The AIM Independent Music Awards on 3rd September was the most spectacular edition in the awards’ nine year history. Hosted by Lauren Laverne at Camden’s Roundhouse, the ceremony celebrated the stand-out stars of the stronger-than-ever independent music community.
The event saw an appearance by The Kinks’ Ray Davies presenting Blondie front woman Debbie Harry winning Outstanding Contribution to Music award, in association with Merlin, who said: “Wherever she goes she steals the show. And today her star will shine brighter than ever”.
Harry herself, who had to be dragged from baying journalists to receive her award, said: “The reason I’m late is that I’m just so goddamn independent, thank you.”
Idles’ Joy As an Act of Resistance secured them Best [Difficult] Second Album. After receiving Hardest Working Group in 2018, it was no surprise that they also picked up UK Independent Breakthrough, having rocked fans up and down the country throughout the year.
The band commented: “Thank you… very confusing to be winning Breakthrough and [Difficult] Second Album as well. It’s taken us a very long time to get here. It’s true, it was that difficult. And it’s also weird to be writing this while we’re writing album three today. Thank you, thank you very much”
Idles’ label Partisan Records also received Best Independent Label thanks to the success of their roster, featuring fellow nominees Fontaines D.C as well as Cigarettes After Sex and John Grant.
Following the star studded ceremony The Smiths’ Johnny Marr took to the stage first, having already received the Pioneer Award for his prodigious career.
Said Chic‘s Nile Rodgers of Johnny Marr winning the Pioneer Award, in association with Bucks Music Group “Nobody is more deserving than you. You are off the carts cool; music is just a great big journey for you”.
“As an independent musician, and an independent fan.. I’d like to thank everyone. Thanks to all you guys working in the independent sector” said Marr himself. “The weird thing that this tiny island continues to do is spread really good independent music across the world. I’ll finish by saying I’ve often been asked what kind of music I make – I’m an indie musician and that’s good enough for me.” he added.
Reflecting on the night, AIM CEO Paul Pacifico, said: ‘The list of winners tonight reflects the boldness of the independent community – artists and labels who are unafraid to push the boundaries and take risks to produce some of the UK’s most cutting-edge cultural output. As we celebrate AIM’s twentieth year championing independence, it’s amazing to see that creative spirit celebrated in this way at a venue like the Roundhouse.’
Virgin founder Richard Branson was present and said of Eleven Seven CEO Allen Kovac, winner of the Innovator award in association with Amazon Music, whose dazzling career has seen him work with Mötley Crüe, Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch, and Blondie: “This could not be more well deserved”. While on receiving his award Kovac said: “Independents had 14% of the global market share when AIM started, today we’re 40%.”
A full list of AIM Independent Music Awards Winners & Nominees is listed below.
Best Live Act (in association with Songkick): AJ Tracey, Calpurnia, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Gerry Cinnamon WINNER, IDLES.
Best Small Label (in association with Proper Music Group): Fuzz Club Records, Killing Moon, Local Action, Scruff of the Neck WINNER, Speedy Wunderground.
Best Creative Packaging (in association with MCPS): Various Artists, hand picked and curated in collaboration with The Rolling Stones, “Confessin’ the Blues” WINNER, Murlo, “Dolos”, IDLES, “Joy as an Act of Resistance”, Various Artists, Sick Music 2019 compilation, Keith Richards, “Talk Is Cheap”.
UK Independent Breakthrough (in association with YouTube Music): Black Midi, Ezra Collective, Gerry Cinnamon, IDLES WINNER, Jade Bird.
Outstanding Contribution to Music in association with Merlin: Debbie Harry WINNER.
Best Independent Album (in association with Spotify): Better Oblivion Community Center, “Better Oblivion Community Center”, Christine And The Queens, “Chris”, Dave, “Psychodrama” WINNER, Fontaines D.C., “Dogrel”, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, “End of Suffering”, Jade Bird, “Jade Bird”, Jordan Rakei, “Origin”, Little Simz, “GREY Area”, Snapped Ankles, “Stunning Luxury”, Swindle, “No More Normal”.
Best [Difficult] Second Album (in association with Key Production): Erland Cooper, “Sule Skerry”, IDLES, “Joy as an Act of Resistance.” WINNER, Julia Jacklin, “Crushing”, Maribou State, “Kingdoms In Colour”, SOAK, “Grim Town”
PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist: AJ Tracey, Cosmo Sheldrake, Freya Ridings WINNER, Guru Randhawa, Jorja Smith
International Breakthrough (in association with Creative Industries Federation): Afro B, Jade Bird WINNER, Maribou State, Nilüfer Yanya, IDLES.
Innovator Award in association with Amazon Music: Allen Kovac WINNER.
Best Independent Video (in association with Vevo): Christine and the Queens, “5 Dollars”, Hot Chip, “Hungry Child” WINNER, John Grant, “He’s Got His Mother’s Hips”, Caleb Steph, “Black Boy”, FKA Twigs, “Cellophane”.
Best Independent Track (in association with Facebook): Dave, “Funky Friday (ft. Fredo)” WINNER, FKA Twigs, “Cellophane”, Fontaines D.C., “Boys In The Better Land”, Georgia, “About Work The Dancefloor”, JARV IS, “Must I Evolve”, Jai Paul, “Do You Love Her Now”, Holly Herndon, “Eternal”, Little Simz, “Selfish (ft. Celo Sol)”, Sharon Van Etten, “Seventeen”, Four Tet, “Teenage Birdsong”.
One To Watch (in association with BBC Music Introducing): Arlo Parks, Barney Artist, Georgia WINNER, KOKOROKO, Larkins.
Best Independent Label (in association with [PIAS]): Brownswood Recordings, Domino , Nuclear Blast, Partisan Records WINNER, Rough Trade.
Pioneer Award in association with Bucks Music Group: Johnny Marr WINNER.
Indie Champion in association with ClientEarth: Charles Caldas WINNER.
Photos (c) Sarah Louise Bennett.