Interview with Sam Batt (Founder of Battfest)

Eclectic Pop was fortunate to have Battfest founder, Sam Batt give an interview. Here she discusses her musical inspirations, aspirations and how you can join the Battfest movement.

Eclectic Pop: First of all I want to thank you for doing this interview. You are Eclectic Pop’s very first interview! I want to start by saying that I really respect what you are doing with this festival. It is an amazing & admirable achievement. Was there one thing that inspired you to start Battfest or was it a collection of things? 

Sam Batt: Thank you that's very kind of you to say. I'm honoured!

I was on my way out to do a gig and Tony Moore posted on Facebook that he wanted to do some house gigs with his protege Ilona.  I wanted to get his attention because he's helped a lot of emerging artists and runs venues in London, so I suggested a mini festival in my garden so I could play too and he loved the idea. I had done a lot of gigs that year so I got on the phone and called all the best acts I had met along the way. Tony called it Battfest and helped me set up the streaming. 

We only had about 3 weeks to prepare and I had one main helper, Roger Fauske. It was supposed to be a one-off but so many people asked me when the next one was going to be I decided to do it again. I had just joined the roster of Ladylake Music, who are the most awesome, US based promotions team. They started getting me lots of radio play and interviews and then I realised I could get all the radio stations involved in Battfest. 

On the topic of inspiration, what was your first concert?
I grew up in a musical family so did a lot of performing as a child and was lucky enough to see some fantastic live gigs. I saw people like Elton John from the wings in huge venues and Stevie Wonder singing at a BBQ at the studio where he was recording. 

I did a solo piano gig playing jazz standards for a school function when I was about 14. My first band gig was in the manor house at Chessington Zoo.

What are some things that people can expect from Battfest 2013?
Mainly, GREAT music, all sorts of genres. We've got a lot of singer-songwriters and acoustic music and we've also got some brilliant bands. We'll have interviews in between acts and we'll also have some comedy and magic tricks from The Great Alprendo.

As a singer/songwriter yourself, what is something that most people don’t understand about musicians?
We need to eat! Music takes time and money to produce. There's a lot of practicing and honing of skills and songs involved. We need to get paid and actually sell music, not just give it away. 

The gap between truly talented artists and who is having Billboard success seems to be infinitely large. What do you see as the key to bridging that gap and what is it that you think causes that divide in the first place?
The music industry is going through massive changes at the moment. It used to be that you needed a record company because the costs of recording and promoting music were so high. Only a few acts would actually get signed and that these acts would either become huge megastars, or in a lot of cases, get shelved by their record companies so other acts didn't have to compete with them. 

You'd get offered a contract on a take-it-or-leave-it basis that often wasn't a great deal, but if you wanted to make it, you took and hoped for a better deal once you had. 

You hear so many stories about well-known musicians that ended up broke. That's all changing now because the technology to record is affordable and the technology to distribute and promote is as well. 

The trouble is, if you are doing everything that would previously have been done by a whole team of people it leaves less time for making music and indie artists don't generally have the resources to promote and advertise on mainstream media. The internet enables us but it also makes it difficult to stand out from the crowd, because there are so many great indie artists out there

In the current climate of how people discover new music, what do you see as the best way for rising artists to be discovered?
In my opinion sharing reciprocal promotions is the way forward. If I share a link to my friend's music, rather than my own, it gets more attention. It's so much easier to blow someone elses' trumpet! 

This doesn't just work with artists - there's a huge web of indie media. If I send 30 artists' music to a radio station it helps the artists AND the station because the artists share the links to the shows they're played on and bring in new listeners. 

When the radio stations team up and swap shows (cross-syndicate) they get more content and more listeners. The more we help each other, the more good it does us. That's why I'm building the Organic Media Network. I was going to call it the Organic Music Network but I realised we have a load of other media involved. 

Do you have any dream acts that you would like to see perform at Battfest, if so, who?
I'd like to get some of the more well-known indies to play like George MIchael and David Bowie. That would be pretty cool. 

What has been your proudest moment running Battfest thus far?
Firstly, I was really proud of the team coming together last year - at least a hundred people, most of whom hadn't met, all came together with loads of different technology and set up in my house and garden and it all worked. That was pretty good. 

Watching Rodney Branigan play last year gave me tingles because I couldn't believe the standard of entertainment I had managed to pull together. I think the best moment was finding out [that] we were trending on Twitter in the US. That's really hard to do. I couldn't have done that without Ladylake.

What are you most excited for people to see at this year’s Battfest?
It's not so much what, as who. I've got the most AMAZING lineup. It's very eclectic too - should be something for everybody's tastes. It's so good I don't know who to pick out for you - they're all gems.

This year they'll be displayed against black velvet and properly lit!  If you go to the website you can click on their names and preview their music and also our playlist of their tracks which sounds awesome. I'm so glad to be on that album :)

Where can everybody join the Battfest movement and check out the festival? and Battfest's Facebook page. If you want to be part of it you can help spread the word by sharing our player from the Facebook page on your social networks and be a broadcaster yourself! It will also be very easy to embed on any website.

You can help by social networking too
If you are a tv or radio station and would like to take some or all of the broadcast on your station, please get in touch and we'll send you a link.

I want to thank Sam Batt for taking the time to do this interview. She is an amazing force and music is very lucky to have her presence.