PPL Returns to Sponsor Best UK Band at HMA18

PPL is sponsoring the Heavy Music Awards for a second consecutive year.

For 2018, the music licensing company is sponsoring the Best UK Band award following its support of the international category last year.

Challenging for the public-voted accolade are Arcane Roots, Architects, Creeper, Enter Shikari, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Marmozets and While She Sleeps.

The award will be presented by PPL at KOKO London on August 23.

Sarah Mitchell, Director of Member Services at PPL commented: “PPL exists to serve performers and record companies across a huge range of genres from classical to electronica to jazz to metal.

“The Heavy Music Awards established itself as an exciting new awards ceremony specialising in the heavier end of the musical spectrum in 2017 and we are excited to be returning for a second year.”

PPL collects money for tens of thousands of performers and record companies.

Founded in 1934, the company licenses recorded music in the UK when it is played in public or broadcast and ensures that revenue flows back to its members.

These include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and influential festival headliners.

Co-founder of the Heavy Music Awards, Iain Johnson, said: “It gives us great pleasure to welcome PPL back to the HMAs for a second year.

“Protecting the rights and livelihoods of established musicians and emerging artists is very important to us.

“The work of PPL is so important in so many ways and we are delighted to be working with them once again.”

Click here for more information.

Safe Gigs For Women Partners with HMAs for Second Year

Safe Gigs For Women has partnered with the Heavy Music Awards for a second year.

The campaign group – started in 2015 – is led entirely by volunteers to make gigs and festivals a safer environment for women by stamping out the risk of sexual harassment.

Sam Carter, lead singer of Architects, hit the headlines last year after calling out a male fan for allegedly committing such an offence at Lowlands Festival in The Netherlands.

Architects have since began working with Safe Gigs for Women after first meeting at House of Vans London during Heavy Music Awards 2017.

In 2018, Safe Gigs for Women has taken the position of “Official Supporter” at the HMAs.

The initiative has three key aims:

To work with gig goers in spreading the word that it is not okay to grope, threaten or harass others and to encourage victims to speak out and supporters to advocate that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

To team up with venues to ensure they take reports of sexual harassment and other threats to women seriously and create a “safe venue” standard.

To connect with bands and artists to promote the recognition of standards, talk about SGfW work and to share with their audiences the importance of recognising and sharing acceptable behaviour codes.

Mel Kelly, a member of the leadership team of SGFW, spoke about why a change in attitude is necessary to make gigs and festivals safer for women.

“Safe Gigs for Women was founded after our founder was sexually assaulted, and not for the first time, at a live event in 2015.

“Live music is so important to me and to so many women I know. Gigs and festivals are a huge part of my life.

“We are thrilled that the HMAs have chosen to support us so visibly again this year. We remain excited about working with them, with venues, musicians and the gig-going public to make sexual safety a priority in live music.

“Thank you so much to the management of the Heavy Music Awards for helping us spread the word.”

Iain Johnson, from the Heavy Music Awards, described the initiative as “important for the future of live music”.

He added: “The Heavy Music Awards is very proud to support Safe Gigs for Women once again.

“It is vital that we all work together to stamp out the risks of sexual assault at gigs and festivals and Safe Gigs for Women offer a very effective spearhead for that.

“Such behaviour should never be tolerated, we must stand together and stamp it out.”

For more information about Safe Gigs for Women click visit the official website, or find them on Twitter or Facebook.

Producer Henrik Udd Discusses Recording Architects’ ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’

Henrik Udd – alongside Fredrik Nordström – forms one half of the production team behind a number of bona fide classics in modern heavy music. In additon to Architects’ ‘Lost Forever / Lost Together’ and ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ – winner of Best Album at HMA17, at which Udd and Nordström jointly picked up the Best Producer award – Udd has also set an incredibly high bar with production work on LPs from Bring Me The Horizon, At The Gates, Delain, Powerwolf, I Killed The Prom Queen, Hammerfall and many more.


Heavy Music Awards 2017 - Photo by Niki Jones


Hi Henrik. Could you tell us about your path to becoming a producer? Was it always your ambition?
It wasn’t really my plan to become one in the first place and I don’t always consider myself as a 100% producer! I just love everything about music production, from mixing, mastering, dialling in tones etc and in metal music it’s pretty typical that the guy who does all these things is the producer.

