PP022 | Nick Ingram | Lifting The Curtain On Bespoke Music For The Events Industry

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    PP022 | Nick Ingram | Lifting The Curtain On Bespoke Music For The Events Industry

    Nick IngramHello and welcome to a brand new year with us here on Planner’s Pod! We have lots of new and exciting things in store for all of you and we do hope you stay with us as we unveil them.

    In this episode, we decided to start things up by having Metropolis’ very own Nick Ingram, our Creative Director, for the first time here on the show. Many of you have been curious and have asked us about how we do things in the company. So, what better way to open this up for discussion than having a team member on board.

    Here we discuss the ins and outs of how to manage a live-band company, what sort of sticky situations we all get into and how we try to deal with those, as well as how to engage with clients and knowing them on a personal level to give them a unique and wonderful musical experience during their event.

    IN THIS EPISODE YOU'LL DISCOVER

    • How this side of the music industry works.
    • Why getting to know your client is key to giving them a unique and personalised experience.
    • Being prepared for anything during the event itself and how having an intuitive approach is important.
    • How to “read the room” during performance.

    Links

    If you haven’t already…

    MEDIA

    SHOW NOTES

    0:20 – Intro

    0:40 – Opening words with Toby and James

    9:21 – Interview with James Ingram

    9:24 – How long has Nick been a part of the Metropolis team?

    9:37 – What makes a good singer in a function band?

    9:44 – “A function band musician needs to be malleable, they need to be able to cover a lot of genres of music.”

    11:02 – “It’s about finding new and innovative ways to be memorable for the audience and for the clients.”

    11:34 – Hear about how the band reinvents itself to give their clients a fresh experience.

    12:57 – Merging visuals and music. Graphics are a way that the band can introduce another element to the set.

    13:28 – Metropolis has a great production company who are keen to reinvent themselves.

    14:43 – A key is having done your homework for a particular event.

    16:18 – Needing to know about the theme so they would know how to work music into it.

    17:20 – You have to think about what the flow of each set is, what it looks like what it’s going to sound like.

    17:45 – Hear why the band is keen on giving relevant songs and music of a particular year or timeline for your event.

    19:53 – Learn how Metropolis builds a picture of who their clients are and the kind of personalities they are.

    20:50  – Holding back just at the beginning for flexibility of “Reading the Room”.

    22:28 – Knowing what works for different events but throwing in something new and different every now and then.

    23:17 – Interacting with the audience and having them sing along and have fun.

    24:46 – Tailoring the gig half way through to suit the moods.

    25:08 – Learn about showing the clients that you’re on their side and making them feel safe.

    25:51 – “We’re there to facilitate their enjoyment, getting involved and knowing through experience what they are after.”

    26:30 – “What we do is fairly instinctive from years and years of experience.”

    31:58 – Hear about dealing with inexperienced live-event bands.

    35:02 – It’s massively important to have a core group of people that get the source of the band.

    36:18 – Shifting to a business mindset from a musicians mindset.

    37:52 – Learn how to acknowledge clients (especially for a wedding) on a personal level.

    39:48 – Learn about how musicians work with different musicians and line ups.

    41:23 – Hear about how Nick’s first ever gig, event-wise went on.

    44:00 – Hear about Toby’s horrible experience with an unprepared last minute band.

    46:11 – Learn how NOT to run a live-band company.

    49:20 – Hear about some of Nick’s memorable moments that he’s created during gigs.

    54:18 – Providing the platform for musicians to play the best is making sure there’s great equipment behind there.

    56:37 – Marrying the sound, the performance, equipment and all the elements together.

    57:39 – What are the benefits, of booking a DJ through Metropolis?

    61:36 – Getting e-mail and video testimonials and feedback from past clients.

    62:58 – Discover why it’s important for Metropolis to tailor fit your event to you and why referrals works best for them.

    68:02 – Closing comments from Toby and James.

    TRANSCRIPT

    Transcript

    DOWNLOAD THE PDF TRANSCRIPT

    Nick Ingram: I think it’s about finding new and innovative ways to make the evening memorable for people that are involved really for their audience and for their client, so that they take away memories and enjoy in different way. You’ve got to try and make the performance memorable but different to what you’ve done previously.

    [Intro]

    Narrator: Toby and James are involved in amazing events all over the world. You’re listening to PlannersPod.com, where top event professionals share real world experiences and cutting-edge ideas. Sponsored by Metropolis-Live.com.

    Toby: Happy New Year! Hello and welcome to the first episode of 2016! I’m still Toby Goodman and this is still James Eager. Happy New Year to you, mate!

    James: Happy New Year to you, Toby! How was your Christmas?

    Toby: Oh, it was absolutely unbelievable. I had a really good time. Thank you very much. How was yours?

    James: Possibly the best ever.

    Toby: Excellent. Right. Okay. Event people, there’s still time to register to join the PlannersPod Community. This is a place where you’ll meet like-minded event pros from all around the world. Be the first to know about the most influential trends and event design, hospitality, all that good stuff. Get support from your peers and benefit from amazing trainings from our network of experts who we know who are also always on the lookout for fresh talent. If you’re an established event professional, you’ve got your own company or you’ve been working for a while, you’re gonna get access to amazing talented, and passionate, and aspiring event professionals who will help you take your business to the next level because they benefited from all the amazing content inside PlannersPod Community. And what’s more when you register to join before our launch, you will benefit from a super amazing never to be repeated founding member rate. So, that’s that. Get in touched. Let us know where you are now, let us know where you wanna go. Email those answers to me, toby@metropolis-live.co.uk and we’ll get the ball rolling with some amazing content that’s already well on the way to being prepared. James.

    James: Well, should we talk about today’s episode, Toby?

    Toby: Yeah, you go for it.

    James: The first one of New Year. Yeah, we’ve been asked to talk about something slightly different. People constantly have been kind of saying to us — I wish I didn’t say constantly, but we asked a bunch of times over the past years since PlannersPod to talk a little bit about what we do and where we came from and how this all came about. And we made no secret of it. We started off in the music industry and we are musicians and that’s how we got into this, because we were doing a lot of events and we got really curious how they all worked. And when — we were thinking about, “Well, how can we do about an episode about what we’ve done?” And we thought, it was possibly sort of self-indulgent if we were just to — Toby and I were just to have a chat for an hour and talk about ourselves. It’s not really our thing. So we thought, “How can we do this?” so we thought the best thing is why don’t we get Nick who is the Metropolis front man. He’s also our creative director. He looks after how things look on stage. And before, it’d be really cool to talk about how he approaches the gig and get his feedback at another angle on what we do. So, that’s that. So, Toby, you put Nick in touched with me before he officially joined the Metropolis clan. How did you meet him?

