It’s all kicking off in Glasgow these days and a new TV channel for the city and surrounding areas kicked off this week. The Get Around Glasgow team is a bit too old, cynical and busy to spend too much time watching TV but we’ve caught a bit this week, mainly The Riverside Show. The young presenters add an upbeat and positive attitude to your tea-time TV watching so if that’s what you’re after, consider it a jauntier and Weegier version of BBC1s The One Show, The Wan Show if you will. Not everything on the show is for us but on Wednesday night, they had RM Hubbert performing so surely that is worth checking in for every now and again?
The fact that STV Glasgow has promised to deliver music content is the most exciting element for us and we’re delighted to say that Tenement TV team will be on the air.
As the image says, Friday night at 9.30pm is the place to be and if you haven’t visited STV Glasgow yet, those are the channels to look out for. This is a massive week for the team but they were kind enough to meet with us in the West End where we caught up for a brief chat. We chatted with Chae Houston (Founder/CEO) and Jamie Logie (Creative Director).
We’ve used videos and photos from the site’s YouTube and Facebook pages (with full permission) but be sure to check out these pages for even more footage – links follow at the bottom of the interview.
Where, when and why did Tenement TV get started?
[CH:] We launched in October 2011. I had the idea and I worked with my other flatmate at the time Paul McJimpsey (a promoter for PMCJ Events) and we got in touch with Jamie with the intention of filming some new bands around Glasgow. Paul had a good knowledge of the scene so we started there. We had the idea back in January of 2011 but it took quite a while to get it up and running. Originally in our practice sessions it was one camera and it wasn’t the best of sounds. So I got a sound engineer in, we got a few more folk involved and we were able to launch in October of that year.
What was the inspiration in starting Tenement TV?
[CH:] When I was in a band I loved sessions, I had watched plenty of great sessions online and I was fortunate enough to play a session for Balcony TV, in Dublin. I liked that idea and it felt right to do it in the flat. We’ve got such a great location with big bay windows, it was always going to look great. From there, we knew we wanted to do something with great sound quality and make it as professional as possible.
It was originally just going to be local bands but we got a break with bands like Bastille and Kodaline, and then it really took off. From those two bands, we’ve been able to feature a lot of big acts.
The sessions have clocked up more than 2 million views on YouTube, has there been a moment when you thought you’ve made it to the big time or there was a turning point?
[JL:] At one point we had Kassidy in, which was a big moment and we also got Steve Craddock (Ocean Colour Scene, guitarist with Paul Weller), which brought a whole new crowd to what we were doing. That really helped widen our audience because people wouldn’t like or know some of the acts we used but then they would really like someone we filmed. After this, the views started piling up and then we started to work on other projects such as curating our own festival (The Tenement Trail, next scheduled for Saturday 4th October at the top end of town), and everything we were doing just added to the attention we were getting.
The earlier bands were great, the first band we had were The Imagineers and they had a really good pull for us, but you could see it building.
[CH:] I think getting acts like Bastille and Gabrielle Aplin were big breaks as well.
The Temperance Movement feature in the latest session on the site.
You’re on STV Glasgow, how did that come about?
[CH:] We have a friend that works at STV and we think he was dropping a few hints to Paul Hughes, the producer at the new channel who was overseeing the new content. He gave us a call and got us into STV for a meeting. They seemed to love the sessions and very quickly we got confirmation for an 8 episode series. It moved fast, before too long we were editing with Jamie working hard pulling that side together.
[JL:] It was a bit stressful at first but we’re at the stage now where we are joined at the hip. This means they can take some of the edits and do some work. We’re at the stage where we’re all working together but it’s been good to have strong backing and something to lean on there. We’re not a broadcast channel so it’s been good to get help when we need it. It’s great that as well as the internet stuff we do, we’ve now carried out production work for a TV channel.
Would this be a possible career path?
[JL:] Of course, aye. I’ve really enjoyed it. What we do, we see it as our career but we’re lucky that we don’t see it as a job or work.
Have there been any music TV shows that have influenced you?
[CH:] For me, Jools Holland as it features a great mix of bands and there is something for everyone. I don’t want Tenement TV to be just about underground bands or cool acts. We want to get some mainstream acts involved as well.
[JL:] I was a massive fan of the Old Grey Whistle Test. I’ve gone back and watched that from start to finish. It’s good because it features so many different bands and covered so many different time periods, there’s a lot to like.
Gabrielle Aplin will feature on the TV series
What internet sessions or online music shows have inspired you?
[CH:] The Black Cab Sessions in London are excellent and I’ve mentioned Balcony TV. With respect to production quality, All Saints did some brilliant work in the All Saints Basement Sessions. That looked great and it was really well done with great sound. There is also La Blogotheque in Paris. They’re getting nominated for a film prize because their work is so arty and cool. They run through the streets of Paris and their work looks so good.
With the internet, is TV still relevant for music?
