So you've formed a band, mastered your chosen instrument, you've even written some songs and played some gigs and yet you're still mired in the local toilet scene where your family and friends make up half the audience. You may not aspire to world domination and platinum discs but you at least want to be heard. The internet is a useful tool but with so many voices crying out for attention it's hard to be heard above the din. Playing live to a wide variety of people in venues with a tradition for good shows and exciting bills would be just the kind of leg up you crave. Well, help is at hand with the London based Music League.

The premise is fairly simple: musicians submit their details and songs to The Music League website and, if selected, play a number of gigs at various venues across the capital where punters vote for their favourite act and fans can further take their choice online. The top three acts at the end of the gigging cycle face off for a chance at a slot at a summer festival in front of more potential fans.

Room Thirteen caught up with founder/organiser/promoter/all-round music enthusiast Sophie McCreddie (SM) for the skinny on The Music League and this year's competition.

R13:: How and why did TML get started? How did you choose the particular format and; what makes TML special compared with the usual battle of the bands gigs?
SM:: TML was born out of being a frustrated musician myself. I am in a band so I know the issues that effect bands playing the London music scene. It was growing increasingly annoying that we would play and we would get a lot of people to come and see us but there would be nothing more....we didn't seem to be working towards anything.
I decided that the one thing we all, as musicians, want is exposure and to play live to great crowds and ultimately at a Festival. In 2008 when the idea was born festivals seemed to be increasingly on people's summer agendas and it seemed to me the perfect place and atmosphere to showcase new music. I wanted to create something which had a big festival slot as its final goal. So musicians would play a series of gigs in pursuit of a festival slot they would never normally be given as a fledgling unsigned band. It would be the support of fans and votes of the general public that would get the winning act to this sought after position. Throughout the process which lasts a couple months, the acts involved would have drummed up more support for themselves than they would if they were playing an average gig and would have gained more fans in the process.
I think what makes TML special is that it was created by a musician and that it is dedicated to getting acts that are part of it more exposure. Those who have been part of TML become part of the family. I still contact acts that were in TML the year before last hooking them up with things I think they would be suitable for. It is not Simon Cowell or his minions deciding what is gonna sell them loads of records it is an audience of real music lovers deciding who they want to hear more of and who they feel is deserving of a festival slot. It is that fact also that makes it different; that you get to play a UK festival, which I think when it comes to reaching more like minded people is the way forward.

R13:: Who's involved in running and organising the League? Is it a one woman show?
SM:: Well, ultimately the decisions are down to me but I am very lucky to have been helped along the way but some really amazing, creative and talented people who bring so much to TML simply because they like the idea and sentiment behind it. From web designers like Para to photographers like Trent McMinn and Jonny Lee, to filming companies like CGFC, to our compares and lovely reviewers. All of the people who have helped along the way are people who love music; love being creative and love to listen to music live with friends. Initially, if I hadn't had the support of amazing friends and family this would have never been able to see the light of day.

R13: How do musicians get involved and how are they ultimately chosen?
SM:: To get involved all you have to do is be Unsigned for a start then go to our website and there is an application section right there. We get a lot of acts coming through and every single one is listened to. I get a group of music lovers of all tastes together to trawl through all of the applicants and discuss the ones we like. We whittle this down to 30 and from these it is the general public who choose the final 16 to go into the live rounds. From here on in it is all down to the general public. People can vote online for the act they like but the act will receive more points if you get to their live night and see them in action and vote for them there. Acts and their fans can track their progress on our online league table. After all the nights have been played the top 3 acts with the most points go on to play a final show at Winterwell Festival where the audience choose the Winner to go on to play the big UK festival slot.

R13: What kind(s) of music does TML showcase?
SM:: We showcase all types just as long as the act is unsigned. Over the last 2 years we have had everything from Ska, to Indie to Folk to Reggae to Pop to Grunge to Electro Rock to Punk even alternative rock with no singing. It is all about good music whatever the genre.

R13: Do you think playing live is still the best way for unsigned bands to get noticed considering all the other avenues now available?
SM:: I still do believe this. There is so much music out there today. Musicians don't need to go to recording studios anymore to create their EP or album they just buy the right software and get going. Musicians have so much freedom to get their music out there and listened to through websites such as Myspace and Sound Cloud so much so that maybe music lovers feel slightly taken aback by how much there is to hear. If an unsigned musician plays at the right venues/ nights they will be heard by the right people. Also another point is it is easy to make your music sound great on these websites but there is nothing better than hearing an act live to get the real picture. There are no tricks live, it is all raw and all real. It opens up new groups of people as potential fans and it introduces acts to other like minded musicians. The ultimate live gig I feel is a festival. How amazing for a little known act to be put on the bill alongside high profile acts and playing to people who adore hearing music at its There is nothing better than listening to an act you love surrounded by the people you want to be with, in a field with the sun beating down on you, dressed as Willy Wonka holding an ice cold pear cider. God I've got myself going a bit here.....bring on summer!

R13:: How have past TML's gone? Have there been any stand-out acts for you, and any you'd like to forget?
SM:: Well as is expected the first year in 2009 was the hardest as it was the first time for everything. It is the only way to learn. Small tweaks were made here and there to make things run more smoothly, making last year a lot easier and more enjoyable. With every year that TML goes on I learn more and it gets more and more exciting. One thing that really makes TML stand out is the quality of acts that are part of it. We have had some real gems, who have been such a pleasure to work with. I would say some of the musical highlights for me have been of course last years winners Nimmo & The Gauntletts, Our Lost Infantry, The Dirty Chimes, The Drop, The Kid Jones, Scubaroots, Tweleve Clay Feet, The Martini Sessions, Hannah & The Heartbreak, I could go on and on. I am constantly amazed by the amount and level of talent that is out there that's what makes putting on TML so special.

R13:: What are the expectations for 2011 and beyond what's in the future for TML?
SM:: I have had a little listen to some of the acts that have applied for TML 2011 and I think we are in for another exciting year in terms of music. We also have some more amazing venues to showcase the acts in. With regards to the future I am positive. I am pursuing avenues to expand TML and I am even thinking of taking it to other UK cities to uncover unsigned talent countrywide. I have big ideas for TML when it comes to reaching more people and providing amazing platforms for unsigned musicians, but it will always remain an organic thing, a musical family if you like....the ethos will never change. Don't worry I'm not going all X factor on you..... TML will always be dedicated to providing much deserved exposure for talented unsigned musicians.

R13:: What's the reaction been like from the acts involved, the punters and the venues?
SM:: The reaction from those involved in TML is always so good. As I have mentioned for those who have been part of it becomes a sort of family. Even after TML has finished for the year we will try to get acts who have been part of it further exposure at suitable events/ nights etc. I have always had positive feedback about the nights from the musicians who tell me they love the atmosphere at a TML night to the fans that are blown away by the quality of music. Last year we were giving away Kodak cameras to members of the's always nice to repay the fans some how and we will be doing more of that this year. It is always touch and go if you are going to deal with someone who is unwelcoming and a bit too cool for school at these venues but luckily the majority of the people I have dealt with have been great. Some particular venue highlights who have similarly come back with glowing reviews about TML nights have been the Cross Kings, Mother, Bull & Gate, Amersham and The Good Ship to name but a few. Good live music + Good alive people = a Good night all round.

Can't say fairer than can you? Get involved on or off stage at and support the rich pool of talent in the unsigned scene.