In this podcast you’ll discover:
- How James’ mindset has helped him grow the band over the years
- Why he concentrates on quality of gigs and clients rather than quantity
- James’s approach to how the internet has changed the way he markets and promotes his band
- How he ‘delicately hussled’ his way to recording an awesome top end promo video
- His approach to networking and getting referral bookings (this is super simple)
- How social media has helped them gain big ticket clients
- Why spending time meeting with his clients has been so worth it in the long run
- How one booking in India resulted in two more
All the videos we talk about in this episode can be found at Metropolis-live.co.uk
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Intro: Welcome to the Gigging Success podcast. And now, here’s your host, Brad Lazarus.
Brad: Hello and welcome to the Gigging Success podcast where you’ll discover the tactics and strategies of some of the world’s most successful cover bands that will help you fast track your way to more of those better paid gigs you deserve.
This week, I’m talking a James Eager who runs a band based out of London in the UK, a band called Metropolis. Now, the band’s been around for a while, but in the last couple of years, he’s really taken things on to the next level. He’s got himself a business partner who he runs the band with, a great guy called Toby Goodman.
The two of them have really kind of knuckled down and doing some great stuff. I’m going to dig a little deeper to find out what it is that those guys are doing that are really making a breakthrough for them. Again, it’s some really good high-paid bookings in the corporate market as well, so stick around for that.
Next, just quickly, thank you to those that have left a review on iTunes. I really appreciate that. If you haven’t done so yet, I would really appreciate you going down … getting on to iTunes and leaving a positive review. It really helps us get the word out to more musicians and cover bands so they can learn from some of the stuff that we’re talking about in the podcast. If you could get into that, that would be great.
Finally, before we get into the interview, if you haven’t yet done so, you can download my guide, which is Cover Band Essentials: Five Free and Easy Killer Tactics and Strategies to Get More Bookings and Dominate Your Competition in the Current Economy.
Get your copy of that by going to GiggingSuccess.com/CBE. If you’re serious about getting more bookings for your band, that is easily the best place to start. Let’s get straight into the interview.
Okay, so here I am with James Eager of Metropolis. He runs, as I say, Metropolis band, which are based out of London. So how are you James?
James: I’m good, Brad. How are you doing?
Brad: Yeah. Not bad, thank you. Thanks for joining me.
James: Absolutely. Thank you.
Brad: Been keen to have a chat with you. We’ve known of each other for a little while now, haven’t we? We had a little bit of a chat and I’ve been watching you from afar, not in a freaky way, obviously …
James: (Laughs) Yeah.
Brad: … and seen that you’ve really kind of made some massive strides over the last kind of 18 months, two years with the band. Really kind of keen to kind of draw out what it is that you’re doing and you’re doing so well so others can kind of learn from you as much as I think so.
James: Absolutely. Please fire away.
Brad: Yeah, sure. Well, listen, give us a little bit about your kind of background as a musician. How have you started out in a nutshell, so to speak?
James: Right. Well, that’s an interesting kind of story in itself. My background is as a, I guess proper, quote, unquote, “musician.” I played music all throughout school. When the time I was finished and all that kind of thing, I went off to music college for four years and got my degree, and then kind of stepped out into the big world, I guess, and started forging a career as a musician.
I guess more of the high-profile end work I did was aimed at the theater markets, so West Bend and touring shows, that kind of thing. I built myself a name, I guess or a career rather, as a musician. Then, all the time …
Brad: What instrument do you play?
James: That’s a good question. I forgot to put that one in. I’m a double-bass player and an electric bass player. My kind of background was in playing more … The degree was jazz-focused, and so … I mean if I had to pinpoint my style, I guess it’s commercial music, so pop rock, soul, jazz, anything along sort of lines.
Brad: Okay. Cool. Yeah. Sure. Okay. Yes. Sorry. Go on. Carry on with your …
James: Absolutely. Yeah. And so that is what I do and that is still very much what I do and where I’ve come from. However, you’re talking about the Metropolis band which is something I’ve always had going along the side.
