Un-Convention Factory was an experiment, to record, produce and release an entire album in one day, from start to finish. The premise was to demystify the music industry, laying bare the processes involved, and allowing participants a unique insight into what often seems a rather impenetrable business, with a view to inspiring all involved to pursue their own creative endeavors.
For the event, the Heritage Centre, an old mill in Macclesfield, was transformed into the Un-Convention Factory, a bustling hive of musicians, industry experts and young creatives all working together to produce a brand new album over the course of the day. Beginning at 9am, with an intro from Har Mar Superstar, eight bands (including the likes of I Am Kloot, Reverend Soundsystem and The Whip) recorded in half hour sessions in front of 300 participants.
Meanwhile, throughout the Factory, attendees set to work designing album sleeves, screen-printing posters, developing websites and iPhone apps, and broadcasting the likes of Don Letts and John Robb live from the in-house radio station. Between recording sessions, panels featuring artists and experts new and old, from Liam Frost and Jon McClure to Brian Travers and Martin Atkins, discussed everything from the significance of music as culture, to the importance of design in music, to the development of new business models.
Elsewhere there were workshops on modern music management, digital strategies for emerging artists, and advice on touring, alongside art battles and poster exhibitions from local designers commissioned especially for the event. Participants were of course free to explore the factory, interact with the invited creatives and ultimately help make decisions along the way.
By 5.30pm everything was recorded. The sleeve design went to the printers, and the producers began to mix and master the eight tracks. Meanwhile the Factory was transformed from the recording side of the industry, into a live performance space. The evening consisted of a live concert, where five of the bands that had taken part performed. By the end of it all, CDs had been produced, sleeves had been printed and made up, and each participant left with a copy of the album they had helped create from nothing. The tracks were also made available as a free digital download.
The event has since been carried out in Sao Paulo (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Berlin (Germany), Un-Conventional Women in Manchester and London (UK) at Roundhouse.