INTERVIEW: Tom Robinson talks about Generator’s NExSW programme | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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It can be hard for musicians to find a foothold in a town that’s never heard of them; with support tours in short supply and rife with competition, and agents looking for the ‘next big thing’, how can musicians stand out from the crowd away from home? NExSW is Generator’s touring initiative for musicians looking to strike out from their home scene, pairing emerging artists for a series of gig swaps across the UK and giving them an opportunity to perform in front of like-minded audiences. The programme, which sees shows taking place at The Louisiana in Bristol on Thursday 23rd, Headrow House in Leeds on Friday 24th and Newcastle’s Cluny on Saturday 25th November, will see performances from Haal, Kay Greyson, Rubber Oh, Immi Dash and Hang Linton.

Here, Generator patron and veteran musician Tom Robinson, tells us why the initiative is so important.

My career as a songwriter and touring musician began back in the punk era of the 1970s. Subsequently I’ve been a radio presenter at BBC 6 Music since 2002 and I’m the current patron of Generator. From Teesside through Wearside up to the Tyne and beyond, the North East of England is home to a unique spread of musical talent and at Generator our mission is to support and nurture that talent and help it reach the widest possible audience. 

“When working musicians start out building their fanbase gig by gig, one of the biggest headaches is how to break out of their home area and reach new audiences in other parts of the country. Traditionally that has meant heading to the major metropolitan areas of London and Manchester, where the media and music industry tend to align their attention. Inevitably the competition is intense, and showcases come and go every week, making it hard for provincial musicians to have much impact.

“North East by South West is Generator’s own grassroots approach to tackling that problem by funding a series of gig swaps between our local region and the rich multicultural music of Bristol and the South West, this time adding Leeds into the mix. All our musicians will get to support fellow artists outside their own home area, quite LITERALLY. Sharing stages, sharing audiences, sharing their music, growing their fanbase. Our hope is that in time this new North East/South West link-up will help develop connections and collaborations along a whole new axis across the country.”

Buy tickets for each leg of the tour here.

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