Metropolis, I guess, formed back in I think about 2000 now. Yeah, it was definitely … It was around 2000. The name “Metropolis” has been with me 13 or 14 years in various forms, which is … so it’s a long, long time already now. I mean …
Brad: Just describe … Well, what is … How is … What is Metropolis? What’s the kind of style of band and what’s the make-up of it?
James: Metropolis, historically, is a party band, a function band, dance band, whatever you want to call it from whatever generation you came from. We do weddings. We do corporate work, private parties. We’re there basically to make people dance. That’s the center of our operation, I guess, and that’s what we’ve always done.
Stylistically, where we came from, we’re rooted in, I guess, ‘70s disco, soul, funk music. We’d be the guys which would play two hours of party music at the end of the night to get people dancing basically.
Brad: Okay. You said you started the band in 2000. Are you running it on your own now, or are you working somebody or … How do you run it?
James: How do we run it? Well, I mean historically, I would tell you how we run it. The band started … I mean I go back even further than that. My history is I started bands … I somehow accidentally started a band when I was at school. We ended up playing in pubs and we became quite successful and ended up doing sort of functions for all the teachers and that kind of thing and local parents and all that kind of thing.
I had my first taste of band leading when I was about 17, 18, 19 sort of age. When all that kind of fell apart, people moved on, Metropolis was sort of born out of the ashes of that. I started the band with a drummer called Glenn. We were young guys at that time. I was 20 and he was a little bit older, I think.
We pushed Metropolis forward, made the original demos, that kind of thing. It got to the point … we got to the point where we were just a function band working on the circuits. Our career has developed as such and Glenn decided he wanted to emigrate, probably back in 2005, off to New Zealand.
I was kind of left with Metropolis as my band after that. Metropolis then went on through various stages which I’m sure we’ll discuss in a bit. Then about 18 … about a year ago, my parents’ business partner came aboard, got Toby Goodman, and we now run Metropolis together. It is now sort of a joint venture partnership. We’re co-directors on the company. It’s really sort of starting to start to grow into sort of quite a bigger organization, I guess.
Brad: Yeah, your attitude is very much one of … you treat it very much as a business, and you almost … You’ve said to me before you almost don’t see yourself as a kind of a band leader, however you want to describe a band-leader type. You see yourself as a business owner. When did that mindset start to come in?
James: The truth of the matter is I think it’s always been there. I grew up with parents who were in business. It’s always kind of around there. I think it was a natural progression into that mindset, because before, I was always a musician who ran a band, that kind of thing.
Now, I moved more into a businessman as such. I see the business because the company that owns Metropolis is called Metropolis Productions, Ltd. I see that as a company that we’re growing. In the fullness of time, Metropolis, the band was … It’s essentially our sole income stream at the moment or our most important, I’d say. It will turn into just part of our arsenal because we’re moving into other areas of the business slowly. That’s what we’re developing at the moment.
Brad: Yeah. It’s all exciting stuff, which are … I don’t think we’re going to cover the other areas of what Metropolis Productions is just now. We’ll get you back in in a few months to kind of have a chat a little bit about that. But in the meantime, if we kind of continue down the path of Metropolis as the band, how many kind of gigs are you doing? What’s the progression of gigs over the last kind of two, three years in terms of the types and numbers of shows that you’ve been doing?
James: To be quite frank, I don’t actually have the numbers to hand, but the model we work on is definitely quality rather than quantity. I remember listening to some of the other guys chatting on the show which are doing 80, 90 shows a year, I mean incredible amounts right there. But we don’t work on that. We work on a slightly different model.
We’re working on higher value gigs which obviously are much, much more time-consuming to deal with. But then, we’re the Metropolis Productions. We’re not talking about that, but where that comes in is we often end up responsible for other areas of the event. We’ll end up with less gigs but with much, much more going on on them.
