Sound City Recap – Part 1

LSC logo - simple text saying Liverpool Sound City 17-19 May 2012Hello everyone, how are you doing? Things have been more than a little hectic for me in the last week or so. I’ve had 3 gigs with my band 20lb Sounds, a load of live recordings to process for Rathole Radio, plenty of other podcasts to produce and on top of that a last minute call to join the Liverpool Sound City music conference. That’s what I’d like to tell to you about today. I’ll recap my personal experience of the event from Thursday to Saturday. Although I had other stuff going on – with a couple of meetings and a gig on the Friday – I still found time to get involved with the conference and see a few bands along the way.

Day 1 – Thursday May 17th – At the beginning of Thursday I was feeling pretty exhausted if I’m honest. I’d been up late getting the live recordings from the Rathole Radio gig out as a podcast. I’d also been contacted the day before by a friend to ask if I wanted to come to Sound City in the first place. I was very fortunate to get the free ticket and I wasn’t going to waste it. Having said that I did sleep a bit late to recover some energy. So I arrived at the swanky Hilton hotel on the Liverpool waterfront at midday, just as others were breaking for lunch. I’d only missed one session but I did feel very slightly guilty for being late. I saw some friends in the lobby and headed up to join the signing in queue. There were a lot of music industry people milling about as you’d expect. Some looked very rock and roll, some not so much. As I stood there behind a guy who looked to be in his 60’s one of the organisers ran over and I could hear him saying to the man “your VIP table is ready for 4pm sir, there’s meetings till 6 and then….blah blah blah”. “I wonder who that guy is and why he’s so important?” I thought to myself. I even contemplated tapping him on the shoulder and asking “should I know you?”, but in the end I never did find out. Perhaps it was Elton John in disguise, this disguise only consisting of a hat really though hehe. I got to the front of the queue eventually and after a little bit of convincing and checking the girl behind the desk found me on the register, then tried to print out my pass. I say “tried” because she did this for about 15 minutes and even asked a colleague to help. Fair play to her she wasn’t giving up. The label printer wasn’t working and my inner IT support technician was bursting to get out. I kept telling myself “you’re not here for that Dan, just let someone else fix it” but in the end I couldn’t. I said “do you mind if I have a look?” explaining that I did know a bit about computers. She obliged my interfering and pretty soon I had my delegate badge.

A shot of one of the conference panels. People sat around on chairs. Dunno who they were.
The Random Panel I Ended Up At

My friends were having lunch downstairs in the Hilton restaurant by the time I got back to the lobby, but when I tried to walk in and join them at the table I was told I was “too late for lunch”. It was 12:30, what time can lunch finish?! I was dressed quite smartly I thought but I suspect my slightly shabby trainers had “too late for lunch whatever time it is” written all over them to the staff. I waited in the lobby watching my friends eat from across the way. They’d pretty much finished anyway to be honest and I got a pasty from Gregg’s round the corner later. So put that in your pipe and smoke it Hilton restaurant! Not literally, it’s an English figure of speech. You’d need quite a big pipe for that sort of thing I imagine. Anyway, I digress. After lunch I attended my first session of the day and it turned out to be a cracker. It was titled the LSC Digital Marketing Panel and featured Darren Hemmings and David Emery. A 3rd panel member had dropped out but nevertheless it was a fascinating discussion about using the web to promote your music as an artist or label. It was interesting to hear from people inside the industry just how effective Youtube pre-roll ads can be, and also just how ineffective paid Facebook ads are. It satisfied the geek and the musician in me all at once I think. Darren and David were both funny and informative. I was glad I went. Later I popped into another random session quite near the end but I don’t think I even worked out what it was about. I’m sure that information is really useful to you.

Following this I headed to the LSC Tech Keynote, which turned out to be an interview really and not a speech. Journalist Eamonn Forde interviewed Andrew Mains the head of a company called Mobile Roadie. I’d never heard of Mobile Roadie but they must be a pretty big deal as they’ve built mobile apps for Madonna and many others. The room was pretty empty when I arrived and sadly after 20mins I could see why. The discussion was boring and pretty hard to concentrate on. Out of British politeness I stayed another 10mins not wanting to obviously walk out on the speakers. There’s only so many levels of Angry Birds you can complete on your phone though before you think “I should just leave and see what else is on”.

The last session of the day I attended was titled the LSC Social Media Surgery. The discussion was a bit slow and I think I already knew most of what was mentioned but had hoped to pick up some tips. It came as something of a relief though when I had to leave before the end anyway. I was making a habit of it. I’m no social media expert but I wasn’t convinced any of these people were either really. It’s quite an esoteric subject as a whole and anyone who claims to be a social media guru usually turns out to be a buffoon. I headed home to meet a friend and unfortunately didn’t catch any of the gigs on Thursday night. I was too busy. All the people who tried to get LSC tickets and couldn’t may now boo and hiss at me.

At this point dear reader I should warn you that I’ve decided to serialise this recap. I’ve rambled on so much about day 1 that it seems a good time to stop and have a break. Let’s have a cup of tea and come back to this hey. I’m putting the kettle on, and like Mrs Doyle I won’t take no for an answer. “Will ya have a cup of tea? Ah go on. Go on, go on, go on.”


Insert your own dramatic music here, dun dun dun! 🙂


  1. I am one of those dining friends and I to am blogging about Sound City, in elegant parts also.

    Your trainers were shabby Dan. 🙂

    • @neil – You’re even in the that photo I posted. We could play a game of Where’s Waldo and people can try to find you hehe 🙂

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