Kyle Chesney; a name known to those who’ve delved into the depths of Glasgow’s extensive music scene. If you don’t know his name, maybe you should.
He’s the founder of Cut Loose Promotions, the company responsible for organising some of the city’s most secretly special gigs since 2011. Not exactly the business venture you’d expect from a 23 year old civil engineering graduate.
Kyle confessed: ‘I hated my course to be honest, yet I have a job in the field…living the dream.
‘After studying in Glasgow for a year or so I started getting into the local music scene, discovering bands who were only a few months old – good bands at that. None of my friends were particularly into new music and I ended up attending a sad amount of gigs by myself. So I wanted to try and reach out and attract those people who didn’t know much about the Glasgow music scene at all, and thought, why not do it myself.
‘I knew a few bands and asked if they’d be keen to play a gig if I set it up. Then I spent a good part of a year doing my research; going round venues and enquiring about hire fees and so on, getting to know who the emerging bands were. I ended up choosing Bar Bloc as my first venue, which turned out to be a great decision cause Chris, who runs the place, helped me out so much. I owe him a lot, he was so helpful and is the nicest guy.
A lot of my friends came down to that first gig and supported the night, and a lot of them still do these days. I can’t thank these people enough!’
Given how well received the Cut Loose events are now, I assumed that after a successful first gig it was all plain sailing. Kyle was quick to correct me.
‘The best experience I ever had was at the third ever gig I put on. I was young, naieve and thought gig promoting was easy – I was so wrong. Some crappy booking agency convinced me that some band could pull in a crowd of 100 no bother, so I thought, “oh, I’ll be able to make a lot of money from this!”. Come the night a mere 25 people showed up. I felt terrible for all involved and I remember asking myself after – Why are you doing this? What is the goal?
‘From then on I set about only to put on what I wanted, when I wanted, and didn’t do it for the money. Now, anything we make goes back into Cut Loose. It was such a steep learning curve, but a challenge I love.
‘Of course, now I have people to help me – it got a bit crazy of late, there’s just so much to do, so I had a few folk join the set up and they are the best – people who are actually into it and in it for all the right reasons.
There’s Hollie, who has been fantastic. She really helps me with the organisation of it all. She has had some experience before and knows the scene very well which is a big help.
Greig is a close friend who is a part of it also. I always used to bounce ideas off him and it got to the point where it was a case of – why are you not a part of this? He does the photography and deals with the website. Eoghann, a lad I know from back home, also does bits and pieces. They all help immensely and hopefully together we can take Cut Loose to the next level.’
Having worked with some of Scotland’s most acclaimed unsigned bands, I was curious at to how Cut Loose choose who they work with.
‘If we like a bands music, we put them on, it’s as simple as that,’ Kyle explained. ‘Why would we ask other people to pay for a gig that we personally wouldn’t go and see ourselves?’
‘It had always been a goal of mine to release a music channel of some sort, a hub where people can go for he best new music around. So I launched CutLooseTV earlier in March. I was very fortunate to work with some incredible talented people on this; there’s so much material and competition out there, it has to stand out and hopefully it does.’
With such a lot of rivalry in today’s promotions industry, I asked what Kyle would say to any newbie in the field.
‘I would ask them, what is your objective? I really believe the objective of what you’re trying to achieve really changes how you should approach it. Do you want to make some money, is it for a laugh or is it because you love it all? It changes everything.
‘Trying to put on a good gig is a totally different ball game from putting on a gig. There’s a lot of disappointment, rejection etc to face when trying to pull all these plans together; that’s part and parcel of promoting. But when someone comes up to you after the event and says “that’s the best gig I’ve been to in a long time”, or “that’s my new favourite band”, that’s why I spend time organising it all. Some of the comments and feedback to CutLooseTV have been incredible. It makes my time, effort, sweat, tears and blood all worthwhile.’
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