    Toby: Cool. So I met Nick when I was basically working for him, actually. I was playing drums for his band who were a two piece called Yeah You’s in around 2008/9, around that sort of time. They’ve just been signed to a mega deal with Universal Records, so the biggest company in the world. It was Nick who was singing and another champ called, Mike, who was playing the keyboard. They both write the songs. Basically, did a load of showcases that led to them getting their record deal. They went off to L.A. for a while and recorded probably half their album there, I think. And then they recorded half their album back in the UK with us. Ironically, because the label came back and said it didn’t quite have the magic, I think of the early demos that we’ve done. So that was nice. So did that, it’s in great recording. And the Yeah You’s kind of took off, had a few singles in the charts and I know they were kind of — got into a little bit of unfortunate situation because when they launched their first big single, it did pretty well. That was the week that Michael Jackson died, so the charts kind of flooded understandably with Michael Jackson hits. So it didn’t go brilliantly for launch when the world’s biggest pop start dies in a same week that you’re trying to launch your thing. But they did really good stuff. They did all the big festivals in the UK and loads of radio and stuff. So Nick’s — that’s how I met Nick. I was playing drums with them, I should think.

    James: Yeah, it’s probably still worth seeing — saying that around about 6:30 every morning on BBC – Radio 2, one of the UK’s national radio stations. We will hear a song called, “Waking up with you.” Which was one of the…

    Toby: “Getting up with you.”

    James: Oh, sorry. Getting up. I should know the title. That one. And what was the other one called? “I’ll be back in 15 minutes.”

    Toby: 15 minutes. The two songs. Anyway…

    James: There we go. Anyway, tell me a little bit about what sort of experience Nick has?

    Toby: So obviously, Nick’s kind of been through the pop start mill, if you like. Come out the other side relatively unscathed. The interesting thing about Nick was he’s a trained actor and singer and he did trained at The Royal Academy of Music. I’m gonna say.

    James: That’s right. You’re right.

    Toby: Yeah. And then before, the Yeah You’s big pop star thing kicks off for him using loads of stuff, like doing the big West End Theatre shows, I think did Mamma Mia for a while and few other bits and bobs. So he’s a kind of the — you know, he’s the real deal. He’s probably trained. He can sing great and yeah, he’s excellent basically. Don’t wanna say any of this to his face, obviously, that’s why I’m having this chat now because he goes big enough already.

    James: We will make sure he doesn’t listen to the intro of this podcast.

    Toby: Quite right. The other really interesting thing about Nick that really works for me and you is there’s another cross over which is — and which he’s actually a trained teacher. So, basically, that makes him brilliant at communicating ideas and it makes him a good listener. And makes him, you know, obviously, a lot of time here we worked with people with various different backgrounds, various struggles when he does in teaching and stuff. And so, he’s really able to quickly identify needs and, you know, perhaps the sub text of what’s going on in people’s mind. So that makes it really helpful to have him around on stage, on an event when he can read a room really well. I would say he reads a room better than, you know, almost anyone I’ve seen.

    James: If you’re wondering what reading a room is, we actually answer that question in about half an hour time.

    Toby: Marvelous. So that makes Metropolis perfect for him. It’s totally aligned with our beliefs around, you know, putting our customers in the center of everything we do. And that’s really, I think.

    James: Cool. And what else do you like about Nick? Is that it?

    Toby: He’s a very professional guy, really, when all was said and done. It’s very hard to…

    James: It’s so hard. We know him so well to actually have this conversation with a straight face.

    Toby: You can see the ego. It’s just gonna go nuts. What do you like about Nick the best?

    James: I just — I think that reading the room thing. I mean, when we do a Metropolis gig, he is looking at the crowd and working out what’s gonna go down the best at that particular moment in time. I am, I guess musical director. I’m actually, sort of, cooling the shots when things start and stops. So there’s always — there’s a lot of communication between us on the stage. And we have the occasional argument, I wouldn’t lie. But there are moments where when we are thinking exactly the same thing and that just comes from years of working together and experience in the events world, I think. So, yeah, he’s great. He knows how to take control. I mean, he — I do believe he is one of the best from man around. So, should we get on with this one, Toby?

    Toby: We should. Thanks, Nick. And don’t let any of this go to your head at all. That’s it. Thanks very much. See you at the end.

    James: See you on the other end.

     

    Narrator:        Planner’s Pod is Sponsored by Metropolis-Live.com.

    Click Here To Read The Full Transcript

    Toby: So how long you’ve done this band? How long you’ve been in Metropolis?

    Nick: I’ve been working in Metropolis for — coming out to 4 years now.

    Toby: Seems longer than that.

    James: It certainly does.

    Toby: Doesn’t it, James?

    James: Yeah.

    Toby: Okay. What makes a good singer in a function band?

    Nick: I think in a function band needs lots of different attributes. They need to be malleable. There’s a word for you.

    Toby: What does that mean?

    Nick: You don’t know what that word means?

    Toby: I do. But what do you mean in terms of a function?

    Nick: I think they need to be able to cover a lot of different genres of music. I think give eclectic performance depending on the client, depending on the venue, depending on the event, and obviously, depending on the audience. And they have to be reactive to the type of thing that is happening on the dance floor, the needs of the people there. The event…

    Toby: So it’s like a — kind of a generic answer. It’s based to a generic question. So what — and so, that would be like if you were talking to someone who was thinking of — who was a thing that who wanted to get into doing weddings and whatever. That’s the kind of answer you’ve given us. So what about, you know, with Metropolis, what are the additional things? Because what’s happened with you is you’ve us as a little bit more than just our singer who’s sort of in charge of that. So what are the things that you’ve been looking at. And I know we’re gonna look out after this chat that happens, you know, for example in the job we’re talking about later on this month. What are the additional things you’re looking at?

    Nick: I think it’s about finding new and innovative ways to make the evening memorable for the people that are involved, really, for their audience and for the client so that they take away memories and enjoy in a different way. Obviously, the thing we’re gonna talk about later, we’re lucky enough to do event for a third year in a row, so you’ve got to try and make the performance memorable but different to what you’ve done previously.

    Toby: Yeah. So, where did you start? Because there’s some — you know, they re-book because they have an amazing time, but exactly what you said, they don’t wanna have the same thing over and over again because — so we have to kind of reinvent ourselves, don’t we? A little bit. So one of those things are his songs are different. One of those things is the line-up is a little bit different. The cool guys are there, but the line-up is a little bit different, so that will bring them a fresh experience. And then, is it — well, how about organization at the set and the stuff like that?

    Nick: I think the way that we’re talking about doing this one is approaching it differently to last year which was a mish mash of songs. This time, if we’ve got three sets of music, we’re talking about doing the first one as 70’s exclusively, 80’s in the second set, and then obviously bringing it more up to date last time around, which gives it a fresh approach to the evening, I guess.`

    Toby: Yeah. So we know that there’s a theme on the event which isn’t particularly like a musical theme. But last year ‘Fire’ wasn’t it? So, it’s not a music related thing, but we are working with a production company who are gonna do loads projections. So I’m gonna talk to you about this, James. So one of the things that — one of the reason why we decided to go with the — sort of timeline theme for the — for the gig this year, is because it’s gonna make sense from a projection point of view from doing graphics and stuff. Is that…

    James: Yeah, the graphics are a way that we can introduce another element to the show to make it different to what we’ve done for previous couple of times.

