Industry Insider – Mike Jonns – founder of This Feeling club nights and management company

March 15, 2012
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Mike Jonns is the founder and director of ‘This Feeling’; a tri-part company that includes band management, a record label, and a live music based club night. The club night in question is a huge crowd puller on the East London circuit; and has received numerous rave reviews from fans and media alike since it first started back in 2007. ‘This Feeling’ boasts endorsements from the likes of Kasabian, The Rifles, Noel Fielding, and Noel Gallagher. The Evening Standard newspaper spoke about the club night as where you could catch the hottest new rising bands; and The Sun Newspaper’s Gordon Smart, called it ‘The Club of the Year!’ My own personal experience of ‘This Feeling’ is this: it’s like being rammed up against an attractive stranger on the tube during rush hour. That is to say – a bit claustrophobic, a bit sweaty; and always the hottest kind of cramped. You’ll leave with a smile on your face and a drink stain on your shirt.

Mike Jonns is set to take his club nights National literally as this goes to press! Starting March 15th , ‘This Feeling’ is branching out nationwide and hitting Sheffield, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Dunfermline. Monthly nights are set to be added in Brighton, Southampton, Birmingham, and Edinburgh later in the year.

Lifers are the competent promoters who stick around long enough to be seen as a brand. Our latest Insider is well on his way to becoming exactly that. Ngawara Madison spoke to Mike Jonns.

Mike Johns - founder of This Feeling, London

Hey Mikey, you’ve got a very busy schedule with your live music night ‘This Feeling’ heading off on a national tour of Great Britain this Thursday. Can you run us through the concept of your club nights? How did they start out?

Mike Jonns: I started the nights five and a half years ago as I was dissatisfied with what was on offer to me and my mates. Club promoters would charge you 8 quid to get in and you’d just get some DJ who wouldn’t play anything you wanted to hear – or listen to requests! And the venues were toilets, absolute shit holes! When the chance came up to put on a night in Parker McMillan – a great venue/bar in Moorgate – I jumped at it! Kasabian came and DJ’d for me at the first one! It was a legendary, messy night, and it’s just gone from there really…

What are you offering the bands who play your nights?

MJ: I used to manage bands and know what it’s like on that side of the fence, especially if you’re young and new. That is to say, no one listens, no one gets back to you, no one seems to give a shit. ‘This Feeling’ is a great night out for people that love rock and roll music; and the bands love playing it because they get well looked after, get bags of promo, get filmed for the TF web-site and on a free downloads page. After almost 6 years we have developed a trust with our crowd – they know they’re gonna have a great night and see great bands…. not some pile of shit that is playing cos they sold their mates 50 tickets!

Who else helps with the smooth running of one of your nights? Do you work in a partnership or delegate at all?

MJ: I don’t operate in a partnership nope but I do have a great team around me and mates who are bang into their music!

Charlie is TF’s event manager and he is amazing! He looks after the running of the event, looking after the bands and is bang on the ball, which is essential to the running of any night.

Gordon Smart at Bizarre/XFM, is a great mate who will help promo the nights, maybe use some footage from bands at TF, interview them, etc. He’s had a few scoops from being down at This Feeling including Shaun Ryder and Dynamo announcing The Stone Roses were getting back together*.

Gordon is into the same music as me and it’s great having Gordon involved. Despite what some people may think or say – he loves his guitar music far more than the likes of Cheryl Cole or JLS – but he’s Showbiz editor of The Sun. (*link to Stone Roses story on The Sun.)  7 MILLION people read (The Sun) so he’s gotta find the balance. Unfortunately it’s not his fault loads of people in our country like shit music! He does a great job pushing new bands and is first onto many of them.

Who are your star players right now – which are the bands you have booked on the ‘This Feeling’ tour?

My favourite new bands around now are all the ones involved in the TF tour (links below) and also Life In Film, Born Blonde, Eugene McGuinness, Peppermint Beat Band, Filthy Boy, Various Cruelties, Dexters, and The Smokin’ Barrels
all links to these bands can be found at the This Feeling website.

What are you expecting from a band before they approach you about playing one of your nights?

MJ: You’ve just gotta be really good! I don’t give a shit how early it is or how many Youtube hits you’ve got! If you’re good, you’re on; and we will help you as much as possible to get your music heard.

Most club nights tend to stick to just one venue, in order to gather a strong fanbase. Are you taking a risk in spreading yourself too thin, by taking ‘This Feeling’ national?

MJ: ‘This Feeling’ has travelled as far afield as Malaysia and LA as well as Manchester and Edinburgh and all the nights have been rammed or sold out. I see no reason why the rest of the world should be deprived of what’s on in London…    

The Rifles – who I think are superb – are old school buddies of yours from back in the day, and have played a few of your nights, including your NYE 2011 Show. I saw XFM’s Steve Harris’ name on a number of your posters too. Is there in a sense a friendship club of sorts, that goes on behind the scenes of your industry? Noel Gallagher and Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno have both been quoted publicly as giving vocal endorsement to your brands promotional prowess… I’m starting to sense a bit of a theme…

If there’s a theme it’s that they’re all good mates, all love good music, and all love a good drink! So it’s the perfect recipe.

One of KOKO’s old “live” bookers, Marc “Marco” Smith, wrote about you in a review back in 2004 saying :  “Kasabian and their mates are known for partying hard when the time is right… if you are going out to really party, then you are “going big!”. Mike Jonns, if you are reading this, I know it’s you who created (the phrase)! Mike IS BIG!”

Mike, how do you decide when its work and when its play?  

MJ: It’s always play! how can it not be when you’re booking bands and having a bevvy?! Although there are some that make it pretty hard work. By the way – I think Marco is on the run now from Manacunian and Malaysian gangsters as well as Interpol for shafting a load of people (including This Feeling) for dosh! So if you’re reading this mate – hand yourself in geezer… and you owe me £1,200 quid!!

What are the key factors to a successful live music night? Can you pass on some keys to success?

MJ: Put on good bands and look after them well. Play good music. Have a laugh. Most importantly; look after your punters. I’ve never forgotten being treated like dog shit at some of the gaffs I used to go with my mates and being charged a £8 for the “privilege”!!!

© Ngawara Madison, Music Vice

This Feeling: March Dates/Lineups:
Sheffield Leadmill. March 15th – The Coral (DJ), Sulk, and Janice Graham Band.
FAC251 Manchester. March 16th – The Coral (DJ), Janice Graham Band, SULK, The Sundowners, Where’s Strutter?
PJ Malloy’s Dunfermline. March 30th – The Coral (DJ), Janice Graham Band, SULK, Selective Service.
Chambre 69 Glasgow. March 31st – The Coral (DJ), Janice Graham Band, SULK , Selective Service, The Draymin
Queen of Hoxton London April 14th – Howard Marks (DJ), SULK, Murray James, Selective Service, Where’s Strutter.
The Magnet Liverpool May 6th – The Coral (DJ), Janice Graham Band, SULK, The Sundowners

Internet link: This Feeling

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