Neil Blandford - Performance Alumni - ACM
25 Apr 2012

Neil Blandford – Performance Alumni

ACM is always keen to keep track of what our Alumni are involved with after they leave and ACM 2010 Alumni Neil Blandford has certainly been busy.

What have you been up to since leaving ACM?
Since leaving the ACM, I’ve mainly been involved in two bands – WorldService Project and Flight Brigade, both of which have big plans for 2012.

With WorldService Project, we have been dedicating most of our time to a project we have set up called “Match&Fuse”, which sees us collaborating with other like minded bands from around Europe including bands from Norway, Germany and Ireland.

Recently we received some additional funding from the Arts Council which is enabling us to put on a 2 day festival in North London on the 15th and 16th of June. We have 13 bands from 8 different countries from around Europe coming over to play spanning genres of jazz, rock, experimental and electronic.

What’s been your proudest moment so far?
That would have to be being chosen as one of only 12 bands from around Europe to play at 12 points festival in Porto, Portugal. We shared the bill with some incredible bands and some amazing musicians, a few of which we will be working with in Match&Fuse. We have also been chosen to be part of the “12 points +” program along with 2 other bands which will see us playing at various jazz festivals around Europe over the next year on a dedicated 12 points stage.

So what’s on the horizon for 2012?
In WSP we are mainly focussing on this Match&Fuse project. We’re doing a lot of music exchanges with some bands in France and Italy before Match&Fuse festival in June. After that we have plans to return to Ireland and collaborations with Spanish and Norwegian bands as well as promoting our second album.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches to Flight Brigade’s debut album, recorded by Gavin Monaghan (The Editors, Ocean Colour Scene and The Twang). We’re in talks with various managers and labels at the moment so watch this space!

Do you have any advice or tips for our current ACM students?
The best advice I can give to any student is to listen to as MUCH music from as many different genres as possible. I’ve met far too many musicians who are narrow minded when it comes to music tastes, and it always shows in their playing. You can pick up 2nd hand cd’s and vinyl for a couple of pounds these days, so it really doesn’t matter if you buy it and don’t like it.

Next is practice, practice, practice. Make sure it’s relevant and work out a practice routine that suits you. Don’t be put off by people who practice for 8 hours a day – if that doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t work for you because your time could be better spent listening to music and meeting musicians.

Our thanks to Neil for getting back in touch and we wish him well for the future.

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