Brad: Right. Okay. In terms of when you say kind of high-value gigs, presumably your … What kind of markets are you talking about there? What kind of gigs are you doing?
James: What kind of gigs are we doing? We are doing gigs. We’re doing the corporate work so the big hotels in London … I mean product launches, awards, dinners, that kind of market. We’re doing some high-end weddings and private work. So yeah, exclusive parties, I think, is probably a good way..
Brad: What’s the terminology, is it..
James: Yeah. I’m not quite sure what the terminology is actually.
Brad: High society, I think.
James: Yes. That’s the one. Then, the other one … and then the other area which we’re working on is the Jewish market in this country. I mean, Toby, my business partner is Jewish and so that’s an area … his particular area become … he’s been developing that market. So that probably … If you go to our website, there are the three major categories that you’ll see presented before you.
Brad: Yeah. So these are all … I mean these are all kind of difficult markets to get into.
Brad: They’re not the easiest markets to get into. Let’s get a little bit of an idea of how you’ve managed to kind of break through and have success in those niches.
Brad: One thing I do notice is you’ve got tons of video on your website …
James: Absolutely, yeah.
Brad: … and on your YouTube page. What was the thinking behind that?
James: The thinking behind that is that everybody … Well, five … probably that’s not four years ago. I mean this is … We’ll probably discuss this in a bit. The Internet was changing from … Bands would have some demos up there, and then the world of video streaming came very easily to the Internet.
Everybody was making videos at that point. Naturally, how … people would be asking for video. That’s when the first video sort of came along. Then, it was a natural progression after that because that’s what people seem to engage with is to be able to watch something on the Internet. Particularly, with the world of social media these days, video is a very … is a massive part of that.
Brad: Where are you getting your videos from? I mean what … You’ve got a primary kind of promotional video, have you?
James: Yeah. We’ve got a primary promotional video that we … We did a full rebrand I guess about 18 months ago. They take the bulk of all our videos. That’s the important stuff. That was filmed after an event in central London, a big exclusive wedding that we performed at which we’re lucky enough to have filmed there and recorded. So that was … That’s where the bulk of them came from, all the important stuff.
Brad: So just from that, from a practical perspective …
Brad: … how did you manage to get that video? Because it’s a great highly produced polished …
James: Thank you.
Brad: … kind of polished production. How did you … Did you speak to the video guys beforehand? Was it an afterthought? Talk us through how you managed to get that so other people can learn from that.
James: yeah. That’s a very, very delicate operation to have done because the event that was performed at was a beautiful, beautiful venue in London, the consecrated church called One Marylebone, which is on Marylebone Road. Basically, that is an event space. It’s a dry high event space. Absolutely, literally, everything is brought in from the chairs, the tables, and the kitchen, et cetera. And it always looks peaceful because, nine times out of 10, it’s a … There are very high-value events there.
It’s actually Toby, my business partner … because also it went hand in hand with one of our first Jewish events as well. Toby said to me, “You’ve got to get this filmed.” The challenge was, how do we get this filmed? Because, essentially, this is still somebody’s wedding.
Getting … One of the bits of experience that I’ve learned is getting good quality promotional material from a gig as such where the object of the exercise is for the clients to have a gig rather us a recording session is it can get very, very tricky and that things don’t always work out.
In a lot of respects, if you want to get a video out, it’s better to put it in some kind of controlled circumstance, which is how our first video was done. But we really wanted to have a live feel to this. We wanted to have an audience there. We wanted that to be very much part of … so they could see the event. We got into, how do we make this happen?
Thankfully, we have a wonderful, wonderful events company, which we have a very good relationship called Bespoke Events in London who … and so they were actually running the whole of the event there. I approached them first of all and said, “What do you think of this?”
