Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Time for Irish bands and their entourages to feed their brains

Who’s who and what’s what at Hard Working Class Heroes Convention 2014

Mon, Sep 15, 2014, 09:49


Let’s get the DOI out of the way first. I’ve been involved in programming, chairing and moderating the Hard Working Class Heroes Convention since 2009. Over this time, it has grown from an event with just four panels into an all-singing, all-dancing three day bonanza of talks, workshops, presentations and pow-wows featuring a host of Irish and international speakers covering a huge range of music business and, in the last few years, music tech topics and themes.

It starts with a big whiteboard and a stack of PostIt notes and builds into an action-packed couple of days at the National Digital Resource Centre (NDRC) on Dublin’s Crane Street in the middle of the Liberties on October 2, 3 and 4. You’ll find the full schedule here, admission to all events is free and here’s a look at some of the stuff which happened last year.

Of course, I’m going to say it’s all good, but if I was to pick out a few bits and pieces, I’d point you towards the following 10 things:

The music industry in 2024. The reason why I’m highlighting this one is because it will feature two supersharpshooters in Fred Bolza and Darren Hemmings. Fred is Sony Music’s vice president of strategy and he was a total gem when he spoke at Banter at CultureTECH last year about the Daft Punk, David Bowie and Odd Future campaigns. Darren is a regular visitor to HWCH because he’s someone who has a brilliant grasp on where things are going in the music business and he had a great way of expressing it.

The Hitch-hikers Guide To Irish Festivals. After a summer in the fields and the parks, where are we going? Given how much oxygen (excuse the pun) has been generated by the sector on and off the pitch in the last few months, this could be a lively aul’ session.

Touring at home and abroad. This was one of the hits in 2013 so we’ve invited Madeline Boughton from Culture Ireland back to give another workshop about the nuts and bolts of securing funding for your forays onto the highways and byways.

The artists talk back. Four artists – Liza Flume, Niamh Farrell (HamsandwicH), Leanne Harte and Louise McNamara (Heathers) – tell us what’s on their mind. We did this last year with four other musicians and it was a superb rattle.

Make a great video. A year ago, there was a ton of people at HWCH to see Hozier on the back of a great video for “Take Me To Church”. This year, the guy who made that video and many more, Brendan Canty, gives a workshop about the art and reality of great videos. Expect this one to be out the door.

What rock and pop can learn from classical and jazz. Or can the farmer and the cowman be friends. Some folks from the classical and jazz world talk about what life is like in their jurisdiction.

10% for what now? A spot of afternoon tea with the agents as they tell us what exactly acts are paying 10 per cent of their hard-earned fees for.

Scouts honour. As we’ve seen of late, record labels are back in the deal-making business. We talk to a selection of label A&Rs and department heads about what they’re looking for at the moment (aside from a rise and a new car or bicycle).

Accounting for bands 101. How to make sense of your financial ins and outs without having to hire a cheif financial drummer.

Meet the international festival bookers. Folks from Eurosonic, SXSW, Canadian Music Week, The Great Escape and CMJ pitch their wares and tell you what you need to know before you head to Groningen, Austin, Toronto, Brighton or New York.

There’s lots more too, as you’ll see when you throw your eye over the schedule, which will be updated with more speakers and details between now and October. Yes, some of the panels you really want to go to are on at the same time so sorry about that. If you’re a band and/or entourage, send one of youse here and one of youse there and take notes. It’s a chance to spend a few days finding out about stuff for free which may well come in useful down the road.

And don’t forget that there are over 100 bands playing at HWCH on October 2, 3 and 4 too. Full rundown on who’s playing where and when here.