Bristol’s student music scene: A sit down with Edward Granshaw, an up and coming musician

‘You’ve got to be insane enough to do it and make it’

It’s that time of year again when Bristol becomes a sunny ground of opportunity for student musicians. The era of day raves, block parties, and Love Saves the Day is around the corner. The city’s emerging talent is providing the soundtrack to the start of summer.

One of the more UoB-specific occasions is Winestock. We sat down with singer and songwriter Edward Granshaw, one of the performing acts of the event, to discuss his musical projects and experience with Bristol’s student music scene.

In his hometown of Guildford, Granshaw’s musical journey began while volunteering at a charity. Here he provided music to young adults with autism and social learning difficulties. This experience produced his first single ISOLATION (Across the Nation). He took inspiration from Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Wallows, and Alfie Templeman as his Spotify most played. His most recent song ‘Amelia’ came out last Friday 10th May.

Where does the magic of these songs happen? In the most popular recording studio for young people today: his bedroom, and the GarageBand app.

The student music scene in Bristol is highly competitive. In comparison to London, it is a “perfectly-sized” city, containing a network of creative universities. Bristol is full of independent venues like Mr Wolfs, The Fleece and The Exchange, so there is no shortage of places to scout fellow musicians. A dream place of Edward’s to perform would be Rough Trade an intimate yet iconic location.

He claims his music has not yet been influenced by Bristol as a city. However, his album artwork and pictures reflect the location. Much of his work has been a product of collaboration with other student creatives including his Winestock bandmates Barney, Seb, Frazer and album photographer Ned.

Credit: Ned Button

The 21-year-old qualifies his music as “synthy poppy indie,” although, in his own words “everyone is indie now.” When asked about his own style, he answers “That’s what I’m trying to form”. He is in the early stages of his music career and is still learning his way.

New artists are making shorter songs, both because of reduced gig time, and because TikTok only needs a good 30 seconds. The online platform has completely transformed the criteria for music, and the personality behind songs is more important than ever. TikTok provides a vital opportunity for artists to get exposure through grassroots methods, empowering them to build their own platforms. He cites examples like Noah Kahan, whose “presence on the internet carried him forward.” The challenge is acquiring the balance between “trying to stand out, but be consistent at the same time.”

Edward studies neuroscience, an unlikely combination with indie song-making. But this is precisely the duality of student musicians as he balances his passion for music with his proficiency in neuroscience. Many students are faced with the decision to choose between a practical degree over an arts degree, and Granshaw was one of these.

Despite his passion for music, he chose an unrelated degree, preferring to play with sound in his bedroom and see what comes of it. He adds “A lot of people compromise what they want to do, and that’s not a bad thing.” It is a risky world, in which “you’ve got to be insane enough to do it and make it” and not many do. Pursuing this may be the worst decision of this life, or the best. “I’m using uni as the time where I can do my degree but also try to get my feet off the ground, to figure out – where do I wanna go from this?'”

Numerous students are trying to make music and form bands who do not know how to find each other. Granshaw recounts his countless rounds of the Thekla smoking area, asking its indie Thursday night fans if any of them play bass “You’ve got to know where to look.” It’s challenging to find people with the same goals, but this “makes the journey even more worth it when you do meet them.” In response to this issue, Edward aims to set up a university society soon revolving around gigs and bands. It would build a community for like-minded people to showcase their talent through performance and enjoy music events of different sizes. This could be an exciting solution to facilitate the process of creative cooperation.

Bristol does however have several student music societies including BUMS and Jazz Funk Soul Society. Edward’s however, would differ from this, by forming individual bands and finding gig venues.

You can catch Edward Granshaw performing at both Winestock nights, on Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June.

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