Hive Open Mic Thrives-An Interview With Lucas Kane

I mentioned in this post that Hives recent transformation from the Retro Bar has brought a lot of potential to Manchester’s music scene, and today I caught up with its host, Lucas Kane.

MG: So Lucas, I believe your Open Mic at Hive has been going for a month or two, how’s it going so far?

LK: Really great! We’ve had some extremely fun nights so far and its still in its infancy. I’ve had the pleasure of putting on some extremely talented musicians and the nights are becoming a really nice atmosphere for people to show off their music.

MG: Sweet, one of my favourite performances at Hive was the piano player who did an instrumental of Stairway To Heaven, and he was just passing through town! Do you get many newbies or is it mostly regulars?

LK: If I’m honest, when I first started out I thought it would be mainly regulars but over time word has really got around. New musicians popping in to play has become an important aspect of this open mic, and I’m very proud to have performers at Hive that have never played anywhere before! For me running an open mic isn’t just about adding another night to the list. I wanna create a space for people to learn about Manchester’s music scene whether you’re a performer or just a fan of live music.

MG: That’s a great outlook to have, as nice as it is to have regulars, I love coming across new artists! One thing I admire about your night is the £20 prize draw. Where did you get the idea from, and how come you opted for a prize draw instead of a talent-based model?

LK: I must admit the idea wasn’t mine, but the concept is common among other open mic hosts I admire like The Northern Rambler and Daniel Clarke. Personally I’d love to pay everyone a little something for the work they do, because musicians getting paid for the hard work they put in is something I care about a lot. The reason I’m against the idea of a talent-based model is that music should always be seen as subjective. Artists I prefer are different to ones you prefer and I like to think  that encouraging musicians who are just starting out is just as important as paying the veterans. Incentives are important in running an open mic. At HIVE everyone gets a free drink and a chance to win £20, not to mention when we raffled a Lindt Easter Egg or when we sometimes make a nice buffet for everyone.

MG: I agree completely, for my last question I must ask-do you think there are too many open mics in Manchester? There seems to be something on every day and I wonder if that can get overwhelming for artists.

LK: Definitely not! Being a musician myself I understand how important open mics are for networking with other musicians and finding new fans. The truth is when some open mics are having 24 acts in one night or have such a demand they have to start pre-booking, the need for new open mics targeted at different demographics becomes blatant. As well as that, competition is key for getting better nights. It keeps hosts like me on my toes because I can’t just rely on the same musicians each week. The creation of new open mics has really changed the scene for the better since i started out 5 years ago! There’s more of a community now and working together is how we’re going to make Manchester’s music flourish.

MG: Thank you very much for chatting today.

Hive’s Open Mic runs every Wednesday from 8pm, and you can keep up to date with it here

Marc Gallagher