Interview: lostboy

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Playing a string of intimate dates over the last year, emerging Sheffield artist lostboy speaks around his experiences so far and the meaning of independent venues for the city and beyond.

When playing certain venues, are you conscious of bands that have graced its stage before? And does this affect how it feels to play at such a venue?
We are usually conscious about other artists who have played a venue, if big bands have played the stage it often adds more personal value to our performance.

If you were to choose one venue in which you have played to be protected, what would that venue be? What are your memories of said venue?  And what is the most important aspect of the venue that you would protect?
The venue I’d choose would be The Louisiana in Bristol. I have really great memories of the venue and the last show we played there sold out and was our best tour date yet!

What are the attributes of these buildings that are significant? i.e graffiti on dressing room walls.
A whole bunch; band stickers in toilets, band names in green rooms, posters around the bar area of previous sold out shows.

Music scenes: Do you feel that scenes are important for towns and cities to embrace and to remember? and how do you feel the legacy of starting out in a different city would have influenced your sound?
Music scenes are a massive part of local areas. They provide places and events for young people to spend time and get together. Grass roots venues are integral to supporting togetherness in towns and cities. Starting out in another area would have meant we’d have grown up around different bands, probably influencing our sound. This certainly had an effect on us when we branched out to Sheffield, a city with a rich musical heritage, particularly in indie.

How do you feel a venue helps your fans connect to one another during your shows?
The size of a room makes a big difference to crowd experience, particularly at the start. Smaller venues that allow 14+ / 16+ enable younger people to go to gigs with their friends, but quite often small venues don’t have these licenses, so people miss out on shows by their favourite bands, meaning the bands miss out as well.

Do you feel venues form communities and what venue symbolises this?Venues do support communities. An example of this would be Tramshed in Cardiff, which offers community events as well as a hugely varied roster of love music from jazz to metal. Another example is Cafe Totem in Sheffield – unfortunately now set to be demolished. They lead the Sheffield Music Scene, along with the Leadmill, by being vocal on local matters as well as setting up online communities for musicians, promoters and other venues to converse about anything.

What do you feel are the benefits and downsides of listing and protecting a music venue?
The benefits are clear – we get to keep our venues that are a vital platform for young bands to progress through their careers. Without these venues, we are at risk of destroying this pathway. I don’t think there are any downsides to listing music venues. They need saving and should receive more support in general from central and local government.

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