How did you come to be working together with Fredrik?
While going to audio school I started interning in the studio, back in 2003. My first gig was moving kick drums on Dimmu Borgir’s legendary ‘Death Cult Armageddon’ album that Fredrik was working on during my first 5 weeks of internship. After finishing audio education I got really fed up with my current job so I decided to quit one day and went straight to the studio asking Fredrik if I could do some more internship. That later led to me getting full-time employment when the previous guy working there decided to leave.

Could you describe your role in the studio when you are working together?
In January 2017 I started up my own company so I’m no longer employed by Studio Fredman. Working together with Fredrik has been great and it lasted for over 10 years. We’ve been able to complement each other in many ways and it’s a huge advantage to have another colleague around at all times and be able to get each other’s opinions on something on the spot. Or, if someone is mixing, the other one can come in with fresh ears and point out what could be better etc.


Architects with Henrik Udd and Fredrik Nordström


Photo: Andrew Hayball


Could you give us a quick description of the studio set-up for ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’?

We started by recording the drums for all songs to the pre-recorded guide guitars. Dan played on his SJC Custom kit.

  • Snare drum top and bottom were mic’d with a Sanken CU 31 (Japanese small condenser mic)
  • Kick drum were mic’d with a Shure SM91 inside the kick drum and a U67 mic outside
  • Toms were mic’d with a Shure Beta 56
  • Main overheads were mic’d with Neumann KM 184
  • There’s some support mics for ride, splash and china which is Shure KSM141
  • The pre-amps for the mics are SSL Xlogic SuperAnalogue Channelstrip and Vintech x473

After the drums where finished we did the rhythm guitars and also started off bass guitar.

  • The guitars were Mayones
  • The amps we used were an EVH III, Peavey 5150, Diezel Herbert and a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
  • We used cabs from ENGL, Marshall and Mesa Boogie
  • All the rhythm guitars were quad tracked, i.e. recorded 4 times

The bass guitars were from Dingwall for the lowest tuned songs and from Sandberg for the rest. Bass guitar was a  straight line signal into Pro Tools Sansamp plugin.

We also started to do vocals as early as possible since it’s good for the vocalist not have to rush it all out in the end when everyone else has finished recording.

Sam sang into a CM47 Advanced Audio Microphone. The pre-amp is an SSL XLogic Superanalogue Channelstrip with some moderate compression.

Before ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’, you first worked with Architects on ‘Lost Forever / Lost Together’, which was viewed by many people as the band’s finest album to that point. How did your approach change for the ‘All Our Gods…’? Was there any pressure?
I felt some pressure during the mixing process cause I knew it would get really hard to top the previous album. But the songs and source material that this band deliver is always top quality which helps tremendously to make things a lot easier for the mixer. I could tell straight away from the demos that this had some kind of dark themed shadow over it all and it almost made me feel uneasy but in a beautiful way. For me, it’s all about trying to capture this and trying to make it as good as it can possibly get.

Your relationship with Architects seems to have become almost like family now – how would you describe that relationship? And how does that differ to working with other artists?
If the chemistry is right, this kind of family member relationship as you say, is something that will happen in many cases when working intensely and close to each other with a common goal. What’s a little bit unusual with Architects as a band is the warm hearted chemistry within the band towards each other. In many bands there’s this strong hierarchy and a competitive feeling which doesn’t really open up the group to anyone on the outside. There’s probably a hierarchy in Architects to but they’re all just genuinely nice guys!

Obviously ‘All Our Gods…’ has become an even more significant album as it was Tom Searle’s swansong. Clearly this had a huge influence on the songs and lyrics – how would you say it impacted the recording process?
I don’t think I really understood the state that Tom was in. He kept the spirits and mood so high and enjoyed recording so much. Such a funny guy, it was a joy being around him in the studio. There was one time in the middle of Tom’s guitar recording where he had to fly back to England to do some unplanned extensive surgery. I thought that the recording would be paused and pushed forward from there on – or maybe never finished – but he came back the very next day ready to get back on it again. Such a trooper!


