British Urban Collective

The Monday Club find new inspiration in the nation wide music project. Click Play Audio for a podcast interview and single 'Under The Weather'

Click for The_Monday_Club.mp3 (MP3 Audio File, 6.97 MB)

'I was considering walking away from music because you put your heart and soul into it and sometimes you don’t get anything back. I came close to coming to that decision only for a total fluke!’

The Monday Club guitarist Pól Mead, like so many musicians before him, evidently found the Northern Irish music industry a difficult nut to crack. Then his band heard about the British Urban Collective, a youth music project working with inner-city talent in cities across the British Isles, and things took a turn for the better.

With auditions scheduled to take place in the Stiff Kitten for the Belfast leg of the project, The Monday Club managed to secure a last-minute slot. ‘We were halfway through our second song and they really liked us,' Mead recalls. 'We were invited back and it just snowballed from there. It was a real eye-opener - next thing we’re being told we’ve been picked for a single and we’re doing a video!’

Belfast Urban CollectiveOne of the fruits of their labour, the single ‘Under The Weather’, has been included on a forthcoming British Urban Collective compilation CD and digital EP, due for release in March on London-based Freeport Records. ‘We’re the first track on it. The lead single comes out in February with a lead video,' adds bass player Kevin Elliott. 'So to be included and included at the top is quite a big coup for us, and I think it reflects the work we’ve put into it.’

The British Urban Collective ran projects in areas in need of urban regeneration across Manchester, Glasgow, Hull, London and Belfast. The production project, run by industry professionals, was designed to provide a platform for career progression in the music industry.

Founder Harry Leckstein admits the Belfast auditions compared favourably to other cities. 'Very strong songwriting talent, great voices, genuine instrumentation ability and a real passion for live performance - it was the strongest city musically, in my opinion.'

The legacy of the Belfast Collective is set to live on through Lib-Lab (or Liberation Laboratory), a new recording studio installed in the city centre where this month The Monday Club are to lay down tracks for an album with bassist Elliott producing.

'I'm delighted the Lib Lab studio is now up and running,' adds Leckstein, who, through the British Urban Collective helped to finance the studio, 'so it will be interesting to see what comes out of it in the near future. The level of talent and determination that we saw in just eight weeks was phenomenal and Belfast Urban Collective are very well represented on the BUC album.'

The British Urban Collective double-album and four-track digital EP featuring The Monday Club are both due for release through Freeport Records on March 15. The band's Myspace page is here. For those interested in finding out more about Lib Lab (58 Wellington Place, above Dark Angel Tattoo parlour) check out their MySpace here.

Eddie Mullan