The Arches met with stakeholders Creative Scotland and senior city officials yesterday (Tuesday May 26) to explore a number of possible avenues for the continuation of the venue’s cultural programmes and activity, following Glasgow Licensing Board’s recent decision to curtail its licensed hours.
Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council have now agreed to provide an advance on their agreed 2015-16 funding to support The Arches in delivering its current programme in the short-term, and in gaining specialist advice to enable it to properly consider all future options.
At the same meeting, The Board of Directors for The Arches decided that, following legal advice, the venue will proceed with an appeal against the Licensing Board’s limiting of the venue to a midnight licence – a decision which would effectively close its club and have a devastating effect on its future as a cultural centre.
Lucy Mason, Artistic Director, and Mark Anderson, Executive Director of The Arches said: “The Board of The Arches is grateful for and has agreed to the funding package offered by Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council, which provides for stability in the short-term as we look to find a more permanent solution in the weeks to come.”
“At the same time, having taken appropriate legal advice, we believe there are grounds to appeal the decision of the Licensing Board and will now proceed on that basis.”
The following scheduled events will go ahead at The Arches as planned:
“The Arches has a well-deserved national and international reputation as a place for creative innovation, delivering arts and music events and ground-breaking performances. Creative Scotland, Glasgow City Council and The Arches are working together to explore all possible avenues that will enable the continuation of The Arches’ cultural programmes and activity. Staff from all three organisations have been meeting to discuss the current situation and options to provide support. Further details will be provided in due course.”
The Board of Directors for The Arches met last night (Monday May 18) to review all possible options for the future of the acclaimed city centre venue.
Glasgow Licensing Board’s decision to curtail the licensed hours of the venue, thus precluding essential club activity, will have a devastating effect on the future of the venue.
The board is now taking legal advice on appealing the decision. Meanwhile this week’s scheduled events go ahead as planned.
Mark Anderson, Executive Director, said: “We are still stunned by Friday’s decision and at a loss to understand just what more we could have done to provide a safer clubbing environment at The Arches. Over the period under review, we welcomed over 250,000 clubbers through our doors. Of that number, just 0.14% were reported for misuse of drugs incidents.
“What is more worrying is that despite the increased safety measures we adopted on the recommendation of Police Scotland, which had already alienated many of our valued club customers, our successful operation of those policies has resulted in the statistics being used against us.”
The Executive and Artistic Directors of The Arches cultural venue will meet this week with funding partners Creative Scotland and Glasgow Life to discuss potential ways forward.
Lucy Mason, Artistic Director, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the humbling and heartening support for The Arches and would like to thank everyone for being so passionate and articulate on our behalf. It is impossible to imagine the cultural landscape with The Arches wiped of the map, a situation which is entirely possible given the interdependency of the Arts and Club activity within our organisation.”
The Arches Theatre’s annual turnover of £3.8m is made up of only 15% of public subsidy, with the balance of 85% self-generated through the commercial events programme, corporate hires and income from the café bar and restaurant.
Turnover from club activity, including bar sales, accounts for 51% of group turnover.
The Arches currently employs 133 people. Beyond this, the venue indirectly employs scores of freelance workers in the production of events, from designers to production managers, technicians to door stewards, and artist and musician entourages.
This week’s scheduled events will go ahead at The Arches as planned:
“We’re obviously very disappointed with today’s outcome. We will now have to consider our options but the impact of this decision may well result in the closure of one of Europe’s most highly regarded arts venues, and the loss of a key contributor to Glasgow’s night time economy. Not only is it a bad day for the Arches, but the portents do not look good for the wider licensed trade.”
Regarding all other upcoming events, we will contact bookers and post exact details about venue moves and refunds as soon as we have more information. Thank you for bearing with us as we try to find the best solutions possible – your patience is appreciated.
The Arches Cafe Bar & Restaurant and Box Office will be open as usual.
Just before we started getting our looks sorted for tonight, we chatted with Ghanaian-born artist Harold Offeh, who brings the brilliant Hairography to The Arches for Dark Behaviour.
This is the first time Hairography has been shown in Glasgow – what can we expect, and what was the genesis of the piece?
Yes this is the first time I’ve performed in Scotland. And what a time to be performing. I feel like a cultural refugee from England, can I seek asylum from the regime south of the border please? Hairography is a series of works that plays on the ridiculous marketing of hair as a cultural commodity. The performance is very playful and silly in its referencing of sexy hair, wind machines and the associated glamour. the starting point for me was looking at hair advertising and the associated language and gestures.
Your work is intimately concerned with physicality and movement – when did you realise that your body could become a sort of canvas or locus for your artworks, and how did you begin to develop that approach?
Great question. I basically started at art school and I used my body because it was cheap and available. That aside I think it’s important for me to experience the work physically. It’s a very important way for me to explore.
One theme of Behaviour Festival this year is ‘Futures’ – what does your work have to say about our cultural, social or political future?
Gosh, I’m not really into making claims for the work. It can set up unnecessary expectations. However, I’m always interested in identity and how our sense of self is shaped by inscribed history and experience.
Have you encountered any of your fellow performers at Dark Behaviour before? Who are you looking forward to seeing and why?
Yes, I’ve had a few encounters with fellow performers. It’s a great line up of performers. David Hoyle will be amazing, I love Owen G Parry too. But special attention has to be paid the Katy Baird!!
Another of your recent works, Covers, saw you recreating several famous album covers, including our personal favourite, the Grace Jones pose from Arabesque. Is this a project that will continue, and if so, what other famous covers have you got your eye on?
Yes, the Covers project is ongoing. In fact I’m performing the piece live in Birmingham at the MAC hexagon space on 22nd May. Some of the new covers are of lesser known music figures like soul diva Marlena Shaw. I try not to pick images that are too obvious and well known. I’m always looking for more, suggestions welcome.
Hey. Tell us a bit about the show and how you made it?
Sure. Show is called THIS IS HOW WE DIE. It’s a monologue by me about sex and death and violence and anger and our pre-occupation with apocalypse. It’s got tricksy wordplay and buckets of blood. It’s funny, at least to me. It’s a joy to perform and it still scares me shitless to get up and do. It’s a pleasure to be bringing it back to Scotland. Never been to Glasgow before actually. What was the second half of the question?
How you made it? What was the process?
It was a writing process mostly. I kept two journals, writing one or two evenings a week for about 18 months. In one I wrote down all the creative ideas I had – jokes and stories, poems, staging ideas, bits of music, whatever. And in the other I just cleared out the gutters – did free writing. So when I had the opportunity to present a short scratch at a venue called the Basement in Brighton I started to turn whatever this was into a theatre show. I looked for patterns in the writing and found that a surprising amount of the creative ideas were mirrored by things written as journal entry. I guess cause there’s a pretty limited bandwidth of noise in my brain at any given time.
And then there was magically a show?
Ha. No. I um, started by compiling my favourite material into a single word document and performing it straight through as one speech. Lasted nearly 4 hours. And that was just the essentials. So, my friend Anne got involved who is a brilliant young Dramaturg from Germany, trained in Holland. And she helped me to edit it down to a more manageable length and the two of us worked closely with the lighting designer and…
Have you just realised you can’t say any more without giving something away?
So, on the flyer it says it’s a spoken word and storytelling show.
It probably shouldn’t. I mean, that’s not wholly inaccurate; it’s just a little misleading. In the writing I see three distinct strands – a story strand, a comedy strand and one that probably does borrow a bit from spoken word or performance poetry. I don’t see much connection to the contemporary British scene except that it’s happening on the same island at the same time. And nothing against those girls and guys – I have never seen Kate Tempest or Luke What’s-his-name, The Essex Lion guy, but, um, there’s some awesome people ploughing that field. Uh… Rob Auton, do you know him? Really psychedelic, a lot of heart. Whimsical but not annoying. His show The Face Show was one of the best hours of my 2014. And I love the two Hannah Walker / Chris Thorpe shows, of course. But those aren’t purely spoken word-y either. They have one foot in indie theatre.
Maybe THIS IS HOW WE DIE is a bit like that?
Well the writing in their shows is a lot better… I would kill for their turns of phrase! And their stuff is elegant and maybe that’s why I squirm whenever this show gets talked about like it’s poetry. It’s not. It’s a rant. But I guess there’s a form connection in that we both take forward facing, non-theatrical text and place it in a theatrical frame. But neither are spoken word, really. Like, I think a real spoken word show relies on authenticity – that it’s a real person up there, actually reading their poems and that those poems express what they actually think or feel. Either that or they’re written as sarcasm or something, but largely the contact with the audience is more truthful. I think the theatrical setup of my show – the lights, the comfy seats, the sacred code of turning your phone off and not being able to leave to buy a drink and come back in again – I think all that contributes to a fiction that allows me to slip in and out of characters and modes of performance, one of which maybe looks a bit like spoken word. Or more accurately beat poetry and sort of… scat rap.
Yeah, like poop.
I wondered if there might be some jazz scat in you…
Scoobee-doo-doo-poo-poo-poop-poop. Take it away Mingus..! (laughs) Uh… I actually didn’t mean scat. I meant acapella.
Right. Like some of it’s a rap vocal with no backing track? One long free-form verse?
Exactly! And rap is a huge influence. People always spot the Beat thing. Kerouac and Hunter Thompson – neither of which I’ve actually read that much or consciously drank in, but both of whom cast long shadows over the American road trip and the sex and drugs rite of passage, youth rebellion, you and me against the world – all those tasty cliches this show is playing with. But… um… Burroughs has been my favourite author since I was a kid or early teen and his voice is definitely in there. But people rarely see the rap thing. And I think it’s partly cause I’m white and partly cause the narrative skits in the show conjure a retro America – 50s, early 60s maybe. But definitely a pre-rap world. I hear a lot of Kanye West in it though! His last record, Yeezus, has been half of what I’ve listened to since the day it came out! And Saul Williams is in there for sure – couple people pick him out cause there’s a direct reference to him. And he conjures a sort of 60s/70s thing himself sometimes, even though he is screamingly late 90s in other ways. Industrial rap, I mean that’s properly turn of the century! But I think you hear some of the Beats in him and some Gil Scott and a little Patti Smith at times. And just going back to the form question a minute… Saul is largely thought of as a poet and MC but he mostly refers to himself as an actor. As an actor playing the part of a poet and MC. And I can relate a bit to that. Some nights I connect to the text very easily, some nights I have to trick myself into it. And that’s an actor’s process, I think. Cause at that point you are more concerned with the performance being good, the delivery, the effect, than with the material as written.
But it is written. The pages are in front of you. We never forget that it’s written down.
I guess that makes it a written word show, like, “why has he bothered to write all that shit down?”
And literature is obviously an influence.
I would never call the books I’ve read literature.
You are seated at a desk. And the monologue is read, not memorised.
I perform in a show by Andy Field from Forest Fringe called ZILLA! and it’s sort of a news report setup. Half the action takes place behind mics at a desk and I guess before then I’d never seen that done. Very bold move having a mostly static stage image. It’s a different temperature of show but it’s a similar density of language and I guess I owe him and that show a thank you for teaching me I didn’t need to be standing up, moving around or even making eye contact to hold an audience’s attention. But again this loops back to Burroughs. Writing-wise I never went back and looked at any Bill in detail but I think his is a stink cloud that surrounds mine, and when all the centenary stuff was being trumpeted around last year he was on my mind again. Seeing the Howard Brookner doc Burroughs: The Movie when it was re-released gave me the courage to commit to the desk-reading stage set up. There’s great footage of him reading selections of his books, touring around to punk clubs and cinemas, wherever, seated behind his actual writing desk from home. And he’s performing to a standing audience full of rock ‘n’ rollers! I thought, “Well you don’t have shit on him as a writer but the expectation will be lower cause at least your audience will be sitting down…”
Have you got any recommendations for people who are not up on William Burroughs?
Well, that movie is a great place to start. Excellent footage and a more loving portrayal than the Yony Leyser film (A Man Inside). Avoid that one til you love him already – it’s a real downer, focusses on the addiction too much. My favourite books of his are Exterminator, Naked Lunch and Wild Boys. Probably in that order. Oh and also, The Job, in which he interviews himself.
Didn’t Warhol also do that?
Warhol interviewed everybody!
Yeah, it was only fair. Like a self portrait in a way. Desk-wise there’s Spalding Gray, of course. He loved a desk. Any influence there?
Since the show came out people have often brought up Spalding Gray, who I’d not looked deep into. Vaguely remembered his suicide and knew that he did monologues in front of a projection screen but that’s about it. I recently read Swimming to Cambodia and a few pages of Sex and Death to the Age of 14, and really loved him. Man, has that fella got a way with a run on sentence! Ha… I’ve actually not watched any on YouTube cause I don’t want to be overly influenced by it. I don’t want to become any more similar. That could be superstition but until this tour is over I am trying not to soak up any impure influences. Tell you who I was thinking about recently that is totally out of fashion – Eric Bogosian. I remember studying him a bit at uni and loving his movie Talk Radio and I found online his one man show Sex Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll and it’s like The Scorpions or something… painfully 80s but really gosh damn good. I mean, it’s real acting, like character theatre stuff and way, way, way over the top… but I reckon there’d be a great show in finding a modern style in which you could smelt down all the ire and histrionics he’s got. Such flamboyance and such skill. It’s almost, like, pantomime villain over the top, but because it’s just him and the crowd the form is more naked, more accessible than if he were in a play-play.
