Build Your Own is all about collaboration, and we know there's a
 team behind Mellowtone - can you introduce everyone and their roles?


We are built on collaboration I suppose. We realised last year that we
 had done shows at over 40 venues, and have worked with a range
 of promoters, festivals and events. In terms of people involved -
 Richie Vegas and Jonnie O'Hare are the ever-present resident DJs, and of
 course moral support, not forgetting Monkey who is our compere. Elsewhere, Paul Donnelly looks after our graphic design, but also integral are all the co-promoters, illustrators, people who man the door, venue staff, guest DJs, former hosts, former designers and 
illustrators, sound engineers, and of course the acts themselves.


Mellowtone is like a big extended family and of course everyone
who comes along to our gigs is a part of that too. We were once described
as "a commuinty in itself" which I quite liked. As for my own role, 
I suppose it's split between being Captain of the good ship and the general


Mellowtone has been a unique live music event for over ten years now.
 How did it all begin?


I had worked promoting other people's stuff as a student, and it started 
really as an idea to run a night - something I would quite like to go 
to. At the time no one was putting this sort of show on really. Now there 
are lots of gigs in weird and wonderful spaces, but when we started there
 didn't seem to be as much, most of the live music - and especially 
songwriter-based stuff - was in more traditional "music venues".


We wanted to 
work in quirkier spaces - galleries, cafés, places like that. Candles on
 the tables, a sit-down crowd. Not an open mic or a folk club. We wanted to
 do something that appealed as a laid back evening, a gig, but one that
 could still turn into a bit of a party, so we ran it as a clubnight. And
 then we just carried on. It's grown and morphed organically into what is 


You have a massive passion for local artists and the Liverpool
 music scene - who are some of your favourite bands / acts you've worked


Oh far too many to name! Liverpool acts I reallly like are Edgar Jones, Nick Ellis, John Smith, Dead Cities, SJ Downes, Ragz Nordset, The 
Prelude, Dave Owen... I suppose everyone on our Ten Years compilation, 
but that really is just the tip of the iceberg. We're very lucky in
 Liverpool to have such a vibrant music scene. We're spoiled for choice!


Over the years it's changed and evolved into much more than a regular
 event night. Why did you start releasing music too?


Folly? Certainly not for the money, haha. Again, just an idea that ended 
up being followed through. The Ten Years release was to commemorate that
milestone, and to showcase and document a period in Liverpool's musical
history, to highlight some of this music. And of course to celebrate it
 and hopefully take it to a wider audience.


In an age of digital downloads and music piracy, what do you see the
 future of live music looking like? Will technology be the death of gigs?


For me it will still retain the magic - a show is a one off experience; 
it's unique. The atmosphere, the connection between artist and audience. 
I consider myself very lucky to be able to see so much live music, and I guess it's recorded music sales that will continue to suffer. I can see
 it being difficult for some recording artists, people will have to play live
 more to earn money and of course in general there will probably be less money knocking
around - especially at the local end of the spectrum. I think we'll
 probably continue to see a glut of music released. Live music will just
 carry on, surely!


We know the Mellowtone team have also built a few other things - can
 you tell us a little about your other projects?


Part of the same family are Beaten Tracks - a yin and yang of sorts. As
well as regularly DJing around town, and spots at a few festivals, the
 collective have been involved in various music and gallery projects, often 
putting together soundtracks for exhibitions. This year we're working on a 
large commission for LIMF called Liverpool: Next Stop New York. It's a
 party, with DJs Greg Wilson, Les Spaine, No Fakin, a sprawling
 exhibition at the View Two Gallery, and three days of talks, Q&As (and of
course music) at the Palm House over the August bank holiday weekend, exploring
 Liverpool's relationship with Black American music. It's been fascinating 
to work on.


We started Above the Beaten Track back in 2008 to provide a platform 
for songwriters as well as DJs and visual artists when there wasn't really any opportunities at the Mathew Street festival. That's now a one-day
 extravaganza at the Bluecoat, this year on taking place on 5 September.

 Most of us are all involved in some way with the wonderful Africa Oyé 
festial too. Talking about building something... that's been a real


What's next - can we look forward to any more gigs / records this year? Or do you have some names for us to watch out for?


Well, coming up for Mellowtone, we are at the bandstand in Sefton Park for
the LIMF weekend, which has been really special the last two years so we're
looking forward to returning. And Above the Beaten Track is back at the
Bluecoat om 5 September.

 In terms of gigs, we are on a short summer hiatus, but upcoming for
 September, we welcome back Richard Dawson, we have an upcoming
 collaboration with the Irish Festival, as well as lots more shows to be
 announced soon. 

And a couple of surprises for early 2016 already in the pipeline...And every Wednesday it's the Magnet's Open Mic; we've been co-promoting that with them for the last few months, and it's been going really well so far, with new guest hosts each week.


Names to look out for, hmm, from Liverpool at the moment I would keep your
 ears peeled for She Drew The Gun, Xam Volo, Johnny Sands, and Clean Cut 



And finally, you clearly love music, but can you play? We've got lots of electro-inspired music hacking workshops coming up in FACTLab, including Retro Electro with Darsha Hewitt and a music hacking Tweet and Shout event - would you have a go?


Haha, I can play records and can just about fumble my way around a
 guitar, but certainly wouldn't call myself a musician. Keep us posted, you never know...


Find out more about the FACTLab music workshop programme here.