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Soundcamp is a 12-week programme that gives up-and-coming artists the opportunity to develop their performance and music business skills, delivered in partnership with Youth Music. The Soundcamp Spotlight series is a feature that aims to shine the light on Soundcamp artists and share their stories with our audience. 

Next up it’s Alex Pascalidis… 

Please could you introduce yourself? 

My name is Alex Pascalidis, soon to be under the alias bathhat. I am a folk artist, a poet and on the odd occasion, I put some noises together whilst DJing.

When did your musical journey start? 

My serious musical journey started a little later on. I went to uni to do music production but started making music the summer before. I am still a bit shocked that I got in at all. I could always sing and loved doing that but I always thought music was gatekept, as in, because I didn’t have any formal training I wasn’t able to do it. I had the same thing growing up with dance, I didn’t learn formally but from films and again, any possibility I thought I had about doing something with it faded quite quickly when I thought there were traditional barriers in front of me. 

I make quite specifically folk music now. I have a loose definition of what folk music is, but for me, it is guitar and singing. Adrianne Lenker is a big inspiration of mine, along with Grouper so that may give an idea of what I’m talking about. I’m interested in the delicate and beautiful along with the abstract. I am still trying to figure out how to make a sonic identity but for now, I am just trying to sing well, consistently and write good songs.

You were part of Soundcamp 2018. Do you have any highlights or experiences you would like to share? 

The main highlight of the Soundcamp experience apart from meeting some amazing talent and being mentored by some extraordinary artists (and when I say extraordinary I mean legends in the music industry), was gaining creative confidence in my artistry, and I really mean artistry. What has me exploring a lot of different mediums to this day is the ignition that the project gave me.  

Has your career progressed or changed since participating in Soundcamp? 

I think that the establishment of a poetic voice since Soundcamp has welcomed a splitting of energy. Both poetry and music are equally important in my life now. I never knew I would be this into writing, reading and exploring the subconscious through the written word. I think from a music perspective I was once so interested in having a high volume of projects being released and not really caring what came of them. Now I care a lot more about what comes of them and whether or not the project is the best thing I can do at that moment. I think that taking your time and trusting in whatever it is you think you can do is for the best. 

How and when did your facilitation journey start with Reform? How did the opportunity to manage Soundcamp 2022 come about? 

Facilitation came after Soundcamp. At the time I was getting more and more into educating myself and realising the power or excitement that came from that. I was feeling quite cheated by the education system, convincing me that learning is boring. I wanted to go about sharing something with other people, teaching and passing on some of my knowledge, that seemed cool. 

I think there was some funding from Soundcamp that basically paid us to run a single 2 hour session and for that first one I taught creativity. Since then I made it clear that I wanted to facilitate with the directors and then did another one-off creativity session and built up from there. I have now been working between Reform Radio and Sonder Radio for the past year, facilitating and creating various creative skills workshops. 

There is the opportunity here to be romantic about how the opportunity to manage Soundcamp 2022 came about but it would be a hard spin. I think the real story is I didn’t have a project coming up and was figuring out a way to talk to the directors about maybe filling in on one or two of the days at Soundcamp Bootcamp. As I was going to send the message, I received one asking if I wanted to do just that and then I was offered the role. I didn’t really know what project managing would entail but I said yes very quickly and I’m glad I did. 

How does it feel to have come full circle and now be the one guiding people who were once in your shoes? 

There are two edges to it. I think on the one hand I love it, it is inspiring to see so much talent in the room and be at the beginning of a lot of seriously good musician’s careers. On the other hand, I think it puts into perspective a little how I have come full circle but I am still relatively in the same place with my music. There is always the imposter syndrome writhing away in the back of my mind. But, if I can add anything on top of my experience to what the facilitators are saying, I will, and everything I say I believe, it is just whether I myself have my own proof of it working for me.

What advice would you give somebody thinking of applying for Soundcamp next year? 

Give it a shot and see what happens. If you get chosen that’s cool, if you don’t that’s also cool. You don’t need it to become the thing you are supposed to be, it can help take yourself seriously and it can help with learning specific things about the industry but there are many famous musicians who didn’t go through Soundcamp who are successful. The boot camp is such a hotbed of creativity and talent, that even if you attend that and make some connections you will be winning. The amount of music I have heard of being made as a result of the boot camp is actually ridiculous, so many conversations come up about the collaboration that’s happened since with lots of different people. It’s beautiful. That, for me, is the reason you go to Soundcamp. 

The process helped me so much and I know that it helps all those that get through it. The first bit of creative confidence I got with my music was Werkha listening to my music on the first day of attending and taking an interest in what I had done. That was the spark. Go to the boot camp and just allow yourself to create. What happens after that is out of your control but as long as you are creating you will be good.

Anything upcoming that you would like to shout out?

I have a music project coming out soon! Hopefully, it will be done and out within the next few months. It is a folk project. No name yet but it will be the debut project from my new alias bathhat. The project is just me and some guitar and it is the first project that I feel I will like in 3 years so that’s a positive. 

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