Doesn’t Spalding Gray mention Bogosian in one of his pieces?
Yeah, that’s in Swimming to Cambodia. He holds him up as a good example of a cool artist, I think. Along with Whoopi Goldberg!
And on that note, Chris, I think we’ll say goodbye. Anything more to add?
Come to the show! Please. Print details beneath this… um… sentence. When you type it – you are typing it up? Listing details and what forths… And I’ll um, forward YouTube clickers for some of the stuff we talked about.
Award-winning performance artist, drag queen, queer agent provocateur, rapper, punk hero, and self-described “human pissoir” – CHRISTEENE is all these things and more. After winning an Arches Brick Award in 2014, her deliriously entertaining show THE CHRISTEENE MACHINE returns to Behaviour Festival for one night only on Friday 8 May – a handful of tickets remain. Part gig, part furious ritual, her intense stage presence has drawn comparisons with Alice Cooper, Peaches, and “Beyonce on bath salts.”
The lucky Behaviour faithful get to see her not once, but twice – on Saturday, Christeene will perform a headline set at our outrageous collision of clubbing and live performance, Dark Behaviour, alongside the likes of Aerea Negrot, David Hoyle (to whom Christeene is in fact “married“), and CVNT TRAXXX. We spoke to the Louisiana-born, Texas-based artist about her first trip to Glasgow, the magic of butt plugs, and the influence of ballroom and vogue on her incendiary stage show.
Describe your show, for the uninitiated…
Da CHRISTEENE MACHINE iz a fuggin deep dive down uh stank electro hole dats gonna take you too da woods an feed ur pony hard.
Tell us something surprising about the creation of your show…
I never knew tha majiikal surprises that would happen when you combine butt plugs with 8 helium balloons til this show wuz created fer da world.
We are celebrating ‘Queer Futures’ at Dark Behaviour. Do you think people are more tolerant of non-gender-normative people than they used to be?
Hell yeah they more tolerant cuz they have to be. Iz in their face now, iz in their life an on tha plate now and even if they gotta hold tha nose ta eat it… they gunna have tooo eat it up. Therrs always gunna be them folks dat wanna scrape tha food under tha table an feed it to da dawg, but I got newz ferr them people. Da dawg iz on our side toooo haaaaaay. Times r changin faster than u can piss.
Playing alongside you on Saturday is CVNT TRAXXX, a British DJ who has done a lot to publicise the ballroom and vogue scenes in the UK and beyond. To what extent are ballroom music and vogueing an influence on your performance?
I fugggin LUV CVNT TRAXXX!!! Wee friends from Salford an wee share a lotta tha same mess in our heads. Ballroom music an Vogue’n tap into the pulse of the majiic trak inside our faggot souls. Its the rhythm an tha lineage an tha unstoppable force that can make a body move an swish in a way dat only this style uh music can doo. It influences my heart hard an when I work wit producers like JJ Booya an other producers it can find its way in and inspire da wurk from those foundations that keep tha family strong.
You are throwing a dinner party – you can invite whichever famous people, artists, or historical figures you like, living or dead. Who’s on the guest list and why?
I would like ta have Gore Vidal cuz he was a damned smart sassy political queen who would make trouble. Elizabeth Taylor an Richard Burton so they could fuck an fight under da table. Quentin Crisp to smack Gore down an eat real slow. Justin Vivian Bond to keep da room alive an ta laugh an scratch wit Quentin. My dancers T Gravel an C Baby cuz they soooo fuggin charmin. Little Richard cuz dat queen is CRAY an she scream a lot. Barbra Stanwyck cuz she so fuckin butch an hawt, an my cat Tickles Pickles.
You won an Arches Brick Award in 2014 for your Fringe show – are you happy to be back in Scotland? What is your favourite thing about our country or its people?
Winnin da Brick was da fuggin best…not tooo mention da only trophy I ever got an it wuz a fuggin BRICK. #trashy. Meee an da boyz are so dammned happy ta bee back in Scotland.. specially Glasgow wherrr we never been before. I gotta say, da fools an wild fucks we met from Glasgow while we wuz in Edinburgh? Diz iz gunna be gooooood. Full force reunion. I wanna see all da fuggin cray cray ass people dat I met last year at da Edinburgh Festival who live in Glasgow. I wanna share diz wurk wit them. I wanna taste their hard wurk. I wanna live again.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Travelin da world with my Boyz an havin some uh tha most important an creative conversations with other artists about da state of dis fucked up world and how we gonna fix it.
What’s the best thing about performing at a festival?
I luv da fuggin mix in dat crowd. I seen pregnant women, porn stars, old ass punks, faggots, dykes, teenage gurls, fashion designers, u name it. Iz a family affair.
What are you working on next?
I’m wurkin out an EP ferr 2015 dats got about 3 new fuckin videos attached to it.
Finally, a guest question from CVNT TRAXXX: “Where’s your pony at?”
My ponies are runnin all OVER diz side of da ocean!! When we go on deez tours, we git ta let da ponies run like dey never can in Texxxas. Iz da best feelin. Sometimes peeple try ta kick my pony when I in’t lookin. It makes my pony stronger. It make my pony larger. Iz a helluva tour.
Last weekend at Behaviour Festival, theatre practitioner and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student Stephanie Katie Hunter was joined by her open-access research collective, made up of 16-25 year-olds, and a live audience to discuss The New Bill, a manifesto-in-progress examining the role of young people in the arts and creative industries. This Sunday, she returns with a follow-up Arches Commons session – The New Bill (Amended) – at which she and her focus group will draw some conclusions from her research, and share their findings. We invited Stephanie to write a guest blog post for us, to tell us all about what she has discovered so far.
When I began researching the role of young people in the creative industries, I wasn’t sure how far I would get before wanting to give up. When setting up The New Bill, I was taking a step away from the learning I was engaging in on my programme at the Royal Conservatoire. I wasn’t sure how sustainable it would be to both educate myself on the role of young people, and attempt to instigate conversations with established organisations and venues in Scotland on my findings while attending a full-time course.
I wanted to learn more about how I was expected to behave within the venues I frequent. I wanted to learn more about what opportunities were available for young people. I wanted to learn more about what sets young people who engage in performance apart from one another. I had questions I wanted to ask both the facilitators I’d worked with as a participant and the individuals who had given me paid opportunities within performance. I didn’t know if I would be able and willing to keep asking these questions until I received answers.
Following the first Arches Commons event held by The New Bill, I feel excited and concerned. The New Bill has become something other than what I intended it to be. I set up The New Bill to ensure that the research I was engaging in and presenting was representative of other young people’s experiences within the arts. Much like I imagined it would, the collective has acted as the framing device to my research and interest. Beyond my expectations, the collective has also started a storm within me.
We, The New Bill, met on the Tuesday evening after our first Arches Commons session. We reflected on the event and spoke about what the format of the Arches Commons offered both us and those that attended. Our conversation was taken up by our reflections on one part of the event. The word ‘want’ was mentioned when discussing how we, as individual artists and as an industry, provide access to the arts. When does ‘want’ warrant ‘get’? When is need not enough?
One of the phrases which sticks in my mind from last Sunday is: “an event where the agenda is set by young people”. The New Bill has encouraged me to think about what the work I make in the future can do for those around me. The process of creating The New Bill and being involved with the Arches Commons has forced me to think about who is represented both within performance and the creative industries as a whole. What can we (I) do to make a difference?
We had framed the Arches Commons events as a space for The New Bill to introduce its manifesto. Our manifesto was to act as a document to challenge and celebrate how young people are perceived and received as collaborators within the creative industries. Following our process and the first Commons session, we feel this manifesto has become a document for individuals and organisations to use when questioning their own intentions when collaborating with young people. We wonder if by being more rigorous and/or transparent with our process of determining the capabilities and role of young people in the creative industries, we may be a step closer to meeting the real (and not perceived) needs and wants of the individuals involved in collaboration.
I am filled with excitement and concern. Excitement for the future. Excitement for the potential of the research, the rich and fulfilling prospects of making work for and with other young people and the future of The New Bill. Concern for the questions I am yet to find answers for. Concern for the young people who are not in as fortunate a position as I am, in relation to access to education, support and resources. Concern for the unavoidable difficulty ahead in trying to be a part of an arts community while also critiquing it.
This weekend at Behaviour Festival, Forest Fringe co-director Andy Field and his almost-as-tall-as-him collaborators from Blackfriars Primary School present Lookout. The piece- which is completely free and takes place at Ruchill Park- takes the form of an intimate one-on-one encounter between an adult and a young performer. Together they look out across the city and imagine what the future will look like.
We caught up with Andy to see what’s on the horizon…
Tell us about the children you collaborated with on Lookout -what was it like working with them, and what did you both learn from the experience?
I’m working with eleven children from a primary school in the Gorbals. They are great. They are all enthusiasm and ideas and barely containable energy. They are funny without being arch. Smart without being cynical. They are almost all as tall as me. They are real actual people and they were born in the same year that the third Austin Powers film was released. I have learnt a little about what it feels like to grow up in a world where the internet has always been a thing and everyone has a mobile phone. They have learnt that not everyone used to have a mobile phone. They are incredulous about this.
It’s a well-worn phrase – ‘children are our future’ – but it is, in many ways, absolutely true. What concerns do you have for the future, and how did your concerns differ from those of the children you worked with?
I feel very ambivalent about the future. I understand that despite what it may feel like in many ways things continue to get better whilst others continue to get worse. I feel a kind of deep, ongoing terror about the impact of climate change and yet I find it hard to really imagine how the world might be fundamentally different. I am aware of how much I don’t know. In part that’s why I wanted to do this project – I wanted to hear about the future from people who were very unlike me, people who have a different understanding of what and when the future is. It turns out a lot of the things I think of as frightening they, for now at least, think of as very exciting.
Leading on from that, does the ‘future’ we live in now resemble the one you imagined while growing up?
I have no memory of what I thought the future would look like growing up. I could talk about flying cars and hover boards and jet packs and other things we imagined would float in the future but I think I always understood those as things in films and not actual things that I thought would exist in the future. I think I probably spent much more time thinking about what I would be like in the future, than what the future itself would be like, because thinking about yourself is something you do a lot when you are younger – you are trying to figure yourself out. I wanted to look like Chesney Hawkes’ bassist and be a 400m runner like Roger Black.
Lookout is a one-on-one performance – what challenges are there in putting together such an intimate piece, compared to a full staged production?
I think it’s often much more discursive, which is another way of saying that you don’t make much art – you mainly make the space for a conversation and for the audience to create something or think something for themselves. So much of this kind of thing happens in the audience’s head and in the interaction they have with a performer or with an environment. You’re asking a lot of an audience member and it can feel a little frightening sometimes. Sometimes you just want to make something beautiful that has people air-punching by the finale. But I hope that this in its own way has as powerful an impact, if a completely different one.
Can you give us any hints, spoilers or teasers for what’s in store at Forest Fringe this year?
I can give you more than teasers. I can give you a list of all these awesome artists. And there is more still to be announced. It’s going to be well good.
You’ve won more than a few awards for your work, including sharing a Fringe First with the Arches in 2009. How important are arts awards, festivals and showcases like Forest Fringe and Behaviour for both audiences and artists?
I think festivals are really important. I think any performance is better when it’s part of a wider conversation. When you’re thinking about this show in relation to that show, when you’re making unexpected connections between one experience and another. This to me is when performance starts to feel like an actual part of the way we think and the way we live rather than something that happens on a quiet evening in a half full venue that you only went to because you felt like you ought to. For audiences and artists alike everyone wants to feel part of something, part of a movement or a community. I think festivals are a place where that can happen.
The site for Lookout is Ruchill Park – had you been there before, and was there any significance to the location?
We wanted somewhere high up, overlooking the city. Somewhere from which the city could be looked at and thought about. We looked at a whole bunch of spaces, both inside and out, and in the end Ruchill Park seemed like the right one. We liked that it was a public park, a place that feels like it belongs to everyone. Also it’s quiet and the view is amazing.
What other projects have you got coming up in 2015?
In a few weeks time I’m doing a project in Staffordshire as part of the New Vic’s Hoard Festival. We’re recruiting 500 local people to perform it, each telling a very short story about something happening somewhere in the world at a single moment in time. Then later in the summer we’re taking Forest Fringe to three different cities in China, to see what the future is going to look like close up. Then Latitude Festival, then Edinburgh. Then I don’t know. I’d quite like to go to the Lake District. I was thinking that on the train up to Glasgow yesterday. I was thinking that it’d be lovely to go for a walk around the Lake District. And then I realised the future had arrived and I hadn’t become Roger Black or Chesney Hawkes’ bassist, I’d become my Dad.
