Heavy music heads across the UK have had an itch for quite some time now. An itch for that shines a community-led spotlight on artists, producers, venues, festivals and everything heavy music related. Founders of The Heavy Music Awards, Dave Bradley and Andy Pritchard, are here to scratch that itch. “It felt like there was a gap in the heavy music scene for a totally independent event that brought everyone together, not just the artists. As people who have worked behind the scenes in music for a long time we understand the dedication that’s hiding away in the background is just as important as what’s happening on-stage, it’s a real living ecosystem that would fall down if you took one element away – and we wanted to build a platform to celebrate the whole thing.”
“It’s a real living ecosystem that would fall down if you took one element away – and we wanted to build a platform to celebrate the whole thing.”
The HMAs stray away from the likes of established awards such as Kerrang and Golden Gods for one reason in particular – community. They hand the reins over to the public to decide; when the community is the heart that pumps life into the scene, this is important. “We’re also not trying to achieve the same goal – when you boil it down, the finalists and winners in any magazine-led awards have to fit an editorial direction… the system we use means the industry picks the finalists and the public pick the winners – we have literally no say over it, so we get the buzz of finding out who has made it.” Democracy is a beautiful thing, and the HMAs nail it. Andy Pritchard adds: “none of this works without the public’s involvement. We had 131,000 votes this year, and all of those were confirmed by email too which I think takes an element of trust – especially in the age of GDPR – and that tells us people really care about supporting their favourite artists.”
It’s not just the musicians, the HMA’s aim to reveal those behind the curtain, giving recognition to all who keep the heavy music scene alive and kicking. “There are loads of other people behind the scenes who deserve recognition – PRs, journalists, videographers, artworkers, sound engineers, promoters, the list goes on and on – but you have to start somewhere, it’s only year two.” Dave Bradley continues: “The people behind the iconic photos and album covers, the ones who have covered student walls with their work for so many years, they should be celebrated.
““We just want to make as many people smile as possible.”
With the incredible breakthrough of Code Orange being nominated for a Grammy, it seems that heavy music itself is once again shaking the music industry to its core. “Grammys don’t have to give a second to heavy music, someone like Visa or Pepsi isn’t going to decide to sponsor because of it, but they do include it, and whatever you think of their list of nominees – and perhaps in spite of it because it gets people talking – if that means one kid picks up a guitar or finds out about August Burns Red or Bodycount and decides to form a band”. Awards go further than a title – they bring people together and inspire a generation. Yet while questioning the main ethos of the Heavy Music Awards, they are no exception to this: “We just want to make as many people smile as possible.”
THIS YEAR’S HEAVY MUSIC AWARDS TAKE PLACE AT LONDON KOKO ON THURSDAY 23RD AUGUST. FIND OUT HERE HOW YOU COULD WIN FREE TICKETS TO THE NIGHT, INCLUDING LIVE PERFORMANCES FROM THE FEVER 333, MILK TEETH, BLACK PEAKS AND MORE.