Dan Carter & George Miller Chat Foodinati Live, Heavy Metal Charities and Pre-Gig Meals

Dan Carter and George Miller chat about their Foodinati Live event, heavy metal charities and their pre-gig meals…



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We all love food (some of us more than others), and we all love metal (again, some of us more than others), so combining the two seems like a great concept. Two friends who have done just that are Dan Carter of the Access Creative College in Birmingham and George Miller of YouTube Channel Foodinati UK.

On April 20th, the pair are putting on the first of hopefully many events where food and metal join forces. The location is the Devils Dog in Birmingham, the birthplace of British Heavy Metal, where, amongst the local bands performing, three local talents, Netherhall, Nameless, and Straight For The Sun, will be performing acoustic sets.

As if that isn’t enough, the entire night runs in conjunction with community-led charity Metal For Good. V13 sat down with for a chat with Dan and George to find out more about this unique event, their plans for the future and their ultimate heavy metal burger…

When we were pitched the idea I thought Foodinati Live was a really interesting concept, can you tell us a bit about it?

George: “My channel is Foodinati UK, and we decided we were going to do this sort of live chat show thing. I met Dan at Uprising Festival last year, we knew we were gonna work on something then this idea came up. Around about the same time, I started working with Metal For Good on some ideas so it seemed like a great way just to bring it all together.”

Dan Carter: “Obviously you meet a lot of people that you bump to in the industry. So, meeting George, checking out the YouTube channel, I think it’s a really cool unique experience both as a metal fan and a food fan. When we initially talked about it, it was a chance to celebrate metal, celebrate food and raise money for a good cause. We were trying to think, as you as well, we go to a lot of events and we didn’t want just another gig. It’s having something unique and special that people want to come to that’s a bit different.”

“When we initially talked about it, it was a chance to celebrate metal, celebrate food and raise money for a good cause.”

Can you expand on the idea a bit? How did the idea come about and what’s your ultimate goal for the event?

George: “I was watching Richard Herring shows where they’ve got comedians talking in front of a live studio audience about their approach to comedy and stuff like that. I want you to do something very similar but with musicians and with the live food element like you get on chat shows where they bring on the chef.

The great thing about Devils Dog is it’s got an open kitchen in it so all the stuff I do on my show I could actually do in the venue. The food element and the music element can happen at the same time, plus having a private kitchen, the tongue in cheek live chat show with these bands doing acoustic performances in lieu of a house band in that sort of chat show format. That was the idea for the whole experience. It is a big silly idea and I went to Dan and I asked him if he thought we could do it?”

Dan: “Being in Birmingham, it is literally the home of metal but it’s the home of food as well. With Digbeth Dining Club, literally hosting the event in Digbeth, you’ve literally got both things fit right here in Birmingham. It’s the first event. We’ll see how it goes and hopefully it’ll kick off and we’ll start to make it an annual thing.”

Do you see it as a one-off or do you plan on it being a regular thing? Also, you mentioned Digbeth in Birmingham and the Devils Dog but do you see it expanding out of Birmingham?

George: “The idea was, because it’s such a unique idea, we would do this one, throw everything we have at it and if it goes well, then we’d address that and possibly make it a regular, say quarterly, or annual thing, I don’t think I could commit to every month, I mean, we’re both very busy, but, then the idea was maybe to try it in other cities, celebrate their city and stuff like that. It’s got legs. We’ve just got to suck it and see.”

Dan: “I think that’s it. It can be a touring thing. Both myself and George have got a big vision, and I think that’s why we work well together really, because it’s all about vision, connections, and not being afraid to try to break that mold by trying something a little bit different.

I think it’s got a lot of potential that, if it does become a success, it could be a touring thing. Obviously it depends on timescales and logistics and interest and things like that in the city but I think it would be something that would go down really well in London. I think it’d be something that would go down really well in Manchester, in Leeds, and so on.”

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You talked about approaching bands and you said, George, it was a big silly idea that’s gone further than just an idea. How did the bands react when you said you’re going to put on this food and metal event?