CHRISTEENE is coming to Behaviour Festival! Here is a special message from the Arches Brick Award-winning performance artist, rapper and singer, who is currently on tour in the UK. On Friday 8 May, EnterThe Christeene Machine: A gender-blending booty-pounding queer perversion of punk dragged through the musical theatre gutter, commanded by Christeene: a human pissoir of foul hilarity and raw unabashed sexuality.
In this furious ritual, Christeene embodies the beast pure of heard, moulded by its broken surroundings, by societal feelings of inadequacy and fears of the unknown, calling the world to bring their tawdry secrets, and their darkest stained hopes to the front.
On Saturday, catch Christeene at Dark Behaviour – Queer Futures, where she will preside over a carnival of new music, queer hip hop, drag terrorism, cutting edge DJs, and exciting performance and visual art. Join us!
We are thrilled to welcome Japanese artist Sako Kojima to Behaviour Festival – she’s here until Saturday 9 May with her internationally-acclaimed installation, The Reason Why I Become A Hamster. For eight hours a day, Kojima makes herself at home in a scaled-up hamster cage, chewing on sunflower seeds and paper. This installation is FREE, and on display in The Arches foyer from 11am to 7pm every day. Hamster… is suitable for all ages.
This week at Behaviour Festival, we featured two performances from celebrated interactive theatre-makers Coney. Their show, Early Days (of a Better Nation) asked audiences to participate in the rebuilding of an imaginary, war-torn nation called Dacia, using Coney’s specially-designed ‘game board’ to make decisions about the political structures, leadership struggles and political consequences entailed in end-of-the-world state-craft. Equal parts thought experiment and board game, this challenging show proved a hit with the Behaviour audiences this year.
We intervieweed writer Tom Bowtell, who co-created the show with Annette Mees, prior to the performances this week. We held on to the interview until now to avoid spoilers for those who elected to come and play. Below, Bowtell unpacks the origins of Dacia, discusses the relevance of ‘adult play’ – and tells us about some of his favourite audience reactions to Coney’s ground-breaking production.
What do you find giving adults a space to play and explore ideas can achieve? What are some of your favourite reactions/responses from previous audience members?
When audiences play they do extraordinary and unexpected things, but you can’t just dump them in a room and expect them to be brilliant. The challenge for us as artists is to a build a world which offers audiences enough narrative and structural support to empower them to play. Our actors and story are the scaffolding which help audiences reach a place where they are able to take the lead and start co-authoring their experience with us. In Early Days, one of the things audiences are invited to do is take a holiday from their real political beliefs and try other peoples’ on for size. One of my favourite moments was when an audience member who we know to be extremely left-wing in her real-life politics stood up and argued with persuasive passion for the nation to bring in a short-term dictator. Chatting to her after, it was clear that we hadn’t converted her beliefs, but that through the act of arguing from a completely different perspective, she did feel she had more empathy with how someone could believe the things she’d just been arguing for…
One thing I think Early Days does well is offer an audience supported freedom to try any idea out. In the London shows, the most spectacular moments came when an anarchist group in our audience sacked the actor playing ‘The Media’ (essentially our narrator) from the show, as they believed he was corrupt. Backstage, we were thrown into disarray as we tried to work out how to deliver the show with one of our actors in exile. The important thing for us is that (as long as it’s safe and more or less legal) the audience are free to try anything, and that the world we have built around them always responds to what they have decided to do. Interestingly, this means that the audience is empowered to plunge their own show into chaos – even if that ultimately leads to a unsatisfying experience for many of them.
Early Days (of a Better Nation) asks participants to rebuild a nation from scratch, after a cataclysmic conflict. What skills and attitudes are most useful in this situation – who are your ideal participants, if such a thing exists, and why?
The ideal individual participant doesn’t exist. For us, the ideal audience for Early Days is a microcosm of a real community, with people of different ages, backgrounds and opinions coming together to argue, compromise and create. We love it when our audiences do things which surprise (and terrify) us, so mischievousness is something we encourage, but again, that mischievousness becomes most interesting when it causes dramatic tension with other players who are trying to ‘do it properly.’ This leads to organic moments of drama and has, in another Coney show, led to an audience choosing to put another audience member in prison (made of chairs).
Post-apocalypse or dystopian fiction has become a dominant form and narrative in mainstream culture in recent years. Why would you say this has happened, and what does it tell us about the world’s collective psyche in 2015?
Humans have always daydreamed about future worlds – from Thomas More’s Utopia, through Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, to the The Matrix. I guess what is sharpening things for us now is that science allows us to have a much clearer idea of what cataclysmic disasters might await, and what the world might look after them. Since Hiroshima humans have known unequivocally that we have the means to destroy ourselves, and that background anxiety has been sharpened by our realisation that global warming is already having significant impact on the climate. 9/11 and the 2008 financial crash also added to this feeling that everything is unravelling; fuelling the glut of dystopian fiction. Oddly enough, we chose to set Early Days in the future in order to give some distance from the sharp edges of reality which might stymie an audience’s freedom to play. Wwe don’t want specific racial/religious/political issues stopping audiences from interacting. We also chose the apocalyptic world setting as we needed an extreme starting point for our audience, in order to make unpopular ideas such as emergency leaders being given unilateral decision-making powers a viable option for them to consider.
Our apocalyptic setting was driven by the political ambition of the show: we needed an extreme setting to make it plausible for our audiences to explore radical forms of government. While Early Days takes live threats to peace in Europe today and imagines them all progressing in the most disastrous way, it’s really more of a thought experiment to find a plausible route to a dark future than an illustration of our personal anxieties as artists.
The events of the Arab Spring and its aftermath, the events in Iceland, and the issues raised by the Occupy movement provide thematic inspiration for your new show – it has been a turbulent ten years for the notion of democracy. Why is democracy still an important concept, and what makes a ‘good’ democracy?
The show itself does not promote democracy as the answer (although democratic audience structures often leads to the most successful finales). Indeed, Early Days can be boiled down to a theatrical experiment where audiences are encouraged to build a new system of government which is then tested by the game mechanics of the show. However, zooming out of the world of Early Days, democracy is something which humans have been working on for more than 2000 years, and has certainly become more refined during that time. As individuals, Annette and I agree with Churchill that democracy is still the ‘least worst’ way to run a Government. Another favourite moment in Early Days came when two 18 year old students developed a radical new form of democracy: 10-year Parliament Terms to allow Governments to actually have time to get things done, alongside MP and Government Recall, where if more than 70% of the electorate voted to remove the Government or an individual MP, they are recalled. We had partners from UK Parliament in the audience that show, and they admitted afterwards that this was an entirely new (and pretty promising) form of democracy.
The Early Days… game board. Photo by Ryoko Uyama
Can you tell us anything about the game board?
One of the impacts the show has had on first time voters is underlining how hard it is to be a politician, and puncturing a little of the creeping cynicism around politicians in the process. In their role as members of Dacia’s Parliament, this ‘game board’ allows audiences directly to discover that when resources are limited, impossibly difficult decisions need to be made.
Coney’s Early Days (of a Better Nation) at BHVR2015 has now closed. The show is now on tour around the rest of the UK – follow @agencyofconey for updates.
Catrin Evans is the Artistic Director of A Moment’s Peace Theatre Company, whose daring, participatory arts projects across Scotland have gained widespread acclaim and critical adulation. Last year she wrote Endurance in conjunction with The Women’s Creative Company, which had its world premiere at The Arches as part of the Culture 2014 celebrations. Her recent directing credits include Dear Scotland for The National Theatre of Scotland, Some Other Mother by AJ Taudevin, The Sweet Silver Song of the Lark by Molly Taylor, and Fragile by David Greig as part of Theatre Uncut in New York.
This Saturday, in her #ArchesCommons session At The Heart, Evans will reflect on her last two projects – the sports-focused Endurance, and 2013′sI Could Eat A Horse, which explored the food supply chain and the human stories behind the complex world of food production. Always collaborative, reflective and deeply insightful, her work with A Moment’s Peace is at the heart of what Evans calls ‘socially-engaged arts practice.’ We sat down with her ahead of this weekend’s session to ask a few questions.
Your Arches Commons session will explore the notion of “socially-engaged arts practice.” Can you give us a definition of this, for the un-initiated?
Socially engaged arts practice, for me, is rooted in the links between art and its social resonance, whether that be thematically, stylistically and/or to do with the processes used to create the work. It is also about work that wants to engage in conversation, between the personal and the political, between the audience and the performer, between the art and the community. It is interested in people and humanity. It has deep connections with political activism and does often foreground social issues. I understand the practice to be inherently collaborative – although to what degree will depend upon the work. These are just my own thoughts – and just today – there is so much in the term ‘socially engaged arts practice’ that it requires constant interrogation.
What changed for you (if anything), in terms of your approach to your work after last year’s referendum?
I’m not sure anything has changed specifically. I guess I have been galvanised by the amount of work that is politicised and the fact that a wide section of the arts community (and beyond) have been talking much more openly about social justice and what role art has in demanding that for us all. But I feel that I have always been fairly open about being a political person – and a politicised artist, and so maybe I just feel more at home than ever. I think if anything its really forced me to ask questions about why I make work, whose is it for/with and what/who is it serving. I find myself more and more resistant to what I see to be the corporatisation of the arts, and the growing obsession with branding and at the far end arts projects/institutions operating as a branding exercise either for themselves or their sponsors. With that, it feels like the arts world has resigned itself to the fact that we are going to have to ‘adapt to survive’ under an austerity regime – and if that means getting in bed with the devil then so be it! That scares me and actually it makes me challenge myself to question whether making the work is more important that the political principles that I feel strongly. I don’t know, it’s hard. Everyone has to compromise but I guess I have been asking myself a lot lately about whose side I am on – and that’s not about yes or no… am I pro establishment or am I not? I reckon you can guess what my answer usually is. I do not want my work to ever become an arm of the austerity campaign – and so the last few years have helped recognise that and I guess it just forces me to be rigorous with my choices.
A Moment’s Peace has always sought to engage artists and audiences beyond the scope of regular theatre-makers and theatre-goers. How important is it for theatre as an art form to widen its base of participation, and why?
Very!!! And there are too many reasons to list. Ultimately I think my drive comes from a desire to see on stage and make work that foregrounds for a multiplicity of voices and stories. Why should theatre be the reserve of an elite – whether that be economic or otherwise? Storytelling and performance has such a rich history and it doesn’t belong to a certain type of person. Why are there some people that we need to hear from all the time (for example The Default Man) when there are so may other people/makers whose stories could inspire and challenge us. I think the key for me is not to think about participatory work as an artist or organisation gifting something upon people, but seeing instead participation has an exciting opportunity to learn from each other and to be inspired by each other. I’m certainly not saying that all theatre makers and venues at all time should be participatory – that’s when you end up with tokenistic work – but I do think that organisations particularly need to be constantly assessing whether their work is reaching as widely as it could, and if it’s not, why not?
Your last two projects took on themes relating to sport (Endurance) and food/diet (I Could Eat A Horse). Is part of a socially-engaged arts practice picking subjects to discuss to which everyone can relate? What subject or subjects do you hope to explore in the future?
I always feel inspired by themes and issues that are complicated and contradictory – where there is no easy answer. That’s where I think creative conversations can be so powerful and provocative. Often these do end up being themes that everyone can relate to. I am interested in how we develop work that finds space for the distinct narratives and how we can find forms to put these in conversation. AMP’s next big project will be next year – My House is a creative exploration of land ownership and housing. Another meaty complicated subject which we’re very excited about.
Finally, what kind of discussions do you hope to open up at this weekend’s event?
I am really looking forward to Saturday. I plan for it to be as discursive as possible – with everyone there getting a chance to chew over some key questions that I find myself grappling with at the moment. The thing that I am most passionate about is interrogating not ‘the value of art’ but instead ‘the values of the artist’. We can never predict, and nor should we, how an audience might react to work but I am interested in intentionality – what kind of reaction do we set out to provoke. Do we want to unsettle? Do we want to challenge? Do we want to dismantle? All of these ideas feed into the forms and style that we as artists chose to use within each piece of work – can the aesthetic respond to the politics of the work as well as the processes involved in getting there? And there’ll be some other stuff too no doubt!
This Saturday at Behaviour Festival, for our first #ArchesCommons session, Andrew Whitley and Veronica Burke of Bread Matters present their provocation to change the way we do bread, for good, and all. The session is free, so come along to share a lunch of soup and good bread and exchange stories about what bread means to us. Bread Matters teaches real breadmaking and helps communities to take control of this important food. Their provocation asks ‘Who stole our daily bread?’ and provides the essential tools to reclaim it. They invite you to take home a Sourdough Starter, pass it on and join a community in ferment. Ahead of the event, we spoke to Bread Matters’ Veronica Burke and asked her about the significance of bread, and what makes sourdough so special.
Bread is not just a food that we eat every day, it is also a metaphorical symbol for food in general; for example in the Christian prayer ‘Give us this day our daily bread’. What cultural significance does bread hold for you?
