Sometimes it's possible to forget that music has the power to bring people and cities together. With so much emphasis on the virtual network of Soundcloud, Spotify, Bandcamp et al,as well as the pressure for artists to gain social reach on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other platforms. Sometimes the best way to reach out is to, as @SimonParton puts it "go to other bands/musicians gigs". Such simple advice that could really benefit so many. (Including myself)
In this interview Simon talks more about Swansea Music Hub and his work in the city of Swansea. Building up a massive list of creatives who are making some amazing music and connecting with their listeners offline.
Meanwhile I'm hiding in London trying to develop a new EMW v2.0 platform for online content. I need all the help I can get so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you think you can help. ( Email me )
An interview with Simon Parton from Swansea Music Hub
Hello and welcome to EMW. Who are you and what do you do?
Hello! My name is Simon Parton and I’m a musician living and working in Swansea. I am one half of the team coordinating the Swansea Music Hub & Swansea Fringe Festival (alongside Joe Bayliss). We both also teach, deliver music workshops and produce & compose our own music too.
Last year you organised Swansea Fringe. Tell us more about this and what it involved. What did you learn by hosting such an exciting and varied cultural event?
I was asked by Joe to help with the Fringe last year and I think Joe will agree, we aimed high with over 150 acts across over 15 venues which meant we learnt a lot very quickly.
It showcased a cross section of music, comedy, poetry and arts, but as we are both musicians there was a big focus on music.
I think one of the most useful things that we learnt from the event is that there are so many amazing creative things happening in Swansea and so many like minded people wanting our music scene to flourish.
What were your personal highlights from this event?
In between running around delivering PAs, drum kits and everything in between to venues I was fortunate enough to catch some of the things that we had booked in! Personal highlights were Trampolene, Afro Cluster, Rachel K Collier & Roughion on the Horizons stage in Cinema & Co, and the Atomic Supermen in Tech Hub.
You are both musicians in your own right. How important is community for you as a creative?
It’s absolutely paramount for me and the way that I make music. The majority of my creative output recently has been all about collaboration. With my projects Belgrave and Friends, it’s all about sending files and projects over the internet and linking up with artists and musicians that we’ve met through the music scene.
More recently I’ve been discovering lots of new music through organising our music directory on the site and it’s been great to reach out to artists to get creative and collaborate with them.
"Go to other bands/musicians’ gigs. Visit venues that you haven’t been to before. It’ll all come full circle and you’ll find that more people will support you!" #SwanseaMusic
What triggered you to start the Swansea Music Hub Page?
So after the Swansea Fringe Festival we felt a huge buzz for the potential of the Swansea Music Scene and we didn’t want this to go away or only happen once a year. We wanted to show that Swansea has a wealth of not only great musicians, artists and venues, but also a huge potential for audiences (both new and old) to get out, experience and support original music from the city.
Taking a look at the page. There is an amazing list of performers, composers and producers slowly building. How has the initial response been?
It’s been overwhelmingly positive. We keep discovering new artists and musicians from different communities within the larger scene that we have never heard of and that’s been really exciting. Getting different musicians from different parts of Swansea and genres all in one place is great and opens dialogue between artists that may never have made contact before.
This was true at our musician’s forum earlier this month - we had people from the heavy metal scene expressing the same thoughts, barriers and concerns as those from the hip hop and electronic music scenes!
How easy is the current model to maintain. Are you prepared for a large database of musicians?
At the moment, it’s pretty manageable. As both myself and Joe teach and are doing the Swansea Music Hub voluntarily it means that we can take things at our own pace. Every week I’m spending time searching for new artists to add to the directory, new gigs and reaching out to artists to let us know about any live shows / releases that are coming out of Swansea. We currently have over 100 artists listed on our directory and we’d love it to grow even more.
"We currently have over 100 artists listed on our directory and we’d love it to grow even more".Swansea Music Hub
Where can you see Swansea Music Hub going as a platform. What are your visions and dreams for the future?
We are looking to grow the Hub to a become a sustainable project that offers support, education, facilities and events for musicians and those interested in music in Swansea.
We want it to be a place where ideas, events and opportunities can be shared and a place where musicians can come together to improve our music scene. We’re hoping that this will not only bring new opportunities and develop the music scene, but will also attract bands and promoters from other cities to put on shows and events in the city.
How can the music community help you achieve this?
Shout about anything and everything creative that you are doing. Let us know about gigs and/or releases of original music that you’re part of. Invite all your friends to shows and pack out venues. Use the hashtag:
But, more importantly, support each other. Go to other bands/musicians’ gigs. Visit venues that you haven’t been to before. It’ll all come full circle and you’ll find that more people will support you!
What would your ideal online music community include?
Dialogue, support and progressive development between musicians, venues and those interested in original music.
Swansea Music Hub @swanseamusichub (Twitter / Instagram / Facebook)
Swansea Fringe Festival @fringeswansea (Twitter / Instagram / Facebook)
Simon PartonSimon Parton Link