Thankfully, the guy in charge there, Daniel, he said, “I don’t see any issue with it. You just need to talk to the bride and groom and go from there.” How it went from that point was, well, okay, good thing, I got to sell this concept to the bride and groom.
Okay, chances are they’re spending all of this money. They’re probably not going to want a whole video crew in there. I tactfully asked the question to them, “Are you having videography on the event?” They said, “I’m really sorry. It’s not something … That’s not something we want on it.”
Because often, videographers … More traditionally, they’ve been the guys with a massive, intrusive cameras which are flying around. We hit a … I guess another slight brick wall there, but it was how … okay, where do we go from this. Then, it happened to be what One Marylebone put up on their website, this beautiful film that was recorded there, really graphic or cinema … I can’t think of a word, but..
I mean because that’s how they make wedding films these days. A company called Atmotion were doing it and they’re a fairly young company at the time and changing the way things were working a little bit. They were filming all their films on theater lab basically, digital cameras, the little small ones, because they can film such incredible high resolution these days.
I then took it to the bride and groom, “How would you feel about it? We’d like to do this, but at the end of it, how would you feel about it if you got a wedding video out of it as well?” I paid for it … We paid for it in the process to have the bride and groom … a wedding film made as well as filming all of the band stuff. I’ve been in …
Brad: So you financed that. You paid for the production then.
James: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, we paid for the film to be made of their wedding, because the guys … to film us, they would have to be in there all day anyway. It was just a case of putting together another edit at the end of it for the bride and groom. Thankfully, they went for the idea.
Brad: Well, that’s great. You really had to kind of do a little bit of hustling to make that work, really, didn’t you?
James: Yeah, I guess hustling’s the word. It’s a situation that had to be dealt with just a lot of …
Brad: Delicate. Delicate. Yeah.
James: Sensitivity I think is the word.
Brad: Yeah. Well, now, it’s such a private thing, isn’t it?
James: Of course.
Brad: That’s such a personal thing, the whole wedding side of thing. How did you get the … Okay. You’ve got the footage. How did you deal with the audio, briefly?
James: The audio … We’ve got a wonderful, wonderful crew which worked for us, which was very much part of the family. One of our recording engineers is also a … what they call in the business, a location recording engineer. Absolutely everything is amplified with Metropolis, every single drum, et cetera, et cetera.
We run about 40 channels of audio or something. There’s a lot of inputs going on. Basically, they take a spit off there and it’s recorded into what’s called a location recording rack, so every channel is recorded individually and basically onto a Mac. That’s set up at the beginning of the day. They press go and we end up with God knows how many gigabytes of audio at the end of it to be mixed.
Brad: Okay. Now, this is great. It’s great to kind of hear your … the way that you’ve managed to get such a great piece of production out of it. I mean I think the … One thing, if people … for anyone listening now that’s thinking of taking that approach, you’ve really … you’ve come at it from quite kind of a high end in the sense that you’ve gone for the big production.
You’ve gone for like the 40 channels of audio. If people that are listening want to take your lead on this, they don’t necessarily need to go down that 40-channel reel. I know with our bands, we’ve managed to get some fantastic footage from live events by literally taking a feed out of the sound desk.
Now, it’s not going to be perfect, but it’s better than not having anything. As you rightly say, having a load of video to show the band coming at it from different angles and different personalities and the band, et cetera, can have a huge impact on whether you get the gig or not, really, comparatively to your competition.
Brad: You don’t have to … People listening now, you don’t have to go take the route that James is going. You can take that model and scale it down a little bit and it will work for you. Just put in a call to find out who the video guy is for the wedding beforehand and take the feed out of your desk, really
James: That’s exactly actually how the video company would normally do it. We said to them kind of “No, no, no. This is the way we want to do it.” We kind of, I think … kind of gave them a different way of working as well, work that they hadn’t done before. It’s very simple how they do it, how they … at the audio that we then mix afterwards.
