an interview with murray leith
Murray is the administrator/founder of the Glasgow Irish Bands & Gigs organization. He has been a massive help to many Irish musicians & artists and has done all of this without seeking any compensation making a full time effort to get the music out there and help promote all of us. I have personally gotten turned on to a ton of great bands/musicians and met a lot of new friends through the page and there are people broadcasting live shows almost 24 hours a day there! With not being on the road for the first time since I was 16 years old, it’s been a blessing being able to still have that connection. Get to know him a bit here and share it along. I encourage those that can to donate a few bucks if you can and support him back, he certainly deserves a pint at the end of the day!
1: When did you start the page and how has the experience been working with all the musicians/artists?
We started the page in 2016 after we saw a need for it. We used to go out every weekend in Glasgow to the many Irish bars to see live Irish musicians. We found that there was no where that advertised the huge market there was for the Irish scene, so we decide to start the page advertising which bands were on where and when. It took off even more when we decided live videos from pubs were the way to go. We used to go film the various gigs around Glasgow and put them up. All the pubs then got involved as well as musicians and our page grew at a steady pace. During lockdown we took the chance of asking bands to go live on our page and sharing their streams and it blew up bigger than we could imagine. We now have countless bands and musicians from all over the world asking to play on our page & many are now regulars, which is fantastic. All of the musicians have been great to work with ranging from new musicians to Phil Coulter. We also have our own monthly column in the Irish Voice Newspaper, where we interview all the current Irish musicians, which has been a great experience. It’s now a 24 hour job that my partner Jo helps me with. We are really pleased that many say it’s the number one site for Irish music. During lockdown we were getting just under 1 million views a month which is a tribute to the many great artists we have on our page and to our brilliant fan base who tune in to almost every gig. So far it’s been an incredible journey and very enjoyable. We’ve done things we never thought we’d ever do. For example, we launched our own CD ‘The Lockdown Sessions’, which was a great project to work on. We now have a full range of merchandise available to buy from the page which is brilliant for us.
2: Where are you based out of? Give us a little backstory on yourself and your passion for the music you help promote.
I’m based in Aberdeen and my Jo is in Glasgow. So I spend most weekends there and since lockdown during the week in Glasgow, it’s not that far a commute. I’ve always had a huge interest in Irish music. I lived in Donegal for many years where I ran a bar which had live music on weekends, but the town’s pubs had live music on most nights. I then had my own record shop in the town where it gave me the chance to expand my musical knowledge further. After the euros came in, I came back to Scotland and ran bars. I ended up as the PR and marketing manager in the newest 2500 capacity super club. This was a great job and a huge challenge as there were a lot of other clubs to compete against. It was a real battle to begin with, until I employed a good team of PR staff who were fearless in their methods and did cause us a few battles with other clubs lol but we made sure we came out winning. We had countless big DJs and dance bands, which I organized, and ended up doing a couple tours with DJs like Ian Van Dhal / Flip n Fill / Ultrabeat & JX to name a few. So we had to be on top. Music has always been a huge part of my life and hopefully always will be. I love to see bands come on page and start with maybe 30 folks watching them and over a couple months end up with 200 watching. It shows that we’re making a difference.
3: What was the most memorable/favorite performance you have hosted?
The most memorable performance is a really tough one as there’s been over 30k gigs since last May. I’d say possibly the best events were our fundraiser for our cd, which every musician was onboard with straight away, and our Christmas fundraiser where we raised £2200 for various charities worldwide. Favorite gigs I’d have to say Kieran Byrne from Chicago, a 5 1/2 hour gig, was brilliant. The Finns have been unreal as they put in so much effort into creating their videos and also the lads from Tenerife who now do a regular Sunday spot on our page. Peter Hoey and Paul Fitzpatrick, aka the 2 Little Dickie Birds, those lads are brilliant together and seriously funny and bring a great sense of fun and joy to a Sunday afternoon. But to be fair every gig we have on is top class so a huge shout out to everyone on the page as without them all of this wouldn’t be possible. It was also a privilege to host and interview Chantelle Padden who was on The Voice UK and we will hopefully be working together soon on a couple of ideas!
4: Where do you see things going in the future with your promotions? Any plans on hosting live concerts when the world opens back up?
In the future, when ever that will be, we are planning a few tours and have musicians all lined up and excited for our concept. God willing, if lockdown ever gets lifted! We cannot organize too much just now, sadly, but would definitely like to get into music management or tour organizing again. That is what I’m good at and what I enjoy. So if any bands out there need a new manager or are looking for an agent or promoter, get in touch!
5: We would certainly like to give you a big thanks for your selfless efforts for helping to keep musicians going in these difficult times by bringing music into people’s homes and connecting artists & music lovers together with these daily live streams, etc. What would you like to say to the folks that chime in and enjoy these broadcasts?
I’d like to say a huge thanks to both the artist and the people who follow our page, as we class so many as friends now. It’s unreal. When you get messages telling you that the music you put on that day has taken them out of a dark place or reminded them of a certain memory & that they enjoyed it just shows you the power that music has. The best comment was when Ross D. from Kildare, another regular on our page, was playing and a woman’s daughter went into labor in the comments and she kept watching the live stream going into hospital! They then sent us pics of the baby when it arrived. It was a brilliant moment and one we won’t forget. It’s the things like that that shows we’ve built a great page. Also a big thanks to all those world wide who watch the page and send us the names of bands they’ve seen in their area that we might like. That’s what keeps the page fresh and interesting! So from Myself and Jo, we owe you all a huge thanks for being part of the journey.