Four local lads are getting ready to pack their bags - and instruments - for the opportunity of a lifetime.
Matthew Irwin, Ethan Williamson, Ben Martin and Martin Miller, collectively known as Foreign Affairs NI, are jetting out to Los Angeles next month after being handpicked to showcase their music at an international conference and festival.
The ‘alternative/pop punk’ band have been booked to play at the YouBloomLA 2015 Music Festival and Conference in December, which has become an established event for top names in the music industry to hear bands from right across the globe.
“YouBloom holds an event in Dublin and America each year,” said Martin Miller, who plays drums for Foreign Affairs NI.
“The LA conference runs from December 10 to 12 and everybody who’s somebody in the music industry in LA will come together for it. Any music act from all over the world can apply to play at it, so there are bands travelling from Brazil, Ukraine - you name it! They try to cover as much of the world as they can and showcase music from each country.”
Foreign Affairs NI are one of almost 50 bands due to play at the international event, and are bravely stepping up to the mark to represent Northern Ireland on the American stage.
“The conference and festival is over three days, and they give each act a slot,” Martin explains. “This is the first time that we play internationally - we’re played everywhere in Ireland, really!”
The band refuse to be fazed by the fact that this is their international debut, and have already worked hard to secure their place at the conference.
“We applied on the very last day of submission,” Martin said, admitting they weren’t sure whether or not they would make the cut.
“The artists they pick have have quite a big following, so I sent them a tweet saying we’d love to go but weren’t sure we qualified. They got back to me and explained that it was the music that mattered - a few months later, they emailed to say they’d love to have us.”
There were still a few hurdles to overcome, however.
“They give you a golden ticket to go to LA but bands have to show they have the dedication,” explained Martin. “We had to come up with the money for flights ourselves, but the tickets are booked now!”
Foreign Affairs NI have already gained recognition on local airwaves, having recently been picked up by BBC Radio Ulster’s ‘Across the Lines’ programme - and they hope to keep their home fans updated while they’re in LA.
“We’ve been asked to do a few video diaries, so we’ll be kept busy,” added Martin. “We played a gig at The Empire in Belfast recently with a band from LA and hopefully we’ll set up a few gigs while we’re away.”
To follow the band’s progress, visit their Facebook page ‘Foreign Affairs NI’ and sample their new EP ‘Heartline’ at www.foreignaffairsband.com