The creative programme with Lives Not Knives kicked off officially today, as we got a taster of live music production from John Bownas.
John has worked in various sectors of the music industry and he became a stage manager in 2005 after being thrown into the deep end at Glastonbury. He says that “it’s hard work, but it can be enjoyable”.
We were given advice and insight into the production that goes into live shows, as John told us about his experiences and broke down some of the equipment and lingo that is used backstage. John stressed the importance of learning the language, as he had no idea what anyone was talking about when he started, leading to him setting up the blog stagelingo.tumblr.com.
John demonstrated one of the correct ways to wrap a cable, which may seem pointless or obvious, but it essential for the prevention of damage and tangling. He also showed us the Master Fader, a free digital mixer app from the Apple store, which makes sound mixing a lot easier.
One of the pearls of wisdom that John gave us was that the sound engineers are like another member of a band, as they make a huge difference. However, those in sound need to be careful and really know what they’re doing, because equipment can get broken. John told us that he actually saw a speaker catch fire on one occasion.
He also told us that it is probably easier to make a living from the production side rather than the entertainment side of the music industry, but that sometimes you need to “be prepared to get up on stage and do your thing”. Live performances are unpredictable after all.
Today’s focus was on live music production and stage management for all those interested in the technical side of things, but tomorrow will be all about artist management and promotional material.
Rodney P, who is heading up the programme, said that it ” is going to be really varied”, so everyone involved can look forward to workshops in event planning, booking artists and other aspects of the music industry. There will even be a real budget that will enable the booking of artists for the showcase, which is the end goal of this project.
So if you are interested in the creative industry, are aged 16 – 24, unemployed and on Jobseekers, then come down to the Lives Not Knives unit in Centrale shopping centre tomorrow at 2pm. As Rodney says, “It’s gonna be something worthwhile.”