Heavy Music Awards 2017 - Photo by Niki Jones


Why do you think fans and industry have connected with ‘All Our Gods…’ in such a positive way?
I think the songwriting, performance and production on this album is great and it has some real weight to the lyrics. Sam’s ways of expressing those words together with the heavy rhythms and beautiful ambient soundscape speaks to a lot of people I guess.

What projects are you working on now?
Right now I’m mixing a really cool band called Myrath. It’s a progressive oriental metal band from Tunisia.

Heavy Music Awards Return for 2018

The dust has barely settled on the first ever Heavy Music Awards, but today we are very excited to announce the event will return in 2018 with a full programme across the calendar year which will shine an even brighter light on the heavy music scene’s incredible talent both on and off stage.

Earlier this year, the inaugural HMAs received almost 100,000 votes from the public and crowned its first winners in August – Architects (Best Album), Enter Shikari (Best Live Band), Ghost (Best Album Artwork), Black Sabbath (Best UK Band), Gojira (Best International Band), I Prevail (Best Breakthrough Band), O2 Academy Brixton (Best Venue), Ben Gibson (Best Photographer), Download Festival (Best Festival), and Fredrik Nordström + Henrik Udd (Best Producer).

We’re not giving the whole game away just yet, but we can reveal HMA18 will once again take place in London on Thursday 23 August 2018, with a number of additional announcements due in the coming months.

New Categories

We’ve also given the categories a little reworking to underline our philosophy of giving exposure to up-and-coming artists alongside the established heavyweights. With that in mind, we’ve split the Best Breakthrough Band category in two – to create Best UK Breakthrough Band and Best International Breakthrough Band.

In addition, with more and more festival goers travelling abroad, we have opened nominations for Best Festival to the whole world.

We’ll be back with more announcements very, very soon.

Heavy Music Awards 2017

Creeper headlined HMA17 at House of Vans London



Sponsorship Opportunities

If you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities for HMA18, please email team@heavymusicawards.com or call 01277 356200.

Exclusive HMA17 Show to be Aired on Sky This Weekend

Highlights of the Heavy Music Awards 2017 are to premiere on Scuzz TV (Sky 367) on Saturday (September 16) at 9pm.

It will be repeated on Sunday, September 17, at 10pm.

The show will feature performances from headline act Creeper, Venom Prison, Vukovi and Dead! as well as appearances from the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter and HMA winners Architects, Enter Shikari and Download Festival’s Andy Copping.

One of the on-stage features of HMA17 – which was sponsored by EMP – was the voiceover work of former BBC radio presenter Clare Reeves.

Clare’s dulcet tones announced each of the finalists at House of Vans London on August 24.

As a professional UK voiceover artist, Clare records a wide range of projects including TV and radio commercials, documentary narration, corporate videos, e-learning, museum soundscapes, audio guides, interactive voice response IVR and much more.

These top quality projects have been sent around the world to clients including Trivago, BMW, Deloitte, BBC, National Geographic, Hilary’s Blinds, Abu Dhabi Government and Unilever.

Clare is a BBC-trained radio presenter/audio engineer and an actor, passionate communicator and beachcomber.

The HMA team caught up with Clare to talk more about her fascinating work and mission to “bring your words to life”.

Q. Tell us about Clare Reeves and the work you do as a voice over artist (VOA)?

I’m Clare and I’m a Voiceover Artist. The wonderful thing about my work is the wide variety of projects and clients. My work includes voicing TV and Radio Commercials, TV documentary narration, Corporate productions of all kinds – from promotional videos, explainer videos for websites, phone answering systems, event announcements, exhibition stands to elearning! Then some days I work on museum soundscapes and audio guides and jingles for DJs / Podcasters.. I’ve even leant my voice to a dance music track and I’ve got an Art Installation coming up soon!

Q. What type of businesses do you work for?

All sorts, from global brands such as Unilever, BMW, Deloitte and Fox International Channels to UK based businesses, the NHS, charities and startups. I believe every business has a story to tell and a brand they treasure – using a professional voice is the best way to sound as good as you look.. businesses pay so much attention to their logo without sometimes thinking about what voice is on their answering system.. I think that is beginning to change and people are more aware of the power of a pro voice in an increasingly competitive world.