Dan: “I put it to Netherhall first and foremost, who are obviously going to be playing a very rare, acoustic performance. I say very rare but I don’t think they’ve ever done it before. To anybody that’s never seen Netherhall, their music is sublime. It’s beautiful. It hits hard emotion wise so to strip it back. That was it as well with me and George. We wanted something that was able to be a quick change over so the main thing is about the Foodinati and about things like that. We wanted something to break that up.

I think what it is, is the bands, as soon as I mention it to them, they saw it as something a bit different, and something a bit unusual that they’re not necessarily going to have on their gigging schedule regularly. So, Netherhall have never done acoustic before, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what it sounds like in an acoustic format. Straight For The Sun have done acoustic before, but their songs lend beautifully to the acoustic style. Really stripped back, really nice and cool, like Pearl Jam meets Korn.

Nameless, we’ve seen how nu-metal relates to acoustic during the MTV era with Korn and Linkin Park and things like that. Ultimately, I think there are three very interesting, very different bands that you can have a different experience of. They were all really interested in going for it. They all know George as well from being in the industry so I think it’s all about connection, chemistry and I think every person that’s either performing or that’s going to be talking has got chemistry with each other.”

George: “I’ll just add to that I specifically did really want Death Collector and Recall the Remains because Recall the Remains and I have a really good rapport on camera through doing the show, and Kieran from Death Collector and I also have a similar very good rapport. They’re two of my highlight interviews that I’ve done over the past couple of years, so I wanted to redo that. Plus, as for a headliner act, they’ve got Andy Wale from Bolthrower up there with Kieran. He’s a legend in Birmingham, so as far as I’m concerned, that’s headline status.”

When you were approached about this Dan, did you have bands in mind?

Dan: “Obviously, when we discussed it, we wanted to celebrate Birmingham’s music scene. My company, DC Sound Attack, being based in Birmingham, I represent a lot of Birmingham talent so it was one of those things I wanted to showcase them as well. Basically the three bands that are going to be performing are all on my roster of bands. Netherhall were the one, I’ve been trying to find an excuse to get to perform an acoustic set for a long time. I’ve always wanted to hear it. So, all three of the bands, as soon as myself and George talked about it, they were the ones that I wanted to book.”

You’re also working in conjunction with the ACC and you mentioned Metal For Good. Can you tell us a bit about both organisations?

George: “Metal For Good, I’ve been in touch with Katie Baker, I met her first at 2000 Trees last year when they had their stalls there, and James Monteith from Tesseract is one of their supporters as well, and that piqued my interest because James is someone I always look to as a good barometer of what’s cool. So I got in touch with him because I’d had a go at starting a charity myself.

It would have taken up like 100 percent of my time if I’d gone for it. We wanted to do a charity that combats food waste but the logistics behind it would have meant I couldn’t do any of my other projects. So, I got in touch with Katie, and said I was looking to hook Foodinati up with a charity partner to do fundraising. We just clicked straight away, and I believe in the cause.

Metal For Good acts like an umbrella funder for other charities, whether they be community based projects, mental-health based projects, like Heavy Metal Therapy, educational projects, they get a batch of money and they work out who they’re going to give grants to.
It’s a good way to hit lots and lots of different causes all at once and they do great work at Metal For Good. That’s that cause, anyway. I know Dan also works with Katie, so he might want to give you his side.”

Dan: “I think it’s pretty much similar really. As a strand of DC Sound Attack, I was looking at setting up a charity myself and I realized the amount of work that goes into it and, honestly, anybody that can put their time into a cause like that, I’ll completely applaud because I’m not going to be able to fit it into a full time job and a part time business and things like that as well as trying to find some time to sleep and eat.”

“Metal For Good acts like an umbrella funder for other charities, whether they be community based projects, mental-health based projects, like Heavy Metal Therapy, educational projects…”

People in this industry don’t sleep do they?

Dan: “No, sleep goes out the window. I really, um, really appreciate the work that Katie does with Metal For Good, I just wanted to get involved as much as possible, support and just give the full backing of DC Sound Attack and obviously my work with Access Creative College as well putting that in there as well and giving them the backing of a college.”

