Tim Burgess & HMUK chat ahead of IVW 2017

This week we announced our involvement with Independent Venue Week 2017 and are delighted to have Tim Burgess on board supporting a range of gigs throughout the country.

We caught up with Tim to learn a little more about his Tim Peaks project, the importance of coffee and why grassroots venues are vital for musicians.

Can you tell us a bit about the Tim Peaks project? When we were at Off the Record it seemed to be a coffee shop?

It started as an imaginary place on Twitter. Metaphorical and metaphysical. Then the Kendal Calling gang got in touch and they had a fantastic log cabin at their festival and Tim Peaks became real. As well as serving damn fine coffee, we also have a stage at festivals - we've had surprise sets from people like Suzanne Vega, Peter Doherty, Roddy Frame, Blossoms, Edwin Collins and loads more. It's not just about music either - last year Professor Tim O Brien built a scale model of the solar system. At Off The Record I chose some of the bands that were playing but for the conference Tim Peaks was just the coffee shop side of things - volunteers help us out and the festival organisers donated £200 to The David Lynch Foundation, the charity we support, and £190 was raised in 'tips' - it's been a 6 year labour of love that has raised over £15,000 in 2016. We took our stage to The Isle Of Wight Festival, Liverpool Sound City, Festival Number 6, Electric Fields and Kendal Calling 

Coffee is very important to the day to day function of Help Musicians UK, where can we can our hands on some the Tim Peaks signature brew?

We sell it online - not like you can download a cup of coffee but you can buy a pack of ground coffee and we sell mugs too.

Are there any other projects you are working on at the moment?

Quite a few. I like to keep busy. I put out an album with Peter Gordon this year and we're sorting some remixes - we just got a fantastic one back from Pete Kember, who people may know better as Sonic Boom from Spacemen 3. We're playing a gig with James in Liverpool on December 10th and we'll be doing a song or two together, so a few plans and thoughts flying between me and Tim Booth. I'm still doing a few events around Tim Book Two that was published this year - I'm in Edinburgh with that on New Year's Eve, followed by a massive Charlatans gig around midnight. Most recently I've been working on the events for Independent Venue Week so it's a good job there's an unlimited supply of coffee.

How important were grassroots music venues to the Charlatans when you were starting out?

Hugely. As well as playing them we also spent years going to gigs and seeing other bands - it was time spent in smaller music venues that gave us the desire to be in a band. I remember reading the listings in Sounds and seeing that bands I loved would be playing at Bath Moles or The Duchess of York in Leeds - and those venues were full of eager music fans, many of whom would be in the next generation of bands. The Charlatans played a warm up gig at The Brudenell Social Club a couple of years ago and the atmosphere reminded me of why I love venues like that. I still regularly go to see bands in those venues and it's no less exciting than it as when I was 16.

We are thrilled to be supporting the Tim Peaks mini-tour. It kicks off at the Voodoo in Belfast, and is headlined by NI band Documenta. Have you had good experiences of the NI music scene?

We're so pleased that Help Musicians UK is involved in the tour. The three shows are the hometowns of the three bands - Documenta, Yucatan and Horsebeach - so they get to headline one night each.

We've had loads of great experiences of the music scene in Northern Ireland - most recently I was DJ'ing in Belfast and it was such a brilliant night - some amazing moves to the northern soul singles I was playing. The Charlatans headlined The Cathedral Quarter Festival recently and that was the first time I heard Documenta. So much good music has come out of Northern Ireland since I was a kid too. Always love going back there!

For more info about Independent Venue Week, including full line-up, tickets and more, visit their website.

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