Monday, 8 February 2010

New website now live!!!

I'm not ditching this blog completely, but I'm now online at

Check it out.


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Wanna hire me?

Just the other day while sipping a pint of WEST's St Mungo (product placement in a blog - is that allowed?), it dawned on me that half my day is spent interacting with musicians and bands via email and the social networks. Even then, time doesn't permit getting back to everybody that contacts me, though if they send music I will do my damnedest to check it out.

I do know that most of the time they're angling for some exposure, but more often than not I may pass on some of the knowledge I've amassed in over 20 years of playing new music on the radio.

I've lost count of the times folk have asked me about managing their band, but if the truth be told I can't even manage my own affairs… but I've certainly interacted with many a manager. Same goes with A&R, radio and press (though I have actually done radio & press).

The idea is to hire myself out to up and coming musicians, in a consultancy role. For a fee, the band/act will get my services for a minimum of 3 hours/half a day. A couple of bands may even like to club together and share the costs.

They might choose for me to come along to a rehearsal, and see what they are all about, or just at their local hang-out. I could also do a bit of media training, including interview techniques and writing press releases. It's up to the act what they get out of me, and the sort of advice they are looking for.

Rather than preaching how things should be done, it would be more of an informal discussion… and hopefully they would come away feeling that they'd learnt something and that their money had been wisely spent.

Thanks for reading this. I'd be hoping to roll it out in the next couple of weeks, but would much appreciate any thoughts, so please do get in touch either via email or by leaving a comment below.

Does it sound like a good idea, or am I wasting my time?


Thursday, 31 December 2009

10 for 2010

For the past few years I've been compiling a list of acts that I tipped for big things in the following 12 months. The thing with lists like this is that, however you twist them, failure doesn't come into it. If my chosen acts haven't gone on to sell bucketloads of records and headline Wembley Stadium, it's not because I picked the wrong bands, but because others failed to follow my lead. Their loss I say.

Seriously though, the bands I pick are ones that have the potential to go far. If they don't move on to the next level, it could well be down to themselves… or indeed others. I've listed my suggestions for the past 3 years below. Some of those faded without trace, others simply split up and moved on, while a handful are still raring to burst out of the starting traps. The fact that I tipped Flood Of Red, The Law and Sergeant in 2007, yet they've all released debut albums in the past year, goes someway to proving that perhaps I'm just a bit ahead of the times!

Jim's 10 for 2007: Drive-By Argument / Flood Of Red / ElectricBoyShock / Ghosts / The Law / The Envy Corps / Sixpeopleaway / Low Vs Diamond / Sergeant / Crash My Model Car

Jim's 10 for 2008: The Fire And I / Broken Records / Urbnri / Fangs / Glasvegas / Big Face / Kizzy Star / The Vivians / Twin Atlantic / Attic Lights

Jim's 10 for 2009: Alto Elite / Healthy Minds Collapse / Mr Kil / Paper Planes / Pearl And The Puppets / The Phantom Band / Punch & The Apostles / Sugar Crisis / The Velcro Quartet / We See Lights

Jim's 10 for 2010:

Considering I've only been doing the one radio show a week for the past year, I seem to have been to less gigs. That's partly down to finances, coupled with having a young family. Where previously much of my list might be compiled from watching bands perform, I've only actually seen four of these acts in the flesh. What follows is pretty much an accompaniment to my "10 For 2010" podcast (episode 64 of Jim Gellatly's New Music)… so let's pause a sec for the podcast links:

Subscribe at iTunes

Stream/download at

Okay… onto my 10 for 2010. Feel free to leave any comments here, or on the podcast's page at I'd love to know your thoughts, and indeed your own top 10s… might even compile a further list from suggestions should there be more than a handful!

Anyway, in alphabetical order:

Ambulances - I must admit I thought their Kramer-produced debut album a bit lo-fi at first, preferring the later reworkings with Steve Mason. I'm not so sure now, and I've grown to love the Fife band's output as a whole. The next stage of their evolution is going to be rather interesting, and I for one can't wait.

The Boy Who Trapped The Sun - Originally from the Isle Of Lewis, Colin Macleod AKA The Boy Who Trapped The Sun is destined to become big news. He's already grabbed himself a record deal with Geffen, and with a couple of low-key releases already under his belt, he's on the verge of a major breakthrough.

