News, happenings and goings on from the Old Fire Station, Oxford
Adrian Phillips and Mark Stratford are Glovebox, a music promotion company who present their first season of gigs at the Old Fire Station. We caught up with them to find out more about the men behind the music…
Tell us a bit about yourselves.
AP – I was an actor for 10 years, before moving in to Arts Marketing (I worked at the Oxford Playhouse for 3 years) then helped to start an Oxford-based company called The Phone Room before starting my own arts marketing company High Wide & Handsome. I’ve been involved in promoting music since 2006 when I started the website www.tunatheday.com and began staging live gigs in 2010.
MS – I worked in the music business for 32 years, started in a shop and went through distributors and labels, before founding my own reissue label RPM Records in 1991, still going today. During this time also managed a couple of artists, and ran a short lived label Transistor Records for new music – main act The Eighteenth Day of May and a couple of Jim Reid (Jesus & Mary Chain) solo singles. This became Transistor Music, a song-publishing catalogue which continues to grow.
What’s the story behind Glovebox?
AP – I bastardised the name from Groove Armada’s Lovebox Music Festival and put on nights for up and coming bands from all over the UK at Fat Lil’s in Witney. It was cheap entry, but we rather struggled to build up an audience, so I decided to promote some ‘names’ like John Smith, Robyn Hitchcock, Danny & The Champions of The World and Lisa Knapp. These worked much better and actually turned a profit. Mark had come along to a couple of these, we met up in the summer of 2014 and the rest is history…over to you Mark…..
MS – I was looking to do something locally, also to get back into new music. Massive fan of Robyn Hitchcock, couldn’t believe he was playing in Witney – on my doorstep – so I had to go. Following that, at the next gig I met with Ade and he described his wish to bring such music regularly to Witney, and I simply asked “want any help ?”.
What made you take the leap from Witney to Oxford?
AP – The stuff we’ve done, and will continue to do, in Witney has been great, but we want to expand and bring in bigger acts. To do this we needed a venue with a bigger capacity and Oxford was the obvious choice.
MS – We wanted to take our roots-based music shows into a larger venue and the nearest choices are in Oxford. At the same time, we thought that despite the many venues and amount of live music already there we will hopefully add to the mix. We certainly see this as additional to, not instead of, the shows in Witney.
Which events have you been most proud of, since you began?
AP – Every gig we’ve put on I’ve loved, but I suppose the ones that have really pushed my buttons have been Son of Dave, Emily Smith and Cale Tyson and Nine Below Zero because that was our first sell out (numbers-wise, not artistically). What I think we do is give great entertainment and stage gigs from artists that people in Oxfordshire don’t expect to see and we offer a great mix of genres.
MS – The key to this enterprise is very much – as Ade says – personally liking the music we’re putting on. We have to believe in it, and I too have loved every show so far. Cale Tyson was cool to have such a genuine article in the building, the Cadbury Sisters I thought had a beguiling show and sound – it was just so different, Hunter & The Bear proved we could get great music and great numbers (audience), then Nine Below Zero were just proppa – pros delivering a raucous show with fervent audience reaction.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming events at the OFS.
AP – We’re REALLY excited about working with the OFS. There’s amazing blues guitar of Sean Taylor (4 Feb), Celtic folk rock from Hunter & The Bear (9 Mar), the dance fusion of The Urban Folk Quartet (25 Mar) and Lau’s Kris Drever (1 Apr). Plus it’s a big feather in our cap to get Mercury nominated artist C Duncan (12 Feb).
MS – looking forward to all the shows Ade has mentioned, and to see/hear them in the main theatre space at the OFS, think we will collectively generate a great atmosphere.