Bread has a role in many cultures and traditions. It’s often used as a symbol of welcome and hospitality; in some climates, giving a stranger or a traveller bread and water could mean the difference between survival and starvation. It also represents the harvest and the food that has been grown during summer to feed us over another winter. Breaking bread together is a potent symbol of giving and sharing. It can be reverential, even sacred, and it can be as simple and spontaneous as tearing a piece of bread from a shared loaf and enjoying it. Every time we provide food for someone we care about, we are nurturing as well as nourishing. It’s part of our capacity to care for others and for ourselves; part of what makes us human. Breadmaking also brings us this sense of connection, when our hands are in the dough, when it slowly transforms into bread and when we work alongside each other, making something we can share and take pride in. When we know what is in our bread, and who has made it, the meaning it holds for us changes completely.
On Saturday, you’ll be sharing some of your original recipe sourdough with us. Where does the recipe come from, and what makes it unique?
Andrew is making two breads to share on Saturday. One is Borodinsky, a rye bread, made with a sourdough starter he brought back from Russia in 1990. Andrew will tell some of the stories behind that bread on Saturday. We’ll give everyone a piece of the sourdough starter to take home and make their own bread with – and to pass on, creating another strand to the story, another part of the sourdough culture. We’ll also share a simple sourdough country bread. It is fermented slowly to make it tasty and easy to digest – and to keep in all the minerals that are important for our health. The wheat is an old Scottish variety that was grown and milled into flour right here in the Borders. It is part of Scotland The Bread’s quest to grow better grain and bake better bread.
Growing numbers of people struggle to feed themselves, and food banks are becoming increasingly commonplace. What are your thoughts about a society that leaves so many dependent on charity to feed them?
Food banks are necessary; they get food to people who need it and can’t afford to buy it. They are also a symptom of our broken food system and of growing inequality between those who can afford nourishment and health and those who can’t. Bread is an important part of our diet. Five million Scots consume on average four million loaves each week and it doesn’t seem to be doing us much good. Scotland grows enough wheat to feed its people seven times over, but imports almost all of its bread flour. We have some ideas about how to make this staple food do us much more good – and how we can get it to those who have least access and least choice about what they get to eat.
The word ‘artisan’ has become something of a cliché, with artisan beers, artisan shoes, artisan coffees wherever you look. Do you embrace the term ‘artisan baker’ and what does it mean for you?
It’s a useful word. It tells us that the bread we’re eating is made by a person, using their hands, their skills and their attention. True artisans have knowledge about, and control over, what they put into the bread and where it comes from; they can be part of an unbroken chain of trust between the farmer who grew the grain and the person who eats the bread. Sadly, like many terms that can tell a true story, ‘artisan’ can fall victim to corporate capture. Giant corporations are always poised to grab a bit more shareholder value by making some of their food a bit healthier, special, posh and pricey. Whatever we call it, making bread to feed our fellow citizens well is worthwhile, meaningful work and making the best bread possible out of fresh, locally-grown flours requires skill.
Finally, what kind of discussions do you hope to open up at this weekend’s event?
We’ll be sharing some of the stories and the meanings that bread has for each of us. Our provocation asks: ‘Who stole our daily bread?’ We’ll be looking at what our bread is, what’s in it and how much good it’s doing us. Most importantly, we want to open up debate about how we can reclaim and re-imagine bread as part of a healthy and fair food system. Imagine eating bread made by a local baker, from flour freshly milled near the bakery, from wheat grown by a farmer you’ve met, in the fields nearest to where you live. Now imagine that bread is full of important nutrients and tastes great and that it doesn’t bloat you or hurt your gut or leave you feeling hungry. What if everybody involved had been paid fairly for their work and nobody was slicing off an unfair share?
Experimental performance maker Peter McMaster is a dynamic and creative artist whose practice includes solo works, ensemble creations, directing projects and tutoring at degree level for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His last show was the ambitious, acclaimed, all-male production of Wuthering Heights, which debuted at Arches LIVE in 2012 and came to Behaviour Festival 2 years ago, going on to be a big hit at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014. It has since toured widely, attracting praise for its sensitive treatment of the challenges faced by men living in the modern world, and unpicking notions of masculinity with incisive dramatic flair. The play earned McMaster a Platform 18 Award, and The Arches are thrilled to welcome him back for Behaviour 2015 with his latest show, 27.
Alongside co-performer and //BUZZCUT// curator Nick Anderson, the show is a deeply autobiographical exploration of what happens when both men reached 27 years of age. It opens this Saturday, 25 April, as part of a double bill with Dancer by Ian Johnston, Gary Gardiner and Adrian Howells, another movement-based piece. We sat down with McMaster to ask about the ’27 club’ and the use of autobiography in his work, and how his new show engages with this year’s theme of ‘Futures.’
The legendary ’27 club’ of musicians who died at that age seems to be the jumping off point for your new show. What do you think makes these figures so enduringly fascinating?
I think they are fascinating at first glance because it is so easy to be shocked by the fact that these young people who, “had so much going for them” and were so well loved, died at a young age. With most of them, a lot of folk consider their departure as untimely as there is an implicit judgement that because their art was so valued, their death equates to a waste of talent, or a waste of what could have been made. Subsequently, and in the process of trying to make sense of it, I think people immortalise them as superhuman, because that scale of status matches the size of shock and grief their death caused. But actually, when you look into it more and more, they were just people trying to get by in a very complex world. The route they took into celebrity and stardom must take its toll, and if you have a tendecny to be quite hedonistic and partake in extreme behaviours like heavy drink and drug use, the chances of dying are probably quite high. All of this does equate to a rather dramatic story, and when in the international public eye, will always cause a stir.
Maybe they are enduringly fascinating as well because we don’t know how to let go of them, or that it’s hard to let go of them because their legend lives on in mass produced documentation. They are immortalised whether we like it or not. I also believe that the other bottom line is that they were exceptionally talented and often were massively generous in their creative outpourings. People are hugely inspired by them in life, and therefore massively grieved by their death. This takes a long time to process.
The show is also deeply personal and autobiographical for yourself and your co-creators. Is it your most autobiographical piece so far, and do you ever feel uncomfortable exposing your private life on stage?
I think I always strive for a depth of autobiography in my work, but maybe this is deeper than most. I feel my practice getting more finely tuned towards an unfiltered exposition of my autobiography, so maybe it is natural for things to get more exposing as they go along. Sometimes this can be a bit uncomfortable, particularly in this show because we are both naked for pretty much the entire performance. But as a general rule, I don’t do things I am not prepared for so it would never be too uncomfortable. I also see the vulnerability that is implicit in this approach to be quite a generous and opening catalyst for both performer and audience, so I do appreciate its use amongst the difficulty.
One theme of this year’s festival is ‘Futures.’ Does your work on 27 comment on any possible futures for you, society in general, or the discipline of performance?
Not overtly, but there is a facet to the concepts of this work that wonders what kind of future you could have, if you allow yourself to be truthful with yourself; if you allow yourself to be open to who you are, and what kind of life you might lead in this state of honesty. And when juxtaposed with the knowledge of the ’27 Club’ who have all died, there is something quite hopeful for life to be doing these big expressive actions in the live moment, seizing the opportunity to enact ecstatic expressions of joy and suffering. What happens to our lives when this is the way we choose to be in our art works? Could it be inspiring for audiences who watch? What are you left with when the performance ends?
It sounds like 27 will be an intensely physical performance – what preparation or training do you do in the run-up to a show like this?
Make sure that I don’t eat too much! I also practice a lot of physical stretching, some yoga exercises and strong vocal warm ups. But really, that’s not much different to what I normally do when preparing for a show.
A performance art work created by learning disabled artist Ian Johnston (pictured), in collaboration with Gary Gardiner and the late Adrian Howells, a new show opening at Behaviour Festival this weekend is a gentle provocation on what is is to be a ‘Dancer.’ Ian and Gary both love to dance in public. Neither are trained dancers. They are two artists asking questions about visbility, opportunity and experiences; as well as sharing a few of their moves to songs by some of their favourite artists, including Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga and Nick Cave. We sat down with co-creator Gary Gardiner to ask about the music, the moves and the hard work that went into the making of this beguiling show.
Is it true that Dancer was the last piece that Adrian Howells worked on? What was he like as a collaborator, and what are your thoughts about his lasting contribution to the arts in Scotland?
Adrian was collaborating on a new show FAG for Behaviour last year at the time of his death so technically Dancer was the last show he made, rather than worked on. This of course makes Dancer all the more poignant for both Ian and I, but definitely creates a new level to the work for the audiences that knew him. Adrian was a friend and collaborating with him was logical and easy in this context. We were both motivated by the possibility of realising to some extent Ian Johnston’s desire to be recognised as the artist he is, and this was the driving force in the collaboration. It was always 3 men of varying ages playing with ideas relating to visibility and friendship. Adrian was particularly special in a rehearsal room, he most certainly had a way of drawing out the very best camaraderie in a space with his wit and kindness. It’s difficult without talking extensively to say how Adrian’s legacy will contribute to the arts in Scotland. I think it will always be his personality, candidness and generosity that will stick with people and influence their practice and these are such important qualities for him to have imparted.
With the popularity of Strictly and other shows, and the rise of clubbing culture as a mainstream activity, dancing is in many ways more popular than it has ever been. In what ways are opportunities for dancing and access to dance-based activities restricted for learning disabled people, and what do you think can be done about this?
I don’t believe dancing in a social/pastoral context is restricted for adults with learning disability. The Arches itself hosts an inclusive club night LATE, and certainly in terms of provision in the city I think there is access to various activities. The significant thing about Dancer is that Ian is an artist who uses dance as his primary tool to communicate and the gentle provocation in Dancer is more concerned with Ian’s (and mine) lack of professional training, aesthetic and right to assert our legitimacy to call ourself artists/dancers. Dancer has been funded by The Unlimited Commission, which supports and profiles the work of disabled artists but in terms of the theme of Dancer I think the visibility of disabled artists and access to the arts industry is probably a key conversation point.
The musical selections for Dancer are taken straight from the pop charts – what did you and your collaborators hope to achieve by using recognisable, memorable songs, and was there any satirical intent in your choices?
Ha! No satire intended at all. The songs are Ian’s choices and reflect his favourite music. It has changed slightly actually- he no longer likes Gangnam Style! I think the song choices enable us to create a relaxed and open environment for our audience; we invite them to indulge a little in the music.
At Behaviour this year we are examining the theme of ‘Futures.’ What can dancing teach us about ourselves and our fellow human beings that would be useful to know in the future?
Adrian would talk about ‘dancing with pure abandonment’ and felt he had learnt this from Ian, who does. There is an invitation in Dancer for us all to consider the way we feel, truly feel in the gut and we look at forcing the cerebral out for an hour. Not that we don’t want the audience to think, but we want the audience to feel first. In terms of futures I feel there is something in this for us all.
Your other collaborator on this piece is Ian Johnston. What was the experience of working with him like, and have you any plans to collaborate again?
Ian is a fantastic collaborator. We are very similar in the way we interpret, move and create, and Ian often acts as a barometer for creating material. If he likes it, is inspired by it, then its probably working very well. Ian and I will definitely continue to work together. We are about to begin a development for a new piece of work which will be in collaboration with Jon Reid and performed by Ian and I.
This is not your first Behaviour – what do you think the value of a festival like Behaviour is, and what effect did it have on your career when you won the Platform 18 Award?
Behaviour is the only festival of its kind in Scotland and is an important festival for Scottish based artists and audiences to see the work of our international peers. The breadth of the festival is always impressive and there is much to learn from this exposure. In terms of my own practice; I consider myself a portfolio practitioner and work in a variety of artistic contexts. Platform 18 enabled me to explore and experiment with an idea with the full support of a venue, and to take risks. This is always essential for artists.
This week, #TeamArches spoke to acclaimed theatremaker and performer CHRIS THORPE, writer and star of Fringe First Award winning show CONFIRMATION, directed by The TEAM‘s Rachel Chavkin for China Plate, with support from Warwick Arts Centre. The show runs at Behaviour Festival at The Arches until Thursday 23 April 2015. We spoke to Chris about the origins of his show, the deep evolutionary roots of confirmation bias, his intense collaboration with Chavkin, and the truth behind the UK’s political lurch to the right.
Over at The Arches Soundcloud page, we’ve been posting some more audio interviews and podcasts recorded around and about the Behaviour Festival. Check out this interview with Amy Sharrocks at the Museum of Water, currently on display at Glasgow Botanic Gardens until 6pm on Tuesday 21 April. Amy discusses the inspiration behind the collection, what she hopes to learn from donations made by the people of Glasgow, and some of the strangest and most inspiring stories she and her team have collected over the Musem’s wanderings.
Glasgow City Counciller Bailie Liz Cameron also speaks to us about her role in Glasgow’s Year of Green project, and the importance of the city’s rivers and parks to the lasting cultural heritage of Scotland. If you and your family are enjoying the last few days of the Easter Holidays, why not take a wander down to the Botanics today, and make your own donation to the Museum of Water? All you need to do is choose some water that is precious to you, and find a bottle to put it in. Tell us why you chose this water. The Museum of Water will keep it for you! Find out more about how to donate in the video below.