Erland & The Carnival - A band I know very little about, but I was truly captivated by the single 'Trouble In Mind'. Having now heard the album, I'm far from disappointed. Erland Cooper himself hails from Orkney, but the band are based in London, and also feature Simon Tong, formally of The Verve & The Good The Bad & The Queen.

French Wives - There does seem to be a folky vibe to my selection this year, but if the truth be told I've never been adverse to a bit of fiddle. When I first started regularly going to gigs in the mid-eighties, I'd be checking out bands like We Free Kings, Swamptrash and Deaf Heights Cajun Aces. French Wives follow that tradition, mixed with the sort of art school cool you find in bands like Franz Ferdinand. A very tasty prospect indeed.

Alex Gardner - I'd heard lots about Alex before finally seeing him play the Homecoming Live gig that I was hosting at the SECC. The Edinburgh lad comes across as a natural raw talent, so I just hope working with the Xenomania team doesn't lead to production line R&B.

GoGoBot - It was actually a while back that I was first introduced to the wonders of GoGoBot, but in the past few months they really have become serious contenders. My Pet Shop Boys meet Nine Inch Nails comparison perhaps doesn't do them justice, but I've still to work out whether they are "rock" or "dance".

Grum - Leeds based Scot Graeme Shepherd AKA Grum has done some cracking reworkings of Passion Pit and Friendly Fires… and more recently a remix of Lady GaGa's Bad Romance. It won't be long until everyone is hailing him as the "new Calvin Harris", much in the same way that Calvin was once the "new Mylo" (whatever happened to Mylo btw?).

Kassidy - I first came across these guys at a Dykeenies single launch, and it seemed like I was the only industry person in the room who'd yet to discover them. It felt like I'd emerged from a time capsule, and missed the whole buzz. Either way, I was an immediate convert, and the next time I saw them they were playing to just about every A&R in the country. Plying some acoustic folk rock with wonderful harmonies, it was Mercury Records that finally secured the band.

Kid Adrift - Led by a former BBC Scotland colleague Iain Campbell, Kid Adrift recently joined the Big Life management stable, home to The Verve, La Roux and Klaxons. They've already been featured on daytime Radio One with a Maida Vale session as part of the BBC Electric Proms, and I'll not be the last person to describe the sound as "epic".

Kitty The Lion - I'd been chasing some material from Anna Meldrum ever since introducing her at a One Creative Scotland event. It was worth the wait to hear a full band though, and I was instantly absorbed by the debut single 'Lion In Bed'.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Onwards and upwards

It's a bit of a strange situation at the moment... come the New Year I find myself without a regular radio slot.

The truth is that apart from doing media stuff, I've only ever had 2 other jobs. One was 12 hour shifts in my Uncle's fruit freezing plant during the school holidays, and the other was a part-time job in the legendary One Up Records in Aberdeen.

The Music Bed on BBC Scotland has been one of the most fulfilling radio shows I've had the pleasure to present, but sadly the Christmas Day Show will be the last. Nothing sinister, it's just not been re-commissioned, and considering it was only a 3 month commission in the first place, it hasn't done too badly… it was really just the wrong type of show on the wrong type of time-slot on the wrong type of radio station!

I was originally the co-host with Amanda Millen the main presenter, then there was a switch with Martel Maxwell becoming my co-host and "The Music Bed" becoming "Jim Gellatly's Music Bed". I suppose with the show now having my name in it, I should shoulder some of the blame for it not working. I do honestly believe though, that in the right place and at the right time, it could have gone on and on and on.

I must give a lot of credit to Martel, who I think will go on to become a major player. People seem to assume that I've known her for a while, but actually, prior to suggesting her as a co-host, I'd only met her twice! The first time was at T In The Park the day after she'd done a Scottish Sun front-page on Paolo Nutini, and she was keeping out of his way. The second time was at our mutual friend Dominik's wedding.

I knew who Martel was due to her column in The Sun. The fact that she'd occasionally mention she was from Dundee, and more importantly supported Dundee FC, put her right at the top of my list of people I fancied working with. I'd heard her show on the now defunct Edinburgh radio station Talk 107 a couple of times, so I knew that she was a natural communicator.

