At the beginning of the month, I was interviewed by Merge Music Magazine to contribute on an article regarding open mic nights titled “WHY EVERYONE SHOULD GIVE A FOX AND DUCK ABOUT OPEN MIC NIGHTS”.
My interview was combined with those of several other people to make the whole article. There wasn’t a great deal of my interview left in tact, so I thought it would be a nice idea to publish my interview in full here.
It is pretty straight forward, I was eager to perform at open mic nights and wanted a reliable, detailed, and up-to-date database of open mic nights. I quickly came to the conclusion that such a thing didn’t exist. So I decided to make it myself.
Do you have requests to list from all round the UK or is there a particular area that you notice gets more listings than others?
The website covers the whole of the UK (and will eventually cover the entire world). I welcome anybody who wants to advertise on my site. Naturally, cities tend to be epicentres for open mic nights.
Have you traveled to play at any far away Open Mic’s you’ve listed?
Absolutely. I realised that professional musicians tend to play the same small selection of songs every night, and as a result they get extremely good at playing those songs. They can afford to repeat themselves night after night because the audience is always different. I decided that if I was serious about playing guitar, I should do the same. So I selected two or three of my best songs, and played them at different open mic nights. This naturally required me to travel long distance to go to open mic nights that I hadn’t been to before. It was definitely the right decision, since I met some really amazing people, gave some really great performances, and have memories that will stay with me forever. It also made me much more confident as a person, not just a musician. Going outside your comfort zone is something we should all do regularly.
If so – where and how did it go?
One of my favourite memories is my first time playing at The Sunset Lounge – behind The Cannon – in Newport Pagnell, which is over an hour drive from my home. Everybody there was so nice and I met some really great people. It’s just like one big happy family there and I was warmly welcomed. It was also probably the best performance I ever gave, and I was buzzing so much afterwards that I couldn’t sleep. Those experiences are what music is about for me.
Are there any ‘odd locations’ hosting Open Mic’s – i.e. non traditional venues?
Can’t say I know of any that are particularly odd, but then again, I certainly don’t know every venue that exists in the UK. It would be really great to see some. Maybe on a moored boat or something. That would be cool.
Building this resource for musicians and for venues takes a lot of commitment and generosity – your site is free to list onto. Does this reflect your passion for finding suitable locations for musicians to play live?
This is an important question. I have been intending to write a detailed blog post about why the website is free, and to discuss whether it will continue to be free. The short answer is: At first, the website definitely was a reflection of my passion. The website remains free today because it does not consume huge amounts of my time. But I would be naive to suggest this will always be the case. My ultimate goal is for the website to cover the entire world. When this happens, I doubt the website could remain free. Although I am confident that the fee will be trivial, perhaps $1 per month to advertise (but free for readers). If the website is consuming 40 hours per week of my time, then I believe that is completely fair. I suspect there would be a loud argument to pay for my time via third-party banner ads, but I have strong ethical objections to that sort of advertising, which I will discuss further in my blog post when I get around to writing it.