Amy Sharrocks: Museum of Water | at Kibble Palace, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow, Glasgow City G12 0UE
Until Tue 21 Apr 2015 | 10am – 6pm daily | Free | Suitable for all ages
Over at The Arches Soundcloud page, we’ve been posting some audio interviews and podcasts recorded around and about the Behaviour Festival. Thus far, we’ve reported on last week’s launch at The Arches, interviewing some of the artists, directors, sponsors and audience members in attendance at The Arches, including Dee Heddon, Professor of Contemporary Performance at Glasgow University; theatre-maker Laurie Brown; Buzzcut Festival programmer and performer Nick Anderson; Arches programmers Gillian Garrity and Jodie Wilkinson, and the Goethe Institut‘s Konrad Siller. Listen to The BHVR Launch podcast here.
Before that, we spoke to playwright and performer Bush Moukarzel of acclaimed young theatre company Dead Centre, who told us all about the inspiration behind last week’s production of ‘Lippy.’ Listen to the Bush Moukarzel Interview here. Look out for more exciting podcasts from the Behaviour team at The Arches in the weeks to come.
Founded in 1994 by a collective of students attending Nottingham Trent University and the University of Giessen in Germany, Gob Squad have risen to become one of the most exciting, and the most talked-about experimental theatre collectives in Europe. The current line-up – Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost and Simon Will, under the watchful eye of manager and dramaturge Eva Hartmann - are coming to Behaviour Festival this year with an acclaimed show, Western Society.
The play promises to explore the “remote darkness” of the internet, examining the way in which technology distances us from ourselves and our families, while also bringing us together. Gob Squad use video, movement, improvisation and song to depict a fractured, atomised, utterly modern reality. The New York Times called it “a deliriously sane portrait of the age of the selfie.” We caught up with Gob Squad’s Sharon Smith ahead of the show’s opening night at Glasgow’s Centre for the Contemporary Arts to talk about the internet age, robotic operas, and the company’s disparate visions of the future…
Western Society engages with ideas like remote surveillance and voyeurism; exhibitionism and narcissism, and how these impact our view of ourselves. What changes has the media-saturated era we live in wrought upon the family, the individual, and our sense of self?
‘Western Society’ shows a home video of a family in some ways ‘alone together.’ A room full of people are centred around a TV screen which displays karaoke. The screen provides the central feature; is the camp fire for this gathering. On the sofa a young girl sits communicating though her iPhone to others, removed from her actual place. The TV holds the family together as it simultaneously distracts the family from communicating directly with each other.
The original translation of the Japanese word for ‘karaoke’ is ‘silent orchestra.’ How does karaoke as a device in this piece allow Gob Squad to explore the personal and the performative?
Karaoke is more of a backdrop in the show. A constant. The home video is a projection screen for the Gob Squad performers. They see something, recognise something in the home video which is ‘like their family.’ There is something very ordinary and at the same time something magical and timeless about the video. Gob Squad perform this possibility to project – they imagine their own families, different scenarios are played out and personal narratives are changed… Gob Squad re-write pasts, imagine futures and critique the present.
Previous Gob Squad productions have also explored the impact of technological change on human behaviour – in what sense is Western Society a continuation of that exploration, and in what ways is it engaging with new questions about technology?
Each performer interrogates another during the show. Performers must choose, are forced to decide between this and that – between Iran and Iraq, between Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston, between being fracked or being raped. Access to the internet and our relationship to ‘news’ is examined through this game as we are expected to know something about everything and take a position on anything. They find the least watched video on the internet, illuminating the dark corners, at the edges of the ‘spotlight.’
How important is improvisation to the development of a Gob Squad show, and what does using improvised elements bring to your performances?
Improvisation is very important. The work is heavily structured, there are a huge amount of cues and appointments between sound, video and performers. What we desire the most is that the real-life event can get inside the work – and actually be part of the work, affect the atmosphere. If we want this, we have to have loose moments where the real-life can get in. This keeps the work alive, and it can surprise us. This makes us perform better, and connects us with the whole room – with everybody in the room. We have to be open when the audience get directly involved in the work too. We have to be prepared to negotiate with so many unplanned and un plan-able elements. The work feels different – more live.
One strand of Behaviour this year is about engaging with the concept of ‘Futures’ – where do Gob Squad see society in relation to technology a decade from now – what will have changed, and what effect will this have had?
As a collective, the members of Gob Squad are in constant debate between differing positions on all things, including ‘future.’ At the moment we are working on an opera which stars a robot. Our engagement with the robot inevitably brings us to questions about being human. The more we discover through technology and about technology, the closer it brings us to questioning ourselves. Advancements in neuroscience are being made thanks to our research into robot technology. We are learning more about human-ness as a side effect of this technology, and a battle will continue. Some of us believe that the singularity is inevitable, some are nostalgic for the body. We think robots will look after us when we are old. We know that Google have mapped the world and bought the military robots and we wonder what will happen when this technology is combined. We know the corporations are in-human and in-charge. We have children and they are hope for the future. We worry that the future is very, very close.
Acclaimed writer, theatre-maker, artist and performer Tim Etchells is the author of several collections of short fiction, and the founder and director of Forced Entertainment, a world-renowned experimental performance company founded in 1984. As part of this year’s Behaviour Festival, two of his major visual art works will be on display in The Arches foyer from 8-30 April. The works comprise one of Etchells’ much-admired neon pieces – ‘Will Be‘ – and a collection of his ‘Fight Posters‘ – bold, playful, often contradictory imaginary battles between opposing ideologies, ideas and sociological groups.
We caught up with Etchells to discuss the multiple meanings of his work, his fascination with neon, and the plasticity of language.
In what ways do you see text as performative, and in what ways do you seek to subvert or play with literal meanings in your work?
I suppose I am drawn to the ways that language makes us perform – that speaking it, or reading it puts us in a place, puts us in a role, changes us. We’re used to thinking that we construct using language of course, but at the same time language can construct us too, through our encounter with it as readers, writers, viewer and speakers. Another thing that fascinates me is the complexity of simple things! One of the things that happens when you work with short pieces of language – phrases, combinations of words – is that they’re lacking context. You have these very restricted, simple linguistic pieces.. fragments really. But the more you look at them, the more you read or speak them, the more complex they become. I love these texts that are very straightforward and very multidimensional at the same time – or texts which perform a kind of oscillation between the two.
What first attracted you to work in the medium of neon? What effects or reactions do you think neon can elicit in the observer?
Initially I think the act of turning language into an object is really interesting. A word on a page has a fragile, ephemeral materiality. A word in glass, or in lead or in wood or in lightblubs, is something else. You become more aware of the dialogue between the semantics and the material form of the text. Something written in ice is different than something carved in wood or spelled out in fireworks. The materiality can enhance and contradict the sense of the text in different ways. With neon in particular the cultural connotations are of another era really – it’s a 20th Century material – with a particular flavour of brash urban space. I’m drawn to it for that in some ways and for the very pure visual feel of it. But mostly I like neon because the magical combination of glass and gas and electricity carries such a beautiful echo of voice for me – voice being that interaction of material (tissue, bone, muscle), human energy and breath or air.
Much of your work plays with ambiguity and multiple meanings. Is the English language a particularly rich source of this kind of ambiguity and intertextuality, or do you think it exists equally in other languages and cultures too?
Every language has its own ambiguities, its own richness I am sure. I don’t think English is ‘stronger’ in that sense. I am tuned to English though, and I work with the particular qualities it has. It’s what runs around my head, in my voice, in my ears. I guess the particular open-ness of English is interesting to me – that the word ‘you’ does not specify the number of people one’s addressing, or the gender of the addressee, or even their position on some scale of intimacy or formality. So a word like ‘you’ manages to address many possibilities without ruling any out… it floats, in a very fluid, adaptable way… that’s been important in many works of mine.
One of the themes of this year’s Behaviour Festival is the concept of ‘futures’ – a topic your work also engages with. What future or futures do you hope to satirise, warn against or depict in your work, and why? If the future (or futures) are going to be confusing, can you offer us any advice for navigating it/them?
The neon work ‘Will Be’ comprises a very simple, open statement: “The future will be confusing…” It’s a kind of prediction… but one that’s so open of course that it’s pretty much certain to be correct, at least in one way or another. What makes the work more complex is that the neon letters are all made separately, and that they’re in different colours. So whilst the phrase makes an immediate sense we can see that it also has this more inconsistent, more confusing physical form. The different colours make a pattern inside the phrase, making a visual cross-connection between letters that would not otherwise be linked. The sense of the language threatens to unravel, in the grip of another system. You asked what kind of futures the work is warning about. I think the key to it is in this idea of surfaces – the structures, systems and surfaces we take for granted are the ones that on closer examination have this enormous potential to shift and change, undermining our sense of order and sense.
Your ‘Fight Posters’ invite us to view the world through a narrow focus – presenting either/or, dichotomous contests between sides of an argument, sections of communities, ideologies, or sections of ideologies. Has the era of social media changed the way we think about our opinions and values, and the way we share and debate them? To what extent is ‘Fight Posters’ a commentary on this?
I do see the posters in context of social media, internet and so on. But in a larger sense I think they’re informed by older media too – by news headlines, by tabloid TV. There’s even something of the 19th Century Theatrical Handbills about them. In that sense they work the link between politics and theatre – replaying the sensationalist, brutalising tropes of mass media, the pornographic focus on conflict, on absurd bald opposites, the theatrical desire for spectacle. The posters came from a larger project called Vacuum Days, which involved a website, poster-works and a publication – taken together that body of work is very much me trying to reflect on that media space, and on the violent hyperbolic language which thrives there. The thing that goes across many of the forms I’m flagging here, spanning more than a century, is the focus on distilled language – the brevity and condensation of event into the playbill, the newspaper headline, the tweet, the SMS, the online comment. There’s something about this process of distilling action and emotion into super-condensed language that I find very fascinating, and it’s clearly a big part of forms like Twitter or SMS – the intensity of ideas articulated in restricted space. It’s something we’re all tuned to, thanks to the prevalence of those forms.
Another big part of Behaviour Festival involves opening and engaging with discussion of the wider topics raised by the artworks and performances featured. What are some of the issues or debates you hope might be generated and discussed in response to ‘Fight Posters’?
I think the debate the posters trigger is about media –about the hyperbolic language used to describe people, situations, experiences, and how that language itself adds to the violence that’s already there in the world. They point at our need to see situations in terms of stereotypes, or familiar patterns and systems of relations – the way that the accepted or communicable version of a situation is typically a gross simplification of the reality on the ground. The posters also point at the media’s need, society’s need, to see everything as a conflict, as a binary, as a contest from which there can only be one victor. In a strange way, for all their perceived extremity, the fight posters are often done in response to particular existing stereotypes and ideas of conflict in the culture. They are a kind of amplified re-telling, reversioning of what we’re in any case already surrounded by.
Present at The Arches throughout Love Action – Crew.
Crew are an engaging and discreet charitable organisation whose volunteers are ready to talk. Not to condone, but not to condemn. They offer advice, water and info on staying safe in today’s clubbing environment. We have worked with Crew for over a year now and they have been an incredible presence and appreciated collaborator in maintaining our high level of customer engagement and care.
The Arches would like to thank everyone who has shown their support this week. It is greatly appreciated and we are proud to see that customers and patrons can share their positive experiences; not just of the music, but of The Arches as a whole.
Staff at the Arches will continue to provide the very best customer care and experience that we can, but the Arches is nothing without you and we need your help in order to keep the experiences safe.
THERE ARE SOME REALLY SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO:
ID. Please make sure that, no matter what age you are, you are able to provide valid Identification. That means that it is yours, it proves that you are over 18, that the identification is in date and that it is, of course, genuine.
Drinking responsibly is ALWAYS important. We want people to have fun, but that does not include anyone putting themselves in danger. Staff are ALWAYS here to help but we’re not your family or friends. Look after each other before it gets out of control and enjoy your night.
If you are in possession of a harmful substance, legal or illegal, you are not welcome in this venue. We understand that substance use can be part of a clubber’s experience and we make provision to treat and engage with people showing the side effects of drug use. However, if found with a harmful substance hidden on your person, the police will be called immediately to the venue. This is not only damaging for you, but for The Arches as well. You may not just ruin your own night but the nights of many others and events to come.
The Arches cannot go on without you and it cannot go on without your support.
Huge thanks to everyone who has shown their support this week – your kind words and spirited messages have kept the whole team going through a particularly tough time.
We’re obviously pleased with today’s decision but have a further review of our licence ahead of us. Once again, we will seek to prove that our award-winning duty of care policies and proactive working partnership with Police Scotland are providing as safe an environment as possible for our club patrons.
We are thrilled to confirm that this weekend’s Love Action festival will go ahead as planned. However, in the spirit of cooperation with Police Scotland, Thursday’s event will be moved to SWG3. All original tickets remain valid. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will take place at The Arches as scheduled. All events remain 18+.
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that we remain wholly committed to the wellbeing of our customers. With this in mind, we ask you all to continue to respect our zero tolerance policy so that we can keep putting on the nights you love.
Be responsible, look after each other – the future of clubbing at The Arches is impossible without your cooperation.
We’ve received numerous enquiries asking what tomorrow’s Licensing Board hearing means for this weekend’s scheduled events.
