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Sonic Youths coordinater Annie Catwoman tells us all about the music development programme that is supporting great local talent

PUBLISHED: 16:14 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:05 14 November 2018

Mullally who is part of the Sonic Youths music development programme. Photo: Annie Catwoman

Mullally who is part of the Sonic Youths music development programme. Photo: Annie Catwoman

Annie Catwoman

We caught up with Annie Catwoman, Norwich Arts Centre’s Sonic Youths coordinator, to find out a little bit more about the programme.

Norwich Arts Centre.
 Photo: Denise BradleyNorwich Arts Centre. Photo: Denise Bradley

What is Sonic Youths?

Sonic Youths is Norwich Arts Centre’s (NAC) music development programme for 14 to 19 year olds who are making original music of any genre. It offers gig opportunities at NAC and across Norfolk at collaborative events plus, through its SALON! [sic] socials, provides free advice and networking sessions to help young people build a music community. It’s all about encouraging and supporting the future of music.

Norwich Arts Centre is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner, which covers NAC’s Sonic Youths, Pony Up and HARK music streams.

Who is Sonic Youths for?

Sonic Youths is for everybody! While our live music showcases promote young talent, all ages are welcome to watch and be wowed as they discover their favourite new acts.

What made you so interested in promoting young artists?

I’m always hungry for new music so it’s really exciting to work with fresh talent. It’s a privilege for NAC to be part of that journey by giving young acts a chance to develop through numerous and varied opportunities that can make a big difference to their confidence and stage craft.

Our #SonicYouthsFam are the people that in the next few years you’ll be seeing at gigs, hearing on the radio and buying their music. Plus being able to support them early on is a thrilling experience.

Gladboy, who is part of the Sonic Youths music development programme, performing. Photo: Annie CatwomanGladboy, who is part of the Sonic Youths music development programme, performing. Photo: Annie Catwoman

Who was the first Sonic Youths artist?

Abigail Blake, who now performs under the moniker Hydra Lerna. As it happens, she’s chosen NAC as the venue for her EP launch on Tuesday 13 November so go and see her, she’s an amazing producer of electropop with a harp!

How do you think the Norwich music scene has developed over the past few years?

There’s been a real surge in great quality acts during the past five years, notably young musicians across a broad range of styles. Norfolk is bursting with names to watch.

For example, last year, Sonic Youths artist Mullally signed to Atlantic Records UK and has been busy building his profile nationally.

Pony Up-supported Lets Eat Grandma have also seen success winning Q’s Album of the Year whilst Sink Ya Teeth have performed at BBC Maida Vale for a 6Music session this year.

Similarly, Lucy Grubb is getting rave reviews for her Dear Walter EP, which was released a few weeks ago, with fellow Sonic Youther Maya Law representing BBC Music Introducing in Norfolk (BBCMIiN) at BBC Music Introducing Live last week.

There are plenty more hardworking artists that will reach a similar height, believe me - I’ve heard the demos and seen them live!

Maya Law, who is part of the Sonic Youths music development programme, performing. Photo: Annie CatwomanMaya Law, who is part of the Sonic Youths music development programme, performing. Photo: Annie Catwoman

Gladboy are on everyone’s radar after releasing their Egopushin’ EP and opening a sold out show in June. They are also supporting Brix and the Extricated at NAC on November 25.

It’s a very healthy scene. The support offered by the teams at BBCMIiN and Future Radio is vital in getting people in front of new audiences that don’t go to gigs.

Meanwhile there are plenty of opportunities to play live offered by both independent promoters and music venues, albeit with some facing an uncertain future.

What was the most recent gig you held?

It was an absolute pleasure for Sonic Youths to host Lucy Grubb’s EP launch on October 31. We’ve been working with Lucy since 2014, supporting her with various gig opportunities, and her headline slot on NAC’s main stage is well-deserved as she proved. Lucy is an exceptional talent, a rising star, and we can’t wait for what comes next.

Lucy’s hand-picked supports, Aphra and (The) Red Dear, are also Sonic Youths acts - they are all amazing and impressive musicians making it a real celebration of the future of music.

Our next showcase is at 1pm on Saturday November 17 with sets by Bug Teeth, Corlian and Eluders and it is a ‘pay what you can afford’ event.

All 14 to 19 year olds are invited to join us at our next free-entry SALON! event, from 11am on Saturday December 15.

Special guests Peach Club, Lucy Grub and BBCMIiN will be sharing their firsthand experience, tips on DIY promoting, getting gigs out of Norwich and how to make your demo stand out from the crowd when looking for radio play.

How can musicians send in their music?

We’re on a rolling demo call-out for our monthly lunchtime showcases in NAC’s bar where all acts play a 20-30 minute set of original tracks.

To get invloved, email annie@norwichartscentre.co.uk with a link to an up-to-date full-length demo, audio or video, that’s representative of the current line-up and style of music.

You must include all musician’s names and dates of birth as everybody needs to be between the ages of 14 and 19 on the date of the showcase. For a chance to play on December 15, the demo deadline is 6pm on November 17.

We aim to host a range of ages and musical genres at each showcase so don’t worry if we can’t offer you a slot immediately as there will be other chances to play.

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