Backstage with Tom Minchin 

Backstage with Tom Minchin
Backstage with Tom Minchin

It’s hard to think of Bristol and the South West without conjuring up images of the region’s fiercely eclectic music scene and vibrant independent spirit. The city is home to award-winning grassroots music venues which have seen the likes of Massive Attack, Portishead, Roni Size, Eats Everything and Bananarama rise to fame after performing at their venues.

Helping to nurture young musical talent is the BIMM Institute Bristol – a music college home to inspiring music courses across all disciplines. The college has produced well-known talent such as BIMM alumni’s George Ezra and the IDLES and provides incredible opportunities to those wanting to make it in the industry including live music showcases, behind-the-scenes work experience and more.

The college not only works with students who are on their journey to becoming successful on-stage performers, it also provides education and support for those who are wanting other careers in the music industry; from producers to event management to song writing.

But as many know, getting a break in the music industry is not easy, and that’s exactly what inspired a team of former BIMM students and graduates to create HUBB Records; a platform dedicated to rising BIMM talent, helping them showcase their musical offerings to Bristol and the rest of the UK.

The dedicated team began the label with the common shared goal of helping new, local talent to meet their full potential. HUBB Records also seeks to give rising talent extremely valuable insight into the industry and how music labels operate.

We went #BackstageWith Tom Minchin, who heads PR at HUBB Records and is himself a music production graduate. Read on to find out the inspiration behind the record label, the new talent to keep an eye on, and so much more:

How would you summarise HUBB Records in a few lines?

HUBB is like a melting pot of genres and the team are all driven by each other’s enthusiasm for music in all forms. The artists cover genres from folk to drum and bass and everything in between.

What was the inspiration behind setting up this student/graduate-led record label?

I think it's natural for budding artists and people looking to start a career in the industry to work together. It makes sense for us to all to utilise each other’s skills set as much as possible. We all develop in tandem that way and increase our success rate.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic hindered how HUBB Records operates at all? How are you working with artists during this time to help them continue to perform and release music successfully?

During the first lock down it did seem like releasing music was going to be difficult. We weren't able to get artists in the studio and the lack of live music felt bizarre. However, we managed to find ways. The good thing about having diversity in the genres meant we could focus on the releases of artists who could work from home such as our first release "Monologuing" by Try Me.

How is HUBB Records allowing the team to learn and develop their skills?

All are skill sets overlap and it allows development to happen through discussion. I think talking with people who have the same overall goal as you means that you constantly learn as you go.

As well as learning through peers, we also have had the chance to do Zoom meet ups with professionals who offer advice. We had a Zoom meeting with Phil Taggart last week which was really beneficial!

Philip Taggart is a Northern Irish DJ and radio presenter on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Ulster. Photograph: BBC Media Centre.

Do you think more needs to be done in the music industry to help artistic development and provide support for young artists?

A difficult thing for young artists now is that labels are looking more for a full package rather than just talented musicians or songwriters. It seems as though a developed brand and following needs to be established before an artist can capture the attention of labels. It would be amazing if there was more help for artists in these kind of areas.

What makes you most proud of Bristol’s music scene?

Big Jeff

Pre-COVID, Big Jeff made a name for himself in Bristol by attending at least five gigs a week. Image: Ania Shrimpton.

What’s your favourite thing about Bristol?

Having to walk up a huge hill no matter where you are going.

What does it mean to you for Bristol to have an arena?

I think it will be great to have such a big space for bigger artists to play. Especially as local bands start to grow bigger audiences you need a homecoming venue. I saw Massive Attack on the former Filton Airfield where the new Arena being built and it’s exciting to know more events like that will be on the horizon.

Which three artists/bands on your roster would you suggest keeping an eye on?

It’s impossible to pick just three as they all have unlimited potential. So far, I have been working closely with Try Me who are a disco-punk duo who will have you laughing whilst dancing.

Sonic Rain/A Little Sound are working on an amazing drum and bass collaboration that's forward thinking whilst nostalgic.

Scarlett Loran makes some great music and is totally new so this will be her first release.

Sonic Rain will be collaborating with A little Sound exclusively for HUBB Volume 3.

What’s the first gig you attended, last gig you attended, and a future gig you’d love to go and see?

I think the first gig I attended was the Kaiser Chiefs but I don’t remember much of it. I don’t think it was particularly gripping.

Remembering the last gig before lockdown feels almost impossible. I did actually play a seated gig the other day with my band Mass House.

I have got a ticket to see Squid in March which I am really excited for.

And last but not least, what’s your all-time favourite song so we can add it to our YTL Arena “Backstage With” playlist?

Although it changes nearly daily today, I'll go with Born Under Punches by Talking Heads. Solid tune.