Fly On The Wall: On tour with High Tyde

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

We first introduced you to Brighton quartet High Tyde - Cody, Spencer, Connor and Louis -in March last year when we featured their jaunty, infectious little number ‘Solana’ in our monthly members Spotlight blog. At the time they were hitting the books ahead of their GCSEs, selling out gigs in their home town and longing to get out there and play to the rest of the country. Fast forward a year and they’re done with pesky exams and already have a stack of live dates under their belts including a sell-out Leeds date to boot.

On hearing that that they were about to embark on another 6 date tour taking in Leicester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, we thought we’d get the inside scoop and see how these 4 young chaps from Brighton have managed to organise and fund their own tour, plus the realities and trials and tribulations that come along with life on the road.

First things first; did you have a specific reason behind wanting to tour? Was it in support of anything in particular?
We just really wanted to get out of Brighton and play shows in different places across the UK to new people and help build our fan base. We weren't looking to promote any particular release, we just had a 3 track demo CD which we sold for a couple of quid!

How did you go about booking the tour? Did you do it yourself?
The whole tour was very much a DIY thing; pretty mad and stressful but the work paid off, we had so many good times. We worked with some really cool venues who we just contacted ourselves and they were really interested and we went from there. We worked with a few promoters; some of the shows were just straight through the venue but others were with their in-house promoters or promoters who worked specifically for them.

How did you fund the tour? 
The basic budget we were using was the travel expenses from each show, then on top of that we had a small amount of CD sales each night. We had to back the tour with some of our own money to pay for our driver etc but that's expected; touring is so expensive, especially as we haven't released much music yet.

Who did you take on the road with you? Did you have a tour manager, driver etc? 
We had our tour manager and producer Ryan Gorringe from The Manor House with us. He keeps the spirits high when we're down about bad turnouts or anything like that as he used to tour a lot and knows the deal! Our driver is a good friend of ours called Joe, he's a great guy to work with. We all get on really well and that makes it much more fun.

What did you do for accommodation?
A few nights we slept at people's houses, friends at uni and stuff. The rest of the time we slept in the van which was surprisingly fun, but cold though!

How did you deal with the production side of things?
We took our whole backline with us. It's nice playing with your own stuff every night, it makes you feel really comfortable and you know the sound you like. All the shows had in-house sound engineers; every show was great sound wise and we were really pleased! Hopefully we'll eventually have our own sound guy.

How did you go about promoting the tour?
With a lot of social networking! In the day whilst on the tour we were busking with a sign about the gig and gave away some free CDs, we met some cool people that came down to the shows. We also contacted some local blogs and magazines in a few of the cities.

Did you take any merch on the road with you?
No we didn't and that’s our biggest regret, but after funding the van and driver from our own pockets it was difficult to buy merch too. But we learnt our lesson and we're just about to send off our first merch order, so expect some tees soon!

So keen to find out what life is REALLY like on the road for an unsigned emerging band with a small budget, we also asked the fellas to keep a bit of a tour diary. Read on to find out just how glamorous (!!) touring is…..

10am: First day of tour! We check emails and make sure everything is all good for the week ahead. We booked everything ourselves as we have no PR or booking agent, it’s DIY all the way!

11am: We all meet at The Manor House studio. It's a nice sunny day so we throw about the fun ball outside, while we wait about for our driver and good friend Joe to pick us up in the van. We're based in Worthing, just outside Brighton, and our first show is in Leicester.

4pm: After a 4 hour drive making the most out of the van's speakers, we turn up and load in our equipment. Tonight's venue is the Soundhouse. Soundcheck goes well with our new set up so we then find a place to go eat – a very important part of anyone’s tour!

7.30pm: It's a Monday night and it's our first time in Leicester so the turnout is minimal; we met some cool people though so all is not lost. Bearing in mind, we saved up money prior to touring to rent our van and cover Joe's costs, we didn't have money for hotels or B&Bs but luckily we meet a girl who very kindly lets us sleep in her uni halls for the night – result!

11pm: We load out and after driving around trying to find a car park for 15 minutes (the van is pretty big so hard to find spaces!) we arrive at Bexy's. There's a party going on and we hang out, meet some new people and go to bed in the early hours of the morning. 

7.30am: Our tour manager gets up to pay for parking on our van for an extra 2 hours.

9.30am: We leave Bexy's, check our emails and find out one of the bands have pulled out of tonight's show.

11am: Another email comes through…another artist on the bill cancels! It's not our day today!

12pm: We arrive in Birmingham and go out to explore the town, giving out leaflets to people inviting them to our show. We come across a girl with a guitar on her back and she agrees to play at tonight's show.

2pm: After lunch (Tesco sandwiches, fruit etc...) we go back to the van, get our equipment and go busking in town. We give out a few free CDs and meet a guy called Alex. We find out he’s a musician and explain that 2 bands have pulled out of tonight's show and invite him to play the gig…he agrees!

5pm: We arrive at the Roadhouse. There’s a really cool vibe in here, pool tables are always good! We do the usual; load in, soundcheck etc.