But it’s … yeah, that’s the approach that we wanted to take. It is a very high-end approach. But I think it comes from the sort of work that Toby and I have done before and the production standards that we’ve had in our freelance life. I always … Well, this is a conversation itself, but I always try and bring into the world of Metropolis because I believe it improves the quality of the band no end.
Brad: Yeah. Absolutely. No, I’d agree with that. Definitely. Okay. Just on that kind of the audio-visual side of things, one thing that strikes me from your website, you’ve got some great images on there, which all tend to come from live shots. Are you going through the same process there, almost getting in touch with the photo guy related to the particular event that you’re on and building that relationship? Yeah?
James: Absolutely. That’s one of the things, historically, five, six years ago, that we struggled with is getting good quality images of the band. It’s so difficult. There were jobs where I paid photographers to come in and kind of got one or two shots, having spent a load of cash that were actually good.
What happens is, as you slowly stop sort of climbing the food chain, so to speak, is it seems to come easier and easier to get the shots or get the good quality media, because the rest of the event is that much I expect. They’re always going to have a good photographer in it. They can have a better lighting rig, that kind of thing, which all feeds into it, the bigger picture.
It’s been a slow process, getting to the point of being able to get these images. I guess the other thing to point out here is that we spend a little bit of time reaching out to suppliers, the other suppliers on an event. I think this particularly goes with the Jewish market work that we do, that we will make a point of getting to know everybody else on the event.
You build a relationship with the photographer for instance or the videographer or whoever because you don’t know where the next gig is coming from, basically, and it could be them recommending you. It could be us recommending them.
That all feeds into getting the good quality images if it’s a photographer, for instance, because we can then feature his work and credit him on our site or, like for instance, we got some collaborations that we’ve done with a guy called Blake Ezra, where we put Jewish music with some of this images. That’s a collaboration there that we’ve done.
Brad: You’re providing that to him and that … He’s using that to market himself. Then there’s a bit of a cross-fertilization thing.
Brad: Well, that is … That’s very much kind of … I noticed that … That’s very much kind of your … effectively your main strategy, isn’t it?
Brad: It’s that networking amongst the suppliers at a particular event. Would I be right in saying that in a nutshell?
James: Yeah. I think that’s right and … but it’s a case that we … the more time you spend with these guys, the more you enjoy their company. You go on an event and then you see guys you know and you have a good time. I mean that’s because you’re essentially mixing with people which become your friends. It’s a good thing to do.
Brad: I should mention here as well, because a lot of people that are listening to this wouldn’t necessarily be playing 12- or 13-piece band at events with 250 guests with 20 suppliers coming in. But the model is the same when you kind of … when you move into a wedding of 75, a hundred people in a function room above a pub. It’s the same thing.
If there’s a photographer, if there’s somebody putting the covers over the chairs or providing the linen for the table cloth or even just providing the buffet. There’s an opportunity there to kind of network …
James: Of course.
Brad: … and get your name out there and get referred in the future and refer them as well. It’s a two-way street, isn’t it? That’s the key to it.
James: Very much so. In answer to one of your questions, what did I know … wish I’d known now when I was … started this early? It was probably to be more proactive in that area because … Yeah, because having these networks of suppliers around us is very, very important for recommendations.
Brad: Do you think that that kind of … once you’ve kind of tweaked on that whole networking thing, do you think that kind of … that was almost the kind of turning point for you to a certain extent?
James: I think so. Definitely, yes. I think historically, if you take the English wedding market, the band comes in. It sets up an hour before and it does two hours at the end. It’s a very, very self-contained unit as such on an event.
You really have no business knowing who the caterer is or the photographer or whatever, but when you … Particularly, with the Jewish work that we’ve done, the higher-end corporate stuff, you’re so much more involved in the event and you’re there for such longer periods of times. There’s so much more opportunity to interact with the other suppliers and be in their company, but you do get to know them a little bit more.
Brad: I should say there as well, if you don’t … If you are coming in as a band, you are coming in and you’re setting up an hour before and maybe come in an hour before you’d normally come in.