We wish wholeheartedly that we could provide concrete answers for you at this stage, but unfortunately we cannot know what the immediate future of The Arches looks like until the conclusion of the hearing.
We will make a full announcement on this on Wednesday 1st April by 5pm at the latest.
Please continue to bear with us. Your support is invaluable to us during this difficult time.
Tuesday 31 March, 13:13
Having worked in increased partnership with Police Scotland and done all that has been asked to further mitigate risk at club events since the tragic events of February 2014, the Arches is disappointed to be summoned to tomorrow’s Licensing Board hearing.
However, we remain wholly committed to the health and safety of our customers and are fully prepared to consider any further recommendations that the hearing may bring.
Monday 30 March, 15:23
The Arches would like to apologise to customers attempting to contact box office today. The building will remain closed today, but we’ll be open again tomorrow from 9.30am.
Thank you for your support and patience.
Sunday 29 March, 20:39
The Arches can confirm that, in consultation with Police Scotland on the night, Saturday’s GBX club was closed earlier than advertised due to police licensing concerns and not as previously intimated.
We would like to clarify that our robust zero tolerance policy, including all additional measures recently agreed with Police Scotland, were in force on the night.
The incident happened within the venue and the patron concerned was admitted to hospital as a result of an alcohol related episode, but subsequently released.
Further information will be made available once we have it, please bear with us. In the meantime, please feel free to direct specific questions or concerns to Georgia@thearches.co.uk.
The Arches is getting ready for one of the house music events of 2015 this January, as clubbing institution – and DJMag’s #1 Club of 2014 – the legendary Space Ibiza comes to Glasgow to celebrate 25 years in the game.
The lineup for this very special party features some of the biggest names in house music – Renaissance man James Zabiela heads up the bill, joined by Circus ringmaster Yousef, and Kehakuma resident and Balearic legend Javi Bora. The lineup is completed by Colours favourite Jon Mancini, and rising star Vilmos, whose name will be familiar to regulars at The Shimmy Club and Club ShangriLa.
In the past year, William ‘Vilmos’ Auld has played alongside the likes of Hot Since 82, Le Youth, Riva Starr, The Marrtinez Brothers, Solumun and many of the biggest names in dance music. A dynamic DJ and veteran party-starter, not to mention a lifelong disciple of Balearic house, we invited Vilmos to make us a ten-track playlist of guaranteed floor-fillers, inspired by the legacy of Space Ibiza. You can listen to the playlist below.
Here’s what Vilmos has to say aboout his selections:
“The words ‘Space’ & ‘Ibiza’ conjures up so many amazing memories and emotions. This selection of tracks are the first I think of when those two magical words are mentioned. From my very first time at the club, Sunday on the sunset terrace with ‘that’ remix of Pete Heller’s Big Love playing whilst the sun shone through and planes flew overhead… to the days before Shazam, the track I desperately searched the island for in 2007… to Samin’s Heater, and Orbital’s live version of Chime at the Opening Fiesta in 2012. These tracks are what Space Ibiza means to me.”
Ahead of the Colours WinterParty on Friday 26 December, we spoke to Turkish-Dutch DJ/Producer- and highest climber on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs of 2014- Ummet Ozcan. about raw fish and didgeridoos…
Where are you in the world today and what can you see out your nearest window?
I’m at a small town in the center of Holland, a nice and green environment. When I look at my window I can see a spacious park with a few people letting out there dogs.
Describe 2014 for you so far in 3 words…
Definitely the best year of my career to date. My tracks are topping the charts, got some great collabs in the pipeline and my big jump in the DJ Mag was icing on the cake.
[More than three words, but we'll allow it.]
You’re playing the infamous Colours WinterParty at The Arches on Boxing Day, are you looking forward to coming back to Scotland’s number 1 venue?
I’ve did numerous shows in Scotland and I recall they were always great nights, so can’t wait to be back at The Arches as it is very special to me.
You stormed the DJ Mag Top 100 chart this year, officially the highest climber! How did that feel when you heard the news?
I seriously couldn’t believe it! It was the jaw dropping moment of 2014 You always have certain expectations, but in the end you cannot do much more than wait for the verdict.. I can tell you it feels good!
Sander Van Doorn has been a big supporter of your work – what do you admire about his production and his approach to the music business?
Sander has been there for a long time, always pioneering in sound and style. He’s like a chameleon who adapts over time. That’s a great property and it means he is capable of reinventing himself over and over again.
You’ve also had a longstanding relationship with Spinnin’ Records – what are they like to work with, and who else on their roster do you rate highly?
Spinnin is a great partner and surfaces like platform to release my music to make myself heard. There team is very competent and once a release is scheduled it functions like a machine. That’s make my life easier:) You should keep an eye out for Oliver Heldens, he is going like crazy as he dropped a few big hits in the UK in the last few months.
If you had to pick your favourite producer of all time, who would it be?
Hans Zimmer has always been an inspiration for me. He’s one of the biggest in my opinion.
You collaborated with Paul Van Dyk in 2012 – any other big name collabs coming up? Do you plan to work with PVD again?
Paul is a great guy and was one first big names to reach out to me. We did 2 very cool tracks together which did quite well in the charts. We might do another track some time. I got a few crazy collabs in 2015, but I can’t tell much yet. There will be official announcements.. You know how these things go;)
In terms of your career, where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?
Still going strong, maybe doing some nice side projects to step out of my comfort zone, but I am pretty sure that I’m still around as a producer and Dj. At least that’s my intention.
Jeff Mills and other ‘underground’ techno artists have spoken out this year supporting EDM, and saying that having a more commercial side to dance music benefits everyone in the clubbing community – do you have any thoughts on this?
Well, the more people learn to know our dance music the better it is for everyone involved. And any popular dance music style could be the medium to achieve that. It can trigger people to dig deeper in certain elements or explore new styles. That’s also good for the underground scene, whatever that may be. So step up and spread the word!
You’ve also made a name for yourself as a designer of ‘softsynth’ sounds, and as a sound designer – how does this feed into your work as a producer, and how do you split your time between producing, DJing, and this kind of work?
I am always interested in how things work, sounds are fascinating things. Been trying to get to the bottom of this, so I reckoned it would be best to develop my own sound creator by designing a synthplug. I am pretty much occupied by making records and dj-ing, but if I have some time off I am working on my softsynths.
If you only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself…
I like to play funny instruments like the flute, my didgeridoo or a djembe.
Finally, what can people expect from you at The Arches on Friday 26th December?
Friday 5 December sees one of the most exciting lineups of 2014 coming to The Arches. London duo Dusky have curated a night of boundary-pushing house and techno for a key date on their ‘Next Steps Tour’ – celebrating the 2014 launch of their new imprint 17 Steps, and the release of latest single ‘Yoohoo / Akebono’ (watch the official video for ‘Yahoo’ below). As we look forward to what promises to be an epic night, with a 4-hr set from Dusky themselves, get to know the all-star lineup coming with them next week, and stream our specially-curated mix selection over on SoundCloud.
Dutch DJ and producer Tom Trago is the founder of Voyage Direct, a label he set up in 2006 to shine a light on the vibrant electronic music scene in the Netherlands. The label has released tracks by Legowelt, Dexter, Boris Werner, and Trago himself. He is perhaps best known for his collaborations, including outings with Bok Bok, Romanthony and Tyree Cooper.
Heading up this fantastic bill are Dusky themselves, aka London-based producers Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman. The duo have gone from strength to strength in 2014, with sold out shows at London’s Fabric, a cover feature and Gold Artist feature in Mixmag, and the launch of their own label, 17 Steps. Since releasing their breakthrough album ‘Stick by This’ on Ajunadeep in 2011, they have continued to build on the early buzz about their far-ranging, diverse take on house music - remixing Hot Chip and putting out tracks on Aus Music, Dogmatik and other labels, receiving support from top-name DJs including Calvin Harris and Tiësto, among others.
“We just want to be able to do what we want to do artistically and we don’t want to compromise that,” Nick Harriman told Mixmag back in April. “People should be able to have a good career off the back of their music without having to become too commercial.” Flying the flag for underground house music, they will play an exclusive, extended 4-hr set at The Arches on 5 December, alongside some of their favourite artists. Don’t miss your chance to see them in action as they prepare to take the Next Step.
Well then. We’ll double-remember 5th November 2014.
But not for the regular reasons.
Belting out some of their best-loved covers and a few new tunes too, the choir- led by artists Eilidh MacAskill and Matt Regan- treated a packed house to a brilliant evening of music in their first ever SongRaiser.
What’s more, they raised an incredible £892.25!
Click on the image above to watch a full-length video of the event.
The choir meets every Thursday, 7-9pm, in the Practice Room at The Arches. It’s open to everyone and a ridiculous amount of fun.
They’re a welcoming bunch and always looking for new voices to join. If you’re interested in getting invovled (and why wouldn’t you be?), head on over to the What’s On section for more information.
Our friends at Colours have been supplying Scotland’s dance floors with the cream of the crop in dance music for nearly two decades. Now, they bring you their brand new record label to showcase some of the hottest new talent on offer. Colours Records has been officially launched!
“We want to give young aspiring producers/DJs a platform to release their tracks, and the opportunity to work with some of the world’s biggest artists whilst they are in Scotland,” they tell us.
If you are interested in becoming one of the artists on the Colours Records roster, please email email@example.com with your unsigned tracks and they will be in touch.
Full website coming soon at www.coloursrecords.co.uk. We’ll keep you up to date with news about the label, the artists they sign, and their freshest new tracks as it becomes available.
Boysnoize Records began a little under a decade ago in 2005 as an outlet for Alex Ridha – aka Boys Noize – to release his own productions, while keeping full artistic control. The label, which Ridha has often described as an ‘anarchist collective,’ has grown over the years to inorporate the output of a globe-spanning roster of electronic artists, including releases from Dave Clarke, Housemeister, Chilly Gonzales, Strip Steve, D.I.M., and more recently, German techno prodigy SCNTST, who he brings with him to the BNR Party at The Arches this Saturday. SCNTST has immediately gained a reputation as a forward-thinking producer, and was recently tapped to write a beat for the track ‘Soda‘ on the debut album by Azealia Banks. His album ‘Self Therapy’ dropped on BNR in 2013.
As the label has grown, Ridha has released a variety of his own experimental projects under different names – such as Puzique, Einzeller, and Eastwest – and used BNR as a site for collaborations with Chilly Gonzales (as Octave Minds), Skrillex (as Dog Blood) and Mr. Oizo (as Handbraekes). BNR has also handled all of his solo album releases - Oi Oi Oi (2007), POWER (2009) and Out of the Black (2013).
“Since I started DJing it was always a little dream to have my own platform to release my own music in an uncomplicated way,” Ridha told Mixmag in a 2011 interview celebrating 50 releases on BNR – the label hit its 100th release this year. “In 2004 I was producing so many tracks I thought it was the right time to start my own label. At the same time there were two or three tracks i was playing out and I thought they were amazing but no one really knew about them (I-Robots’ ‘Frau’ and Jonh Starlight’s ‘Shadowbreaker’) so I thought it could be cool to sign and remix them and put them out.”
Ridha continues: “The main aim is to stay independent and release forward thinking, quality electronic music in any style! What makes me most happy is that most of the artists on BNR think the same way. They never repeat themselves, they try to make something new or something they haven’t tried before and because most of them have a good ear they can never really produce shit music, you know?”
This commitment to quality, and to making tracks which are DJ and dancefloor friendly while often leaning in an experimental direction, continues to this day. Recent releases include the self-titled Octave Minds album; Djedjotronic‘s sprawling electro compilation Interstate 101; the return of Baltimore MC Spank Rock, with production from Boys Noize; and Ridha’s own Alarm OST, a John Carpenter-influenced soundtrack for a forthcoming film, including the pitch-dark anthem unveiled last month, ‘Anoid.’ SCNTST‘s pulsing electro/techno hybrid EP Sessions Pt. 2 was another 2014 highlight, the second in a limited-edition vinyl-only series featuring BNR artists.
As the BNR label’s star continues to shine, The Arches and Slam Events are pleased to welcome Ridha and friends back to Glasgow. Ridha has played headline sets before at Pressure, and last year, absolutely smashed it at the Pressure & Electric Frog Riverside Festival (click through to watch videos of these appearances). Now, Boys Noize, SCNTST and POL Style (Night Slugs / Numbers) return to do some serious damage to The Arches soundsystem. This week, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for your chance to win a FREE ticket to the event, and to be in with a chance of taking home our specially-designed BNR Party poster.
Summer clubbing has become synonymous with the name Space Ibiza. If you’re lucky enough to have visited the beautiful Balearic Isles, you will know that no visit is complete without experiencing a party at Space, and dancing on the world-famous Space Terrace, a home-from-home for nearly every big name in house and techno.
All the legends have played here – 2014 saw Arches patron and techno ambassador Carl Cox curating a series of epic parties under the Music Is Revolution banner, bringing the cream of his Intec Digital label to the club, with sets from Hot Since 82, MK, Fatboy Slim, Green Velvet, Intec’s co-leader Jon Rundell, Julio Bashmore, Yousef and many more. Richie Hawtin meanwhile presided over the Enter. parties, setting new standards for multi-media techno performances.