    Toby: So while Nick is sort of working on exactly what the song are inside the tunes, your — James, you are feeding back that stuff to the guys — the production company on this job and you’re gonna say, okay, it’s gonna be…

    James: Yeah, that’s the idea. We’re lucky to have a very good production company that are keen to reinvent themselves too. I think that’s the way to put it. And so, I’ve set — given them some ideas and said, “Is it possible?” They went, “Yup, that will be a great idea.” So we can merge the visuals and music together on this one. And part of I think what we do is to find simple ways to put a theme to something. So we’re not completely changing absolutely everything. So the core of the product is still there. So we can still guarantee consistence from year to year, but we can rearrange the concept of it. So starting with the concept and applying what we already do, and the putting say, I don’t know, 20-25% Bespoke stuff in there. If you listen the podcast we’ve did Daniel from Bespoke events, he talked about that 20% thing of fabricating, 20% of that set for an event he does. I think — I mean, disagreement who know…

    Nick: I think key to that is having done your homework and having experienced musicians. So when I talked about them being malleable, you can shape what you’re doing, but I think it’s really important that obviously everyone in the band is aware of music going back a long way all the way through to now we’re able to put things in which we’re not shooting one and for the sake of it that everyone has to go and learn. We should all be aware of great songs that we can put into the set. And I know particularly looking at this gig, I’ve had some help from our guitarist and keyboard player where they suggested some songs that may be I’ve not even though about, and they’re all brilliant suggestions that we can use.

    Toby: Yeah, so that process is pretty simple, wasn’t it? Well, the process was this, we did a gig last year, it was amazing, I had a great time, we had amazing feedback. And this year, they rebooked us again and he always said that he never has the same band twice. So, he said, “It was so good, we are gonna have the same band twice but I do want different…”

    Nick: If I put myself in the position of someone going to an event. If I turned up and saw — as you said before, exactly the same line-up. It’s nice that we’re gonna have a change. But the core ethic is there because the regular guys as you say are on the gig. So this is a large band, so we are able to change part of what we’re doing.

    Toby: Yeah, so there’s a few things that happened. When we had the meeting he said, “Yeah, well, I’ve rebooked you but you are gonna give me something different, aren’t you?” And we said, “Yeah, of course we are.” Part of that is the theming and all that stuff that’s not necessarily music, but we needed to know about the theme because we needed to work out how we could maybe work music into that. So that happened. And the next thing that happened which is what you’ve been talking about, is I’ve sent an email out to the core members of the band and said, “Guys, as you know, we’ve got this gig again this year. How can we make it different and specify a couple of things that the client had told us?” And what that started was an email thread that basically had a nice long suggestion of tunes from about four or five people that said, “Oh, this should be good.” So the good thing about that is, most of us know all these songs anyway, but it also means that they’re gonna have a good time doing the gig and it’s not just I didn’t wanna send an email that said, “Okay, it’s completely different. And here are 40 songs that you possibly might have to work a couple of days to get together.” It’s a case of going, “Come on, men, let’s all maybe learn five songs each.” That’s so much nice way of doing it, right?

    Nick: Yes, exactly. Yeah. You just have to think after that point what the flow of each set is, what it looks like, what it’s gonna sound like to make sure that people there are getting the experience. I think that’s what we are particularly good at judging beforehand and then on the occasion to make sure that that’s right as it goes along.

    Toby: Yeah. So there’s an incredible amount of preparation which we do, you know, even in the sort of initial inquiry phase, we’re always explaining what the benefits are of different things, perhaps they want an extra singer, perhaps they want a horn section, all that kind of stuff. But then, even — we will say, some people with us, book their event with a year, like even more sometimes. So they kind of book it and then we stop them from talking about music, even though we sold them the music, we stopped them because it’s like, okay, there’s gonna be loads of music between now and then that comes out. You might love it. You might hate it especially with private events, like weddings. You know, this is the year of your engagement, so there’s gonna be some songs that you’ll associate with that year. So let’s not talk about music just yet. We’ve got a good feeling of what it’s gonna be. And in about three weeks before the event, we hook up and we talk especially about music choice and you’ve been in those meetings haven’t you?

    Nick: Yeah, they can be quite intense depending on the client. I think they can be — you can bring something new to it. I always see the music side of a wedding as the icing on the cake. It’s the fun bit, so that’s probably why people wanna talk about the music instantly. I remember lots of occasions this year, last year, as you say where the first dance for wedding is the song that came out two or three months before and no one could ever seen that song would even have been around, so you are definitely correct in that way. And it’s just the case of making sure that the client is happy of the general feel of the event, the way that the music is gonna go, the timeline of the whole occasion so that are a complete ease for the day and we obviously make sure that that happens.

    Toby: And part of those — that relationship from beginning, you know, from the very first phone call through to, you know, the different things. Perhaps, we talked to them maybe a few months in about lighting, now that they’ve decided on their venue. Whatever. It’s marvelous a few things. So every time we speak to them, we build up a picture of who they are and their kind of personalities they are and again, if it’s a private event or if it’s a corporate event, you know, what kind of personalities make up their family or their company, right?

    Nick: I think that’s massively important. I think you can get a feel for the light — oh, sorry, should I said of the — what the audience are gonna be like, what the friends are like at the wedding which is obviously the key to making sure that everyone has a good time. And we’ve met some really great people who are getting married, who are really excited three weeks before but they’re going through a lot of things at the time having to organize a lot. When they talk about the music, you can see their eyes light up. You get to find out more about them and from that, `you get to find out their friends and family as you say. I mean, obviously, that again can change the way that we are doing things on the day and our planning preparation.

    Toby: But when it comes to the actual event, we do have — we do kind of keep stuff back because we need the flexibility and you need is the person who’s leading the front of the band. The flexibility to be able to what we call read the room properly. So sometimes, when people say, “Oh, you’ve got set list.” And I supposed a more inexperienced bands just say, “Here are 20 songs. And you can have your first dance, you know, on iPod or whatever.” And that’s not who we are at all. And it doesn’t matter how well or not well these songs are going down, we’re just gonna play through them anyway and, you know, that’s what you get. Where it’s with us and one of the skills that you’ve got is you will read the room for us. You know, James and me are at the back hidden by, you know, all sort of stuff mainly you and a bunch of other singers or whatever. And we can’t quite see it sometimes how it’s going. So you’re the one really that can see exactly who’s engaging and who’s not. So that gives you a little bit of reading to call the tunes, right?

    Nick: Yeah, which is massively important. I think obviously naming no names. But we will have all played in bands where the band leader whoever is in charge will call the songs out, there’ll be no flexibility, the floor will be for one minute and to the next, and they don’t think about the reason why and they’re not capable of doing it. And maybe they have their 28-30 songs for the gig and among others, they might have reserved listed 3 or 4 song which they could flow in but they’re nervous too because they don’t know they’d be out to play them. I think where it’s key for us is we — the basis of it, we all know a lot of songs. We know what works with different events, but I find it interesting and exciting when we throw something new in, obviously, something that we’ve practiced that we all know. But it sort of come from left field, we didn’t expect to be doing it on the night. Example, Chesney Hawkes, our one and only which has probably become a more regular song in our set of late, but I think someone…

    Toby: Comeback.

