A rock/pop band which includes three talented musicians from east Antrim has been selected for a prestigious ‘fresh acts’ development programme.
Singer/guitarist Jonny Woods from Glengormley, guitarist Aaron Black from Larne and drummer Simon Porter from Whitehead are part of five-piece alternative rock and pop outfit R51.
The band has been picked by the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast as one of five acts that it will take forward in its 2014 ‘Scratch My Progress’ talent development programme.
R51, along with other emerging acts Hurdles, Matthew Duly, Hot Cops and Serotonin, were chosen for the programme after impressing the judges during the selection process.
Starting this month, Scratch My Progress will aim to hothouse their talent over the next nine months. The acts will avail of recording studio time, a professional photo shoot, vocal coaching, one-to-one meetings with industry professionals and more.
Jonny, who is studying for a degree in music technology at Queen’s University, describes the band’s sound as “somewhere in between dream pop and alternative rock” with “lots of big shimmery choruses.”
Delighted that the band has been chosen for the Scratch My Progress programme, he said: “It’s a mentorship in the business and it will teach us how to run and manage the band. It will be a really good opportunity for us to meet people who really know the industry and get advice from them.”
R51, who derive their name from RSI (repetitive strain injury) due to Jonny’s aggressive guitar playing style, also includes singer Melyssa Shannon and bassist Anton Hughes.
They recently released their latest single, Slowhound, which is available on CD and online. It follows on from their successful 2013 release, Box Kite.
“The next plan is to record an EP,” Jonny explained. “An album would just take too long, but we are hoping to have an EP out by the end of the year.”
The band, who recently returned home after gigging in Scotland, are due to play at the Sunflowerfest music festival in Hillsborough in August.
Scratch My Progress project manager, Charlotte Dryden, said that all five acts had impressed during the selection process, which included a written application and interview.
“We are looking forward to seeing how they progress, not only as individual acts, but on a collaborative and collective level too,” she commented.
Scratch My Progress is supported by the PRS for Music Foundation, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland.
• To find out more about R51 log on to www.facebook.com/r51broadcast