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Interview With Rich Ward - Overhead Wires and Swear Down Records Founder

  • brighton

  • 28 Jul 2017

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Interview With Rich Ward - Overhead Wires and Swear Down Records Founder

Ahead of their second Brighton gig next week at The Prince Albert, we speak to Swear Down Records' founder Rich Ward about his new project, the local music scene and the upcoming The E.D Fowler Band show on 3rd August 2017.


Hi Rich. You're something of a veteran promoter on the local music scene. What was the first show that you ever hosted/promoted?

The first one ever actually predates my time in Brighton and was actually up North where I’m from. It was at a pub called The Pack Horse in Bury and I put it on simply so my own band at the time could play. I was 19 and full of beans. Since then I’ve always had a DIY mentality when it comes to music, to be in control of your own path. 


How did you get so involved with the local music scene?

When I was in my third year at Brighton University studying Music Production I set up Overhead Wires Music as a Brighton grassroots music platform, to use the knowledge and experience I had acquired to help bands gain extra support. Our first gig was at The Providence (which is now the Co-Op on Western Road) and it just kinda flourished from there over the years with the more people I met and positive feedback we received. 


What is it that makes Brighton such a great place for live music?

The fact that there is a lot of variety. Musicians come from all over the world to study music and set up here; and the rich tapestry and high standard of talent is prevalent. 


When you set up Overhead Wires Music, did you think it would last as long as it did or were you just taking things one show at the time?

I knew I was in it for a long haul but I took it a few gigs at a time to learn from them.


Why did you finally decide to end Overhead Wires?

Since setting up Overhead Wires in 2008, I ended up putting on over 500 gigs, mostly in Brighton but also one or two in Hastings, Eastbourne, Worthing, London and even Leicester – all with a focus on promoting underground talent. I had met many many wonderful people, some of which had grown to become my best friends and become inspired at some of the artistry I had seen. However, I felt I had reached a point where I had taken it as far as it could go and wanted to go further by taking more of a career-based direction within the label/publishing sectors.


Tell us about your new project Swear Down Records?

Swear Down Records is a digital based record label which incorporates live promotion and publishing. I feel that with the decline of the majority of physical recorded products, most younger people are discovering new music through YouTube or Spotify and I wanted to run with that and not waste time trying to sell CDs (and vinyl is too expensive to produce). Having ample promoting experience and being a music publisher means I can have a model whereby we can give the record away for free to maximise exposure, with the return coming from live tickets and owning the recording/publishing rights. 


When did you first hear about The E.D. Fowler Band and how did you sign them to your label?

I put on The E.D. Fowler Band on at The Brunswick through Overhead Wires in March 2016 (which incidentally was their first gig as a band – I had only listened to Ed’s solo records prior to that) and was blown away. It sounded massive for such a simple set up, and their lyrics were impressively reflective and honest. From then I continued to book them a few times and when I decided I wanted to set up Swear Down Records, they were a band I saw myself working with. I had a meeting with Ed at The Western pub and the rest is history. 


Tell us a bit about the other acts supporting The E.D. Fowler Band on 3rd August.

I‘ve had the fortune to work with all three of the bands before. In main support we have Kes’ Conscience – a female led politically driven trio. We also have indie quartet The Grand Nowhere in their first Brighton gig in many many months, who sound akin to classic British rock n roll and Britpop. Opening the show are indie-surf sounding act Nicoteen – young lads who definitely know how to make a riot.  


Where do you hope Swear Down Records will be in a year's time?

I plan to have a couple more releases under my belt with some memorable shows to boot and be making headway with sync and licensing opportunities. 


Finally, what's been the proudest moment of your promoting career so far? 

I’d have to say Jipsy Magic’s “Something In The Water” album launch at The Haunt in March 2014. It was an electrifying atmosphere and we packed the place out. Good times! 


Find out more about the upcoming The E.D. Fowler Band show and buy tickets in our event listing on AfterDark

Swear Down Records Website

Swear Down Records Facebook Page


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