Vic Galloway has been a champion of new music in Scotland for over a decade, broadcasting twice a week on the BBC with a refreshing disregard for an act's genre, image or career status: if it's good enough, Vic plays it.
Usually the one asking the questions, for the latest in our Behind the Scene series, we thought it would be interesting to hear what he thinks about the Scottish music scene - and how a band can make itself heard in it...
BBC Radio 1 & Radio Scotland Broadcaster, TV Presenter, Journalist, Musician and fan!
What does your job involve?
I broadcast two weekly new music radio programmes on Radio 1 and Radio Scotland. With my producers, I search out and find as many interesting, cutting-edge Scottish bands and artists across all genres. I then play their stuff on the radio, write about them, talk them up and generally let as many people as possible find out about them. I do play bigger and more established artists here and there on Radio Scotland, or if I'm on 6Music, but the BBC Introducing show on Radio 1 is 100% new Scottish music. I've been doing this for over 11 years, and have seen many Scottish success stories... as well as a few great bands who sadly slipped through the net.
How do you discover new bands?
It's a combination of different ways. I search the net for music via MySpace, SoundCloud, BandCamp etc; I get recommendations from friends and associates who have good taste; I read blogs, magazines, fanzines etc; and I go to gigs. I'm also lucky to have most of Scotland's musicians send me their new recordings... so quite often the music discovers me, if you knowhaddamean?!
What piece of solid gold advice would you offer to unsigned bands?
There are now more bands, artists and musicians than ever before, so do try to find your own unique sound. Much as I may like Biffy Clyro or Frightened Rabbit, I don't want to hear a thousand copy-cat bands. Sing with your own voice (although that doesn't HAVE to be in a Scottish accent), try to write melodies and chord-changes that sound individual, and think outside the box lyrically. I want to hear music with character, originality and soul that comes from the people writing it - not a string of clichés or downright plagiarism. That may sound difficult, but nobody said it was going to be easy!
Which new names have caught your attention recently?
I could give you a huge list of bands I think are good just now, but here's a few... North Atlantic Oscillation, Simon Doherty, Meursault, Profisee, Admiral Fallow, Conquering Animal Sound, Citizens, Miaoux Miaoux, Kid Adrift, Astral Planes, Ben Butler & Mousepad, Akira Kiteshi, Young Fathers, Aerials Up, Mitchell Museum, Hostage, French Wives, American Men, Tango in the Attic, Comma, Silver Columns, Rustie, United Fruit, Lightguides, Other People, Unicorn Kid, The Seventeenth Century, Copy Haho, Bwani Junction, Dupec... OK, that was quite a big list - you get the idea!
How do you see the music industry changing over the next few years?
Things will hinge around the internet and playing live, as is happening now. I hope independent scenes, regardless of genre or style, will consolidate and help each other. Although the internet is global, I think things will become smaller and more decentralised across the world. Local scenes will have to grow organically and then communicate with like-minded souls in other parts of the world. Scotland is a perfect place to take advantage of this as we already have a large, vibrant and fiercely independent music life here already. We need to convince the man on the street, and not just the musicians and scenesters, that local music is as good as anything global. I think this is happening slowly.
Anything else to add?
Forget the majors - they will continue to farm out manufactured dross for a quick buck, on the whole. For a sustained life in music, you have to be DIY. I want independent retailers and shops, both physical and digital, to thrive in the near future. Musicians and labels need to get paid again one day. Support your local record shops, blogs, podcasts and radio shows, and try to buy local bands' stuff.
Listen to Vic Galloway on Radio 1 on Thursday nights, midnight - 2am, and on Radio Scotland on Monday evenings from 8.05pm - 10pm.
If you want to get in touch with Vic, follow him on Twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Nick Mitchell