George, you mentioned a couple of charities earlier on, why do you think heavy metal, looking at somebody like the Heavy Metal Truants, why do you think heavy metal and charities seem to go well together?

George: “I think, the heavy metal crowd, the punters, are a very caring bunch and they do like doing stuff for charity. I know of a couple of guys who are riding bikes to Wacken this year and it seems to capture the imagination in metal crowds. As a whole, they’re a goodhearted bunch and they don’t mind if it’s a good cause they all believe in. They don’t mind getting behind it and I think that’s why it works so well.

We’re not all that grumpy, we do like to do some stuff, some cool things that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, you and, I think the metal crowd, you can go in the queue for any metal gig, anywhere, and you’ll hear some of the funniest conversations from some of the biggest hearted people.”

Talking about your work with ACC, over the years it’s produced some award winning students who have gone on to massive careers. With the way life is at the moment and the struggles bands are having and venues, have people’s attitudes changed to following music as a career now?

Dan: “As a creative educator you’ve always got to be creative in your approach to when you’re talking to parents. The approach that parents have always had is why should my child study a creative education? Why shouldn’t they go into maths or into banking or into being a doctor or something like that. My approach is always the same. I need to show them and that’s why I’m an active practitioner in the industry, to show them that there is a way that you can actually have a career in music.

Obviously it’s a very different approach that you’ve got to have. It’s not like you’re going to walk into a company. If you are lucky, you’ll walk into a company, but it’s a very, very small percentage of people. We have to have different pots that we take from.
Basically, myself and my team that I work with here give them the tools to show them how you make money. In a lot of my lessons, I talk about tax and I talk about marketing. I talk about branding, and those sort of things even though there are also media courses and things like that do that.

I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s been a change because you’ve always had that battle with creative education. Definitely COVID was a big thing and I knew I’m going to struggle to change my approach to it. However, I think it also proves that creative education is worthwhile because we still are here.

Events are still happening. We bounce back pretty quickly. The people in the creative industries and the events industries, we bounce back because we have to bounce back. We’ve got no choice. It’s in our genes.”

“I think, the heavy metal crowd, the punters, are a very caring bunch and they do like doing stuff for charity. It seems to capture the imagination in metal crowds.”

Do you think though COVID forced different creative doors?

George: One thing that you’ve definitely seen is this what we’re doing right now, Zoom interviews. That’s completely changed the way journalism works these days. It was always around but now you’ve got whole channels that are just Zoom interviews and you never had that before.”

Dan: “When things just started to open up, I still had to provide opportunities for students in order to get them interested, in order to get them through their course and things like that. I remember having a conversation with a student who was feeling really deflated. I had to keep their mental health up. I was one of three people that I spoke to within a week. I had to encourage them to actually stick with me. As soon as I can get you in, we can get playing, we’ll get you playing and that was it.

As soon as we were able to do the social distancing thing, basically what we did is we used our performance area downstairs and we spaced the students out and we actually did our full award ceremony, our end of year award ceremony, completely socially distanced across the stage. We had to film all the award stuff separately and things like that. I talk about adaptability and honestly, the team that I’ve got and the students that I’ve got just amazed me all the time. I have these crazy ideas, and I go to people, tell them, and then I’ll pass it over to them, and see what happens.

We’ve got a few of the students helping us out in the night. In Nameless, Nick, the drummer, was a former student. In Netherhall, Jake, also the drummer, is also an ex-student and Emily Drummond, who works for DC Sound Attack, is also an ex-student and she’ll be working on the evening as well. I try to provide opportunities for students once they leave so, if I see something I try to provide them opportunities in the industry.

It’s all about the promotion really to young people and to parents. It’s a difficult sell, but we need to find the right people, and you need to find the right drive and things like that. To back this up, generally, the people who study creative studies, there’s reports that you can find on the internet, people who study creative studies are generally happier in their life, because it’s something they actually want to do. Why stop your child from studying something they actually want to do?”

