Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Time For: Liam Tootill

Google adverts, Times' Rich List and a Channel 4 series just the norm now, Jamal Edward's online hobby turned business, broadcasting company SBTV is proving that there's more than enough young people with good ideas and an even better work ethic here in the UK. We talk to SBTV's MD Liam Tootill about bringing the brand to the stage it's at now and what he sees happening in the future; plus the obstacles of making SBTV a profitable business and how he entered the scene in the first place via our very own Hattie Collins.

How would you explain your journey into the music scene?

Pretty strange to be fair. I wrote my MA dissertation on the grime scene which is essentially how I met Jamal and developed the relationship to get to where I am today. When I finished university I was on the dole and couldn't get a job at all. Eventually I got a break through Hattie Collins when she gave me a shot at interning at RWD magazine. I had referenced her work a lot during my research for the thesis and so it felt like a really big break to have the chance to work alongside her. Off the back of that, I started working more regularly with Jamal and in the summer of 2010 things started moving really fast for us. As the SB.TV team grew, we started working with some serious clients, in tandem with the growing reputation of the brand. 

What was it like initially getting involved with SB.TV and did you imagine the brand getting as big as it has done?

In the early days I'd write blog posts, some of Jamal's emails, booked in sessions, produced on shoots. Anything and everything. It was all very exciting and the best bit was that we were in control of growing it how we felt best. I always felt the SB.TV brand had potential to grow, it was something that attracted me to it in the first place. I still see it as nowhere near it's potential and we still have far bigger dreams to achieve our true vision. 

What, if any, blocks did you come across alongside Jamal trying to get the SBTV brand onto the next level?

A hard time was when we first registered the company as a business as it was a transitional period from glorified hobby to real potential for a career. Start-ups regularly fold in their first year and we had shaky periods but I think it's always been about the team spirit and hard-working integrity of the staff that has seen us through. We learnt some valuable lessons because of mistakes we made. I think the important thing was that we bounced back. 

Who have SBTV worked alongside and what campaigns/projects have you got coming up?

We've been involved in some mad projects over the past twelve months. Highlights include featuring in our own T4 show 'From Bedroom To Boardroom', having Google make an advert on Jamal's story, holding a party in Nando's, taking grime to parliament and hosting our Xmas party in KOKO.

Over the summer we're gonna be doing more of the same. We've got some exciting live stuff coming up including curating festival stages, launching our open-mic event and doing a uni tour in fresher's week but the main emphasis is still with good quality music content for the channel

Other than SBTV what are you involved with and up to?

I do some freelance consultancy for SyCo and have recently had a music-based documentary commissioned for Channel 4 which (fingers crossed) will be airing in mid-June. I also do a bit of contributing for i-D magazine. 

How important do you think it is to give back, you're becoming quite well known for your talks, etc?

Haha, I think it's very important. I benefited from those kind of events. They're great places to meet people and engage with the scene. 

Lastly, what are your most memorable moments in your career so far and what do you still hope to achieve?

I think this video definitely represents the energy, excitement and buzz felt working for SB.TV over the past two and half years. It's our 2012 showreel

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