The second AIM Independent Music Awards took place last night in London, the culmination of a year's worth of work for myself and the AIM Awards team. And thankfully, by all accounts it was a great night...Twitter has been buzzing all night long with an overwhelming amount of kind tweets from guests and excited 'thank yous' from winners. I suspect there are a lot of sore heads and quiet offices across London this morning!
Last night's proceedings were hosted by Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq (or 'the indie Ant n Dec' as we like to call them at AIM HQ), who have been long-term supporters of AIM and the independent sector, and involved in the awards from its humble beginnings in the basement of a Soho restaurant in 2011.
We've come a long way in 12 short months. This year's awards were held at Clerkenwell's The Brewery, and were attended by 650 of the music industry's finest, who assembled for a night celebrating the creative triumphs and endeavours of independent record labels, despite the fact that we rather cruelly held it on a cold Monday evening.
We were fortunate to have three great independent artists perform on the night; Frankie & the Heartstrings and recent Mute Records signings Big Deal and Land Observations, who performed in honour of Mute boss Daniel Miller, the recipient of our Pioneer Award. An iconic figure in electronic music and a widely respected member of the independent music community, Daniel wasn't expecting the performance and was suitably moved by the tribute, as well as video messages from Mute artists Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, Liars and Josh T Pearson, who surprised guests with his version of 'Danny Boy'.
Guests were also visibly moved when Edwyn Collins collected his Outstanding Contribution to Music Award from Subway Sect's Vic Godard and Frankie & the Heartstrings, who's first album he produced. Edwyn overcame a life threatening stroke several years ago, and with the tireless help of his wife Grace has made an exceptional recovery, going on to make the defining album of his career and produce classic albums from The Cribs and others. Edwyn is an often-overlooked independent music hero, and there was a wonderful feeling of warmth and admiration in the room as he took to the stage.
If there's one thing to be noted about the list of AIM Awards winners (below), it's the sheer breadth of diversity and talent in the independent sector. The UK's independent labels and artists are such a hotbed of talent covering every musical genre, from underground artists through to the massive global success of Adele. Bands like Enter Shikari (winners of Independent Album of the Year) have rejected the major label model and gone on to thrive creatively and achieve huge success. It's a sector I'm incredibly proud to be part of, and a list of winners that really reflect the talent, passion and variety that independent music has to offer. Since the last British-owned major label (EMI) sold to Universal recently, the independents now are the British music industry.
Have a listen to the winners and nominees of the 2012 AIM Independent Music Awards on DrownedinSound's Spotify playlist here.
AIM INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS:
Best Live Act (voted for by visitors to the-fly.co.uk): The Prodigy
Independent Breakthrough Of The Year (in association with 7Digital): Alt - J
Hardest Working Band Or Artist: 65daysofstatic
Best Difficult Second Album: First Aid Kit - 'The Lion's Roar'
Independent Album Of The Year (In association with Bird & Bird): Enter Shikari - 'A Flash Flood Of Colour'
Best Small Label (in association with Sound Performance): Black Butter Records
Genre Spotlight Award: Wiley - 'Evolve Or Be Extinct'
Independent Entrepreneur Of The Year (in association with The Orchard): Simon Raymonde - Bella Union
PPL Award For Most Played Independent Act: Adele
Special Catalogue Release Of The Year: The 13th Floor Elevators - 'Music Of The Spheres'
Independent Label Of The Year (in association with EDC): 4AD
Indie Champion Award: Ian Evans - IME Music
Best Independent Festival (voted for by visitors to thisisfakediy.com): LeeFest
Outstanding Contribution to Music (in association with eMusic): Edwyn Collins
Pioneer Award (in association with Nokia Music): Daniel Miller, Mute