“As someone who earns a living from local venues, they’re pretty fucking crucial!” – An interview with Seán McGowan

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Acoustic singer-songwriter Seán Mcgowan is only 24, but has been gigging since 2010, and was tipped by Billy Bragg as one to watch for 2013. He works at The Joiners and after a year of gigs alongside Dean Paul they supported Shed Seven, spent most of the year atop the Strummerville DIY chart, and were Absolute Radio’s Unsigned Artist of the Week. He has performed with Frank Turner, Beans on Toast and Reverend & The Makers, and also supported Tom Clarke on his Southampton date at The Engine Rooms.

So you signed this week with Xtra Mile Recordings, congratulations! How do you feel? Did you wet yourself a little?

Something like that, it was mental. It’s been going on for a little while so to finally get it over the final hurdle was excellent. They’re a label of friends and people I respect, so it’s excellent, I feel very confident, very happy.

What’s happening next for you?

Well, we’ve announced a tour; we’re going on a full band headline tour. Five dates, some of the biggest capacities we’ve ever done, and it went on sale today – best pre-sale I’ve ever had in my life which is wild. New EP is coming out, new single, playing The Loft in Bedford Place on September 16th… it’s all coming together very nicely.

You’re from Southampton, you work at The Joiners  [detour about Pat]– what’s your favourite venue in Southampton except for The Joiners?

Other than The Joiners… The Loft I guess, because I’m playing there next! I know the people who run it, they’re good friends so yeah, definitely there.

I really think it’s important that people support local venues and of course, you’re from Southampton, you work at one. What does local venue support mean to you as someone who grew up here and is a musician?

As someone who earns a living from local venues, they’re pretty fucking crucial! It’s a total hub for culture and existence, without them… It can often be overlooked with smaller venues, but it’s where people cut their teeth, the biggest bands in the world played smaller venues. It’s where you learn, it’s where you find what you do, what you like. They’re essential to the progress of music in general. I’ve been quite lucky, I’ve been doing this for 7 years now and I’m still finding my feet and working out where I belong, but it’s good. We’ve got a foundation now and a spot to kick off from, so I’m just enjoying every day now, really.

What would be your dream venue/line-up?

Shepherd’s Bush Empire. My family are all from West London, so I want to get that. Line-up, don’t mind or care – anyone. I supported The Rifles there, but I want to headline it – any of my friends would be welcome to support it.

Listen to Seán’s single ‘Apple Core’ below. You can also check out our five star review of Tom Clarke’s gig with support from Seán here

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Third year PAIR student and live editor. Also the Wessex Scene's Head of Events. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about politics and cats @_Carly_May on Twitter.

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