London’s most established underground promotion company Monsta Ents is once again the weapon of choice for Bloodstocks Metal 2 The Masses London heats for 2015. Heading up said weapon is sharp-witted, seasoned promoter Mick Monsta.
Rarely are promoters ever spoken to about how much work goes into the Bloodstock heats, and dealing with 40+ bands over a period of seven months is no walk in the park.
As MetalMouth was recently announced as an official sponsor for the London heats, we pinned Mick down at knifepoint (that bit might not be true) and forced some questions down his gullet which he magically regurgitated, Penguin style into the interview below (that bit also might not be true).
So You’re back doing London’s M2TM again in 2015, are you nuts?
What else do I do on Sunday – I’m banned from all the churches?
Why is this competition so important to you?
I have put on tens of thousands of bands right across the board – but Metal has always been where the real talent, diversity and scope is. These bands need to be heard and seen and I can’t think of a better way. Bloodstock do a great job.
Do you feel ‘competition’ in this instance has the wrong aura surrounding it? A lot of the ‘win a slot’ competitions get a lot of flack, how is the Bloodstock one different?
Yeah – there’s always the “its a “Battle Of The Bands” camp of complainers – the point is to get on any other major festival (to play the hot dog kiosk at 10am) its either who’s palm your manager is greasing , a pay2play scenario or who can get their mates to vote for them. Its all very fake and has nothing to do with genuine reward for genuine talent.
BOA actually give these guys a platform (the New Blood Stage is always packed with a genuine new audience) and the resources to elevate themselves – and every band who enters M2TM gains exposure, experience and fans – at no cost to them whatsoever.
How do you select from what must be hundreds of band applications to whittle them down for the events places?
We have 31 chimps who throw ping pong balls into jars with band names on ha ha.
We listen to them all – song structure is important, presentation, actual songs, talent in general – you name it – and we know what will work on the Final to a degree (this is my fourth M2TM). It’s not easy though – lots of good stuff out there.
How many initial places are available for bands? And what’s your procedure for replacements?
We are looking at 40, maybe 50 if we do 5 band bills. We tend to roll with the bill and not change / add to it once confirmed – if a band drops out (I kill and eat them) we just extend the remaining bands set times, but it doesn’t often happen.
What are the benefits of them putting in an application?
All of these events are well attended – people come out because they are curious – and go home with a new band they like. So fan base (and merchandise) increases – the bands get to meet others and form long lasting relationships with them, fans and industry. On top of that they get press and media they can utilise from the word go (like metalmouth). The main prize isn’t the whole thing – we are firming up all sorts of promo, gig and studio opportunities as we speak. And let’s not forget me doing my sexy dancing.
It’s London zoned, how far out can the bands be to still be considered London, especially say, if Hertfordshire doesn’t have an event, would those bands be considered?
There were a lot of bands last year entering more than one region – so this year we have restricted our catchment area to inside the m25 (we do check) – its fairer this way and there are enough regions to cover a bands locality pretty much everywhere in the UK (and beyond) this year. Simon puts himself about 🙂
How do you select your judges? What are your criteria?
Ah ha – mines a Jack with ice.
We are London Underground promoters so we pool from “the scene” – journo’s, bands and fans well known for their support of the underground – dj’s, punters the whole lot – if you are on the scene you know the scene so we utilise that. No point getting a “record executive” from Surrey who is out of touch with reality. We want the judging to be fair so its split between the panel (The “Hex Factor” as we call them) and the audience vote.
Over how long a period do bands get to apply for M2TM London?
Application is on going until we fill the heats – but we are releasing dates slowly giving us a chance to really consider each application. The Quarter Finals start end of March so I recon we would have all the heats booked by mid February. Bands should apply now as we will be real busy after Xmas.
M2TM has to be an awful lot of work…what exactly is involved in all you do for the bands?
Usual shit – liaison, artwork, online promo, media , organising street promo, getting the packages to you lot (our sponsors) so they can work your magic, sorting advance production, getting everything sorted on the day…its a 25/7 job but its for the greater good. To see a band up there playing their heart out and being appreciated is a buzz. And the atmosphere is always great.
So there has to be some no-no’s – what are the event do’s and don’ts?
Be professional and courteous to other bands and staff – pay attention to detail and play like you are at Bloodstock. READ EVERYTHING YOU ARE SENT PRE SHOW.
Don’t get drunk before the set – don’t try and bribe the judges (who mentioned Chocolate?), enter into the spirit and enjoy yourself. To be honest – by the time the bands hit the stage they are in a great frame of mind – the whole feel of M2TM is one of comradery rather than “competition”. It’s real cool.
Oh – and DONT slag off other bands on stage (it happened once – that wasn’t a good move).
Are fans beginning to support the London emerging scene more these days?
Difficult question – are those who go to free entry shows in ropey pubs really supporting the scene or just going where the cheap beer is? I would like to think the scene is as vibrant as it always was – the fans know what to expect with M2TM LDN now – so fingers crossed those who go to other shows will now show out for these – a cheap night out, in a great venue with cool staff, reasonably priced drinks and some fucking great bands.
You mentioned ‘further awards’ and shizzle in the initial announcement, what are they then?
To be announced (I’m a busy man – I’ll get to it).
Many bands who played last year benefitted from the contacts they made but we are hoping we can get promoters, studios, agents, p.r agents etc to offer packages as prizes. It’s not easy as we are all busy – but I’m making threats to people as we speak 🙂
So Monsta Ents, how many years have you been putting on shows now? Have you had an absolute favourite and absolute worst ever?
It’s my 15th year -although around ten years “full time” as my job. Favourite without a doubt was the Orange Goblin Xmas show at Scala a few years ago. Brilliant gig and Ben was absolutely rat arsed. The worst was any show with My Ruin – let’s just say what everybody said to me – “the woman’s a nightmare”. As for the smaller bands – I can honestly say few have been anything but a pleasure to do.
It’s generally difficult to play London as an emerging band, as a seasoned promoter, what advice would you give bands after entering London M2TM to help them crack this tough nut?
Well they would have to be from London to enter so I don’t understand the question (you been at the Xmas Liqueurs, Fox?) – they should already know the territory. If they don’t I would simply say chose your gigs wisely – playing every week will get the punters bored with you very quickly, come up with a strategy for gigging and stick to it – and avoid “free entry” shows (unless they are for charity) – they do nobody any favours.
To succeed at M2TM is quite simple, do what you do to the best of your ability – and learn from any mistakes you make (many bands ask “what did we do right / wrong” and I am more than happy to tell them – mostly they take that advice on board (I have seen bands from last year get together for some superb bills after the competition – and you see straight away they have nurtured their craft).
I wont say it isn’t tough – we want the bands to work hard for their benefit as much as anyone’s – I always make a point of saying when I compare the heats “If you don’t get through its not because you are not good enough – you are just not ready for Bloodstock YET”.
M2TM LDN deals with quality bands – most of them eventually crack the nut – and so they should.
Heat One has now been announced here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/782044178525154
Apply for M2TM LDN 2015 here: http://www.monstaents.com/m2tm.html
Buy Bloodstock tickets here: http://www.bloodstock.uk.com