Taxpayer funds acid punk and thrash metal as trade minister picks new music stars for grants

It’s a “Yes” from the Trade Minister. Fourteen “indie” music acts, ranging from Japanese acid punk to thrash metal, have been selected to receive Government funding in a bid to find a new wave of artists who can follow Mumford & Sons’ path to international success.

Metronomy, the acclaimed electro-indie group and Band of Skulls are among the artists hand-picked by Lord Livingston, Trade Minister, to receive grants of up to £50,000, awarded to “support UK music exports” and help artists break into overseas markets.

Inspired by the international success of Bastille, London Grammar and Alt-J, the Government has invested £550,000 of public money in the "Music Export Growth Scheme", administered by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the BPI.

The successful applicants include Bo Ningen, a Japanese-born, London-based acid punk group who are using their grant to fund a trip to play at the Austin Psych Festival in Texas this weekend.

Lord Livingston, a former BT chief executive given a ministerial role by David Cameron, gave a thumbs up to London thrash metal act Savage Messiah, whose latest album The Fateful Dark includes the tracks "Scavengers of Mercy" and "The Cursed Earth".

The minister was guided by a panel of music industry experts representing independent labels. The grants are not loans and the government is trusting the artists to use the windfall, designed to support international tours and promotional campaigns, wisely.

Jessica Davies, of Sussex dream-pop duo Smoke Fairies, said: “It’s quite surprising in the current financial climate that the government is funding musicians but it’s really good that they are investing in the arts. The music world can be fickle so the government knows the grant might not produce immediate success but over time we hope it will help lead to big things.”

Smoke Fairies were the first UK group invited by Jack White to record at his Third Man Records studio in Nashville and the award will help the band capitalise on that interest. “It wouldn’t be possible for us to take our full band to the US without this funding,” Ms Davies said. “This will help pay for a tour van, hotels and musicians.”

Charli Taft, a Liverpool singer-songwriter whose material has been compared to Adele and Carole King, is using her award to attend songwriting camps in Copenhagen, Seoul and Los Angeles. “I’m going to Seoul to join a writing team for Girls’ Generation, one of Korea’s biggest ‘K-pop’ groups. I’ve already had a song on a number one album of theirs but I’ve never been to Asia so it’s very exciting. Then I’m going to work with R&B/pop producers for my album in LA.”

She added: “It’s impossible for new artists to get funding for self-development if they aren’t on a major label so these awards are vital.”

The awards, created after a Downing Street music industry summit with Mr Cameron, have been distributed to reflect musical genres from the nu-grunge of Leeds band Dinosaur Pile-Up to soul, electronica, jazz and folk.

Lord Livingston, who will make £2.5 million available for British rockers over two years under the scheme, said the grants would help a British music industry which is already a “global success story”.

He said: “From The Beatles to Adele to Mumford & Sons, Britannia rules the airwaves and sells more records around the world than almost any other country. 

“This exporting strength brings jobs and economic growth to the UK and the Music Export Growth Scheme lets up-and-coming British artists up the tempo on the international stage.”

John Kennedy, Chair of the Board for the Music Export Growth Scheme, which helped choose the successful acts, said: “As we go through these applications it is refreshing and invigorating to see the breadth of talent enthusiasm passion and determination.

“Demand for funds far exceeded our ability to fund which shows how important the monies are but also means that the chosen projects have a responsibility to deliver on their promise as that will help the industry as a whole.”

Drenge, the punk duo cited by Labour MP Tom Watson as his favourite group, were beneficiaries of a UKTI financial award in February.

Bo Ningen said: “It [the award] was a massive help to us and gave us a great opportunity to perform Coachella, one of world's acclaimed music festivals. We couldn't have made this US trip and all the amazing shows out here happen without this export fund.”

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said: “Very few countries can boast the same levels of musical excellence as the UK – we break bands who go on to break records.

“BPI is at the centre of initiatives to support British artists and music companies and we hope that the Music Export Growth Scheme will help a new wave of British artists to define the sound of success in 2014 and beyond.”

Applications for the next round of Music Export grants are welcomed at  http://www.bpi.co.uk/export-scheme.aspx

Lord Livingston’s funding picks

  • Band of Skulls – European Tour Support and Promotion / Marketing
  • Bo Ningen – USA Tour support (Coachella / LA / East Coast / Austin Pysch Fest)
  • Charli Taft – Funding for attending Writing Camps in Copenhagen, Seoul and LA
  • Christian Gregory – USA Tour support and Promotion / Marketing
  • Dinosaur Pile-Up – USA Tour Support
  • Julia Biel – Germany and Switzerland Tour Promotion and Marketing
  • Lulu James – European Tour Support and Promotion
  • Metronomy – USA, Canada and Australia Tour Support
  • Savage Messiah -  European Tour Support and Promotion / Marketing
  • Skinny Lister – USA and Japan Tour Support
  • Slow Club – USA and Canada Tour Support
  • Smoke Fairies - USA Tour support and Promotion / Marketing
  • Transition – Germany and Switzerland Tour Support and Promotion / Marketing
  • Young Fathers – Germany Tour Support and Promotion / Marketing
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little