6pm: We’d invited one of the local uni radio stations, BurnFM, to the show so we do an interview with Gareth and Jade.

7.30pm: Once again, this is our first time in Birmingham so turn-out was the smallest of all tours! Literally 10-15 people there. It’s tough when two bands pull out on the day of the gig, but, as they say, the show must go on! We check out Laura and Alex's sets. So glad we met them earlier as both of them are super talented.

9.30pm: We play our set then have a chat with the people who attended.

10.30pm: Pizza time as we’ve not eaten all evening. Tonight we don't have a place to stay so we get ready in the van for a cold night’s sleep. Sleeping is slightly awkward when 6 people are in there, but we do the best we can and get comfortable.

7:30am: We wake up with the sunshine shining into the van.

8.30am: The search for breakfast begins! 

9am: We get an email through, tonight's show has been cancelled due to the venue flooding. Morale is pretty low but we find a Tesco’s and get a full English breakfast.

10am: After conversations about what we we're going to be doing today, our driver Joe mentioned his friends in Royal Blood are playing Leeds tonight on the NME tour. Joe gets in contact with them and we manage to get guest list places for the gig.

12pm: After breakfast we find a swimming pool, play about on the slides and wave machines, have a shower (FYI swimming pools are a great place to get a hot shower on tour!) then head off to Leeds.

5pm: We arrive in Leeds, have dinner and head to the o2 Academy.

11pm: The show finishes, Royal Blood sounded phat! If you want a live band to go see, check them out, only a 2-piece too!

12am: After driving around for an hour we find a layby to park up and sleep in. This time we know what we are getting into…so the sleep wasn't so bad.

9am: Wake up, get petrol and start the drive to Liverpool.

1pm: We arrive in Liverpool and have a carvery for lunch.

5pm: We head over to tonight's venue, the Lomax. We are greeted by Frank the owner. We're excited as the Liverpool music scene is such a vibrant one. Load in/sound check happens. 

8pm: The capacity is 75 or so in the room we're playing tonight and there's about 40-50 people in so it looks busy.

9.10pm: We play! Tonight's atmosphere was great and the best yet. The sound was great, thanks to Kyle! An added bonus was that the owners and team working at the venue were really welcoming which made it a real fun place to play. We really want to play there again in the summer.

4am: After a late night we end up sleeping on the beach!

11am: We wake up a little late and find a place to swim and shower.

1pm: We stock up on petrol and drive to Manchester. We also buy a new cable for Conner's pad as it broke last night.

4.30pm: We arrive at venue, The Eagle Inn. Tiny venue, 50 people tops! It has a really cool balcony on the top too.

6pm: We’re allowed to announce to our online communities that we are playing RedFest this year! Last year Bastille headlined and we're really excited to being playing it this year.

8:45pm: We play to an almost sold out show. It was really fun and two girls from last night came to see us again which was really cool…shout out to Nicole and Lisa!

11pm: We load out and drive to Leeds as we are playing there tomorrow and have a place to stay tonight. We stop off at a pizza place and in the shop we all start scatting a song about the tour so far. When we have time we'll finish it and may record it. We also met this guy - Bentley (insert picture)

10am: We wake up and eat breakfast (thanks Dawn and Nicky! ) We’re excited as tonight we play Leeds. Last time we played Leeds we had an awesome show.

11am: We walk around and find out there's only 10 tickets left for our show at the Cockpit! We invited some local PR people down for the show tonight including Lippy Magazine and the Bike & Rose blog.

4pm: After lunch we arrive at the venue, load in and soundcheck. The place is already really busy and we're buzzing to get on stage. 

8pm: We play, the audience has fun and a few people singalong which really makes the whole tour! We loved the vibes and Johnny is an awesome promoter!

11pm: We load all our equipment out, say our goodbyes and start our journey back home. Tired and sad we drive for 6 hours back to Brighton.

5am: We arrive at our houses and sleep!

So what did the boys learn from the tour and what advice would they give anyone looking to do the same thing?

I think we generally learnt a lot about being a band on tour really; the reality of it. It really isn’t all glam, it can be pretty hard at times especially when you get small crowds and morale is low. But, on a positive note, we always learn things about our sound after playing a lot of shows , the set gets tighter and the songs get better. That‘s the main reason behind getting out there and doing it.

Our advice to anyone looking to do a similar thing is firstly budget your money. If you can save on things like hotels and stay in your van then do it - hiring a van etc. isn’t cheap so use it to its full potential! Using The Unsigned Guide also proved to be invaluable, especially when you’re looking for venues to approach or promoters. Their Tour Services section is also great as it can put you in touch with people that hire out vans, drivers, tour managers, equipment hire and everything else you’ll need whilst on the road.

Most importantly though…have fun and take things as they come. There will be good gigs and there will be bad ones. The key is to stay positive and learn!

Having honed their live show, we’re delighted to see that High Tyde have secured themselves some pretty nifty festival slots this summer including Hogsozzle Festival, Lainfest and RedFest. Check out their Facebook page for full details and a HUGE thank you to them for giving us an insight into their tour.


high tyde, unsigned band, emerging band, book a tour, booking gigs, unsigned gigs


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