Q. You are one of the region’s leading VOA. How did you get into that industry?

I worked in the BBC for many years both sides of the microphone, as a radio presenter and also as a sound engineer at the BBC World Service. I used to direct the BBC’s TV Channels live on air and I’m a confirmed broadcast technology geek! I’m a total telly addict. I also have a background in acting with some theatre training. All of these things really came together for me after I had my son.. I wanted to build my own career, do something I loved that I could grow over the years. Voiceover isn’t just talking, it’s a hugely complex set of skills that all have to come together at a given moment to create the right thing. Some clients like to direct – others like me to direct myself. It’s about bringing words to life and giving them meaning as you lift them off the page. I train hard with a coach in LA and one in the UK as well. It’s vital to push yourself, to keep on top of current Voiceover trends (yes, there are trends) as it’s a very competitive business.

Q. How has being a VOA changed over the years, in terms of producing recordings and using technology?

Technology is ESSENTIAL for Voiceover Actors. I record most of my work from my own studio, at home, into Adobe Audition on my Mac – I edit and mix in the digital world and send finished files digitally as well. Clients also like to direct me live sometimes over Skype.. it’s all very current. It’s changed hugely since the days of having to go into a studio to be recorded on tape. Also in terms of how I find work and how work finds me.

Q. Tell us how, as a VOA, you use the Internet to connect with the public?

Most of my work finds me via the internet as well, and I use online marketing and social media a great deal too. I’m a little obsessed with Twitter.. it’s great for collecting contacts as well as keeping a profile amongst the public and clients. I endeavour to keep my website up to date with showreels and videos and news of what I’m up to. One aspect of the technology that can be overlooked is how wonderful it is to keep connected. As I say, I work largely on my own – it could be very isolating – but thankfully I have a fantastic network of friends in the business and we chat daily online, share stories and wisdom etc. It’s a bit like being in an office – well, the good bits!

Q. How can using a VOA enhance an event?

Events are exciting, they are an occasion. I think that participants and guests want to feel special at an event. By using a pro Voiceover to make announcements (we call it being “Voice of God” in the VO biz!) I think you are saying “we are serious, we are professional, we respect you and want you to feel special, this matters”. It also means that the brand holding the event looks good.. you don’t notice a great voice necessarily – you notice a great event and how you felt.

Q. If a business wants to use your services, what is the best way of connecting with you?

Pop over to my website clarereevesvoiceovers.com and send me a note via my contact form – I’m always happy to chat through what you think you need, provide a free sample and quote for you. Even if you have never worked with a voiceover before, I make things easy and help you out every step of the way.

Photo: James North Photography

Category Spotlight: Best UK Band

We’re taking a closer look at the finalists for the inaugural Heavy Music Awards – if you’re still trying to decide your favourite, or if you’d like to discover some new artists, this is a great place to start.

First up it’s Best UK Band, a category presented by Uprawr.

Please note: judges had the option to keep their votes private. The lists you see below are from judges who were happy to publicise their selections.


The release of ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ preceded a period of intense public grief for Brighton’s Architects, following the passing of guitarist Tom Searle. The band had just turned in what many critics hailed as a career-best album, and yet, even with such a huge emotional challenge to overcome, the band continue to build a reputation for their incendiary live show and genuine connection with their fanbase.

Architects received nominations from*: Tom Taaffe (UTA), Emma Van Duyts (Public City PR), Warul Islam (Communion), Stephen Hill (That’s Not Metal), Tom Stabb (Sony), Alex Herron (Scuzz), Sophie K (Freelance), Peu Cheung (ADA), Paul Towers (Impericon), Luke Logemann (UNFD), Louis Dale (Eagle Rock), James Monteith (Hold Tight PR), Joe Naan (Live Nation)…

Biffy Clyro

Biffy Clyro straddle the fence between rock and pop – with a set that can easily be tweaked for Download or BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend – but with a catalogue that features more than its fair share of genuinely enormous riffs, their place among more traditionally heavy artists is assured. Seventh album ‘Ellipsis’ was released in July 2016 and promptly set up camp at the top of album charts in five countries, giving the Scottish trio their second UK number one album.

