This month we are highlighting a new emerging trend in the writing field: Content Creators! These new breed of writers are multi-talented sharing their work in the virtual world (via blogging) and the real world. Hear me out. Media is changing, tastes are broadening and Content Creators are bridging the gap between culture and technology, tweets and events.
The Content Creators of the Hereford Indie Culture website HerefordCityCentric.com are not just blogging about a band they love they’re not just reviewing gigs they are also organizing these events for us and on a voluntary basis. The duo behind Hereford City Centric are Rich Lovell & Michelle Cuardra.
Photo: Nick Vidall-Hall
What inspired you to launch HerefordCityCentric.com (HCC) and The Underground Revolution (UR) in unison?
Michelle: The Underground Revolution was born in my sitting room on a piece of sketch paper and the help of a Thesauraus. Rich & I are really passionate about food, music, art, film and independent businesses in Hereford. We’re also very curious plus wanted to share our passion with others, inspire them and of course give the locals a platform both musically and culturally which is why we launched HerefordCityCentric.com. We also hope that we are helping attract tourists to a city whose economy thrives on tourism.
Rich: I think we just knew it would work–we are both similar characters in that we want to get things done, so no messing, lots of energy and enthusiasm. I can’t sit by and watch as the city struggles to keep its spirit in these tough times. Whether we make a positive difference I don’t know, but we try. The HCC & UR running together just seems to complement each other–after all they are both about the community.
You guys have a plethora of creative folk on your contributing writer’s team like artists, poets and singers- how did you find these creatives?
Rich: I think from our own past efforts, we have got to know many good people around the county. And they are as keen as anyone to see this succeed. Herefordshire does have a vibrant, creative community, it just needs a platform-there are some very clever folk here.
Michelle: Yeah we actually do! Like Rich said, we know a lot of good and very creative people. They needed somewhere to express themselves freely, and we are happy to oblige. We are always looking for volunteer contributors to help us cover art exhibits, review gigs and just generally contribute to our cultural community. It’s great exposure. Our contributors have been on board from the get go and have produced amazing music, art and food reviews. Thank you John Rose, Omar Majeed, Rich Lovell, Claire Perkins, Simon Rogers, Jonathon Paul, Nickie Bates, Raphael La Roche, Nick Vidal-Hall and Ashley Webb.
Michelle grew up in LA during the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. She was exposed to a variety of music scenes as LA was the place to break into music in America. Having been surrounded by so many unique individuals and music was inspiring and fed her hunger for counter-culture. Notably she indulges in many cultural styles. As Michelle would put it “Limiting oneself is a tragedy.”
What has been the highlight of your Music Promotion and Blogging venture this year?
It has all happened so quickly. Gigs that have been memorable include Cherryshoes, Ramonas, Under a Banner and our charity punk festival A Crisis of Conscience. We also have the support from the Rebellion and Surprise Attacks promoters… Like I said… Karma. Ask me this at the end of November though when the Subhumans and Steve Ignorant have played. I don’t want to exclude local bands-some have really rocked my world. I am a huge fan of Black Boxes, Teddy’s Leg, Freeborn Rising and well so many good ones really!
We receive plenty of support from the local press and now Slap Mag has allowed us an opportunity to write about our gigs and the local music scene in Hereford. I have been a fan of Slap Mag pretty much since it launched so I was over the moon. Maybe we are just lucky but really I believe it is all about Karma.
I also was fortunate to review some films for the French Film Festival UK courtesy of the Courtyard. Talk about jumping into the deep end. It is pretty complex but I loved it. I was also given the opportunity to review an indie film by Irish director Graham Jones.
What local websites do you enjoy reading?
I am a big fan of the Hereford Heckler, although it is more of an Anarchist online publication. I think they are winding down a bit but they are fearless writers-you have to admire that. Nothing wrong with telling it like it is… If that makes someone an anarchist then so be it.
I really love what Herefordshire Live are doing as well. It’s an online magazine that also started up around the time I did and has really taken off. It is a fantastic source for culture, they also have some great writers and have developed a loyal readership.
Rich is from Wolverhampton and is the front man of local punk band Terminal Rage who is made up of London transplant Raphael La Roche and Bob Griffin (whose brother is the late Dale Griffin of Mott the Hoople.) As Michelle describes, “Rich grew up in Wolverhampton and witnessed the evolution of an amazing music scene that pushed creative and socio-political boundaries,” all fantastic experience that some could say culminated into the inevitable manifestation of The Underground Revolution which Rich is determined to possess “no cliques, no mainstream, just cool music played with passion.” This is apparent from their mix of punk bands they’ve embraced and promoted for their music nights at The Booth Hall from the young band The Delinquents to Bromyard band Teddy’s Leg.
How does Hereford’s Indie music scene vary from other cities in the UK?
The Booth Hall are really making a difference, as are others like the Victory & Plough pubs. But this is quite recent. The lack of suitable venues in the past has meant people are out of the habit of going to gigs, seeing bands that are unknown, having that adventure. The downside is that we struggle for venues that will invest in anything other than covers bands. On the plus side, there are some ridiculously talented people here and that makes it all so exciting and rewarding. We are lucky to have some great colleges here–the student music nights are amazing.
Can you share some favourite memories of your work for Hereford City Centric, The Underground Revolution and your band Terminal Rage?
Our first gig, Attila The Stockbroker was a great occasion – not only was it our first, but it was spoken word AND it was Attila–a legend! It was great to have TV Smith play for us for our charity gig in September–meeting your heroes IS a good thing, Tim Smith is such a great, unassuming, caring person. From the band’s perspective, Terminal Rage playing at Cloggerfest (Staffordshire) was a highlight-the bill was all acoustic and folk or folk punk acts, so we thought our loud, angry set might be a step too far, but the crowd went mad, we loved it, such a good time was had and we got 3 festival slots for next year from it. It’s one of the friendliest festivals you will find. I recommend it to anyone.
What is Hereford City Centric & The Underground Revolution’s vision & hopes for 2017?
Rich: On the music front, keep looking for new acts to showcase, help them start on their journey and bring a few touring bands to town, too. We’re mainly aimed at the alternative genres, as they are the acts that struggle to find venues that will take a risk. We have venues like the Booth Hall to thank for playing a large part in this – they are on this journey with the Underground Revolution too. It’s important to us that the acts know we are unpaid volunteers, we are not trying to fool them or make money from their art – credibility is essential to this project.
Michelle: Rich said it beautifully regarding the Underground Revolution, it’s all about selflessly bringing music to the city. People don’t know how many amazing bands are tucked away in little ol’ Hereford. The bonus is that we are having a good time enjoying what we love: Music! You just have to keep an eye out for our shows by joining The Underground Revolution Hereford Facebook or our Twitter to see what is on the horizon. All good I assure you.
Hereford City Centric has formed itself along the way and still doing so. Even the majority of our marketing is organic. We like to think of it as a platform for creative contributors and a way to support the independents in our city. I have some bigger ideas but they are under lock and key. Ssshhh! We both are quite busy so sometimes the blog is overshadowed by the music side and the overload of projects I have taken on, but it is still going strong.
The duo are also featured in more online articles:
Coverage of their ‘A Crisis of Conscience: 40 Years of Punk’ on Herefordshire Live
The Underground Revolution mentioned on WildHareClub.com
Rich Lovell for Herefordshire Live
Michelle Cuadra’s piece for The Big Issue
Michelle was also the September Bohemian of the month selection for blog NouveauBohemian.com