UpAndComing

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With the UpAndComing First Birthday Special happening tonight, Matt Hacke had a chat with owner and founder, Tom Hilton outside the Forum.

UpAndComing has been going for one year now, and youre celebrating your First Birthday with Third Son on September 22nd. Looking back on the last twelve months, tell us a bit about yourselves, who you are, why you started, and what success youve had so far?
The first night we did was with Karma Kid – it was as much of a private party as it was the launch of UpAndComing. Having combined the night with my 21st, the organisation was definitely not all there initially, but bringing down a name like Karma Kid in an intimate venue such as the Cavern definitely got people talking. When I first had the idea of setting up U&C, I had just gone into second year and was only really aware of the likes of Beats & Bass, Our House. Hold It Down, I believe, was far less regular at that stage so I wanted to bring down new names and give students more choice, which I thought Exeter had really been lacking. Over the following months I tested the water by bringing down the likes of Liable (an Eton Messy DJ), Artful Dodger and Toyboy & Robin as well as a few others in order to establish the brand.

All of these acts performed at TP and we had a lot of fun bringing them down. I would say it wasn’t until January until things really got moving, when we bought down both Redlight and Woz to headline the Lemmy right after the exam period. It was at this stage people began to talk about UpAndComing and our Facebook reach really skyrocketed. We are now most renowned for our nights at Cavern, which have been and will continue to go on once a month with, as you know, Third Son performing tomorrow night. We have a really strong relationship with the owner and that’s something I want to continue to maintain and build on.

Obviously there are a lot of different House outfits in Exeter at the moment, all of which operate within their own niche. Whats your niche? What sets you apart from other promoters?
UpAndComing has been running for just one year now but the Facebook page already has over 3000 likes. We have an excellent team of reps and well-established residents and we also work with external sound and lighting companies. The company maintains a Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud, which all interlink and support every night. I would say what makes us stand out from other nights is that we have put on big names such as Redlight, very few students would take this risk but we did and we pulled it off. Over the next year we will be looking at new venues and bigger names to make sure our brand stands out. The whole motto of the company is to present up-and-coming artists through bringing down names that we believe will blow up within the year and perform at much larger venues. Obviously this takes a lot of research and small bit of luck but we are confident with the bookings we’ve made so far. We’ve got a few new surprises for everyone this year and I’m very excited to announce them in the coming months.

So you pride yourselves on booking those up-and-coming acts, hence the name! How do you go about selecting the acts you use as headliners?
We have a team of DJs and whenever we select a headliner we all have input into it and make decisions together. We really research the artists by checking out their recent songs and collaborations on SoundCloud. I mainly do the business side and Will O’Shea, (who is also a resident) handles the music side of things and has had a big influence in the direction of the company.

Tell us a bit about your residents, how have you recruited your regulars?
We have six Residents for the 2015-16 year, and they are Will O’Shea, Matt Florescu, Sultan Jwienat, Alexandre Applegate, Vish Tulsiani and the FRESCO boys. We have discovered them each at different stages with Alex being our newest resident on side, but it all comes down to how well they can DJ and this is judged through either their mixes, or on the opinions of one the current residents. As I don’t DJ myself, I tend to just trust what the other boys say about someone new. Beyond the DJing side of things, all of our residents are loyal and work hard to bring an audience down to each night. This loyalty is as important to us, as all DJ’s can get better the more they play.

So what are your plans for the next few months?
At the very least you can expect nights once a month at Cavern, with a headliner supported by our residents. We’re also now involved in the DJ Showcases, and we curated the bar for the first time in Freshers’ Week and it went really well. There will also be a big night in the same style as Redlight happening in January – the venue is confirmed and we’re now working on making the big booking. In the summer we’re hoping to be involved in Hijacked, and to do another boat party, as we did one last year, which was really successful.

Any acts you’re listening to at the moment that you could recommend?
I generally listen to who I’m booking so you’ll have to watch our event announcements over the next few months to find out!

UpAndComing are hosting their First Birthday Special with Third Son at the Cavern on the 22nd September. You can find more event details here.