Last night (September 28th) The Roundhouse in London hosted the AIM Awards 2022, marking the twenty-third year of the Association of Independent Music (AIM), in an event that champions industry-leading creativity, innovation, and performance shown by independent artists, labels, and outstanding individuals. Since the introduction of the AIM Awards, the entity has honoured an extraordinary array of independent artists, music companies and industry figures, spanning the likes of Björk, Adele, The Prodigy, Wolf Alice, Jorja Smith, Christine and the Queens, SOPHIE, 4AD, Ninja Tune, Transgressive, and Martin Mills (Beggars). AIM was created to essentially level the playing field for UK independent music businesses, no matter their genre, background, funding, how they identify… it doesn’t matter. The sole purpose is that everybody deserves their equal chance in an extremely cut-throat industry, with the awards evening being a fantastic chance to give everyone their hard-earned, well-deserved flowers.
Like many other industry events, the pandemic over the past few years had wreaked havoc and forced the awards into an online show. However, with a room packed full of industry insiders and a mass admiration for every entity that opted to go the journey alone, there was a real sense of collective solidarity, with hosts DJ Target and Joelah doing an absolutely stellar job throughout the evening in greeting the winners and delivering light-hearted repartee throughout the evening.
The most notable winners of the evening were Stormzy – who received the Diversity Champion award – Nia Archives as the BBC Introducing One To Watch, Cleo Sol with the Best Independent Album in association with Spotify, Lethal Bizzle for his Outstanding Contribution to Music award, and Rina Sawayama who was awarded the Amazon Music Innovator award. Meanwhile, the most poignant winners speeches of the evening were delivered by Corey Johnson, founder of Defenders, addressing the need to develop the grassroots of rap/grime culture and steering those at that level away from a life of crime and fraud through funding and education, whilst TAAHLIAH’s spine-tingling speech for equality for the LGBTQ+ community in the music industry, and in general, saw everyone lifted from their chairs in applause.
Every nominee on the evening a worthy candidate for their respective award, and every winner exceptionally grateful for those that had helped along their journey, thankful for the support of those that were attending on the evening, and displaying a unanimous appreciation for everyone moving along their own paths of independence in the whirlwind that is the music industry. The AIM Awards came to a close with Pixey, Lethal Bizzle (and special guest Giggs) and The Libertines drawing the evening to an end.
What’s more, The Libertines’ Pete Doherty did have time to speak to Clash on the red carpet, stating he and bandmate Carl Barât had recently returned from a trip to Jamaica that involved plenty of writing, with the promise of new music on the way. Exciting times for independent music all round!
How was your summer, how have you been?
Oh my god, has summer gone? Yeah, no, it’s been alright, quite productive, just trying to write some new songs, how was your summer?
Yeah, was wicked thank you, I saw your Glastonbury set, how was that for you?
Yeah, it was sweet man, really cool to be back
I also saw you played a set at the Margate bandstand, what was that like?
Haha, it was a bit chaotic that day but we were just happy to get the permission off the local council to play as we’ve been trying for ages, so in the end we had a compromise, if we finished by four o’clock they’d let us play so yeah, it was sweet man.
And of course because Margate is quite special for you isn’t it?
Yeah, I spent many a night down there with my guitar and my dogs on that bandstand so it was really special to play there with the full set up.
That’s wicked, and what have you got in store for the rest of the year?
I’ve just been in Jamaica, me and Carl just been out there writing songs, and we’ve got a new album ready I think so we’re absolutely buzzing.