On our quest to bring the North East’s music scene closer together, we again chat to another newly established events and promotions company to get the inside scoop on what they’re all about. This time we caught up with Rhys Melhuish, the man behind Rhyme Events and Promotion, ahead of the company’s debut July 27th show at Head of Steam, Newcastle.
What is Rhyme?
rhyme. is an independent music promotion ‘project’ for the North East of England, set up and ran by myself. The North East’s music scene is doing some wonderful things right now, and I’m simply wanting to shine that little bit more light on it, as well as putting on my own gigs/showcases in the process.
Who’s involved in Rhyme?
It’s all me at the moment! Though I will give a special shout-outs to my other half, Sarah, at Rat Stamp Musician Artwork who helps out with the artwork for posters, branding etc and to Cole from the Head of Steam for his advice/helping me get started.
What inspired you to create it?
I’ve been involved with the North East music scene for quite some time through Spark, a community-led radio station, website and magazine based in Sunderland. During my time there I’ve interviewed hundreds of local musicians, promoters etc, have made a lot of contacts/friends, and have all-in-all developed an immense passion for local/emerging talent. North East artists make up 95% of the music I listen to nowadays.
I first got involved with Spark through studying at the University of Sunderland at the same time. I’ve recently graduated, so will be leaving the University, and therefore leaving Spark. I wanted to carry on my involvement with North East music after leaving, so I’ve went on to set up rhyme.
I also play in a North East band myself, St. Buryan, and when I think back to when we first started out, we were a little fuzzy on how to get gigs for ourselves. We started working with a couple of promoters who would give us a shot, which was great, but they’d often put us on lineups with other bands that didn’t suit our sound whatsoever. We wouldn’t make any new fans via the crowds that came for the other bands, and vice versa. It just seemed a bit daft.
My primary aim is for the gigs I put on to make sense. I don’t want to put gigs on for the sake of it, they’ll often coincide with single/EP/album launches, or perhaps be there first Newcastle show for quite a while etc.
Although I’d like the lineups to have some good variation, I want the artists involved to win new fans. That’s the whole point of playing music, right?
Will Rhyme be focusing on any specific genre/s?
Not at all! Our first gig is very much indie-orientated, but I’ll be looking at putting on gigs across far more genres. We’ll be looking at pop, rock, hip-hop/rap, and the more heavy/experimental stuff too. In my opinion, all North East music deserves some attention.
Your first ever event is happening at HoS at the end of this month, how difficult was it deciding who to put on?
With it being the first show, I wanted the lineup to be a little bit special, a bit personal too. Hence why I’ve got Great Waves in as our first headliners. Not only are they a very talented band who’ve just popped out a gem of a new single, they’re very close friends of mine, and I knew that working alongside them would be a treat!
I had a few ideas in mind for supports, that side of it was certainly tricky to narrow down. But again, I’m thrilled with the lineup. I’ve interviewed The Strands a couple of times in the past, and caught them live at Hit The North earlier in the year. They’ll absolutely smash it, no doubt. Peace Frog are also very, very good friends of mine. We (St. Buryan) actually share a guitarist with them! They’ve got an immense feel-good vibe to their set, and they’ll be the perfect openers to get the party going from the start.
What’s your opinion on the current state of the North East music scene?
It’s the best it’s ever been. I can’t say much more than that. So many artists/bands are doing incredibly well out there, and it’s amazing to see. Each artist is so supportive of everyone else as well which just makes it all even better.
What do you hope to achieve with Rhyme?
If, through us, a few extra pairs of ears decide to start listening to what we’ve got in the North East a bit more, that would be enough. Hopefully the artists, audiences and myself all really enjoy the gigs we’ve got coming up, and we can go from there.
Really, I just want to enjoy it, and I want every artist I work with to enjoy it too. I couldn’t let myself fall “out of sync” with the scene after leaving Spark because of how much I’ve immersed myself within it. I’m very excited to see where it goes next. Hopefully we can be part of the ride – no pun intended…
Interview by J.Ramsay