Carl Cox in his natural habitat – the terrace at Space Ibiza
Space Ibiza is widely considered to be the Mecca of electronic music, and has become a second home for music lovers from the five continents. This year, Space Ibiza celebrates 25 years in the game with an epic world tour, bringing some of the club’s favourite DJs to key cities around the globe. We’re thrilled to announce that a key date in this tour will be their visit to The Arches on 31 January 2015.
Pepe Roselló has been the driving force of Space Ibiza since its beginning. He began running clubs in Ibiza in the late 50s and the early 60s, when the first hippies arrived from the USA escaping from the Korea and Vietnam wars. Suddenly, the first bars that opened on the island were packed with people to listen to this new and exciting wave of music - La Tierra, Mono Desnudo and Graffiti. A group of Ibizan businessmen on the island (“crazy about music”, quoting Pepe) rejected the isolationism of Franco-era Spain – in 1973 Pachá opened, followed by Es Paradís, Amnesia and Ku. In the mid-80s, Pepe was convinced that the future was in the hands of these great clubs – they were the only ones able to make it commercial, to bring live performances of bands for an eager audience.
In 1989 Pepe took over Space Ibiza in Platja d’en Bossa. The entertainment policy was a mixture of variety shows. In 1991 a young English DJ called Alex P had the idea of setting up a roof behind the bar to play for the audience more peacefully so people could enjoy their drinks on a chill-out terrace. Two years later, Brandon Block joined him and as a result of this union the Space Terrace was born.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history. In 1994, international DJs began to flock to the club: Sven Väth and Marc Spoon, indisputable kings of the techno and trance scenes, led the charge. From that moment on, big parties were organized: Up Yer Jonson with Sasha, Renaissance with Dave Seaman and John Digweed, React with Carl Cox, and even live performances with Erick Morillo and Reel 2 Reel, without forgetting the famous Space Ibiza Opening and Closing parties, which remain the parties that mark the beginning and the end of the season in Ibiza - check out Carl Cox’s 2014 Closing Party mix at the BBC Radio 1 website.
Space Ibiza exports its essence to all the greatest club spots in the world, bringing the magic of Ibiza to capacity crowds. In recognition of their mammoth contribution to global club culture, Space has been named ‘Best Global Club’ at the International Dance Music Awards in 2005, 2006, 2012, and again in 2013.
The weekend is here… Time to bask in our weekly selection of beats, featuring more than a few of the DJs coming up at The Arches in the next few weeks and months – that’s right, it’s The Arches Weekend Playlist!
All this, plus new selections from Defected (who take over The Arches on 6 Dec), London deep house duo Dusky (playing 5 Dec), Parisian trio Apollonia (playing 12 Dec) and Deejay Deer, on Glasgow’s seminal Numbers label.
We post a playlist nearly every week on our YouTube channel - follow us to keep up to date! To listen to this week’s playlist, click the image below to open it up in a new window. Enjoy!
We’re getting ready to launch new arts programmes aimed at young people aged 26 and under- ranging from event programming- to electronic music production.
We’d love to hear your feedback on the sort of programmes we should be running- particularly if you’re aged 26 or under.
If you can spare a few minutes to complete a short survey, we’d be hugely grateful.
Completing the survey will give you the option to be entered into a prize draw to win a pair of tickets to an Arches event and a 4-hour recording session with Tigerstyle at Soldier Sounds studio. The winner will be notified on Friday 7th November 2014.
Please click here to be redirected to SurveyMonkey.
This Saturday it’s time to go back to the year 2000 as ZOOM bring you a very special show at The Arches. Legendary Italian DJ/producerMAURO PICOTTOwill be playing an exclsuive ‘Producers Set’ – taking us back in tume 14 years to when all was golden in dance music. He’s joined by the one and only MARCEL WOODS, a true legend in the game who was part of some monumental nights at The Arches in years past. He recently hung up his headphones but is coming out of retirement for one night only to bring you a special classics set, which you know is going to be something amazing. In the studio, he’s been responsible for some of the biggest productions of the last decade, including the official Trance Energy 2006 anthem Advanced, the Pete Tong Essential Tune Monotone, Tiësto’s 2009 favourite Inside Me and the smash hit Lemon Tree. ZOOM interviewed him last week to find out what he’s got in store for the crowd this Saturday. Below that, you’ll find another interview, with rising producer CRAIG CONNELLY.
Describe 2014 for you so far in 3 words…
Marcel Woods: Amazing, relief for my private life, as I have somuch time since I retired (sort of).
You’re playing The Arches on Saturday 27 September, are you looking forward to coming back to Scotland’s number 1 venue?
MW: Definitely! Playing at the Arches has always been a special spot for me to play at, still the best crowd in the world…
We are all very excited about your special classics set, have you sorted out what tracks you’ll be treating us with on the night?
MW: Well, the most important thing would be the fact that they are all oldies..
Your tracks are without doubt some of the biggest Arches anthems of all time, do you have any stand out memories from playing the venue over the years?
MW: I remember one of the residents told me (on my first visit to The Arches): “Baird oot?!?!” And I was like, WTF is he talking about… ha ha but once I dropped Advanced, oh my god, that whole place went BAIRD OOT!!! Crazyyyyy…
Can you name your favourite track/remixever released by yourself?
MW: Pfffff… I will skip this part.
You announced your retirement from fulltime DJing earlier this year. What swayed your decision to hang up the headphones?
MW: My kids are the most important factor, and the reason I’m managing one of the biggest new acts in the world. Showtek! And of course running the agency 2-Dutch is a full day time job, so a bit of normal social time in the weekends is more than welcome.”
How does running a full time DJ agency now compare to DJing around the world every weekend?
MW: I love it!!! It’s hard work, and a lot of hours. But you do get results back after putting your shoulders on someone else’s his career. And once in a while I get back behind the decks for a classic set, and that feels again as if it is my #1 hobby!
Which artists are you tipping forsuccess in the future?
MW: Jordy Dazz, Jetfire, Brooks.
If it were your last ever gig, what would be thelast track you would play to close the night?
MW: This is The End by the Doors.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself….
MW: I really love sushi, and I mean really love it! You can literally wake me up for it. Not sure if this is interesting.
Finally, what can people expect from you at The Arches on Saturday?
MW: A huge smile and some old stuff through the speakers.
CRAIG CONNELLY is a newcomer to the scene compared to Mauro Picotto & Marcel Woods, but he’s churned out some amazing tracks in his time. As a DJ, Craig has long shown the makings of a great decktition. Building his reputation through Manchester’s thriving club scene, each set he delivers comes purpose built and precision mixed to work the nature of crowd in front of him. Zoom interviewed him last week to find out what he’s got in store for this Saturday…
Where are you in the world today and what can yousee out your nearest window?
Craig Connelly: I am sat at home working away and the window next to me is filled with next doors house and a very gloomy grey Wigan sky. Not quite Mediterranean views but it’ll do for me.
Describe 2014 for you so far in 3 words…
CC: Life-changing year.
You’re playing The Arches on Saturday 27 September, are you looking forward to coming back to Scotland’s number 1 venue?
CC: YES! The arches is one of my favorite venues I’ve ever played, the Scottish crowds are unreal.
You’ll be playing a special ‘Producers Set’ on the night, can you give us an insight into some of the tracks you’ll be playing?
CC: Yes indeed. I’ve been really busy in the studio recently (everyone says that right?!) but I do have a brand new vocal single to test out which I hope to rival last years Black Hole with. Also got a new banging instrumental and a just-finished remix.
If you had to pick your favourite producer of all time, who would it be?
CC: Wow, hard question to answer. Probably Rank 1 due to the quality of their tracks and also due to their commitment to trance over the years. The Gaia side project with Armin is just incredible.
Who was the first DJ you ever saw playing in a club?
CC: Probably my local happy hardcore DJs in a under 18s event in Wigan, haha. But trance-wise it was Tiësto in Gods Kitchen in like 2004 or something.
Can you name your top 3 favourite dance tracks?
CC: Errrr, very hard question to answer again. I’ll have a go: Paul van Dyk – We Are Alive, Above & Beyond – No One On Earth, Armin van Buuren – Shivers.
How are things going at Garuda?
CC: Really good thanks. Recently We’ve been working on Gareth’s latest artist album which was a huge success already with more singles from it to come throughout the year.
In terms of your career, where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?
CC: The biggest trance DJ in the world… haha. But seriously I’d like to see myself make a sustainable long term career from playing and making music, nothing could be more rewarding for me than doing something I love.
If you could swap places with one DJ for a night, who would it be and why?
CC: Probably Deadmau5 to rearrange his live set and have access to that level of tech in a show. His lighting and stage setup is incredible and I’d like to marry that to what I think his set should go like. He has a huge back catalogue that could be exploited in so many different ways. And I’d get to put the mau5 head on.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself….
CC: I’ve driven round Silverstone and reached a lofty 160mph.
Finally, what can people expect from you at TheArches on Saturday 27 September?
CC: New music and a thoughtful selection of my production so far. And hopefully some crowd participation shenanigans.
Last week, The List Magazine interviewed German DJ and producer Chris Liebing in advance of his headline slot at the return of PRESSURE on Friday (26 September). Known as a DJ, producer, radio host and the driving force behind the CLR label, his sound has continuously evolved since his beginnings in the German club scene of the early 1990s, while remaining focused on a predominantly techno-oriented sound.
A technologically-literate and innovative producer and DJ, he has consistently embraced new developments in sound production and performance, last year giving a masterclass (see video below) to attendees at the London Electronic Arts Festival. Liebing heads up the CLR party this Friday at Pressure. Below, read the full, unedited text of his Q&A with The List, and find out about what’s next for CLR, the philosophy behind the label, the follow-up to his techno classic Evolution, and why Liebing loves the Glasgow crowds.
Your label CLR Records is an abbreviation of Create, Learn, Realise. That’s an admirable philosophy – how does your work as a producer and label head embody these three concepts? This is not really hard to explain, because even before I changed the name from Chris Liebing Records to Create Learn Realize, I already though that creating, learning and realizing is what it´s all about. You create things, you learn from the creation and you realize what you can do better. Then you start creating again with this new knowledge and learn even more. This is how it goes, it´s all about experiencing things, learning and moving forward. So I really wanted to change the name of the label and take my own name out of it. I did not want to have my ego in there anymore. Actually I never really wanted it. The name CLR was kind of born from the necessity to find a new name for my label very quickly when I changed my distribution back in the days and could not take my former name ‘Audio’ with me. What I have learned about the new name is, that it’s not so much my philosophy but rather a description of what it is all about and what is happening all the time. It is what we are doing and what is fun to do – we create, we learn and we realize.
You’ve played Glasgow before, so you know the Pressure crowd already – what do you like about playing in the city, and what special treats or surprises do you have in store for us at September’s CLR Records Party? I love the energy of this place and I love the energy of The Arches. It is an absolutely historical and very special location. And Glasgow is a great city. Obviously the weather is not going be so great. If you go to northern Europe around that time of the year, it really feels like the end of the summer. But it seems as if the people there deal very well with this and kind of turn it into a good thing. They just go out and party, they enjoy themselves and they enjoy the music and that’s what I really enjoy when I go there. I am constantly working on new ideas for my set and I always try to surprise myself as well as the people in the crowd. So we will definitely bring our sound and our best vibes to Glasgow and I am very much looking forward to that!
Your album Evolution was one of the classic techno records of all time – it celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. That record took a long time to conceptualise and make. Are you ever tempted to take on a big project like that again? Wow, was it? Was it really one of the classic techno records of all time? Well thanks for the flowers, that’s really nice to hear! Yeah, I am very happy to take on a new challenge and I have been thinking about it for quite a while. I have not produced any music for three years now. I did some edits and remixes and worked a lot with other producers on mixing down their albums and singles, which was a lot of fun, but now I start to feel that I basically want to write chapter two of this Evolution album. This could even happen sooner than some might think.
You are bringing Tommy Four Seven to The Arches – what do you admire about his production, and his DJ skills? I have always admired Tommy for his production skills, because he has this unconventional way of working. He abuses sounds so badly… If you ever study sound, you would probably learn that you can’t do those kind of things, but he just does it and that’s how he created his very own sound and vibe. As a DJ he is very versatile. He can play quite house-y, he can play quite broken-beat-y and he can play quite hard, so let’s just wait and let him surprise us with what he might have in store for us when he comes to The Arches.
As well as releasing on CLR Records, you have put out tracks and remixes on a clutch of other labels in recent years – who are your favourite labels to work with, and why? One of the favorite labels I worked with was Novamute, simply because of the fact that it is a sub-label of Mute, which is the label of Depeche Mode, one of my favorite bands, amongst other great bands on Mute. And also because of Daniel Miller who is one of my role models when it comes to running a label, treating and taking care of artists and just being a humble, super-nice person. That’s why Novamute comes to my mind, but I really like to work with any label that is run by friends, like Pfirter‘s Mind Trip for example. I just released a track on his label with him, and this is what it is all about, sharing music and helping each other out.
