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A Magazine for Sheffield
Fourth City is all about supporting local up-and-coming musicians and artists. Formed and run by friends Mat Hume and Chris Pick, who handle the music and art respectively, Fourth City hosts regular events, operates two record labels (Fourth City Music and Ether Club Records), manages various bands including Heart Shakes and Awooga, produces music videos and runs a clothing line. I stole a few moments from their busy schedule to chat about their current projects and how important local promotion is to them. What is the ethos behind Fourth City? Mat: I needed a 'me' at eighteen when I started in music. Someone with a few miles on the clock and a dirty mouth. If we can help people do what makes their heart pump then we've succeeded. I found out far too late in my life that what makes me happy is helping people - whether that be mentoring young bands, sharing contacts, galvanising genres of music that are being ignored or simply giving people a chance to play live. Chris: Mat's work with the young and less experienced members of South Yorkshire's music scene has been tireless and incredibly selfless. He has never charged a band a bean for anything he has done, and he is now reaping the rewards as we are able to take bands onto our label and hopefully push them onto bigger, better things. Mat: We're punk rock! We want to show everyone that all you need to change people's lives is the desire, a bit of time and massive bollocks. How important is it for you to keep things local? Mat: Hugely important. Every day of my life I eat, sleep and drink local music and art. If I'm not working with them, watching them, having meetings for them or supporting them, I am recording, filming or promoting them. We are very proud of the roster of acts we have now on our labels, co-owned by Mentholmans who own West St Live. It's like a family, all pulling together for each other - the way it should be. Chris: Sheffield's art scene has always been incredible. One of my biggest heroes is Martin Bedford. Mat introduced me to him and I did a little internal cheer like a giggling school girl. What other qualities do you look for in the bands you promote? Mat: Without doubt it is respect - respecting gear, watching the other acts and getting along. If one word sums up Fourth City it is harmony. It's hard out there and bands need to have each other’s backs. Is there anybody we should be keeping our eye on? Chris: I really love Sarah Mac, who is a local photographer. Her work is stunning. Also Ella Worthington - a great graphic design artist. Mat: All the acts on my label are either amazing or going to be. A huge shout to Heart Shakes, Awooga, KUXX, Stop Drop Robot, XXX GiRLS and The Rubber Sound Experiment. What made you decide to start the Fourth City clothing line? Chris: We started with the idea of being a t-shirt company, using my designs and Mat's gift for promotion. A friend of ours, Adam Esposito, offered us a few quid to get us started, which allowed us to get our first range out in January. Design is my passion and we have spared no expense making them look good. What have you got lined up for 2014? Mat: New EPs or albums from all the acts and my specialist nights for alternative (Ether Club), urban (Check!) and breakthrough acts (Forza!). Hopefully I can continue to bring the underground above ground and get people involved in Sheffield's music and art scenes. Chris: The summer collection of Fourth City Apparel, our first exhibition, and hopefully finding ways to do what we do full time. I also want to get my artwork out there for people to buy and hopefully find and exhibit some other great local artists. Mat: We may have bitten off more than we can chew but knowing what we do is loved and appreciated makes sleeping a whole lot easier than making money for big businesses. )
by Tasha Franek (she/her)

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