Biffy Clyro received nominations from*: Christian D’Acuna (The O2), Roberto Bua (Twickets), Smiley Dave (DJ / Presenter), Carly Maile (Somethin’ Else), Jo Kendall (Freelance), Jennyfer J. Walker (Freelance), Jack Parker (All Things Loud)…

Black Peaks

Brighton’s Black Peaks formed in 2012 under the name Shrine, and have gone on to produce a debut album, ‘Statues’, that is beloved to critics, fans and fellow artists. Vocalist Will Gardner possesses a unique range, often pivoting from guttural bellows to a delicate falsetto to rabid screams in the same song. The band’s invitation to open for fellow HMA17 finalists Deftones at their mammoth Wembley Arena show demonstrates their acceptance at the top table of heavy music.

Black Peaks received nominations from*: Emma Van Duyts (Public City PR), Stephen Hill (That’s Not Metal), Rob Collins (Cooking Vinyl), Lauren Reading-Gloversmith (Inception PR), Lottie Hunt (BIMM), Mark Rawlings (EMP), Andy Saiker (Warner), Callum Galbraith (Universal), Christopher Lee (Punktastic), Daniel P. Carter (BBC Radio 1 Rock Show)…

Black Sabbath

If you need an introduction to Black Sabbath, you’re on the wrong website.

Black Sabbath received nominations from*: Michelle Wood (Songkick), Renaud Doucet (Deezer), Ben Ward (UTA), Tony Wilson (TotalRock), Tom Lynam (Tone Management), Will Beardmore (Warner), Ryan J. Downey (Superhero Artist Management)…

Bring Me The Horizon

Sheffield’s Bring Me The Horizon have carved out a career many of their contemporaries can only envy – creative freedom, a steady growth to arena-level success across the world, and – almost in spite of their detractors – the talent and courage to venture into areas few would even dream of visiting. The success of their 2016 Royal Albert Hall show in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust – backed by a full orchestra – hints at even more exciting curveballs in the future.

Bring Me The Horizon received nominations from*: Andrew Daw (Universal), Jon Mahon (Generation Entertainment), Daniel P. Carter (BBC Radio 1 Rock Show), Helen Buffett (Eagle Rock), Jack Davis (Uprawr), Mel Clarke (DJ), Paul Shuff (Freelance), James Loughrey (Producer), Lais Martins Waring (LD Communications)…


Having emerged from Southampton’s dark underworld and signed to Roadrunner Records, Creeper have made fast work of winning over fans and industry alike. Their debut album ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ arrived in March 2017, but while their rapid success has elevated them to cover stars seemingly overnight, it is the band’s impeccable attention to songcraft and visual detail that has transcended the horror punk scene they cherish so dearly, firming up that indisputable connection with listeners of all ages and backgrounds.

Creeper received nominations from*: Gus Hully (Official Charts Company), Will Beardmore (Warner), Mike Heath (Dead Press), Dave Rajan (Parlophone), Jack Parker (All Things Loud), Jamie Graham (Sumerian), Liam Spencer (Artery Global), Chloe Scannapieco (Freelance), Jack McGurran (Rock Entertainment), James Isaacs (Blackfinch Design), Stephen Hill (That’s Not Metal), Emma Davis (CAA), Corinne Cumming (Captured By Corinne), Lauren Reading-Gloversmith (Inception PR)…

Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes

Having enjoyed critical success in both Gallows and Pure Love, Frank Carter’s latest project sees him settling into a role that the Watford vocalist says himself fits better than ever. Their relentless touring schedule has seen them build a reputation as a fearsome live spectacle, while the fearlessness of their songwriting endears the band to fans of anything from crusty streetpunk to Britpop.

Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes received nominations from*: Christopher Lee (Punktastic), Sue Reinhardt (Eleven Seven), Will Beardmore (Warner), Judith Fisher (BJF Media & PR), Mike James (TotalRock), Christian D’Acuna (The O2), Ben Davis (Ben Davis Touring), Adrian Storry (DJ / Promoter), Steph Van Spronsen (Live Nation)…


*This list is just a selection of judges to have nominated this artist.

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