    Nick: Has come back in, suggested it recently for a wedding and we enjoyed it so much that we’ve just decided to go with it. But it particularly were but it was a younger audience on that day. The dance floor was really full. They seem to like the retro songs that they could all join in the chorus with. And then, we see we are capable of changing the amount of audience into action and we’ve put the microphone out there and got them to sing and that’s something that they talked about afterwards.

    Toby: Because they — and they wanted that. So, see, one of those things with the client is you’ve got to be really careful in terms of you don’t want people to feel comfortable. So again, that’s part of why you’ve become part of the process before again, it’s not just been booking you on other people book you just normally. We know that you’ll deliver a even better performance because you know the client personally so you know if, you know, the boss of the big company is a little bit of a show off or if he’s, you know, can’t wait to get up, you know, or Bob in Finance can’t wait to get up to see…

    Nick: That’s always above. He always seems to get up. I think, I remember particularly one occasion the years mold one into the other. I think it was earlier, the beginning of this year where the bride particularly said, “I really don’t want any involvement in anything audience-wise.” Gosh shy the end of the gig, she was really into it and sort of had a word and said, “I wouldn’t mind if you — as long as it’s not even the top, I won’t mind if you did a little bit of the audience stuff. I think people are relaxed because they’re around especially for private events. They’re around their loved ones. They don’t mind — I’m not there to make them look silly, it’s just about them having a great. And that’s what people realize what gig of them. Again, we’re able to change that, tailor it. It doesn’t matter whether it was planned before or whether it happens part way through a gig, but you’re never gonna push anyone that doesn’t wanna be pushed.

    Toby: Yeah, you’ve given them by even just starting the first 20-30 minutes of the gig of the band. You’re instantly showing them that you’re on their side and you’re making them, sort of, feel safe and when they — if they’ve sort of — you had a few drinks maybe and it’s their wedding and that she quite fancy getting more involved than they thought. Their mind in totally different, isn’t it? Even when we do the meeting three weeks before, they’re a little bit — again, especially with weddings, they’re a little bit nervy and then on the day, they’re just a little bit more relaxed. They’ve got their stressful bits out of the way. It’s what most people consider the stressful bits which is basically the ceremony and the speech is, for example. By the time they get there, they’re a little bit relaxed and they’ve seen you a couple of times face to face in the last month or so.

    Nick: I think if they feel like they know you then there’s obviously that familiarity. I think we’re there to facilitate their enjoyment, get involved and judge it knowing for experience what they are after really.

    Toby: Yeah. I’ve got a question for you, Nick. Going back to the reading the room situation. That’s something I often kind of worked with you, so being control of the back line, the musicians, we often work together in that.

    Nick: All against each other. And then I make the final call always.

    Toby: Behind the drums.

    Nick: That’s right.

    Toby: But a lot of — I think what we do is fairly instinctive. It’s from years and years of experience. I mean, I don’t think you can be taught to do it.

    Nick: I agree. Yeah.

    Toby: So it is something that’s based completely on experience. But can you maybe elaborate on a couple of things that may set you off going down at certain direction musically.

    Nick: I think obviously one of the key indicators will be the amount of people on the dance floor. If you’re playing two 1 hours, three 45’s or 1 longer set, you’ll often find that we’ll be the odd dip because people might go and have a cup of tea. It might be last all is in the bar which obviously people who came to mention when they get their last drink but it’s a key to make sure that they’ll ask to make it as interactive as possible when the occasion arises that there’s a full dance floor. I think it’s just really important to make sure that it happens. That’s one way of looking it. Other things that will lead you down that path is if you see people are enjoying, for example, the 70’s music. Luckily, I think again for experience our repertoire is big enough. And I know there are bands when you look on their website, again, not not naming any names, but they say, “We can do 200 songs.” The truth of the matter is, they probably can play 30 of them and they play them every week. I do honestly believe that we have enough songs in our armory that we can do a gig 2 hours of 70s music, 2 hours of 80s music and it’s about mixing and matching and just saying instinctively as you say as you go along.

    Toby: It’s interesting that you fit on there though when you’re presented with a band who has too much outrageous back catalogue. It’s actually how and then they claim they can do whatever they want for it and whatever you want for that is actually how do you fulfil that. I mean, it’s — I mean, you can’t have 20 musicians or 10 musicians which all will have 200 songs at the drop of the hat. It’s unfeasible.

    Nick: I think people in an audience they expect you to know everything and if you put it on your website, you set yourself up for a fool really, if people do come and say — and it’s usually in a really polite way, would you really mind if playing such and such a song and they’re obviously gonna be disappointed because they might have been on how to look at the bad. I know I’ve done it before, they’d be disappointed if you can’t do it. And if that happens multiple times in an event, then you were left looking a bit silly. I know that we’ve had request on the night before in that way and we’ve been able to play the song, we’ve been able to do it really professionally. You wouldn’t know there was something that was just requested right into the set. It wasn’t there before.

    Toby: Yeah. And the other thing, and that was a challenge, you know, for us that was been a challenge as well, so it’s not — we’re lucky because we’re a little bit old. Not too old but very experienced, that guys that worked with us, they’re really experienced. So, yeah, you know, by default, we’ve been going a lot time, we know a lot of songs, and we also know a lot of songs as a band because the band’s been together, you know, coming up to 15 years in some shape or form. And you will find then. You will find a ton of songs on our playlist on the website and they were songs that we have played. However, when you book Metropolis and you look at the, you know, music selection thing, part of the guys that we would send out, when we end up sending out the set list, we’ve got like a seasoned set list, so it’s another reason why wouldn’t give you a set list when you booked to see before your event because every, you know, four times a year, we change the set, we change the core sets and then people get to go and look up our massive catalogue and request from there. Of course, they’re welcome to do that. But at least it keeps — you know, it keeps the set list current. It keeps the old classics in there but it also enables us to change around the classic stuff as well. So I think the reason why we’ve got that ability is just because how long we’ve been going.

    James: I think that’s the key.

    Nick: Yeah, I think that’s that. And then I think the fact that as cheesy as it sounds, we are all good mates. I think we all trust each other musically. I think outside of the band, one of the key things is to make sure that people get on, you trust each other on stage to deliver under pressure in different scenarios with different audiences and you trust people to be able to come up with something instinctively at a minute’s notice. I don’t think that there’s any false promises. We’re not gonna try and say we can do something that we can’t deliver.

    Toby: Yeah. So there’s another thing going on. So I’m hearing a lot of things around, you know, bands that can’t quite deliver on what they’ve promised because they’re not as experienced as musicians, I should say and that’s just, you know, obviously not cool at all. But there are other kinds of bands that exist that are full of brilliant musicians that still don’t quite get it in terms of the performance side of things. So basically, I’m talking about, what would happen if the band booked, you know, James or you or me at the drop of the hat and note being that organized. So you got, you know, loads of good musicians but you’ve got no guidance, you’ve got no nothing and you’re actually — you’re still in some cases having to stumble through which will never hand on the Metropolis gig. So, I’m talking about how — what’s your take on, you know, a lot of sort of old school session musicians being put into a party where people need to have a really good time and they’re not really performing for anyone…

    Nick: I just don’t think that people that have — can often be unaware they just don’t know how to really crown and what you often find is you just get a load of musicians either with their eye closed looking at their arrangement, heads down or just looking at each other and they don’t really care about what’s going on in front of them. They just trying to get through. You see them looking at your — their watches which I think is one of the most – disgusting things to do in front of people. Or a clock of the back of the room I’ve seen before. And it just doesn’t work. It’s fine for one song for people to keep their heads down and not be bothered about the audience. But I think part of that, if I was paying — let’s be honest, a lot of money for private event or corporate or anything else, I would be disappointed if the band itself were not fully immersed in what was going on in the room. I think that’s the key to everything.