[JL:] Of course. There will always be groups of people who don’t get the chance to watch the internet at certain times. There’ll be times when people are over at their pals house and they’ll not want to sit in front of a computer screen all night and that’s where music on TV is important. It’s a bit different that we get the chance to jump between the internet and TV and I like that there’s a choice for people.
[CH:] It’s easier to get mainstream music on to TV. Across our episodes you’ll see Gabrielle Aplin who has appeared on E4 and Channel 4. You’ll also get to see The Temperance Movement who are doing a lot of TV work and big shows at the moment, they’re supporting The Rolling Stones for 4 gigs in Europe!
These are the acts that you’ll get on TV and while it can be harder to get new bands noticed, because STV Glasgow is a local channel and it’s a community feel, there’s scope for new local bands. I think there’ll be people who are really up for seeing local bands on TV, especially when they’re playing in a Glasgow tenement.
Do you feel there’s enough music coverage in mainstream media (TV, radio, newspapers?)
[JL:] It depends on what you’re looking for and with so many people liking different things right now, you can’t please everyone. The thing is with music though, you’ll get a lot of stuff on and you may think that’s not my cup of tea but you’ll probably watch it anyway to see what is out there.
[CH:] There’s an unlimited chance to get your band seen and heard online so there is always that but maybe newspapers could do more for new acts and with music. At the moment you get one page or columns here and there. I really hope that Tenement TV getting on TV is great for music in general because it’s not always easy getting music on to TV.
[JL:] Radio is still a really good way of introducing a band to an audience. That’s still really strong.
[CH:] Yeah, that’s how bands make it these days. Get radio play and then bloggers and websites like ourselves take notice and pick up on things.
What are your ambitions for Tenement TV?
[CH:] We’ve got some cool things coming up. We have a big campaign that we can’t mention just yet but we’re going to have a large sponsor on board for it and that’s going to be really good. This will launch before the end of the year. I also want to build the Tenement Trail up, our second one will be taking place this year and it’s a multi-venue music festival. I want to get that to the level, at least, where Stag & Dagger is now. We’re also maybe going to do a quarterly magazine, maybe even in December of this year if that goes well. In October that will be us up and running for three years and that will coincide with our second Tenement Trail. Maybe after 5 years we can look to really cement what we are doing.
Apart from that, just grow everything we do, reach more people on twitter and improve the website.
As the session is such a big part of what you can do, your website can be sometimes overlooked but there’s a lot on it. You provide news, reviews and features so there is more to Tenement TV than just the sessions. Are there any websites that have inspired you or you aspire to reach the level of?
[CH:] There are a few but I should say that Nadine Walker got on board about a year ago as our online editor and she’s been great. She’s helped to pull all the track reviews, live reviews, news stories and features together. We’ve now got a few editors around the world doing reviews and creating content, so we have content coming in from New York and London as well. We’ve just put a review of Eagulls live at the Mercury Lounge in New York on the site so that’s something different. Nadine has really helped us to take the website forward and it’s more than just the sessions on site.
I really like Pitchfork and that’s professional although maybe at times it’s a bit up itself. There is also Pigeons & Planes and Consequences of Sound. Some of the quirky ones are good to keep up to date with. You have La Blogotheque who do stunning sessions and you have Pitchfork that are mainly media and this is where I think there is space for Tenement TV. I want us to get more editors involved, produce more quality content and give people media content and great sessions. I do think our sessions match any sessions website around the world.
Stevie Jackson features on Tenement TV and he’ll be performing at the Kelvingrove Bandstand this summer.
Who are your favourite new Scottish acts?
[CH:] Model Aeroplanes are doing really well and I think they’ll go far. Honeyblood have just announced their UK tour and a new album coming soon and they seemed to go down well in America.
[JL:] The Amazing Snakeheads, their albums doing great.
[CH:] I really like Paws.
[JL:] Baby Strange
[CH:] So yeah, Model Aeroplanes, The Amazing Snakeheads, Baby Strange and Honeyblood are 4 new bands and Paws who even though they have a few albums are doing really well. There’s 5 Scottish acts that are really doing great things at the moment. They’re flying the flag and doing great things overseas. You have Prides as well, another band who are doing well. These are the bands that are doing things like SXSW and being well received.
What’s the thing that excites you most in 2014 in Glasgow or Scotland?
[JL:] I’m really excited about the Kelvingrove Bandstand opening, that’ll be amazing. That’s been one of the things since my childhood and I think it’ll be a fun place to go and see a gig.
[CH:] Absolutely. I used to say to my mum when I was a kid “when are they going to do that up, it’ll be amazing.”
[JL:] I’m looking forward to the buzz from the Commonwealth Games. I think it’ll be diverse and the energy will take Glasgow off a bit more. Glasgow is a really nice city so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be even better at a time like this.
[CH:] It’s not in Glasgow but I’m definitely looking forward to the World Cup this summer. We have the golf in Scotland as well don’t we? Yeah, it’s a great year for Glasgow and I’m really excited about this year.
So remember, Friday night, 9.30pm on STV Glasgow.
Nina Nesbitt on Tenement TV