Brad: You could meet the caterer and you could meet some other … other of those suppliers. That’s probably well worth ab hour of your time really as well. Would you say?
James: I would agree with you more. Half the time, they might not be any purpose to it, but the other time, it might be where the next gig is coming from. You never know.
Brad: You just … That’s exactly right. You never really know. Well, listen, let’s just kind of move on to the next thing which I wanted to really talk about, is you’ve got an absolutely kind of killer social media strategy thing going on there.
Brad: Tell us a little bit about it, what’s working for you, what platforms you’re on and how are you doing.
James: Well, I mean we’re on the usual platforms, I have to say. The Facebook and the Twitter are the ones which we use most. In all honesty, I still don’t know what really works and what really doesn’t, but it’s just a case of keeping, touching people on there and you get results.
The bizarre thing is once … you might get in a huge amount of feedback compared to some big brand of this world, people do kind of check it out from afar. It’s important part of what we do. I think it’s an important part of staying fresh and modern as well which is something that we want to do. We want to be kind of on the edge of social media because that is where the world is, really, I think.
Brad: Well, you say from … keep touching people from afar.
Brad: Yeah. That’s really kind of how you came back on my radar, really. It was through social media. It was that … the consistent … It wasn’t … It was consistently kind of showing what you were doing. I know you … the idea behind social media is about a conversation, but the conversation has to start with someone, doesn’t it?
James: It does.
Brad: I think a lot of people, and me included … one of the things that I think a lot of bands struggle with is this idea of, “Well, what the hell am I gonna be posting up there? What content do I actually put up there?” Now, you come up with something which I think is absolutely fantastic which is … Well, I’ll let you tell everybody what it is.
James: I’m actually talking about our first dance films.
Brad: Exactly. Yeah, and your first dance films and also your backstage kind of acoustic performance footage as well.
James: Yeah. Well, they’re much of the same thing actually.
Brad: Much the same. Okay. Yeah.
James: Yeah. I mean I would be perfectly honest. That was a massively, massively happy accident. I’ll tell you how it happened is we had some singers on the first film—it’s up there to be seen—rehearsing their first dance backstage. It just happened to be complete luck that we had another piano player in there doing the reception.
There was a piano backstage. They were in there just going through it, running it to make sure they were totally comfortable with it. I was listening to it and thinking, “This sounds brilliant. I’m really enjoying this.” I kind of had it in the back. I had the groom in that event.
It was probably one of our first proper Jewish events as well. He was sort of a musician, for a full-time day job, but played music for fun in the evening. So he was really … The band was a big part of his day. I mean he’d been … we’d been … to get the job, we’ve been heavily scrutinized on a musical level and passed the test. I thought, “Hold on. This is something I think he’d like to hear.”
I just said to the singers, “Do you mind if I film this?” Obviously, through iPhone and they said, “Yes. Sure, go and do that.” I got the film out. They did a performance of it. I thought to myself, I can’t give them just a piece of dirty iPhone footage. What it just needs is a little message on it.
Just on final cut, probably, or whatever, we just put a little message on the beginning and the end, very, very simple, which kind of packaged the whole thing up. My initial plan was to make it more of a gift kind of an idea so it went on to DVD and I sent it through a couple of weeks after.
I did that but it kind of got a little bit lost in the post, that one, because they … the bride and groom, they’d gone to the honeymoon and that kind of the thing. The moment with the wedding, by the time they see it, is slightly lost. We’ve actually just gotten to putting it on social media.
We sent them the link first, but then it goes up on social … Well, there’s still a little bit of kind of energy left. They’re still on a high from the day. We give them the film on social media and it goes up. They share it among their friends. It’s just another little subtle way of just getting the Metropolis name out there.