Eamonn Holmes was spot on when he advised me to stick with Martel, suggesting I could ride the coattails of her career. I'd like to say Eamonn was giving me such fatherly-like advice as we enjoyed a quiet pint reflecting our respective careers. In fact he was a guest on The Music Bed, and he already had a soft spot for her thanks to her appearances on This Morning.

The truth is that was The Music Bed to continue beyond Christmas, I'm sure it would have become "Martel Maxwell's Music Bed" at some point as her star continues to ascend. A regular contributor to shows like This Morning, and with her first book 'Scandalous' out in April, I'd imagine 2010 is going to be a massive year for the Broughty Ferry lass….

But look! See what I've just done! Here I was writing about my own career predicament, and I just start bigging up Martel! So far I've only used the word "I" around 20 times in these last few paragraphs… sure not enough in a blog about "me"!

This is by no mean the first time I've felt in a bit of a limbo career-wise. That was the reason I ended up at One Up Records in the 90s. I'd been doing some work behind the scenes at Northsound Radio in Aberdeen, mostly helping out in Commercial Production (writing and recording radio ads). I'd been taken on during a particularly busy period, and when that came to an end, Tosh (the Commercial Producer) didn't really need an assistant. I was also presenting shows on the station, but not enough of them to make a living, so the offer of a part time-job from Fred at One Up was perfect.

When I finished up at One Up (I think I eventually walked for the most trivial of reasons), other shows came up at Northsound, and I also got a weekly pop column in the Aberdeen Evening Express.

Further down the line, once I'd moved to Glasgow for the launch of Beat 106, I again had weigh up my options. After just a few months the station had been bought by Capital Radio, and Capital boss Richard Park (later of Fame Academy, err, "fame") came along to introduce himself to everyone, saying something along the lines of "love what you are doing, don't expect many changes". I think I was out the door the following week! The station was looking to go down more of a dancy route, which on reflection, led to its final downfall.

I again landed on my feet, when I spoke to my mate Mike, and to cut a long story short I ended up in London working for the Chrysalis-backed online service Puremix. I was coming back to Scotland at the weekends anyway, so a chance meeting with Beat 106 Programme Controller Andrew Jeffries (the guy who axed me in the first place) led to a weekend slot back at the station. Spookily it was at the Xfm Christmas Party that I bumped into Andrew.

Again fate smiled upon me when Puremix folded (a great idea, just ahead of its time). I returned to Beat 106 on a full-time basis doing a late night slot. Before long Beat was trying to pitch itself as more of a rock station, but the impact it had made as a dance station was too strong. A victim of its own success really… the lesson being not to put all your eggs in one basket. In truth, that's exactly what happened again next… ideal for me though, as the station was rebranded and re-launched as "Xfm Scotland".

Again following another take-over of the parent company, Xfm Scotland died a very slow and painful death. It was pretty much run to the ground with more networking coming into play, before finally closing and again rebranding, this time as "Galaxy".

Galaxy's probably closer to the original Beat 106 format, though minus the indie and rock, but with more pop. I still strongly believe that had Beat 106 survived the meddling, it could have gone on to be a very successful format… pretty much like a Scottish version of Radio One. Anyway, I was let go prior to the end of Xfm and launch of Galaxy.

The Music Bed had already been commissioned by BBC Radio Scotland at this stage, and it was a chance call to my former Beat 106 / Xfm colleague Scott Shaw that led to me being brought on board.

Scott's one of the nicest folk you could meet, and I've known him for a very long time. In fact, some 20+ years ago, when I was starting out at Moray Firth Radio in Inverness, it was Scott's dad Neil Shaw that gave me my first ever paid role in a radio station, working in the office filing and the likes.

I can't quite remember why I was calling Scott, but I ended up speaking to his boss Richard who runs Dabster Productions. Richard had actually been at Beat 106 for a short time before moving to the BBC, so though I didn't know him that well, I knew exactly who he was.

To cut a long story short, Dabster were already working on the show, and Richard must have liked something about me to offer me a role on-air alongside Amanda Millen.

I've never been particularly proactive in touting myself about, and pretty much everything I've done so far seems to have just fallen into place. At this point in time though, I really don't know what my next step is going to be. I do of course have my weekly podcast, but that certainly doesn't pay the bills. The fact that I'm about to stand-in for Stuart Cosgrove on one of BBC Radio Scotland's biggest shows Off The Ball may just show that I'm not just a music presenter… as long as I don't balls it up!