With the success of big-room EDM / electro house, the big revival in house music in recent years, and the continuing popularity of bass music, what kind of shape do you think the techno community is in these days – is it in a healthier place than it was five years ago, and where do you see it in five years time? I think that the whole techno thing is probably in one of the healthiest places it has ever been. I don’t understand why so many people criticize the EDM movement, commercial house and what else is out there. It’s music I personally dislike as well, I am not a big fan of commercial music, but we need this. We need this part of the music scene as much as anything else, because if this did not exist, who would we be? We could not define ourselves if it wasn’t for the others around us who do something different. We should be thankful that there are a lot of people doing different things, having different tastes. The more popular something gets, [the more] it will open doors for others. It’s all kind of connected, even if it does not necessarily belong together. There are always two sides of something, so you can’t just have one part of it.
You can’t only have ‘underground’ music, it’s impossible, and why would you want that? It is crazy to think that people condemn that and say that this is stupid and nonsense. Of course, for me personally, taste-wise, I don’t like it, but there are so many people out there enjoying this kind of music, who might one day listen to a good techno track and think, “Wow, this is something different,” and who might move on and move towards a less commercial approach to music. I respect the fact that there are all those different music scenes out there, because it’s basically just electronic music, which is interpreted in many different ways. And as I said, if this did not exist, who would we be and where would we be? Would we call ourselves ‘underground’ if there would be no commercial music? And then again, are we still ‘underground?’ That´s another question! Aren’t we all too professional by now after doing this for twenty years to call ourselves ‘underground?’ There is a whole big business behind these things and I think it is a matter of how you approach it, how you deal with it and how honest you are with yourself when you do something. I think that techno and electronic music in general are in a quite healthy state!
What projects are next for you, and for CLR Records? The next album on CLR will surely be the new Terence Fixmer album, which I just signed. It is a fantastic album, I think one of the best works Terence has ever done so far, and he has done some amazing work already! Then there is a Brian Sanhaji album in the works for next year and there are numerous great singles coming up. There are still some amazing remixes coming up for the last Drumcell album and we are expecting a new Planetary Assault Systems release, who also remixed one of the Drumcell tracks – a remix I constantly play. Besides that there are a lot of great releases lined up for winter, so keep an eye on www.clr.net and you will find out. Thank you very much and goodbye!
Each Friday, we choose a selection of the biggest tracks from some of the artists coming up at The Arches, and compile a playlist for our YouTube channel. This week’s selection features 16 tracks of house, techno and funk to soundtrack your weekend, with live tracks from neo-funk sensations Jungle, the latest single from house sensation and Knee Deep in Sound boss Hot Since 82, new releases from Slam and others on Soma Records, plus new tracks from Eton Messy regulars Blonde, Arches favourite MK, plus Bondax, Bontan, Riva Starr, Duke Dumont, the VisionQuest label, Chris Liebing and more! Nearly ALL of these artists are playing at The Arches in the coming months – check out our listings for details of the events coming up. If you enjoy this week’s selection, subscribe to our channel and join us every Friday for a listen to the sounds echoing around the Arches in the months to come! Click the image above to cue the playlist in a separate window.
The Arches Brick Award offers emergent performance companies and artists from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the opportunity to re-stage their piece underneath our very Victorian vaults in Glasgow in 2015, offering funding towards the costs of re-staging the work.
Headed up by Arches Artistic Director, Jackie Wylie and The Arches Arts Team, Gillian Garrity, Jill Smith and Kathryn Boyle, the judging panel- which included Kieran Hurley, Shelley Hastings, Peter McMaster,Nick Anderson- has been in Edinburgh over the past few weeks, hurtling headlong into venues all over town in search of the best emerging talent at The Fringe.
Klanghaus, presented by The Neutrinos, Norwich Arts Centre & Escalator East To Edinburgh at Summerhall
The winners were announced and awards were presented on Thursday 21st August at the Spiegel Tent on St Andrew’s Square.
Gillian Garrity on the first of two winners: The Christeene Machine by Christeene
“When I first went into this performance I was pretty scared, but I, and the rest of the panel have been quickly won over by the filthy exuberance of the performance by Christeene and her boys; the humanity of the show, the social need for the tolerance and the acceptance difference and of the fearlessness with which they break down theatrical conventions. What I took from this performance is I need to look up more and I need to feed my inner pony and if you don’t know what this means go see Christeene performing until this Saturday night at Underbelly.”
Kieran Hurley on the second very different but equally deserving winner, This Is How We Die by Christopher Brett Bailey
“This is a truly formidable show. Bailey is completely unashamed of his reference points, sat at this desk – appearing like Spalding Gray might if he were a character in an early David Lynch movie – he dusts down the surrealist prose writing boots of the American beats like Kerouac and Burroughs and strides confidently around in them, wearing them into new territories, and making them fit for the cultural conditions of the 21st century. I’m not even going to mention the captivating verbal gymnastics and exquisite energy of Bailey as a performer, because perhaps the best, most exciting thing about this show is in the fact the total gallusness of its structure. It is a show that for one hour makes a virtue out of being nothing more than one man, a mic, a desk and a script, but somehow, ends with a ten minute epic post rock noise art outro by a live four piece band. Not only is this completely unexpected, not only is it fucking supercool, it somehow makes total artistic sense. It is a logical extension of the text’s own destruction of language and meaning, the next step in its mad journey towards a kind of poetic oblivion. Christopher Brett Bailey has a brass neck. And he has every right to, because this is brilliant.”
Congratulations to our winners and also to our oustanding runners- up. We hope to see you all in the Dear Green Place very soon.
The Arches Community Choir is a vibrant, eclectic and inspiring community made up of people from all over Glasgow with a passion for music, meeting people and fun.
Once a week the choir finds its home within the walls of the Arches Theatre for an evening of musical mash-ups led by professional artists Eilidh Macaskill and Matt Regan.
We grabbed 5 minutes with Matt.
So, what is the Arches Community Choir all about?
Em… Fun and singing! Creating an inclusive environment. And singing together!
Who are the Arches Community Choir?
Anyone is totally welcome. For the longest time it was mostly women around 20-50 years of age, mostly interested in the arts. But now we nearly have equal amount men and women. It’s a varied crowd from all sorts of backgrounds, but all friendly.
Where have you performed?
We’ve performed at too many to remember… T in the Park twice, Refugee Week a few times, City Chambers, and lots and lots of community projects and fundraising events.
Why should people join?
Singing is incredibly therapeutic. It’s calming, boosts confidence, creates camaraderie between you and friends, helps your musicality… It’s physically beneficial and helps your mental health.
The choir is kept singing thanks to donations, right? What does this cover?
Eilidh and me (the choir leaders). If we had more we could put it to venue hire, costumes, props…
How can people get involved?
Simply come down to the Arches, 7-9pm every Thursday! We take some weeks off in the year- check us online at the Facebook page or group! (Nice plug, Matt)
Anything else we should know?
We’re the best choir in town, that’s all!
No fee is charged for participationin the Arches Community Choir; just a donation is suggested where possible. The choir is a necessary and important community providing an opportunity to build friendships, strengthen confidence and learn new skills. However in these tough economic times the choir is not able to sustain itself on inner donations alone and for this we need help.
You can support the choir by making a donation of £3 or whatever you can spare here.
With more than 10 years in the game, his own label – Etch Recordings – and an ever-growing reputation as one of the world’s finest techno DJs, Jon Rundell is perhaps best-known as one of the figureheads of the Intec Digital label, along with Carl Cox. The two are great friends, as well as business partners, and often spinning back to back everywhere from Space in Ibiza (where the duo featured heavily in Cox’s Music Is Revolution parties this summer), to the Mixmag offices in London.
Here’s Carl Cox on Jon Rundell, speaking to Resident Advisor: “Jon’s a jewel in the crown. He’s really great with the crowd and his music. He’s been a great support to me. Put him in front of 30,000 people and he really goes for it. He naturally warms the crowds up. We always discuss what we’ll both be playing and he goes out there and does it. At the moment he’s better than most top DJs I could mention.” That was back in 2007 – since then the pair have woven their careers together even more closely, collaborating on the Pure Intec 2 compilation, and making tracks together for Intec.
You’ve toured all around the world – who has the most up for it crowds? I’m not just saying this but the crowds in Scotland have this unique energy to them. Constantly bouncing off the walls to the music, makes for a great atmosphere. Everyone just goes for it!
The date in September won’t be your first visit to The Arches – how was it the first time, and are you looking forward to playing in Glasgow again?
It was really good thanks, it was some time ago now, but I remember it well. I met loads of people that always come out to every party we do now there, and for that reason I’m looking forward to September and seeing them all again.
How are things going with your Etch label – what’s the next release, and have you got any new material planned there? I’m happy for sure with the way it has gone. I set it up as an outlet to get my music heard when no one else would sign it. I believed in my music still and each EP has done well enough considering. I don’t have another release on it now until after summer as I’ve got to get back into the studio and finish off some ideas, not always easy to do while on the road so much.
You are heavily involved in helping to run Intec Digital as well – how is that going this year, and what have you got planned for the rest of 2014? This year has seen a bit of a corner turn for us, we went all out with some big releases from Carlo Lio, Nicole Moudaber, Dosem, got a remix in from Joseph Capriati, and the momentum just took over. It definitely felt like the last 3 years of work were starting to pay off. We’ve also been doing various events in places like Space, with Awakenings, at Fabric in London, and alongside the party coming up with you we also go to Lehmann Club in Stuttgart in August. We’ve also got releases coming up from Mark Fanciulli, a new project called 999 with some special remixers coming in on that too, as well as a great 12 track project from Roel Salemink & Drumcomplex to look out for.
You used an automatically-updating USB stick to sell compilations for Intec, which was ingenious – how did you come up with the idea, and were there any challenges implementing it? We were actually approached by a company that specialized in making them, and it was around the time me and Carl had started to embrace Pioneer’s Rekordbox to DJ with. It all just made sense really so we ran with it. There were loads of challenges as you could expect with something new and different as a release format. From the build of the back end to getting peoples heads around the idea of it. We basically wanted to give people a collectors item, so physical they could keep while the content still being digital.
You’ve become known as Carl Cox’s right hand man, and you play together a lot – what’s he like to work and hang out with? When its about work its as professional as it gets, but will still manage to make sure we enjoy it at the same time. I’ve learnt loads from him about the art and essence of Djing in all type of situations. To hang out with, we have some really great and memorable times, especially out in Australia where we have spent most our time together at one time. We still keep on top of our music while out there but we just go off and do all kinds of things, just explore.
We loved the recent Animatronics EP- how do you decide on titles, and which labels to go with for each release? Thanks, kind of you to say. I never have any idea what to call them to be honest. Knick Knack for example was called that after the crisps, Id finished the track and walked into a shop soon after, saw a packet, thought to myself I hadn’t seen them for a while and then it just stuck in my head so that was that. For Animatronics, it was part of a new development and evolvement in sound from last year and I was searching around for technological words, this came up in the search and means to create something robotic with an authentic life like feel, like a dinosaur you might see at a theme park.
You’ve released a wealth of EPs, but have you got any ambitions to put together a full album of your own work one day? If so, what would be the concept or plan? I was also asked this recently, I guess people can see I’ve never done it, and like you say I’ve done plenty of EP’s and I’ve mixed compilations so this would be the next logical thing to do. I’m in a real difficult place in my head about it though to be honest. I’d like to challenge myself for it and create something where every single track in it is appreciated. No easy task. The trouble is that with the advent if downloads, unless your album is really really amazing no one listens to every single track on it. You might as well just release an EP every quarter, especially when most the ‘albums’ I see in our world are just a collection of 12 DJ friendly club tracks. That said, I will do because I will want to challenge myself and see how far I can push myself, and this will be the main reason for doing it.
When you are producing a track, what software or hardware do you begin working on initially, and what do you use to finish off and master the tracks? I use Logic and did from the start of learning production. Its good for me as with all the travelling I can just get stuff down on my laptop and finish it off when I get home. Once I’m happy with it I take it over to Alex Tepper’s place in Dalston and we give all the tracks a really solid mixdown. I’m a big fan of the Cambridge Audio mastering plug ins. They just seem to have this power and roundness I don’t hear in may others.
You’ve been DJing for some time now – what are the most significant changes in the way things operate that have you witnessed, both in terms of technology, and the business as a whole? There are great technological things out there though that have improved peoples lives in this business, like Rekordbox and Traktor for example. Much easier to travel with and to have plenty of options available to you to play for any occasion. The next major shift that’s already happening is the shift more and more towards streaming instead of downloading, unless you’re a DJ and want to mix the releases yourself.
Apart from Cox, which DJs do you most enjoy playing alongside, and why? On the occasions I’ve been able to I’ve always really enjoyed Djing with Carlo Lio. We get on well and our styles compliment each other. Other DJ’s I usually get excited to be sharing a bill with include Ben Sims, Pan Pot and Joseph Capriati, for the same reasons. I’ve had the odd memorable night with Ben over the years for sure! Outside of this I recently had the honor of playing before The Chemical Brothers at Space Opening, which was unreal.