Five To Watch with Sam Bates

The third instalment of our Five To Watch recommendations is from freelance producer and musician Sam Bates.

Having spent the last five years working as a freelance producer and engineer out of the legendary Ladder Factory over near Shrivenham, Sam recently set up – in partnership with Front of House Management – a studio here in Swindon called Western Audio Recording & Rehearsal ( Boasting a 900 square foot tracking room, with a maximum ceiling height of 24 feet, the studio probably has the largest ‘live’ room in the Swindon area.

Sam also has an impressive background as a musician, having played previous Shuffle’s with the likes of The Carter Affair, Rats Ruined My Brain, and The Incredible Disappearing Boy (amongst others), and he is also a music lecturer at the Academy of Music & Sound and the University of Wolverhampton.

So Sam’s Five To Watch are, in no particular order…


Bradley Cowtan (Band)

Friday – The Victoria – 21:15

Bradley has taken everyone by surprise in the last six months. He’s got a hatful of intelligent songs, an instantly recognisable voice and now a great band behind him. His second single has around 170K views online – make sure you catch him to see why.



Thursday – The Castle – 20:00

I’ve had the pleasure of recording with these guys, and was bowled over by the maturity of their songs & arrangements. Swindon is currently one of the hottest places on the UK indie scene and I think these guys will make a massive impression this year.



Saturday – The Victoria – 20:30

Rising from the ashes of Polar Front, HAIL have taken everything that made that band great and further distilled it into something leaner, smarter and even more hauntingly beautiful. A high-tech future-pop duo with two of this town’s best musicians and a unique sound.



Saturday – The Tuppenny – 18:45

I’ve recorded a brace of singles with DREUW. He has an absurdly emotive voice and a talent for exploring the space within songs. He has a knack for making the spine tingle in a similar way to the Bon Iver of old. Special.


Diagonal People

Friday – The Victoria – 22:45

They made one of the best albums of last year and are an absolute riot of creativity, talent and colour. I’m not even sure they are a band; more a living art installation that is like a 3D Pollock painting made of sound. If you dig Bowie, Eno, Flaming Lips… you’ll love these.