Dolgellau's The Loaded Dice are aiming for the top 40
Forget hitting the big time after a few weeks on the X-Factor, Dolgellau band The Loaded Dice have done things the old-fashioned way.
After years of going from gig to gig in a friend's van, the five-piece indie band's hard work has finally paid off with their first recording deal on the back of winning the UK's best Live and Unsigned band.
"We won that in June," said front man, Stonie. "We got lots more gigs from that and some contract offers.
"We'd been together for four years then and always believed we would get signed, that's why we did it all. But we didn't get offered anything for years, then three come along at once!"
However, the band were wise enough not to fall into the trap of signing the first deal put in front of them.
"A record deal was part of the Live and Unsigned prize, but fortunately we had the sense to read it," said Stonie.
"It was quite restricting for three years and would have stopped us doing things we wanted to do. Often bands don't think; they get a bit starry-eyed, sign it and they're stuck."
The Loaded Dice's single, Another Kick At Old Lovers
It turned out to be a good decision as a contract which suited the band better came up and now they're about to release their new single, Another Kick At Old Lovers.
"The single will be available on iTunes from 23 November, along with Susan Boyle's. Don't buy hers; I'm better looking and can sing better!" joked Stonie.
A limited number of singles will also be available in local shops, but The Loaded Dice are concentrating on the downloads market for now.
"The physical copies don't count so much towards charting anymore," said Stonie. "But if you sell x amount of downloads, larger record companies begin to see you as a business option."
So how does it feel to be finally signed? "It feels a bit different," said Stonie. "We're not looking for gigs anymore, we get called up and asked to perform. But it's only when the single's out that we'll really see any changes.
"We're about three-quarters of the way through making our new album, but there'll be another new single in the new year before that's released."
He describes the band's music as British indie, though it depends on the song. "We go from quite fast, heavy guitars to stripped down acoustic tracks. It varies.
"It's been great having more time for the five of us to get together far more often to write songs. And our guitarist still does all the producing."
Are they still using their friend's van? "We tend to go to gigs in two cars these days, so at least some of us can have a beer afterwards," said Stonie. "But a band van is on the list."
This time next year, he'd also like to have a top 40 hit, be on the radio and support a professional touring band. Watch this space to see if it happens, and if your limited edition single will be worth something one day.