'We are a diverse community': AIM's Paul Pacifico looks ahead to the indie awards show

'We are a diverse community': AIM's Paul Pacifico looks ahead to the indie awards show

It’s the turn of the indies to party tonight (September 4) as the AIM Independent Music Awards returns for its eighth edition. Presented by BBC Radio 1’s MistaJam and HQ’s Sharon Carpenter, the ceremony is staged at The Brewery in Clerkenwell.

Ahead of this year’s bash, AIM announced the recipients of its Innovator (Sophie), Pioneer (Goldie) and Outstanding Contribution (Tracey Thorn) awards. Here, AIM CEO Paul Pacifico talks Music Week through this year’s AIM Awards…

Are you glad to see Idles leading the way with four nominations, just as they are enjoying a breakthrough moment?

We have a fantastic panel of judges who do a really great job and take it very seriously, they have their fingers on the pulse. Idles’ four nominations is a really good illustration of where that band are at right now. I absolutely love the fact that we have Idles, Peggy Gou, Dave and Erasure all nominated at the AIM Awards. If that doesn’t tell a story of the strength of diversity in UK music, I don’t know what does.

It’s a very diverse, multi-genre ceremony, isn’t it? 

It’s part of the DNA of the AIM community, we are by definition an extraordinarily broad and diverse community that’s representative of the UK’s fantastic independent music scene. In everything that we do there is diversity, because we are representative of our community.

The Best Live Act category is eclectic, with Idles up against Steps, DMA’s, Erasure and Cassia…

AIM is an organisation that tries to host the awards in a way that allows the music to speak, and allows the judges to express their thoughts and feelings on the landscape right now. I enjoy the fact that if you’re really into music, then you listen to a broad range of music; and if you listen to a broad range of music, then the AIM Awards nominations are extremely relevant to you.

How does it compare to the BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize?

The BRIT Awards is a very different thing, it’s very much a TV show, very commercial and very much a major label awards show. The Mercury Prize is closer to the AIM awards in the sense that it celebrates a much stronger diversity of talent and isn’t solely driven by the commercial numbers. For me, the only way to characterise it is as a celebration of music.

You seem to have renamed the Difficult Second Album category as Best Sophomore Release, with nods for Fever Ray, Gwenno, King Krule, Let’s Eat Grandma and Nines…

It has changed. It was Difficult Second Album, but it was a bit too much of an inside joke for the industry. I think this year’s list is exceptional.

What are your hopes for this year’s ceremony?

The AIM Awards as whole is in transition. One of the things we’re changing up this year for the awards is to totally revamp the aftershow, so it’s now a real focus point. It’s going to start much earlier at 9.15pm and we’ve got a number of performances. 

There’s always a good turnout from the industry, isn’t there? Last year you had artists ranging from Jarvis Cocker to Stormzy…

It is very much a peer-to-peer thing, it’s about artists and their [industry] partners celebrating together. The AIM awards and the Ivor Novellos are the two award shows in the industry that really connect culturally, creatively and commercially.

To read Paul Pacifico’s reaction to the majors’ Spotify equity payouts to indie labels, subscribers can click here.

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