    Toby: I mean, I’ve worked as a freelancer. I’ve worked in loads of bands where you look around who’s on stage, and you think, “God, these guys are great players,” but there’s a massive disconnect between them and the end client which, you know, as now that we run the band, that was like one of the things that I saw. You know, I just thought, there’s got to be a way to make the musicians feel more part of it. And sometimes it’s just saying meeting them before you go on and you sound check and you just go look, this is a client, this is what it is, this is why they’re having this wedding. But you just don’t say, “It’s a wedding.” Because they’ll see that. You’ll just tell them a little bit about the bride and groom, maybe. Or you’ll them about the boss of the company or you’ll tell them about the charity or whatever. And suddenly, what I’ve found or what we found in the Metropolis is that because people understand why behind the event, everyone brings their A-game, rather than kind of turns up and says I’m normally on some big name, because all of us have done that stuff and we’ll continue to do that. But I think the musician mentality even the greatest musicians with the greatest to them do kind of poo poo functions. And they shouldn’t, because even the greatest — most of the greatest musicians that I know, the substantial amount of income that they make is through doing party bands.

    Nick: I do think it’s massively important to have a core group of people that get the source of the band. I know when I joined, James, first thing he said to me was the music is obviously first and foremost but I don’t want anybody involved that I can’t get along with because that’s a massive part there. Music is about being personable. An event is — I think if you’re not there to enjoy yourself as well, then it’s not gonna come across to the audience. You can’t possibly. And I’ve sung in numerous bands where, again, loads of people will just come of it all and it’s a one off gig and they ask you, you wouldn’t interested in doing any more of their literary there for their money on that night but I can honestly say that the guys that we worked with week in and week out, yes, they get off and they do that to all, but they will always come back to work with us which I think is testament to the way the company has run that we run the gig, that we run what happens before, the communication before, everybody’s completely aware of what they’re doing and what’s gonna happen. And people are used to the fact that things can change on the night depending on the fact as we said before.

    Toby: Yeah, it’s interesting that you used the word company, because it is that business mindset that we’ve shifted into that means that we are putting the customer, the client right in the center of what we do. And the musician mindset, you know, is to basically turn up and play as good as you can play and take your money and leave which is, you know, fine. And, you know, whatever is out of our control is out of our control as a musician. But as a company and people that are involved in running a company, it’s got to be more than just playing as good as you can. It’s actually almost going out of your way, and it is going out your way to find out how you can play as well as you do when you’re playing at Wembley Arena. But literally — and again, it’s, you know, it’s not always a smooth road, is it? But the core of the band completely get that.

    Nick: Yeah. We talked about experienced. You know, we’ve only been there a long time. I know my attitude is very different now. And again, in the last couple of years since the face of Metropolis I think has changed, the professional approach has increased even more. I do think my attitude has changed massively because when I was 17 and I started, I probably did turn up and just get my X amount of money go through the motions count down that time. One gig went into another gig, went into another gig. Someone would ask me, “How was the gig last night?” And I honestly wouldn’t be able to remember. We’ve all done that many but I do think now I could name you the names of all the couples who’s wedding we’ve done this year. We’ve met some great people—

    James: Go on then.

    Toby: I knew you were gonna say that.

    Nick: John and Terry. No. I think the — possibly, I’m exaggerating but you know, we’ve met some great people on fairly amount of referrals that we get people talking to.

    Toby: But honestly, we could definitely name all of them because we’ve all had, you know, quite close concert with them before, during, and after as well because that was…

    Nick: For me, I have – you’ve spoken to those people who numerous times on the phone but I have said their names that many times on the night. I know there was a bride who came up to me earlier this year. She just said, “Thank you so much for making feel involved.” Then I said, “It’s your wedding, so what else would we do?” And she said, “I’ve been to so many weddings where the bride and groom are referred just bride and groom and that happens two or three times and our names — I didn’t expect our names to be mentioned so much. So actually, to feel that this is all about us.”

    Toby: That’s a simple thing.

    Nick: It’s a simple yet effective thing that people should be doing and don’t because they haven’t done their homework, they have not prepared in the right way. And possibly, it might be harsh to say, but some sort of they just don’t care. It’s just about the money then the friends of those people hopefully are gonna think to themselves, “I’ll book someone else.”

    Toby: Yes, absolutely. James?

    James: Yeah. You’ve hit on some interesting stuff there. I was just thinking when you were saying that there’s that horrible thing which I’ve seen many in times when the email comes around, bunch of musicians have booked and they say, “Don’t shake hands in front of the client.”

    Toby: Oh, yeah, the classics. So that’s a classic email. I can think of at least 3 bands where it’s basically a list of musicians, but that’s all there is, right? We’ve all done those bands. So it’s like I’ve got a such and such gig.

    James: Typed out in Excell Spreadsheet.

    Nick: And you never know who’s gonna be there, and it’s absolutely part like, sometimes you turn up when you know them and it’s like, “Oh, yeah, this would be fine.” Other times you’ve turn up and you’ve never met them and so the email from the guy that runs the band says, who’s probably also not there says, “Please don’t introduce yourself to each other in front of the clients because we basically tell them we’ve been together a few years.” You know, people have got to get real about the fact that the greatest, you know, musicians in the country all do functions but yet, I couldn’t say the greatest musicians in the country, of course they do other stuff, TV shows and stuff like that. So, it’s actually, we’re just honest about it. Yeah, there’s a little bit of fluctuation with the line-up but we all know each other. All people have been in before on the very unlikely occasion that haven’t done the Metropolis gig, they’ve worked with at least one of us, if not, many, many more on, you know, a session in the studio or, you know, TV or something.

    James: It’s a referral base thing. I mean, I’m gonna let the cat out of the bag a little bit here for anybody listening. And sometimes, you will see on the world of social media, the Facebook thing, basically I need it for Saturday night or something like that. Something terrible like that booking picking musicians through Facebook.

