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Spotlight On… The Youth Music Initiative Demo Project.

Once upon a time, Patrick Findlay approached us with what seemed to be the beginnings of a promising musical project. He wanted to find five young, talented and enthusiastic Scottish musical acts and help them to record their first demo. Cut to almost a year later; the project has been completed and resulted in one of the acts being approached by EMI. We love a good old-fashioned success story…

First things first, What is the Youth Music Initiative Demo Project? Let’s meet the North Edinburgh Arts team and find out what it’s all about…

North Edinburgh Arts (NEA) works to promote the education, development and creativity of North Edinburgh’s residents through engagement in the arts. Over the past year, NEA has been busy working on Creative Scotland‘s Youth Music Initiative Demo Fund. The Project’s aim – headed by Caroline Muirhead and Patrick Findlay (Graphite North) – was to identify and assist local young musicians who could benefit from recording a professional demo of their music. In total, NEA engaged with 14 young musicians in the Edinburgh Area, producing over 25 original pieces of music.

Next step, The Auditions. Musicians flocked from all over Edinburgh to perform for and convince the panel to pick them for the project…

North Edinburgh Arts held auditions earlier this year to find five young bands or artists to work with technician, Patrick Findlay (aka forward strategy group’s Patrick Walker) who then worked with the bands to record some very promising demos. Red Dog Music helped spread the word by noising people up through their social networking websites and mailing list. The panel of experts included Tam Treanor (producer & musician / BMG / More Protein), Alex Burden (music journalist / DJ Mag / Clash Magazine) & Patrick Findlay (producer & electronic artist / forward strategy group). These panellists have a wealth of experience to share and gave the bands some excellent and in-depth feedback during the audition.

Last but not least, The Artists. After much humming and hawing, the panel managed to whittle it down to a final five. Let’s meet them…


Our first impressions of Reubam were simply ‘WOW’; having heard some of their music on Soundcloud and after being tipped off by our friends at Red Dog Music about them. Their sound is comparable with bands such as Love, The Mock Turtles, The Kooks and The La’s; with Reuben’s soaring vocals and complex guitar-work interweaving Sam’s solid and often experimental rhythms.

Tom Vevers

Our introduction to Tom came via his YouTube broadcasts; we were instantly taken with his original lyrics and his very ‘Scottish’ sound. Tom’s time in the studio was hugely productive; laying down a total of 7 tracks, most of which containing extra harmonies and experimental guitar overdubs. One track even features Tom playing drums – talk about a one man band!

Mercy Queen

Mercy blew us away with her audition; she’s an inspirational act with a huge amount of stage presence and charisma. Her lyrics cover tough subjects whilst also dealing with the brighter aspects in her life. Mercy really put us to the test as one of the first missions for our engineer was to help write backing tracks which meant writing 2 instrumental hip hop tracks in 2 days! Mercy continued to set the pace hard bringing in no less than 3 different backing singers. Though young, we feel Mercy has a massive career in front of her, if not in music, then in some way dedicated to bettering the lives of other human beings and we can’t give her enough praise.

The Flashbacks

The Flashbacks made a big impression on us at their audition. For one, they have the right haircuts… but on a more serious note, they have a wealth of influences which extend far beyond their years. Take one part Paul Weller, one part the Arctic Monkeys and add a little bit of Franz Ferdinand and you have a potent combination – and that’s exactly what the boys have.

Cry and The Blocks

3-piece rockers Cry and The Blocks know a thing or six about music. What impressed us about these guys is their direct sound and punky attitude, our engineer Patrick got really excited about their sound proclaiming them to be the product of ‘Joy Division jamming with Black Sabbath‘ – and we think he was right.

Check out the Youth Music Initiative demos HERE. And, if you fancy having a bit of a geek-out… check out their studio kit list HERE.

About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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