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New site connects bands with new band mates

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Think about all the classic bands that have formed by answering ads in record shops and magazines – Duran Duran, Suede, Pixies, Metallica the list goes on.

Meet and JamBut with fewer record shops and magazines like NME dropping their classifieds musicians feel that a community may have been lost. Of course there is social media but how do you find the right people amongst the noise and chatter?

Enter Meet and Jam, a new online network just for musicians to find bandmates and jam partners. It hopes to fill the gap in left by the death of the ‘classified ads’ and create the opportunity to connect.

The site boats industry-connected tools for both amateur and professional musicians to progress. It is the place for musicians to find each other, form bands and plan and share ideas.

It brings together individual musicians’ own self-created profiles - showcasing their musical talents, a studio booking facility, that is the first of its kind online, with links to 150 studios nationwide and a ‘band planner’ feature that helps musicians organise gigs, rehearsals and recording times together.

The website also has a ‘classified ads’ section, where musicians can place ‘ads’ to find potential jam mates, band mates or tutors.

This feature of the website was one that Peter Fiennes, one of Meet and Jam’s founders, was keen to talk to me about,

“We very self-consciously copied the style of an old newsagent’s board [where musicians’ ads would have been placed] because we thought it would be fun to do, but also because on our site you are able to flick through other artist’s music - through their videos and audio, and connect with them, so it’s a contemporary answer to that age old problem of how on earth do you find your next band, bandmates or gig.”

The Meet and Jam team also host free monthly ‘Jam nights’, with the next happening from today 6th February, in seven major UK cities, simulataneously.

These ‘Jam nights’ act as an innovative, less conservative or formal, way to meet prospective industry contacts and future bandmates or artists to collaborate with.

During these ‘Jam nights’ each venue will have a house band playing from a set-list of classic and current hits and the attendees have the opportunity to go onstage and play or sing with them, thus helping musicians bond through showcasing their own musical talents in collaboration with others. Those guests who perform at the London event will also have the opportunity to show their musical talents off to A&R scouts from Island Records.

Founder Peter Fiennes elaborated on the reason behind the creation of the new music platform.

‘“My business partner Nick Ford-Young, was a touring musician, and he’d recently got a job and was doing less of the band, so he typed ‘meet and jam’ into Google because he wanted to meet musicians locally and realised there were no sites that provided that service. It’s really hard to find other musicians who live near you and to be able to search them by instrument or genre, look at their videos, hear their audio… all that stuff, so he went ahead with me and built the site.”

We also spoke about the kind of response that Meet and Jam has gained so far.

“It’s fantastic, because there isn’t really anything else like it. It’s been all word-of-mouth so far as we haven’t been spreading the word any other way but we’re up to over 5,300 musicians on the site already, with a large number of these musicians in London, but it’s spreading across the UK now which is fantastic.”

“We have an online calendar and booking system for music studios on our site, which, when we launched, had only had four studios on but there’s now 150 studios across the UK. That feature has gone down really well because there is no alternative online booking system for music studios, which really surprised us.”

He also spoke of the response to the ‘Jam nights’, that after only happening in London before branch out nationwide this evening.

“It’s been great, this is our fourth in London. The first time we held a ‘Jam night’ we just put an email out to all the musicians on Meet and Jam and said ‘would you like to come to a jam night in London?’ and loads turned up, with standard’s so high. For the first time we’ve got an original set in the middle of the jam, an original set from three bands who have connected on Meet and Jam and have formed using Meet and Jam and they’ll be playing in-front of Island Records A&R.”

“It’s a big leap forwards for us with the jam nights in big cities across the country. It’s the first time we’ve done them, and we’re doing them all on the same night, rather crazily. The response has been great, it’s all been publicised on Facebook and loads of people say they’re coming so we’re hoping for big things.”

These events are run and hosted by ‘Jambassadors’ (many of them students) who share their passion for music to make these events happen and connect with the local musical community.

Ryan Bird, who is running the first ‘Jam night’ in Leeds said, “At the Freshers fair in my Freshers week I met someone from Meet and Jam and I was interested, so I made a profile on the website and then a couple of months later they got in-touch and said that they needed someone to help with a gig they were putting on, the ‘Jam night’, and I thought it would be a really good chance to get some event management experience.”

“My role as a ‘Jambassador’ is, I have to find a band, the house band, who know the gig’s whole setlist and who will be jamming with everybody that performs. I also find the venue and work with PR companies to sort the gig’s promotion and I’m just generally in-charge of this night in Leeds.”

Ryan sees the Meet and Jam nights as unique, saying “I think, a lot of the time, networking with musicians can be quite formal and daunting and a bit intimidating, because it’s difficult trying to make contacts, as you might not necessarily know the right people to look for or speak to, so these nights give people a chance to do some more relaxed networking. The attending musicians, can jam with people and make new contacts through this, so it sort of takes the formalities out of it.”

“The one in Leeds is the first one there and there’s been a pretty good response, I think people are willing to get involved with it, and judging by what Nick [Ford-Young - one of Meet and Jam’s founders] showed me from the past London shows, it seems like it’s going to be a really great night.”

For more information, or to join the site visit www.meetandjam.com

The next set of Jam nights are on Friday 6th February 2015, doors are 7pm and the events are free to attend:  

Bath -The Nest 

Birmingham - The Flapper

Bristol - The Birdcage

Guildford - Bar Mambo  

Leeds - The Fox & Newt  

London - Zigfrid Von Underbelly

Newcastle - Bar Loco




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