    Nick: And I’ll tell you two stories and I’ll keep them brief which I know you know is difficult for me. But the first one was my second ever gig I did one the week before. I was 17 when I said my first ever gig. I mean function wise, not obviously my first ever gig. But I did on the week before which I thought went really well, so I was feeling quite confident. But I got a call on a Saturday, exactly like you said, James, call on a Saturday, the singers ill, singers pulled out, “Could you come and do this gig basically.” So, completely inexperienced, didn’t have a clue, turned up the venue at someone’s wedding, walked in and asked for the guy who was running the band and said, you know, “Do you know where he is?” And they said, “Do you not know him?” And it happened to be the father of the bride. And the only thing I could think of, “Yeah, yeah, but he’s on haircut since the last time I saw him.” It’s obviously not the best cover ever. And if were the father the bride, that would definitely ring alarm bells. And so, that was the first one. The second I think it’d probably be worse, the first dance of the wedding — again, I was young. The first dance of the wedding wasn’t sent out to anyone. The guys who run the band about 1:00 or 2 o’clock on a Saturday said I completely forgot to send this. It’s got to be done. It can’t be done on iPad — iPod, should I say. It was a long time ago. It was before streaming and Spotify, and things like that. So what happened was I went home, I said, “Look, all I can do, I’m out the moment and I’ve got to go home and grab my stuff and set off straight to the gig.” All I can do quickly is burn a CD and I’d listen to it as many times possible in the car. Burn the CD, got in the car, intro, then song starts playing. The band didn’t work properly, so I had about the first seven seconds. So I turn out to sing someone’s first dance, didn’t obviously have any lyrics and couldn’t use them in front of me, didn’t have a clue if some was. The tempo of the song was completely wrong because nobody had obviously spoken to each other about it because we didn’t know and it was an absolutely car crash. So that’s still what I remember.

    James: So here’s a question. It’s sort of Toby’s direction. It’s obviously a risk thing, isn’t it?

    Toby: Oh, massive risk. Yeah.

    James: That you can book a band which portrays themselves in this way. You might get lucky, you might not.

    Toby: Yeah. And you know, again, I took it kind of last minute. You know, “Oh, we need a drummer—” You know, “—tonight. Are you available?” And I was and, oh the singer is — she lives, you know, halfway between you and the venue, can you pick her up? Yeah, fine. And like absolutely classic. So a drummer goes to pick up a singer stuff. So off I went, picked her up. She was, you know, nice enough girl, a very, very, you know, confident about her abilities and seemed fine. And when we got to the gig, she just couldn’t – she didn’t know any of the songs. She had a massive folder. So now at least, you see people with iPads and stuff. She had a big folder like a telephone book and she was desperately flicking through. And she never got through one song properly, and the whole night she was looking down and she was really, really flustered. And so the whole night was basically a one long keyboard solo, which wasn’t exactly her faith. And again it was a wedding. The point where after the first half an hour, we sort of went off. None of us knew each other, but it wasn’t my band. I was just there and I knew all the songs, you know that I was told and I’m the drummer, so there’s not much I can do about singing bit. And the bride was actually crying, but she was properly crying and the dad said, went up to me because he thought I was eldest one. And went, “What’s going on? Can you sort it out?” And I was kind of saying, “Well, you know, it’s not actually my band but I understand where you’re coming from.” You know, the bride was crying and he just said, “Can you go home?” And so, we all went home. Okay, so there’s nothing I could do. I’ll tell you who it was later. I don’t know who the girl was because I’ve never seen her since.

    Nick: That’s probably fairly extreme.

    Toby: That was the most extreme version.

    Nick: The main element of truth when you hear a lot of people running a band would say, “Just do whatever because they won’t notice as long as you’re singing something.” But it’s not right. It’s not the right approach and it will affect the enjoyment of the client and everybody else there. It just not the way you should be when you running a company. Because if you want referrals, if you want — I find a lot of the nicest events we’ve done and will be where we recognize people from an event we’ve done before because we know how happy…

    Toby: Always. It was amazing how we got these referral.

    Nick: Yeah. We know how happy they were. They told their friends. Everyone’s really excited and there’s a great sort of vibe in the room, but if you’re there just winging it, unless you are the greatest blagger in the world, and even they will struggle. It’s just not gonna go very well.

    Toby: But you can have — yeah, you can have seven kind of great blaggers, you like and this is sort of a little bit of level. But it only takes one person to not know what they’re doing.

    Nick: I think that’s where the problem is. One person is blagging is difficult enough but seven people can’t blag if you can’t have a conversation on stage. It’s not like, you know, once you have a chat to as you go along to make sure things are alright.

    Toby: And performance goes out the window, doesn’t it? If it’s alone the musician’s busking which is a slightly more polite word of blagging in some respects. They will be a very insular vibe,. they’re very sort of loads of musicians together type of thing. So any sort of aspect of performance an engaging the clients and having a good time in giving them what they want is out the window because you’re just looking each other going, “Oh, what’s the next chord or, what’s happening?” So, that’s cool. And again, I’ll sort of ask James to pick up on this. But you were saying, you know, some people think, “Well, you won’t really hear them anyway.” And that again, is something that we don’t — we’re not interested in not being able to hear stuff. Like we’re interested in people being able to hear super clearly, all the words, every little nuance. And that really comes down to working with a band who used a professional sound system and a professional sound engineer.

    Nick: I’ll be honest. I know — sorry to cut in James, but the amount of times even recently I’ve gone and I’ve stood in for somebody and done a gig. And the sound has been so bad, the band’s been so long on stage just worrying that they can’t hear anything. The singer just stands there worrying about having no voice the next day for their next gig or not being able to speak or ruined their voice permanently. I understand that out front is terrible and it just — the atmosphere just dies straight away. So, over to you James.

    James: Yeah, good question for you, Nick. You’re the man at the front. You’ve got a radio mic, you were often roaming around the room, should we say.

    Nick: I love to roam.

    James: Maybe not winking at the ground just singing. But I like to think in a tasteful way.

    Nick: Only if they wink first. That’s the rule.

    James: You did threaten a congo the other day which I thought is quite funny. But I don’t think it happened.

    Nick: We’re ran out of time, didn’t we? There’s so much going on.

    James: But can you — you’re there, you’re experiencing everything first time. Can you zoom in maybe one or two, three if you got an example of some of the memories. Just some of those moments that you’ve created, you’ve been in the middle of. I often see you with a big rumpy going around you with you in the middle disappearing somewhere.

    Nick: Yeah, I think one of my favorite things was we’re probably lucky enough that I was best man at a wedding for my best friend but we still played. And I was meant to sing one song and we had a wonderful female singer who we barely gig. But as often it happens, I ended up doing most of the songs and she sang…

    James: Yeah. And your wife took me aside and said, “He was always gonna sing. He loves it.”

    Nick: But, you know, and I think the song you were talking about comes towards the end of the set. It’s a rocky fun song and I usually get down on one knee and there’s a big sort of crowd and not to propose. There’s a big crowd around me but at that wedding because I knew a lot of people, every single person was singing every word jumping up and down. So that was one thing I remember which was nice.

    Toby: But that was a little bit — that was a little bit of one off, wasn’t it? I supposed. And that’s like almost been at your own wedding, isn’t it?

    Nick: I thought it was a one off but we did a Jewish wedding on a Sunday in the summer. I’m sure you guys will remember in the big hotel in town. But every single person, because those weddings often — because they were on a Sunday, people have to work. They can often quiet them down towards the end of the night. But every single person was up on the dance floor the whole time and I think I spent about half an hour on the dance floor without coming off the dance floor because they were encouraging me to do it. They wanted I was singing to the microphone. Not karaoke, but just to take part onto the atmosphere.

    Toby: It strikes me with everything that you say when you said have a bit of a singing. So that might make some people grimace thinking about that sound is cheezy.