It’s something highly personal to them because it’s their first dance and is their song and it also gives them a glimpse of what’s going on backstage which they won’t have seen because they’re having their wedding. Those films are created and there’s been a real … I’ll tell you, there’s been a real process to those films as well of … getting from my phone. The latest one was actually done on two cameras.
Brad: Yeah. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from you, James. You can keep that high-production value in there.
James: It was from those simple things of having …
Brad: You’ve got an OB track outside now for the backstage footage. Is that …
James: We did have an OB track out. They had an OB … We had an OB track. It’s ridiculous.
Brad: I mean one of the things … just to kind of break down what you’ve done there, because I think it’s worth kind of quantifying exactly what you’ve done. You’ve got that kind of backstage footage which is kind of rare and unseen from the client.
It’s share … it’s personable … Sorry, personal to the client, but something that they do also then want to share with their friends. You’re almost kind of creating this kind of referral thing, really, aren’t you, with that video?
James: There are actually a few more prongs to it than that, which I will discuss here. We’ve actually used it for SEO as well, search engine optimization. The films have gone on our YouTube channel as well. Believe it or not, I mean this was remarkable to me, but it’s happened a couple of times now, is people have found those films and then found their way into the Metropolis site and bookings and inquiries.
I can think of one booking at least, big, high-value booking as well, which has come off the back of where the initial touch was that film that they’d seen and just really engaged with one of the singers. That was massively important.
Brad: Yeah. I mean that’s huge. Again, you kind of talk about … I mean I’m a big fan of using the iPhone as a way of kind of capturing moments. I think the key to kind of filming is lighting. It really just … Again, people are listening to this and wondering, “I can’t afford to bring in a camera man or two cameras or … and then get the edit done.” It really …
James: But we’re doing it ourselves. So …
Brad: Right, but the point is you can just get your iPhone out, get two guys from the band, get the guitars out, go backstage, get some iPhone footage, and get online and you can go have a look what a basic lighting setup should look like.
What you end up with is an iPhone footage with a basic lighting setup of two guys and an acoustic guitar and do what James did and get that up on to the website and on to YouTube. You can kind of have the same results that you guys have …
James: The other thing just really … just good about it is we have … we’ve spent a lot of time meeting with our clients, which … I mean we never used to do in days gone by, but it is a big part of what we do. It’s just another thing for us to talk about and another thing to engage the client with and say … or they’ll be asking who the singers are because the singers are normally the people which they see first.
They don’t ever normally comment on the drummer, for instance. We’re able to demonstrate different singers and they go, “Well, this is that singer.” It’s very broad. There’s nowhere to hide. They can really hear that they can deliver. I mean we found that massively useful as well. That’s just another way to talk to the clients.
Brad: Fantastic. Now, that’s great. That’s great. Okay. We’re going to come to the end soon. But I just … There’s a couple of other things which I wanted to kind of touch on. In terms of kind of building your network and what have you, you’ve found some kind of interesting opportunities in faraway lands, haven’t you? Well, tell us a little bit about that.
James: Yeah. We’ve built this bizarre, slightly bizarre relationship … yeah, or a name rather, with India. We’ve been out there now three times, working on high-end events out there. We’re slowly becoming known in, I guess, Indian high society, which is amazing. Last trip we did out there particularly was one of the most phenomenal trips in my life. So yes …
Brad: So how did that come about?
James: It came about through a wonderful agent in Devon called Skull Entertainment who we worked for quite a bit. They sent us out there originally. Then what happened was this was a very, very bizarre coincidence. We went … That first event was in New Delhi. We went out there again for them to do an event in Calcutta or Kolkata, I think I believe it’s called now.
What happened was there was an Indian agent involved at that point. Basically, the agent said to me before he wanted to make it very exclusive like and the first time we’d ever perform in India. He took me up to meet the client. The first thing the client said to me is “I hear you’re very good.”
