Category: Band Advice


You can listen to the show every Thursday

You can listen to the show every Thursday

We speak to Tommy Clark of radio show The Third Class Ticket, and ask his opinion on all things to do with unsigned music.

Can you tell us a bit about The Third Class Ticket?
The Third Class Ticket show is a weekly Internet based radio show on MESi Radio.  It is solely for the promotion of new and unsigned bands that probably don’t get much airplay anywhere else.  It came about as most music projects do as a hobby in my bedroom.  I messed around with mixtapes and wee half hour ‘radio shows’ then posting them to my facebook page.  The guys at MESi heard them and asked me on board when the station kicked off last year.  At the time the show was mostly a mod type show but as more unsigned bands sent through their stuff to me the ‘Ticket’ show was re-born.  Now each week the show plays in excess of 30 songs.

How would an artist go about submitting their music for your show?
Bands interested in joining the Ticket family can send their tracks to me at thirdclassticket@hotmail.co.uk.  Mp3 or WAV files are preferable.  Also they can reach me at www.facebook.com/thethirdclassticket or at www.mesiradio.com

Do you have any hot tips for us to check out?
Now isn’t that the million dollar question.  So far on the show I have been lucky enough to play some of the best music going on.  Bands I would suggest to go in the Glasgow area alone are Rank Berry, Soldier On, The Begbies, The Coffins, Cabey, Sonic Templars, Jim Dead, Craig Hughes, The Apparells, Stonehouse Violets, Enemies of the State, The Revolt, The Beat Movement, Button Up or any of the singer/songwriters on the ACRE records label.  From further afield listen out for The Found, The Panoramic, Electric Stars, French Boutik, The Arrivals, Echo Raptors, Pretty Cartel, The 45s, The Universal and The Lemontops (who are coming soon to Kilmarnock – don’t miss them). Apologies to the hundreds of other great bands who have featured on the show but I cant list you all.  All in all tune into the show because every week you could hear your new favourite band.

Unsigned artists played on the show

Unsigned artists played on the show

What do you think makes a radio show like The Third Class Ticket so important for unsigned music?
The Third Class Ticket show is sometimes the first time that some bands are heard on radio so it can be the spur to push harder.  I have found that as word spreads about  the show  more bands who are friends of bands played or have been on the same bill are contacting the show.  I look upon the show and the wider ‘ticket’ family as a community who spreads the word of what’s bubbling under what’s bubbling under the surface.  Also it gives bands in Ayrshire hear what’s going on in Newcastle or Portsmouth or Las Vegas.  They can get new ideas, new contacts and even more importantly opportunities to get opportunities to play with like minded bands from across the country.  The motto of the show is ‘WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER’ and if we all work together we become stronger.

What’s your opinion of the music scene as it is today?
The music scene is vibrant right now it’s just the audiences that need to get better.  And to be fair bands need to get a bit better too.  If you are first on the bill at a gig night stick around and support the other bands.  It could be you playing to the small crowds next. Rant Over.  Musically though there is a wealth of talent and innovation out there.  X Factor hasn’t ruined music it’s just made bands work harder which I don’t think is too bad a thing.  Please support live music because if we don’t it wont be there when we want it.

 You can listen to The Third Class Ticket show every Thursday on MESi Radio from 9pm.

Band Advice – Playing a Gig

Biffy Clyro at the SECC, 2009Here’s the next installment of the Band Advice section; playing a gig. On the day of the gig it’s best to arrive early – the organiser will probably ask you to do this anyway. This is to load-in, which means to bring in all your gear and set up the backline. If you arrive at the time asked, it’s more likely that you will get a chance to soundcheck too.

Before you head to the venue, make sure you have all the equipment you need. For example, if you’re a guitarist, you’ll need a lead, a spare lead if that one breaks, a tuner, plectrums, and ofcourse, your guitar. It’s a good idea to bring spare strings as well – be prepared for any eventuality!

Most venues will have enough backline, but if you’re a drummer, bring your cymbals, snare, and a bass pedal if needed. These are the breakables; other drummers playing wouldn’t be too happy about you using their cymbals or snare because, as you’ve probably guessed, they’re easily damaged.

Be nice to the sound engineer. If you’re acting like an idiot, or are under the impression that you’re an awesome rockstar who can shout orders at them and everyone else, be warned. The sound guy is completely in charge of the levels and how you sound on stage, so if you give them rubbish, they can make you sound rubbish.

A good thing about playing live is the contacts your able to make, whether it be with other bands, or with the promoters. For example, at one of the gig’s my band played, we made friends with a fantastic guy from a band called The Puzzlers, and he is now mixing some of our songs.

Before you go on stage, tune your guitar, and then tune it again. During one of the gigs I’ve played, I didn’t tune up correctly, and it sounded pretty bad. If you have to tune whilst on stage, try to use a plug-in tuner, and whatever you do, don’t tune with your amp on. It’s really unprofessional if the audience can hear you trying to tune up to a high E.

So, next is the actual performance. If you make a mistake, just carry on. Chances are no one has noticed, and mistakes happen. You will have a few bad gigs, it’s inevitable, but the majority of the gigs you play will go well, and the best thing is that you learn from the mistakes you do make. Personally, I’ve made a countless amount of mistakes, but I kept going. The most important thing is to enjoy yourself on stage, and have a great time!

Band Advice – Booking A Gig

End Transmission playing at the O2 ABC; despite only selling ten tickets, it was a good night!

End Transmission playing at the O2 ABC; despite only selling ten tickets, it was a good night!

Some (possibly useful) advice if you’re thinking about booking a gig in Glasgow. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I do have some tips I’ve picked up in my time playing gigs in and around Glasgow, so if you’re looking for words of wisdom, hopefully this will help!

1. As a general rule of thumb, most musicians will recommend that you never, I repeat never, do a pay to play gig. This is, as the title suggests, a gig where you would have to pay in order to perform, which is completely unfair on you as a musician. So definitely say no to pay to play.

2. From my own experience, the best way to get a gig is to ask around. Personally, I emailed promoters, and found out about places where regular gigs were happening. Here’s a few promoters I would recommend:

  • YRock – Good for young under 18 bands, and usually have gigs happening in the Classic Grand. They also have a fair ticket deal which means that the artist still makes a bit of money from the gig.
  • Toxic Rock Promotions – Caters more for over 18 bands. Usually hold gigs at Pivo Pivo, which is a great venue to play.
  • PM Music – I’d recommend this for more experienced/established bands, as they hold some gigs at the O2 ABC, and the bands usually need to sell a good amount of tickets to gain any money from the gig.

3. Two Week Rule: again, a general recommendation. Don’t play gigs in Glasgow that have less than two weeks worth of space between them. Promoters aren’t entirely fond of this; if you’re playing, for example, two gigs in Glasgow within two weeks, the chances of your band selling a good amount of tickets and bringing lots of people to both gigs is very slim. To back this up with some of my own experience, my band played at the Classic  Grand, and sold 20-odd tickets. Two weeks later, we played the O2 ABC and sold ten.