    Nick: But as we talked about it before, you’d never — it’s all about level, so you don’t force anyone or any crowd who aren’t up to that. We did a wedding. It was quite far away. Again, earlier this year. They were a more mature couple, should we say, who were as lovely as you can imagine and all of their friends were of similar age group. I think the youngest person was in their 40’s and they…

    Toby: I mean, their — so this was — just to be clear, so really lovely couple when they’re both being widowed so they have, you know, children, their own children that were in their 40’s. So, yeah, they were much older and absolutely getting them to, you know, scream down the microphone.

    Nick: Yeah. The demands are very, very different and I don’t think we would’ve even need to post the question. Again, if they would’ve been more up for it, if you can say it like that, then we’ll change on the night. But we could kind of see because we’ve met with them, the communication was there, you knew the way that it was gonna go. So if people don’t want that…

    Toby: Yeah. And it’s not necessarily even an age thing is it? Because that sounds ages almost because we’ve seen, you know, it’s some ages behavior from some of the — you know, in a good way of those from some of the slightly older crowd. But it’s just about them as people and, you know, they did warn us to give them — I’m thinking the best word is quite a classy experience. So you didn’t do that. You just kind of delivered a, you know, a nicely sang song set with the band, you stayed up on stage, we were all a bit smart. And yeah, that’s what they wanted. That’s what they wanted. The following week, it was Nick back up on the dance floor giving it full large.

    Nick: I just don’t think that there are enough or many bands that I can think of like you guys, I would’ve seen a lot. I would’ve been to weddings and been to events and all different types and the same bands where they clearly are just rehashing what they did the week before. And it might be totally inappropriate for the people that are there and I just find that is completely wrong which I guess in essence is the reason that when I started working with you both and then it developed that I was so keen to play a bit more of an integral role.

    Toby: So, James, I just wanted to bring in just anything do you want to say specific because you’ve talked about the danger of, you know, musicians and what can happen even if they are good professionals not being prepared and all that kind of stuff. Do you wanna talk a little bit about sound and the sound equipment, the sound engineers that we use?

    James: I think one of the things which provides the platform for musicians to play the best is making sure those great, great equipment behind there, so that the musicians are seeing the same or similar equipment as if they were doing a gig at Wembley Arena. And quite honestly, some of our guys do do that kind of work on a regular basis. That’s no brag, it’s just the way it is. And so, they expect a certain level and not to get too deep into the technicalities of music but what enables the musician to play to his best is simply being able to hear themselves and hear what’s going on around them clearly. So, that — you could have a great musicians in the world, but if they cant hear themselves, they wont play well. So giving them the platform to perform well is something which is crucially important. So if they know they’re gonna come to an event and the band is firstly gonna be playing well because they’re musicians which all know each other and have met each other and have a relationship that can have a beer together and a laugh.

    Nick: Or a red wine.

    James: A giggle.

    Toby: But not too much of that on a gig.

    James: Yeah. Exactly. You can have that relationship and then you put that on stage with great equipment. That’s what — those are the sort of things that take stuff to the next level. We don’t expect our clients to be technical or anything like that. And as soon as you start explaining equipment and then that kind of thing, it can be blinding people with science. And so it can be a tricky thing to sell. But needless to say, we’ve made that paramount important. And first of all, there’s good equipment on the show but also explaining to our client in plain English as well in which they can understand.

    Toby Yeah. I mean, bad sound — yeah, if the musician can’t hear each other, they’re not gonna deliver their best performance. And second, you know, you have to talk about bad sound for them to understand what a good sound is and a bad sound is, you know, waiting on a train platform and trying to decipher what the guy saying about the train. You know, that is normally bad sound. You’ve all been, you know, parties and conferences where you cant hear what’s going on. The sound’s distorting, it’s feeding back. And you’re just not engaged. So that’s why sound is really important. So that’s cool. Last thing…

    Nick: I’m just gonna say — sorry, I think, excuse the pun, but you have to marry the elements together. You know, if you have sound, you have performance, you have musicianship and there are lots of things that make an event great in terms of the music. But if any one element lets you done, then I think you’re only as good as your weakest musician, you’re only as good as your weakest element.

    Toby: Yeah. Totally that. So here’s one last thing I just want us to talk about. So just kind of looking through our brochure, if you like, that we send out to people. We won’t talk about lighting on this episode because I think there’s quite a lot of other episodes on PlannersPod where we talked about the amazing things that light can do for not only just the party but the photography and the photographs afterwards. But I just wanted to talk about DJ’s, you know, because you do — we’re a band and normally you think band or DJ but actually, often we are booked and to provide a DJ and the benefits of — what are the benefits, James, of booking a DJ through us?

    James: Quite simply the benefit. There are a couple very simple benefits. The first one, it will be a DJ we know from a trusted source. So there’s always guys we don’t — it’s just not an add on. But also the DJ is briefed on what they can play. They’ll have a list of music so they know what to stay away from, and we will often have a little, I guess, a team-talk for want of a better word. And say the clients have, “Well, we wanted you to keep it. We want 70s and 80s or whatever like that.” But then, the DJ may be going we finish at midnight. DJ goes to 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. So I think that’s the time to get out the dance music for instance. So we’re covering — you can cover lots of different genres. It’s easier to keep the party going because they will segue together having the DJ.

    Toby: What does segue mean?

    James: Segue. Going from one to the other.

    Nick: That’s something you ride on isn’t it?

    Toby: That’s something you ride!

    Toby: Yeah. The segue is a musical term of moving between two songs without any stopping basically. So first of all, yeah, the DJ will always — when you book a DJ through us, they will always play music. They complement what we’ve done and certainly won’t play the same songs that we’ve sung and played live. So that’s — thank God that’s good. And there’s one other thing you’ve mentioned which is the equipment.

    James: The equipment as well. And there’s another thing though I’ve…

    Toby: Well, what’s the equipment? What am I talking about when I say equipment?

    James: Can you explain a little bit further?

    Toby: Yeah. So what I’m saying is, if you choose to book a band and then you book a DJ separately and there’s no chatting, then the band they’re gonna turn out with a lot of speakers, the DJ is gonna turn out with a lot of speakers. Your room is gonna look a bit more rubbish and there’s no need especially when…

    James: I’m with you now. I can see — no, you’re bang on right area. So the DJ, we used once to have a equipment which gives a much, much tidier stage also, the DJs generally not always have lots of specification as well, so it keeps the quality of the DJ audio sound.

    Toby: Very high.

    James That’s very high. And there’s one other thing that we always insist on, you know, as a business and slightly, we sometimes refer to them as double decks and they are the old school DJs who are probably in their 50s and want to talk all over the songs and make it into their show. We don’t believe that that’s what a DJ is about.

    Toby: That’s what Nick does.

    James: Yeah, that’s Nick’s job.

    Nick: Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    James: So there’ll always a DJ which is respectful for music first and they will let music breathe. They talk and make announcements and enjoy the party on if it needs to be. But it’s not gonna be dipping the music and getting them to sing their chorus Bon Jovi.

