We talked to Matt Foster from the band Mike Halliwell...
What has been your most successful gig so far?
This would probably have to be either our last gig at The Troubadour in London last October or our final gig of 2006 at Plug 'n' Play Studios in Reading. Both venues have an excellent sound and on these two occasions we had a great audience.
Out of all of your public performances to date which is the one you are most pleased that it wasn't reviewed and why?
We had a gig in greater London in the autumn of last year and were scheduled to play last. As we had several other gigs coming up, no-one came along specifically to see us play. By the end of the night, there was only the opening act, the bar man, the venue manager and a dog (I think, I might be making this up). I think we played fine but I'm not sure how the reviewer would have gauged the audience reaction!
What can we expect to see from you in the next six months? Any major gigs?
We're in the later stages of finishing our album and, following a collaboration with local artist Mark Langley, we're planning an exciting launch event with specially prepared visuals in an unusual venue. We're also hoping to get some more gigs in London in order to support this release.
For the people that haven't heard your music can you describe your sound?
Our music is acoustic-based, intimate and dynamic. As a three-piece band there is a lot of space in our sound and we use this to draw the listener in.
If you were going to add one instrument to your band's sound what would that be?
It would either be keyboards, as they are useful for adding a variety of different sounds for each song, or a viola, as this would enhance the acoustic approach and offer us another voice for counter-melodies and instrumental sections.
What do you think of the live scene in Berkshire at the moment?
It's really exciting. Lots of places are putting on gigs and the general standard of bands is very high. There are lots of opportunities for bands to get started and there are some great rehearsal facilities so that they can get their set together.
If you were doling out awards what would be your favourite venue and who would be your favourite promoter in Berkshire?
As we have played there so many times, The Cellar Bar at South Hill Park is our favourite venue. We often try out new songs there and the audience is always into what we do.
How many unsold demos and CDs have you got tucked away at home?
We constantly update our demo as new mixes are done of older tracks and newer tracks are recorded for the first time. We produce the CDs ourselves in short runs so that we can introduce the most recent demo as soon as possible. At the moment we only have a few left, but will be producing some more in preparation for a series of gigs in February.
How about your ideal gig? Imagine a gig in Reading with just three bands playing. You have got the middle slot. Who would you want to open and who would you want to headline?
Everyone in the band has a wide range of influences, but I'm sure that a gig with Katherine Williams as the opening act, us in the middle and Led Zeppelin as headliner would be pretty cool.
Where can people buy your music online?
People can visit our pages on The Arkade http://www.arkade.com/Mike_Halliwell and buy some tracks from our recent demo.
When is your next gig?
Thursday 1 February 2007, at our favourite venue The Cellar Bar at South Hill Park, as part of the regular Josaka night.
What's your message to music fans across the UK?
If you're really into music, make sure that you get out there and see music live. Giving new bands a chance (and an audience) can really help.