Dan, you mentioned how historic the Birmingham music scene is, and anybody that knows heavy music knows how important it is, what’s the live music scene there like now because obviously there’s been talk in the press recently about the pub that Sabbath played the first gig at getting Protected Listed status.

Dan: “I’m sitting in my office here at ACC and I can see Devils Dog. I can see XOYO. The Institute is literally just behind me. You’ve got Surprise Your Dead Music, which is based out of Birmingham, they are the big dogs around here, and provide some massive opportunities. You’ve got, The Catapult Club, Arthur Tapp, who’s always providing opportunities for our students. Future Sound Projects are always providing opportunities for our students. You’ve got lots of independent promoters that put gigs on at Dead Wax and things like that.

There’s always something going on. Up here on an evening, especially Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, around here is absolutely chock-a-block. There’s four or five venues pretty much in a row and each one of them has got something going on. You’ve also got the Rainbow, which is just up the road as well and they’re literally within a little cluster.”

George: “I’d like to give a shout out as well because one of the reasons why I wanted to do it at Birmingham first was because of Lisa Meyer and her work with Home of Metal and the Supersonic Festival. That’s what caught my eye that Birmingham really had the cutting edge because Lisa’s work was absolutely incredible with Supersonic Festival.”

“Birmingham has always been an exciting place to gig and there’s always been a huge amount of talent that’s coming out of it. That’s why it’s a key place. It’s the second city…”

Dan: “You’ve also got the Metal To The Masses in Birmingham getting record crowds. It’s always been an exciting place to gig and there’s always been a huge amount of talent that’s coming out of it. That’s why it’s a key place. It’s the second city and will always be a key place. It’s easy to get to London. It’s easy to get to Manchester. So I think it’s a key base for bands really.”

Just to wrap up then, a couple of food related questions for you then. First of all, if you could create your own heavy metal burger, what would be in it other than the burger?

George: “Right, I’ve got this covered because I used to have a food truck and we did heavy metal burgers. Believe it or not, we’ve got Hades Kitchen. I got tasked with doing a recipe for a Metallica burger and… no, more fitting actually, I did a Judas Priest burger. I did the British Steel burger, and it was a lamb and mint burger with caramelized onions, and in the patty of the burger, we had a thin layer of black pudding running through it, to represent the Black Country even though black pudding’s not really a Black Country thing. So, we stuck a load of English cheddar on it and we tried to make it an amalgamation. There was a Welsh element to it, that was leeks. We had Welsh leeks, and caramelised leeks and onions, that was my British Steel Judas Priest burger.”

Dan: “That’s a tough question but I’ve kind of got a name and I’ve got a concept. I’m somebody who likes… I’m a meat eater, but then I’m also really getting into trying vegan food as well. I’m going to go down the Metallica theme. I’m going to call it something like Harvester of Salad, I thought in my head because that was really nice. Metallica are all vegan. That was what I was going to say about the Metallica burger. You’ve got to make it vegan. The thing is, I don’t. Screw James, I want meat on there.

So, I’m, I’m gonna have, let’s think chicken… A chicken and vegan burger. Somebody is gonna have me out for a hate crime there, but anyway.”

George: “You’d have to have some hot sauce involved somewhere.”

Finally, what’s your perfect meal before you go to a gig?

George: “Oh, it’s got to be light. Nothing too heavy. Probably a burger. Burger and chips.”

Dan: “Before I go to a gig. I don’t know. I’m a coming back from gig person. I’ll have something before I go and then I’ll come back from the gig and it’s like 20 chicken nuggets or a pizza or something like that. I’m terrible for coming back late at night, driving past like a Maccy’s…arrgh!

If I’m playing a gig, because I’m always throwing my head around I can’t have anything too much as I’ll bleeurgh, so I have to be quite careful what I have so I usually have something from Greggs or something like that.”

For more information on the Access Creative College, visit their Official Website here. For information on Foodinati visit their YouTube Channel here and for more information on Metal For Good, visit their Official Website here.


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