    Toby: I do actually — there’s two others things actually to add about the DJs that we use. I do think they are really approachable and nice. I think that is the key. And we love to take the mikey but I can think of one or two DJs that have worked with us often where we think, you know, the mother of the bride and the DJ are getting on really, really well and been talking for large proportion of the night. And just because obviously they’re really funny. And the other, just in appearance where we are able to tailor what we do and looking very smart and more relaxed if we need to. I do think our DJs can do the same but…

    James: Yeah, so they’re basically another member of the band.

    Nick: An extension.

    Toby: And that’s really cool. Is that it? Is that all we need to talk about? We sort of — so obviously, you’ve just touched on the fact that we’ve got, you know wardrobe options and that’s all good. And for that, we talked about sound, we talked about communicating with the client before, during, on the lead up to, and then after. And the one thing that I would like to kind of close with is, you know, we’re really lucky. We’ve had some amazing testimonials and we’ve got loads of them written on our testimonial page. But we also got a video testimonials page. So, now, again, completely inappropriate to shove the video camera in someone’s face at the end of the event that they spent so long planning, so we never do that. And we’re very lucky we get lovely emails afterwards. But there’s been a few occasions where people have been, you know, more than willing to go on camera, you know, a week or even up to a year after their event to talk about the memories and the amazing memories and atmosphere that we’ve created for them. And they’ve recorded that in their own homes for us which has been amazing, because, you know, to invite us to their houses in some cases and say, “This is how you made us feel on our special day or during our big company, it had been great.” So if you go onto Metropolis-Live.co.uk and click on the testimonials section and then you’ll see a drop down. It says, video testimonials. You will get to load up a bunch of things and actually see directly from the horse’s mouth if you like the kind of experiences we deliver.

    James: I’ve got another question for you as well, Toby, which has just made me think of this. There is a certain, I guess client out there which would want to come and see the band before we play. That’s something we’ve never felt comfortable doing. We don’t believe it’s right. Can you expand on that a little bit why that is?

    Toby: Yeah, again, this is all on our website, but you will find that people wanna come and see the band play. And for 95% of the bands around, that’s fine because they do the same thing every night and it’s just hit and miss whether it’s gonna work or not. We decided to take a little of a stand and say, “Look, don’t come and see us play. Watch our testimonials, watch all the video content of which there is massive.” We got over 50 videos on our YouTube channel, you know, including behind the scenes first dances, there have been video— just everything. And what happens when you come and see someone else’s event? You’re at someone else’s event and that’s not yours and I don’t wanna give you any sort of preconceived ideas about what it is that we’re gonna do for you. All we wanna do is learn about you and when I learn about your taste, and that’s what we’ll deliver. So the danger of someone coming into someone else’s event is we’re playing maybe too much rock or too much, you know, interaction when they quite — you know, and it gives it so much stuff to kind of wanna say, “Oh, look at that.” And nine times out of ten, it could be — for me, it’s the setting. “Oh, I didn’t really like the room. Didn’t really like what they’re wearing. Didn’t really like — oh, I didn’t like her dress much.” And it’s kind of like this whole things that comes back onto us. So it’s like, look, I know it’s a standard practice for a lot of people to throw around and see a lot of bands but we’re not really interested in that. We’re really lucky that we got to a point where we get referred a lot, so I’d rather invest our time talking to you personally. And when we’re doing someone’s event where it’d be a corporate or a private event, when we’re performing, we’re performing for the people who’ve paid us to be there, not trying to sell another event to someone else. It’s kind of unethical to me. So that’s why we don’t get that. But you do get the opportunity to watch all the videos.

    James: You’re kind of seeing someone else’s vision from the sidelines I think quite of that. And I think there’s another sort of the most subtle thing is that it’s normally not appropriate for anybody to watch a band to actually be right in the middle where it perhaps sounds that is optimum. They’re off to the sound so they’re not in front of the speakers. They’re walking into a loud room or a louder room from quiet — the situation is completely different.

    Toby: I don’t think it’s appropriate to say to a client after they’ve invested a lot, you know, consider with some of money and time in us, to then say “Oh, can we bring some guest to stand at the side of the your room?” you know, they might be in the picture. It’s just not right. The other thing and the final thing I’ll say on this is, don’t know if anyone’s ever been to a party — let’s say, you’re going to pick someone up from a party at midnight. You sat at home, you know, watching telly and you’ve done a favor and you’ve gone to pick up your mate and you just had a few drinks from a party. And you walked into the party completely sober, not being part of the day at all, an suddenly you’re hit with loud music and a lot of people you don’t know. And that is a little bit different to having been at the event for it’s entirety, had, you know, perhaps had a nice meal, had a couple of drinks, and being in the mood. And I think when people come and see the band cold, that’s exactly what they get. They haven’t been warmed up to that moment of the day. Would you agree with that, Nick?

    Nick: I completely agree. I was just gonna add also. I’ve seen lots of times where despite you telling them they all turn up in a pair of jeans, trainers and a polo shirt to a black tie which is obviously completely again, unfair on the client or the guess. And the guess mentioned and then actually gives a completely negative tinge to the day which may have been amazing for them.

    Toby: But it’s absolutely, you know, that’s — we’re in the top end of things and that’s why, you know, it’s completely unacceptable to do anything other than focus on the client who’s booked us on that event. You know, that’s one of the big things we’ve learned in the last couple of years. There’s absolutely zero risk when you work with us and we’re really proud of that. So I think that’s it. Is that it?

    James: I think that’s it. That covered everything.

    Nick: We’ve changed the world.

    Toby: We’ve changed the world, Nick. Thanks very much for coming into my little office.

    Nick: Thank you young Toby.

    Toby: And thanks James.

    James: Thank you very much.

     

    Narrator:        You’re listening to PlannersPod.com

     

    Toby: So that was Nick. Enjoyable?

    James: Yeah. It’s — you probably guess we were having a lot of fun sticking the microphones up in the room and just seeing where the conversation went. I think you’d probably guess that we know each other a little too well. And so, yeah, it was always a pleasure spending time, chatting about what we do, what we believe in and some of the fun and some of the banter that we’ve had over the years of doing this job.

    Toby: Great. Yeah, I really enjoyed it too. And hopefully that gives you guys insight into what we do when we’re not interviewing event professionals. So don’t worry. We will carry on with that. We’ve got some amazing people coming up this year. Okay. So, let’s go for it. So quite simple. For more information about us, Metropolis, and all our music stuff, just check out Metropolis-Live.co.uk. Again, Facebook.com/Metropolis-Live.co.uk , Twitter is /Metropolis-Live1 . You’ll get us on iTunes and Stitcher. Just search for PlannersPod of course. PlannersPod.com will land you in the right place too. There’ll be some nice major on this podcast as ever. Carry on giving us five start iTunes reviews because we’ll love you for that. It’s really good. And you know you want to. That’s it, really. I think let’s cut that one short. Get in touch about the community as well and until next time. James, I’ll see you later and that’s for listening.

    James: Au revoir!

    Toby: Cheers! Bye-bye!

     

    Narrator:        You’ve been listening to PlannersPod.com with Toby Goodman and James Eager. Sponsored by Metropolis-Live.com

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