Obviously, that completely flummoxed me. How on earth have you heard we’re very good, because it’s our first time we’ve been here? He turned around and there was this other guy next to him called Vikrant who is now a very, very good friend of Metropolis, who was, believe it or not, the D.J. on the first event that we went out there, okay, over those hundreds of miles away.
He said, “Yes, I saw you there, and you’re absolutely wonderful. I’m doing this event, too.” He’s a high-society D.J., I guess. Off the back of that, I had a drink with Vikrant after the show. He said to me, “I think you guys are truly wonderful, I mean one of the most gracious people I’ve ever met, and I want to get you back out here to do some more parties.”
In this business, you hear a lot of stuff which doesn’t necessarily happen. That’s not to say I’m particularly cynical about it, but it does … Until the contract is signed you can never guarantee anything as I’m sure you know, Brad. But true to his word … But we didn’t hear anything for six months, and we had a call from him.
He said, “Yeah, there’s a wedding happening in six weeks, two months.” All this stuff tends to happen in fairly short time frame, so I don’t give you a lot of notice. He said, “Yeah, would you be happy to come out to New Delhi and do this wedding with me.” I was like, “Yeah, of course.”
Off the back of that, that all came off, which was amazing. He then took it upon himself to look after us for three days when we’re out there and showed us the sights of Delhi and … which were … and took us to some brilliant restaurants and that kind of thing.
It was an incredible experience, but what we’ve done is we do have a little bit of a network out there now of people who know who we are, so … which is a very, very strange thing.
Brad: Yeah. No, it’s great. It just shows you that the power of kind of networking again, really, doesn’t it, and actually kind of talking to the right people and having those conversations with you, which is good.
James: I think a little bit of luck as well.
Brad: And a little bit of luck, but yeah, if you … What’s that line, “so and so meets luck.” It’s kind of … It all kind of comes together. You can sit in your bedroom and just sit and kind of hope for things like free trips to India to happen.
You’ve got to do something. Listen, that’s great. I think we’ve pretty much come to the end. One of the things that I did … What was kind of next for you, Metropolis, and then you’ve got Metropolis Productions now …
Brad: … which is kind of taking your time out, isn’t it?
James: Next for us could be the subject of a whole another podcast. I mean …
Brad: Yeah. No, we definitely have to have you back on.
James: Yeah. What’s next? Well, the Metropolis Productions is very much where we’re at. That’s not to say that we’re not pushing Metropolis Live because we’re always pushing that every second of the day.
If you go into MetropolisProductions.co.uk, you’ll see the other aspects of the company because we’re very, very heavily involved in technical production and event management now as well as the musical side.
That is something that we’re very, very heavily working on. The site launched for that, I don’t know, two weeks ago. There are a few other things in the pipeline, too. I mean there’s always creative ideas going on between Toby and I (laughs).
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. No, that’s great. No, no, that’s fantastic. How is … Where can people find out a little bit more about Metropolis? Would you mind giving us your website?
James: It’s Metropolis-Live.co.uk. You can link on to the Facebook and Twitter off the back of there. We’re always keen to interact with people, so please do send us a message if you’ve got questions or what have you. We’re always happy to talk.
Brad: Okay. They can contact you through the website there as well.
Brad: Excellent. Okay. Well, listen, James, thanks so much for being so generous with all your information.
James: Absolute pleasure.
Brad: I think there’s real kind of gems in there. This is so much that one can learn. I love doing these kinds of podcasts because I can kind of nick ideas from people like you.
James: But I mean it’s a mutual thing, isn’t it? We talk, we exchange ideas, and that’s what’s wonderful.
Brad: Absolutely. We’re both of the agreement that kind of musicians and guys and girls running cover bands are a little bit too into that sometimes and what we want to do, don’t we, is open things up a little bit. The sharing of information … There’s enough work out there for everybody, so sharing that information goes a long way, I think.
Brad: Well, listen, thanks again, and we’ll catch up with you next time.
James: Thank you very much, Brad. Cheers.
Brad: All right. Bye.