More music

6th May 2015

Leicester Music

More music

Leics Music More Music (LMMM) started live streams with Leicestershire musicians in February 2015. The idea was one that Trevor Cobbe had toyed with for some time but he wasn’t comfortable that he had the audio expertise to do justice to the musicians. He decided to enlist some audio expertise and after speaking to local musician, Joe Doyle aka Homeless Shakespeare, the team was formed with Joe and his musical collaborator, Bhavik Solanki, who also broadcasts on Leicester’s EAVA FM.

The next hurdle was to find a suitable venue that would allow a weekly stream at minimal or no cost. After considering a couple of options, Trevor approached Greg Poole, the Venue Manager and Promoter at popular Leicester venue, The Soundhouse. Greg consulted with owners Martin and Sue and came back with a positive response. Trevor felt it was important to choose a relatively quiet night because the concept was to showcase local music, not to clash or compete with it. It also didn’t make sense to choose a night when the venue would typically be booked, as the team would then need to find an alternative venue. So LMMM has a regular venue, on a regular night at a regular time – 20:15. The time was chosen partly to coincide with the year, making it easy to remember and also to be a reasonably accessible time for as many people as possible.

So why did the LMMM team want to broadcast a live stream of Leicester musicians? Trevor tells us that there were two main objectives. The first was to showcase the wide range of talent available in Leicestershire music, ideally to expand the range of people attending gigs. The second was to record and archive the current scene. Additionally, the stream and the subsequent videos would provide some video media for the artists.

Who can watch and what’s involved in broadcasting a live stream? The answer to the first part is easy – anyone on the planet with a decent internet connection and a device to watch it on. The musicians on the show so far have had viewers from as far afield as Australia, Brazil and the US. The only consideration that needs to be taken into account is the time difference but should that be a problem the whole stream is always put onto YouTube later in the week and is then available any time.

Ash Mammal at the More Music event

Ash Mammal at the More Music event

The second part of the question is a little more complicated. Quite a lot of kit is required to deliver a HD stream – HD is more demanding on the streamer and the audience but is now pretty much the standard format expected. HD requires approximately four times the bandwidth of standard definition for broadcasting so LMMM use a 4G dongle to stream at HD. This provides good upload speeds for the stream and although there were a few glitches with the stability of the stream in the early broadcasts, this has now been resolved and 45 – 60 minute unbroken broadcasts are the norm. The team use 2 cameras to give a selection of angles, an Alto 8 channel audio mixer, Rode microphones and mix the video live on a laptop with specialist software. Two other important pieces of equipment are the lighting and refreshments. It has been a steep learning curve and there have been a few mishaps but after 10 weeks the team now feel comfortable with their set-up.

Trevor explained that at present they are only doing acoustic sets but later in the year, subject to funding, they hope to start full set streams which will broaden the range of music they can feature.

That’s most of the background to LMMM’s broadcasts but what actually happens on the night. The format is to chat with the musician(s), play a couple of songs, have a bit more chat, play another 2 songs and then wrap up with a closing chat and a final song, finishing after approx 45 minutes . It’s not a rigid format and the team hope to eventually include an invited audience and some audience participation. The idea is to let the format evolve organically and naturally. You can see how it works on the stream or the YouTube channel (see below.)

Musicians who have been featured so far include Elizabeth Cornish, Ash Mammal, Brandy Thieves, Kevin Hewick, Silvia de Sousa and Rhett Barrow. The schedule to the end of July is attached to the end of this article, as are the links for the Facebook page and the YouTube channel.

Leicester Music More Music at the Soundhouse

Leicester Music More Music at the Soundhouse

We asked Trevor how successful the project has been in raising awareness amongst the ‘great unwashed’ who do not currently frequent Leicester’s music venues. ‘Disappointingly, poor to zero’ was the response. ‘We are slowly building an awareness amongst the music community but outside of that, I doubt anyone knows about us, despite the Mercury very kindly giving us a small feature in February.’

Where do the team see the project going? ‘We’d like to at least see out this year and then we’ll re-appraise the whole concept, it’s viability and effectiveness.’

Leicester Music More Music

Leicester Music More Music

What have been the highlights for the LMMM team. ‘Probably the biggest highlight has been the feedback from the musicians. They seem to genuinely appreciate the broadcast and we’ve had quite a few approach us for a slot and we’re booked up until September. It’s also been fun working as a team and ironing out the technical issues encountered. Finally, it’s been really good working with the team from the Soundhouse, Greg, Sue and Martin.’

The broadcast is streamed live every Wednesday night at 20:15 or 8:15pm in old money. Here are the links for the stream and the YouTube channel and if you can help the LMMM team spread the message about the great music available in our county, I’m sure they would be very grateful.

The link for the live stream

The YouTube channel

Finally, here’s the schedule for the next four months:

Leics Music More Music production schedule

Leics Music More Music production schedule

See also:

Our article on the music media in Leicester

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