Wednesday, 16 May 2012

noise of summer 2, aka the bit with mastodon, pictish trail, mogwai, aidan moffat...

...and others.

as part of the may issue's festival preview of the summer's festivals, myself and dave kerr (the skinny's music editor) canvassed a bunch of bands to ask where they're going, where they've been, and what goes on in the VIP area...

Aidan Moffat
Which festivals are you playing this year?
Mostly little ones: Long Division, Applecart and we're doing the Mogwai I'll Be Your Mirror thing in London.

Tell us about your best and worst past festival experiences...
When Arab Strap used to do T in the Park, we always had a riot. I never saw any bands because I'd always end up on the waltzers at the fair with a handful of pills and a bottle of poppers. Good times!

And a secret about the VIP area?
It's mostly full of cunts.

Dream festival?
Heaven, Dusty Springfield, Otis Reading, John Peel compering…

Philip Taylor (PAWS)
Where are you playing?
We are really excited about The Great Escape. We played a show for Vice in Brighton at the end of March and had a total blast. It was our first time in Brighton and the whole town is awesome. It felt nice to be by the sea and everyone was so chilled. We are playing three shows at Great Escape and I am very excited about playing on the end of Brighton Pier.

Tell us a secret about the VIP area...
It's just a bunch of portakabins filled with drunk people.

There are festivals pretty much every weekend of the summer nowadays – golden age or overkill?
There are so many. Some of the big ones are so overbearing now that people are creating alternatives. I think it's a good thing. People are just starting small festivals all over the place, ultimately creating new platforms.

Johnny Lynch (The Pictish Trail)
Which are you playing?
Just played our own Eye O' the Dug, and now I've got Knockengorroch, Away Game, The Green Man Festival and End of The Road to look forward to. I think there's one called the Imploding Inevitable festival as well. We're thinking about doing another Fence bash in the East Neuk, but it might end up just being a piss up down the pub. WHO AM I KIDDING? Of course it will.

Best/worst past experiences?
The best always seems to involve The Flaming Lips and acid – a very good combo, and worth multiple attempts. The worst was holding in a jobby for four days cos I couldn't face the festival toilets.  Although the relief felt at the first service station on the journey home was up there amongst my best festival experiences.

Tell us a secret about the VIP area...
Clean toilets. Free beer. Naked women. Naked men. Drugs. It's where you can meet your heroes, and thoroughly embarrass yourself. I've accidentally harangued Thom Yorke, danced like a twat in front of Jarvis Cocker, and done the congo with Noel Gallagher. That's nothing, though. Kenny's brother once chatted up the tranny out of Hercules and Love Affair. Great days.

Go on, give us a peek at the Away Game line-up…
No.  I've given the exclusive to Topman Skinny Jeans in association Clash Magazine for a BBC 5Live podcast. Sponsored by Carling. It's going to be simulcast on Newsnight Scotland.

Darren Lackie (We Were Promised Jetpacks)
Where are you playing?
At the moment we're in Los Angeles having just played the first weekend of Coachella! There're also a lot of European festivals coming up over the summer, all of which have names I can't remember how to spell or pronounce.

Tell us a secret about the VIP/ backstage area...
Most of the time, it's a cold portakabin.

Dream festival?
Location: the roof garden outside my flat – I'd like to roll out of my bed and straight to the stage and back into my bed straight after. Bands: Explosions in the Sky, Dr. Dre and Snoop, Bear Hands – a nice small festival.

There are festivals every other weekend now: golden age or overkill?
It gives people more options. Some of the bigger festivals seem to have just turned into a big piss-up and people don't really care about the bands playing, so having a lot of smaller festivals with up and coming bands for people who want to avoid that sort of thing is good.

Stephen Morris (New Order)
Where are you playing?
Oh bloody hell... T in the Park, Sonar, Summersonic in Japan, a festival in Serbia, another in Italy… quite a lot! Can't remember them all, but I do like the element of surprise; you don’t want to lose that.

 Do you remember your first?
I do, it was Buxton, 1973. Hells Angels took the festival over and drank it dry. You had Chuck Berry and Alex Harvey playing – he was absolutely fantastic. Edgar Broughton was on. Wizzard were supposed to be on as well but they didn’t like it because it was raining.

Tell us a secret about the VIP area...
It’s bloody boring. Gillian [Gilbert, Stephen's wife and keyboardist in New Order] is good at it, but I always feel very insecure because I don’t know who half these people are. I can’t do names and faces, but she’s always going ‘d’you know who that was?’ I don’t know why she bothers, because I don’t. That makes me feel even more insecure, so I just go and sit in a shed on me own.

