Michael from Datt Brass – fifth from left with Sousaphone

From Gigs to a record deal

17 May 2017

We’re catching up with some of Gigs’ past winners. Michael Ruddlesden from Dat Brass, Gigs Group Category winners in 2015, tells us what they’ve been up to since…

What were you doing before Gigs?

At the time we entered the competition, we were just gigging around, starting out on the London pub and club circuit. A couple of weeks before the Gigs final that summer, we had our first very red-hot gig. It was packed!

Why did you enter Gigs in 2015?

I entered literally because a friend messaged me and said I should enter Gigs! And then I did.  I was just 20 at the time. There were six of us, all aged 18-22. We’ve now got eight members.

What was your favourite part of the process?

I really enjoyed the first gig we did. We were in Trafalgar Square at the time. We played two sets in glorious sunshine right in front of the fountains.

What did you learn through the competition?

We thought about how to market ourselves a bit better. We realised people are enjoying the music. Let’s get our little niche down, our style. So then we focused on that.

What are you doing now?

We’re gearing up for festival season.  We’ve got Boomtown Fair, the Funk and Soul Weekender, the Big Feastival and Camp Bestival lined up. It’s going to be a long and hopefully hot summer of gigging. We’ve just done a record deal too. The album came out on Friday 5 May. So it’s all happening!

What’s the most exciting gig you’ve done?

We played at the top floor of the Shard overlooking the whole of London for a big party there.

What did Gigs do for you?

We won a day in a recording studio at The Umbrella Rooms in Shaftesbury Avenue. We learned so much from the producer Ben Robbins, his ideas were brilliant. He’s worked with some very big names in the industry.  It really helped us to be more coherent in our sound.  You don’t get that by using GarageBand! We’ve also just done a couple of gigs which came through the competition as well, including the Feast of St George in Trafalgar Square. It was great to play there again.

What would say to people entering Gigs this year?

I’d say go for it. It’s invaluable performance experience.  It gives you a chance to hone your craft, get your sound and identity down. It helps you to stand out and not just be someone bashing out covers on a street corner. It’s also an opportunity to get some good feedback on your sound. Gigs can get you out there in some pretty good locations. You never know who you’re going to meet either. I mean anyone could take your card. It’s a great way to make contacts too.