AFTER earning themselves a slot on the BBC Introducing Stage at last summer’s Glastonbury Festival, Spotlight Kid were on the way, picking up a distribution deal for their debut album and a booking agent for their next tour.
Not only that, the band were playlisted for a week on Radio 1. But that’s not all it’s cracked up to be, says singer Rob McCleary.
“We were inbetween Beyonce and The Wanted at one point,” he laughs.
“I listened to those shows every day that week and after an hour I’d lost the will to live.
“We felt like we’d infiltrated the masses a bit but I don’t think the Radio 1 audience is our audience at all.”
Still, Radio 1 airplay for an unsigned band is impressive.
“Yes, it looks good on your CV.”
The reason their music doesn’t sit well with R&B divas and boy bands is because Spotlight Kid have a sound that is rooted in the shoegaze movement of the early 90s, under the influence of bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3 and Lush.
“Our only worry with that is that the younger ones won’t know what shoegaze is anymore,” says Rob.
“It was around in the 90s but there are very few bands playing that sort of music today.”
He’s not altogether happy with the label.
“We use a lot of reverb and a lot of delay but we write songs. There are verses and choruses, something that the original shoegaze bands were never interested in.
He adds: “Our ambitions are massive. I want to see us in the charts.”
And they’ve being doing it all by themselves. They are yet to have a record deal, releasing their next album, Disaster Tourist, on their own label. Major distributors Pias are on board to ensure it’s widely available and both the album and tour are being backed up with regional and national PR.
“We’ve paid for it all ourselves,” says Rob.
“We’re looking at management next. We’re taking our time with it. We had a long and boozy night with the Joy Formidable and they said we should be patient and not lose our integrity.
“And it’s important for us to be big in Nottingham because if you can’t break your own city, you’re not going to break another one.”
He’s aware of how healthy the competition is in Nottingham.
“Ronika’s in the NME every week, Dog Is Dead were in the NME last week, Jake Bugg is signed to a major label, Swimming are doing great things, Frontiers are supporting Jane’s Addiction... it is really strong right now.”
Rob was a member of alt-rockers Model Morning and electronic dance band Bent, as was singer Katty Heath, who is also one half of the Herb Birds. Drummer Chris Davis was in 90s nearly-rans Six-by Seven. It was Davis and Heath who recorded the first Spotlight Kid album, Departure, five years ago.
“The rest of us only joined a couple of years ago so it feels quite new,” says Rob, who admits that Model Morning split because “it wasn’t happening for us” (although Model Morning’s one and only album has recently been made available as a free download on Bandcamp).
The rest of Spotlight Kid are Karl Skivington, Chris Moore and Matt Holt.
“I didn’t realise it at the time I joined the band but I soon found out when I tried Googling it,” he says of the band’s name which is taken from a 1972 album by Captain Beefheart. “It was Chris’ idea because he’s a bit of fan but Beefheart was way before my time.”
Limited-edition copies of the Disaster Tourist album will be available to buy at the gig, as a download from Monday October 17, and as a CD from November 14.