‘Everything good about the North East is here in London, but in a bigger abundance’: why one musician headed South to achieve success in the music industry

Although the North East has seen some major success in the music industry in the past, it can’t be denied that the region is often overlooked in favour of other parts of the United Kingdom.

It would seem that some major acts are no longer interested in playing Newcastle’s Metro Radio arena, and it’s getting harder and harder for local musicians to find venues willing to host original, live music.

Aidan O’Shaughnessy, 22,  from Sacriston, County Durham, is a producer who has worked in both the North East, and west London. He was asked to describe how much difference a region can make to working in the music industry.


Aidan O’Shaughnessy playing live.

Q: How do you find working in London compared to working in the North East?

The biggest difference for me is that I get a lot more clients compared to when I was in the North East. Especially as a producer. But with more clients, more competition tends to follow. I’m a moderately priced musician and producer, but people tend to go for the cheaper options. Whether that’s someone with a smaller portfolio, maybe not the same level of equipment as me, maybe someone who is under valuing themselves, or maybe, just maybe, they’re not very good at their job and found the only way to pull in clients is through extremely low prices.

As an example, I got a pretty decent artist, who had a moderately large fan base and then moved away from me to a less qualified and cheaper producer. From my experience, that happens more often than not.

This would rarely happen in the North East. From my experience, we have some form of respect for each other in what we do. There’s less under cutting, it’s still there, but nowhere near the amount that there is here in London. 

Q: Is there anything about the North East that you just haven’t been able to find while you’ve been in London?

Manners and cheap beer. 

In all seriousness, there isn’t much I miss about the North East. Everything good about the North East is here in London, but in a bigger abundance. Venues, musicians, bands, clients, promoters, managers, agents, record labels. In the North East you may find a handful of each, that are decent at what they do, but here in London, you’ll find hundreds. It seems like everyday a new label or a new band come out of the woodworks. To be honest, it’s a bit hit or miss, but still way more than up North. 

Its a shame really, because there’s some great talent in the North East and I personally want to see all of that talent come out and do well in the music industry.

Q: What could be better about working up here? What has the South managed to do a bit better than us?

Venues. There are so many more venues here than in the North East, especially these days. I still have friends in the North, who are gigging musicians, and from where they tell me things have become a bit scarce in the north. 

Even when I lived back home we’d have difficulty finding venues to listen to live music, never mind trying to find somewhere to play ourselves. Where as, here in London, you are only ever a stone’s throw away from a pub that will have a band on from time to time. 

If you want to have a jam, maybe find some other musicians to start a band, almost every pub in my area has a house band and a jam night at least once a week. I think in the North East I only ever heard of one ‘jam’ night. Even then, it didn’t have a house band and you’d be expected to drag all your equipment along, drum kit and all, in failing that, a backing track. I wouldn’t count that as a jam night personally, but from what i remember, that’s how it was described. 

If you’d like to follow Aidan, you can visit his website at http://ift.tt/2fOQmfu.

Have you had a similar or different experience while working in the north east or down south? You can post your thoughts with the Comments board below.

from Tside