Independent Venue Week kicked off on the 23rd of January, with many bands and artists playing live across the UK over the seven day celebration.
A few of Leicester’s venues – including The Cookie, Firebug, The Soundhouse and The Musician – have been playing host to a number of these acts, supporting them by providing the chance to branch out and increase their exposure while celebrating the independence of the small venues.
One of which is The Surrealists. A local band from Leicester who describe themselves as “somewhere between noise rock and post-hardcore.”
Ryan Taylor, the band’s lead guitarist and vocalist, founded the band in 2014. “The Surrealists was a band name I adopted as sort of a solo project.” Ryan explains. “I spent two years just searching for musicians but couldn’t really find anyone that fit the bill and wanted to play the same kind of music as me.”
He then managed to find the three other members of the band on their Music Technology and Performance course. Matt Rogerson, second guitarist and “noise-maker” according to drummer Tom Carnell and bassist Greg Beasley, both with a cheeky grin, joined the band purely by accident and miscommunication. “I was jamming with Greg,” Ryan said, “and we were writing some songs together.” They decided they needed a drummer and managed to meet up with Tom and organise a jam to see if they could complete the classic trio. “I told Matt, who was actually the first friend I made at uni, that I had a jam session set up. He then asked if he could come along. He turned up to our practice with his guitar and amp!” Luckily, this was the “happiest accident” according to Ryan, as Matt blew them all away at the practice, securing his place in the band as their trusty noise-maker.
Independent Venue Week is so important to bands like The Surrealists, as Tom Carnell explained. “As an independent band, we obviously get to play independent venues, which means we get to work with a lot of people away from any record labels or any middle-men. We get to contact the venues directly and play with those guys, and we’ve met a lot of different people through that and supported a lot of different bands.”
On this particular night, The Surrealists are supporting HECK, who formed in Nottingham in 2009. “It’s incredible,” Ryan said, “There are so many bands that play local shows that we’ve always looked up to. They tour up and down the country and we’ve always absolutely adored them.”
They’ve not only been inspired by the sound and performance style of HECK, but the band also takes a lot of inspiration from DIY bands in general – which naturally helps to maintain the drive to stay independent and work towards their goals. “Each time we see them or support them, we see them grow, get bigger and better rigs and gear and sound so much better live, and it drives us to do the same thing and get further than where we are now.”
If you want to see The Surrealists for yourself, their next gigs are on the 5th of February at The Soundhouse and the 18th of February at and The Musician in Leicester.