I've had a few interesting meetings, and there are most definitely a couple of ideas I'd love to pursue, but as it stands everything is very much up in the air… Indeed, I'm not even sure if radio is part of my future…

…To Be continued (as they say).

Monday, 16 November 2009

From Under The Radar: Does Thinking Local Mean Staying Local?

I know, haven't really been keeping my end of the bargain with this blog, but I do promise to add some more ramblings soon (apologies in advance if it's about Jedward!). Meanwhile, check out the interesting discussion going on at The Scotsman's Under The Radar blog. I've already added my initial thoughts.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Godfathers of New Music in Scotland - celebrating 50 podcasts

The plan for the 50th episode of my podcast was to do something different, as well as passing on some vital information to struggling bands. The problem with getting 2 people that talk/write about music for a living is that they can be difficult to shut up.

I'm not complaining, because I think Episode 50 is a cracking listen, but the proposed format went out the window pretty much as soon as Billy Sloan started talking!

I was sat there with my list of possible questions, but to be honest, apart from the start and finish… it was pretty much a case of letting Billy and Vic Galloway get on with it.

It's certainly made me think that perhaps I need to rethink the whole outlook of Jim Gellatly's New Music. There was so much more that I wanted to cover with these guys, that I'm seriously considering giving the podcast a bit more of an "industry" slant… talking about "how to get the most out of the music industry" rather than just playing my favourite new tracks in any given week. I like the idea of getting guests in on a more regular basis, and there's certainly unfinished business with Billy & Vic.

Mind you, the chance to play the new music in the podcast is probably too precious for me to sacrifice while I'm doing a more mainstream show on the radio…

I suppose the answer is to find myself a radio show somewhere where I can play a lot of the stuff that I play on the podcast… can't see that happening in the current climate of radio networking and cutbacks unfortunately.

Meanwhile, enjoy episode 50!

Jim Gellatly's New Music available at iTunes & Radio Magnetic.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Homecoming Live - The Final Fling

My comments in The Scottish Sun about the forthcoming Homecoming Live gigs seem to have ruffled a few feathers, with people assuming that I was either misquoted, or my comments were taken out of context.

Full story here.

Actually I'm pretty sure I said everything credited to me, and given the information I had at the time, I was pretty comfortable about that. Bearing in mind I'm over 40 myself, comments that the gig would attract mostly over 40s certainly weren't intended as a slur on the event...

I was actually fully supportive of what's being attempted, but the truth is that now I'm actually having reservations.

At first it seemed like a brilliant idea to have one final massive event to round off the homecoming year, linking it in with St Andrew's Weekend (though not quite sure when St Andrew's Day became a whole weekend, but any excuse to party on longer!). I knew that a couple of the halls at the SECC were to be used for the "Final Fling" gig(s), but it was only seeing the ad in the Sunday papers yesterday that I realised the 2 gigs (with a 3rd at the Clyde Auditorium still to be announced apparently) were actually separate gigs.

I'd got it into my head that you'd be able to wander from one hall to the other and see performances from stars of the past, present and future, but that's not the case. In Hall 4 (seated) of the SECC you have Deacon Blue, Lloyd Cole, Hue & Cry, Midge Ure, The Bluebells, James Grant, Kevin McDermott and Tommy Reilly celebrating "the golden era of Scottish music", while in Hall 3 (standing) it's a line up including "those who have inspired some of the biggest acts in the world, and who demonstrate the enormous influence Scotland has had on shaping the international music scene plus the hottest up and coming Scottish talent". For that, read The Vaselines, Idlewild, The View, King Creosote and The Law (with more to be announced).

It seems to me that we now have 2 pretty special live music events clashing with each other, but both part of the same celebration of Scottish music. How wonderful it would have been to introduce fans of The View for instance to the rich heritage on offer in the other hall... and indeed for fans of the "blasts from the past" to see that the future of music is in safe hands.

Of course the Hall 4 show is a bit more mainstream musically, and I'm sure the thinking is the Hall 3 show will attract a more alternative crowd.... but I'm sure I'm not the only person who'd like to see Lloyd Cole (one of the first acts I ever saw live, 20+ years ago) and The Vaselines, or indeed any combination of acts playing the rival gigs...

I think the line-up for both gigs isn't bad, but it would have been much better if the gigs had been on different nights.

Homecoming Live - The Final Fling: tickets available from