Regular readers will be aware of the work of blender, whether it’s their pop up record shops, their music stage at the River Festival or curating the musical entertainment on the bandstand at Taste Bedford.
More recently, blender co-founders Alan Cooley and Neil Frankel have been working on a new project to champion new music which features on their second EP release and will see the featured bands head out on a UK-wide tour.
Project: Leave the Capital was a crowdfunded collaboration between blender and Vandalism Begins @ Home, a fanzine covering music and the arts in our region, Transmission Indie, a Luton-based radio show and Blagger Records.
Supporters of the project could pledge anything from £1 to £100 for a copy of the record, including a VIP tour bundle.
The crowdfund closed at over £3,000, way over its £2,500 target, with the project attracting support from Radio X DJ John Kennedy and Dan Hergarty on RTE in Ireland.
“After the success of blender selects last year, we couldn’t wait to do it all again,” said Alan Cooley.
“And to collaborate with Blaggers, Vandalism and Transmission has made it loads more fun and taken it to a wider audience.
“Hearing the tracks on national radio was a real moment and getting the project fully funded with that bit extra, means the tour can go off with a bang. Can’t wait to get these four bands together on the road.”
Project: Leave The Capital is a mission to ignite the home fires and keep them burning, with a four-track vinyl EP and UK tour including a special date at Esquires, Bedford during Independent Venue Week, early next year.
The tour will be UK-wide, taking in hot spots in London, Brighton, Liverpool and Manchester with the full tour dates being published soon.
The record boasts four of the finest bands/artists from the melting pot of talent performing across Herts, Beds, Bucks, Cambs and Northants right now.
JW Paris were handpicked by the project team to be part of the story and Luna Rosa, Seven Sentinels and Sean Grant & The Wolfgang were selected by an esteemed judging panel of Hana Staddon (BBC 6Music), Gareth Barber (Esquires), Danny Watson (Radio Promo) and Suzanne Fletcher (Musicians Against Homelessness).
“I was excited and honoured to be helping judge the entries for the EP and tour,” said Esquires’ owner, Gareth Barber.
“New music is a passion of mine – I love getting stuck into new tracks and discovering my next favourite band.
“I’m delighted to see a collaboration of labels, A&R, Fanzine and promoters come together to create something new, as the team behind Project: Leave The Capital are.
“Pressing vinyl isn’t an easy thing to do and it’s something that many artists without labels can never achieve. Grassroots is where it all happens first, it’s the single most important part of the music industry puzzle and if it doesn’t thrive then the future is very bleak.
“The last 18 months have been the hardest time anyone working in music has ever known, but harder times will always lead to an explosion of something better and more creative, or at least that is the hope.”
Blender and the team believe the ‘Leave The Capital’ EP and tour will highlight what can be achieved away from label millions, harnessing a DIY attitude for passion, not profit.
The four featured artists will not only showcase their individual talents but will play their part in elevating their local scene, during a time when it has never been more important to do so.