You Into This?

This Wednesday sees the entries deadline for the Getintothis Award, hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that the award is to be hosted at Leaf on 27thApril. We caught up with head GIT, Peter Guy, to get the inside track.

So how did it all come about, we wondered?  “It started as a small idea last year – I’ve been doing GIT for the Echo and Post the last four and a half years, and saw how there’d been a steady upward curve in Liverpool. Creative spirit has continually gone up, and I just thought it’d be great to umbrella it and show off how good Liverpool is at the minute, and smash a few stereotypes along the way.”

All well and good, certainly at least within the musician community in the city, but it’s been dubbed a ‘provincial Mercury Award’. Mostly this has positive implications – everyone recognises the Mercury award, right (right?) – but to us, that ‘provincial’ prefix is a worrisome thing. Does Liverpool need this award? “It does need, and deserve, this award. A lot of really good talent is going unrecognised here. Much of print journalism is still centered around the same niches, and as such, a wealth of Liverpool talent rarely gets more than a couple of column inches. We’re looking for GIT to give a platform to local artists.”

Fair point, and Guy seems to be arguing that in Liverpool, now more than ever, there exists a most fertile ground. The award should, as he says, provide a platform for some of these bands to gain greater recognition, and hopefully, thrive. But why now? “Prior to Capital of Culture, there was a knee jerk reaction among the indie scene of ‘sod the commercial side, we’ll get together and push what we’re doing’. 2008 saw this spirit flourish, and it’s growing. Sound City, Liverpool Music Week, and Creamfields are well run and respected festivals, all developing out of Liverpool. And now there’s the emergence of Threshold – standing on their own two feet putting on quality line ups.”

“A lot of really good talent is going unrecognised here”

So, with this burgeoning scene, and greater maturity allowing such broad churches of music the space they need, is it time finally to dispel those well worn stereotypes of the jangly guitar band, born and bred in Liverpool? “I think it’s always important to recognise and celebrate our roots and heritage”, says Guy. “You can’t ignore it – but it’s more something cultivated outside Liverpool that we’re a city of mop-topped guitar bands. Those bands exist in every city, but it’s how we’re perceived. Stereotypes persist, but now the GIT award aims to represent the diversity in the city – the space rock of Mugstar, crossover dance of Capac and Forest Swords, breakthrough artists like Loved Ones and Outfit,  there’s so much to celebrate. “

Unlike the Mercury Award, where the winner is judged on the basis of a completed and released record, Guy wanted those musicians with less clout and financial scope to have access to the GIT, settling on a four-track format; so any band, musician or whatever, in or from Liverpool, can enter as long as they have four songs to their name. Judging will be done by a pretty impressive line-up, ranging from local luminaries such as Craig Pennington, Editor and Publisher of Bido Lito!, and Joshua Burke, Co-Founder of Waxxx, to the likes of Alexandra Topping of  The Guardian, and New Music Editor of the NME, Matt Wilkinson.

So, what’s on offer for the winner? Quite a nice bundle of stuff is the answer, including recording time at Sandhills Studio, a show at Sound City and Liverpool Music Week, and a promo shot by Ian Gamester, Virgin Media Shorts filmmaker of the year nominee. All good stuff, but given the cut-throat nature of the industry, would it not have been wiser for the winners to receive mentoring time with an industry pro? “In the future, the way I see it evolving, it’ll be a nice way to do it, to have a mentor for the winner. In the first instance, it was a case of getting as much backing and support from various people, like Sandhills Studios, to produce a really cracking single out of it for the winners.”

The award has received off the record criticism from various quarters of the industry in the city, much of it based on perceptions rather than anything more substantial. It’ll be a ‘circle jerk’ say some, while others are concerned it’ll descend into an outright battle of the bands-type scenario. We suppose only time will tell, but to the naysayers, why not reserve your barbs until we see what comes out of it. And why not throw your four-track demo the way of GIT, you might just be surprised.

More info and updates can be found on the GIT Facebook page

With thanks to Jon Davies  

Posted on 27/02/2012 by thedoublenegative