It’s never been easy getting noticed as a musician, especially without any sort of backing or contacts. And when your talents lie in playing and singing, creating the kind of polished videos that might circulate online and generate interest are not necessarily in your skill set. Which is where an online music channel like Every Sole Productions comes in. We talked to the creator behind the channel, Mhairi MacDonald, about how she’s helping Edinburgh talent find a platform…
What’s Every Sole Productions all about?
It’s an online music channel, a platform for promoting music talent in and around Edinburgh. The channel started in 2016 and has been producing music sessions ever since. Artists perform an original track and this is followed by a quick interview. The channel strives to be cinematic and so all sessions are filmed in one long shot. This aesthetic has become our trademark. It helps capture the energy and intimacy of the performances.
So far the channel has produced 33 music sessions, which have been viewed over 30,000 times. The small voluntary team behind the channel are experts in their creative fields, which range from sound engineering, videography and graphic design.
We believe it is vital for maintaining and expanding the local music scene because it can easily be shared with gig promoters and audiences, and help acts gain recognition. We hope to help put Edinburgh on the map as a thriving and contemporary music destination.
How did you get started with it?
As someone who is musically inept but nonetheless a big music fan, I knew I wanted to be close to music. I had long fantasised about working on music sessions, however I never intended on setting a channel up myself. In 2016, I had just returned home to Edinburgh after studying Cinema and Photography at Leeds University and I wanted to continue making films. Soon I got involved with Katherine Snow and Chris Milne, similar minded people, and we started to film acts under the guise of Jam Jar Sessions (a part of the Sandbox Collective). That experience gave me a taste for making music sessions but I was not fully satisfied. I wanted to raise the bar and essentially have more creative control. Edinburgh has loads going on musically and I saw there was an opportunity to show-off diverse genres and steer away from straightforward acoustic acts.
So I decided to really go for it and Every Sole Productions was born. As the channel developed I began to teach myself videography and today I both run the channel and act as videographer. I have been lucky to have worked with talented sound engineers along the way (currently Nick Harbourne) who have each brought their own style to the productions. I believe it is important that we all feel some sense of freedom in how we choose to express ourselves artistically. Essentially we have to enjoy ourselves and have fun with it.
How do you go about finding acts?
By word of mouth, going to gigs or researching on Facebook. YouTube and Facebook are our main sharing platforms.
What’s your tech set up? It looks very polished, but I imagine it’s all done on a shoestring.
Yes, it is most certainly done on a shoestring. I film handheld on a DSLR camera with a 50mm lens and it’s that lens that does most of the work to make it look so polished. In the beginning, I was not sure whether it would be possible given our limited equipment to make the sessions look professional. I kept thinking I needed a full frame camera or a steady-cam and the list went on. It’s also vital that the sound engineer has their own recording kit.
And then there was the trouble with finding a location. I remember voicing this aloud, and my father saying, “you’ll just need to make do with what you’ve got to begin with.” That has been the attitude I’ve taken ever since and we’ve made it work. Generally as people I believe we tend to think we need more money or stuff to do the things we want to do but really if you are driven you can find the solution. Often you’ll realise the only limitation is your doubt. Plus people are generally enthusiastic to help. But between you and me I think that might also be because it’s simply a sweet product we’ve got going.
To get to where we are today has taken a lot of effort and we have done that with next to no budget. But because of that I think our skillset has improved vastly. And soon we will be introducing an affordable service, in which any act can be filmed in the style of the music sessions. This video will be theirs to release how they like.
What would you like to achieve with it?
Short-term I would like the channel to grow to become the “go-to” directory for local music talent and long-term I would like to set up an Every Sole Productions recording studio.
Any personal favourites or are you not allowed to say?
Nah, I am biased, I have loads of personal favourites. I’d say Spooky Books, Khalid Al Khajah, Mexfs, Rianna Walcott and Dan Abrahams, and The One Three One. And we have a sweet one coming up with Smitten.