Overhead Wires Music was founded by Music Production graduate Richard Ward in 2008 with the initial goal of helping to provide experience and cohesion within the Brighton grassroots music scene.
"Since being in various bands from the age of 15 and putting on my own DIY gigs since 18, I've always maintained a passion for grassroots music. I set up Overhead Wires whilst in the third year at university to help musicians on the beginnings of their career path by being a central point of organisation, utilising everything I had learned in the field so far. In doing so, I had a plan to unite artist and audience whilst helping to put the flag on talents within Brighton and beyond.
Initially conceived as a record label influenced by Factory, Creation and Rough Trade, I got to work collating 8 tracks from unsigned artists I liked, bought a CD printer and turned my bedroom into a makeshift pressing plant. The first release 'In The Twilight We Can't Hide: Volume 1' (I never did get round to a Volume 2!) was accompanied by a self made zine and I pushed hard to build a mailing list, getting in touch with every musician and gig fan I could think of to send them a copy. The 'Pantograph' zine went down well as I was told it recaptured some of the DIY post-punk romanticism of the late 70s. This was also the case for the next 2 releases before I put out our first 'proper' single 'Cat's Out The Bag' by Nick McKenna (of which I am proud to have also produced). Our first pieces of press followed and several local record shops agreed to stock the single. From this, our debut live showcase was the next the step - 'Livewire 1' at The Providence in Hove showcased Nick and some of the acts we were keen to work with. At the same time, I had also set up a regular acoustic night - 'This Is My Epicentre' at Three Graces pub, also in Hove, where we could invite whoever caught our ears at the time.
In 2010, my long time friend George Ritchie grew increasingly interested in what I was doing, so he took the plunge moving from Manchester to Brighton to get involved, becoming a partner in the adventure. We decided to quickly evolve into more of an artist management and live promotion direction, whilst maintaining the option to put out records from our growing roster if the course called for it. It was when we signed Jipsy Magic that things really began to took off on the management front.
Over the following years, we were lucky enough to have toured the UK several times, been flown out to Ibiza, put on many full-house nights in Brighton, helped many bands on the first steps of live gigs and publishing, and met hundreds of wonderful musicians in the process. Our regular events 'Twisted Frontier' (both the showcases and festival), 'Under Great Southern Lights' and 'The Secret Level' being the successful ones which really stuck out for me in terms of putting our own stamp on Brighton's music culture.
George left Overhead Wires in 2014 and I decided to keep on solo until 2017 when I decided it was time to step aside and encourage the new flow of enthusiastic Brighton promoters through. Despite, the changing flowing nature of the label, bringing various ups and downs with it, I'm extraordinarily proud the work put in and of what we achieved over the years. However - if I was to ultimately pass on one piece of advice on what I've learned from the experience - it would be that incremental measurable targets are paramount!"
George Ritchie and Richard Ward, April 2011.
Credit: Ryan Yates.