 2013 is looking bright!
Sam ‘Krats’ Freeman – ‘Step Back’  
Hip Hop producer Sam Freeman from Bristol instantly captured our attention with his track ‘Step Back’, deeming it an infectious little number we thought it only right that Sam be included in this month’s Spotlight line-up. Despite being quite the elusive soul, we managed to track him down to find out a little bit more.
How would you best describe your sound? 
Sample-driven underground hip-hop, with a distinctly 90's boom bap feel.
Can you tell us a bit about the track, how did it come about? 
I've been beatmaking/DJing for years but never really had the ambition to work with MCs until I moved to Bristol earlier this year. A chance meeting with Chattabox of Killamari Records led to us talking about the possibility of collaborating on some tracks together. Sharing the same passion for music led to the collaborative track, Tomahawks, which also featured Grem!I Da Muke. Producing that track gave me the spark to start thinking seriously about production and has led to my first album currently in production which I'll be releasing independently. The first track from the album, Step Back featuring Nabo Rawk, has had a great response and has been a springboard for other tracks on the album in terms of direction. Nabo Rawk has always been a rapper I admired and I was keen to work with him on a track I had previously made. I contacted him via Twitter and it went from there. I supplied him with the beat which he really liked, discussed ideas for a lyrical direction and the vocals were then sent back to me to work with
Any career highlights to date? 
Producing the track 'Step Back' with Nabo and also getting my first release, 'Tomahawks' pressed to vinyl which has always been a dream. The single has gone down really well so it's been amazing getting the positive feedback.

How will you be rounding off 2012 and what’s in store for 2013?
More DJ gigs are on the agenda leading up to Christmas and working on the album flat out too. I promote a hip-hop night here in Bristol called Sip The Juice and we have some big nights coming up so I'll be busy with that also. I'm planning on releasing another couple of singles just after Christmas and the full length album will follow around April time. I've been working with some great artists and very excited about people hearing that material. I'll probably do a couple of live shows once the album is out there.
The Shakedown Project – ‘Tell Me What I Want’

The Shakedown Project are a 3 piece psychedelic garage rock band currently residing in Glasgow who met each other at music college and instantly shared a passion for raw and exciting music. The influence of their favourite bands such as The Black Keys, Tame Impala and White Stripes can be heard throughout their songs, but all the while adding their own unique energy and flair.
Originally from Aberdeen the band quickly established themselves and built a solid following playing regular headline slots across the city. With the bands ambition to play bigger and better venues and to expand their listening audience, they decided to move to Glasgow and have since been playing in venues including Maggie May’s and King Tuts. 
Describing their debut EP as having “a stripped back feel with strong emphasis on song structure and melody”, their newer material is said to be concentrating heavily on “groove”. They’re currently locked away in their living room; insisting they will not come out until the new EP has been recorded!
Take a look at our most recent Spotlight blogs here
How do I get featured on the Spotlight blog?
Our Spotlight blog is compiled every month from fresh new music submitted to us by our members. We want to hear from you! We select 5 of the best tracks from our members, so if you want to be in the running you’ll need to sign up to The Unsigned Guide then follow the instructions in your Welcome email to submit a track for Spotlight consideration to us. If you’re already a member and still not sure about how to submit your music for Spotlight, just give us a shout via our Contact page & we’ll help you out!
As well as being featured in our new music blog, your track will also be forwarded onto  these music industry professionals including folks from Amazing Radio, Big Life Management, Club Fandango, Domino Records, The Fly, Memphis Industries, Rocksound, Skint Publishing, Sony Music, Spotify, Fake DIY, Transgressive Records and The Great Escape. View the full list of who listens to our Spotlight tracks here.
Members of The Unsigned Guide get access to our huge directory of over 8,700 UK music industry contacts. Find out more about the directory and the other services we provide to help emerging bands and artists here.


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