You’re in the Slam Tent as a punter, Blue Monday comes on: what do you do?
Think ‘oh, brilliant!’ We went on a boat trip in Australia recently and someone decided to play it on vinyl, which wasn't a good idea on a boat. That was quite amusing – everybody still tried to dance while it scratched and went ‘wrrrrreeekawhrrrrrt!’

Bill Kelliher (Mastodon)
Where are you playing?
Honestly dude, I don’t really know what we’re doing. To me, it’s like I’m going to Europe for the festivals this summer, [and] it’s all mashed up together to my old ass. I know we’re doing Reading and Leeds, which is pretty huge. Download snubbed us this year. There’s a couple we’re playing with Metallica… but let’s just say I’m looking forward to them all.

Do you recall your first as a punter?
We didn’t really have many festivals in the States when I was a kid. We had Lollapalooza, that’s the first festival I ever went to, me and the wife used to go. I remember taking a bunch of liquid acid with her in '92 when Ministry were there playing on the Psalm 69 tour, one of the only times we ever tripped together.
We drove from my home in New York to Saratoga, about an hour away. When we got there, she, being the pretty girl that she is, asked some guy if she could borrow his ticket so she could get into the standing room. She snuck it to me through the fence, I grabbed it and went in; we ran up to the very front and as soon as we got there the barricade broke down and everyone came running up front. I just remember tripping hard, watching Al Jourgensen roar ‘SO WHAAT’. Those fucking songs, pounding into my skull. Two drummers, all those samples and some super heavy metal guitar player just going crazy. It’s a very vivid memory of mine. Really incredible. Back then, Lollapalooza was pretty much the only festival. You’d get to see Grateful Dead and stuff like that, but I was never into the hippy festivals – peace, love and all that horseshit.  

Tell us a secret about the VIP area...
There is no secret, it’s pretty boring. Just a bunch of dweebs waiting to play. Nothing too crazy: maybe a couple of sit-ups going on, a couple beers happening, some red bull and vodkas, some drummers warming up. It’s quite lame really; we’re not like Mötley Crüe back in the 80s. Bands just aren’t like that anymore, man. There’s a lot of hockey-watching going on. I’m not a big fan, but that’s the common denominator.

You’re possibly the heaviest band in T’s 18 year history, sharing a bill with Snow Patrol and Cher Lloyd… What advice do you have for the uninitiated?
That’s something to be proud of, that’s cool. They’re gonna hate us if they’re into that kinda shit. I would say bring some earplugs and a good book to read while we play.

Graeme Ronald (Remember Remember)
Where are you playing?
We’ll be playing The Insider festival in Aviemore, and Òran Mór for the last night of the West End Festival.

Will you take the opportunity to catch others on the bills?
Absolutely. Not many of the acts have been announced yet for The Insider, but I'm excited about the Optimo Espacio Presents stuff.

Best/worst aspects of festivals?
Being a little wimp geek, I hate camping. When All Tomorrow's Parties came along I finally found a festival I could enjoy, with the whole camping element removed. They should all be like that!

Tell us a secret about the VIP area...
There's NO coke or hookers, anywhere.

Barry Burns (Mogwai)
Where are you playing?
We're only playing IBYM festival in England, so far. After last year's ridiculous tour schedule, we are kind of taking it easy on the touring front apart from a bunch of Canada/US/Mexico and South American dates.

Will you take the opportunity to catch others on the bill?
Definitely. The bill for the whole thing looks great but especially our day with Codeine, Soft Moon, Antoni Maiovvi, Chavez and Floor. Too good.

Best and worst aspects/past experiences of festivals? 
The best thing is meeting all your friends in bands or music industry folk that you rarely see, plus we've had some of our best gigs at festivals in Spain and Japan. The worst thing is probably that a lot of people don't really see it as a gig (myself included sometimes) so it can be a bit odd. Music to me is best enjoyed indoors and many festivals are outside. The food is usually garbage bag or a dare.

Tell us a secret about the VIP area...
Vastly overrated area. They should, in fact, rename it the VOA. Apart from the abundance of actual seats, it's not so great. We've behaved rather badly in the past but we're a bit older now... (that's an Olympic-grade non-sequitur).

There are festivals pretty much every weekend of the summer nowadays – golden age or overkill? 
I remember when UK festivals had quite an assortment of bands that a varied demographic would attend but now it seems like most of them have become for people who like festival 'events' rather than people who like music. The selection is often nothing short of heinous but I think that's why ATP, Supersonic and other smaller festivals have popped up. You could say that the Leeds, Reading et al were like the Emerson, Lake and Palmer and then ATP et al are the punk movement, but you'd sound a bit daft if you said that. Jus' sayin'.

Headliners along with Slayer at ATP: IBYM  a match made (south of) heaven? At least some of the band are fans, aren't they...? 
I think Slayer will be very entertaining. I doubt I could tell you one of their song names right enough... I think Dom might enjoy it but most likely we all will.

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