Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Upset The Rhythm interview
Here is the long awaited interview with Upset The Rhythm, these guys run a very successful label, signing the likes of Lucky Dragons and Future Islands and have put on some of the finest shows around London over the past few years. More often than not if you are checking out a new and exciting band these guys will be behind it.
Boop:What was the idea behind upset the rhythm? What was your inspiration?
Chris: Claire was fundamental at the start of it. We came down to uni together and were bored with the type of gigs happening in London at the time.
Claire: Lots of people we loved were coming over but playing really bad shows and you'd speak to the artists and they'd be really bummed. London was getting a really bad reputation, we'd heard on the grapevine that people were missing out the UK on their European tours because of this. Then out of the blue I got a message from a guy in America trying to set up a tour for Deerhoof and I got in touch with him and said we would do it. It was only meant to be a one off party, we hired an Italian wine bar. People spoke to us all night saying what a great show it was and we realized there was an audience for it.
Chris: We had no idea how many people were coming, we only organized the show because we were in to Deerhoof.We thought there would be like 20 people but in the end about 350 showed up, queuing round the block. So from that we decided to put on more shows.
Claire:its always been a tightrope as we were turning up to shows with 100 quid in our back pocket not knowing whether people would show up or if we could pay the bands
Chris: We funded the shows in our first year or so by actually paying to get in ourselves. I don't think it gets more DIY than actually paying to get in to your own shows!
Boop: So this leads into the second question, obviously being around for a few years now, who have been some of your favourite bands to work with?
Chris: For me its the shows that stay in my memory. I really liked working with Smegma. We helped Wavves come over on tour, that's been really awesome, No Age and Kit and Barr, also anyone on the Upset The Rythm label that have put on shows have been cool. A lot of the bands stay with us and we're good friends with a lot of the people we put on, which is kind of the upshot of all of this as we've ended up with like 900 friends that we wouldn't have otherwise.
Boop: If you could book any band, regardless of cost, any venue who would it be and where?
Claire: Alive or dead?
Chris: If I could book anyone it would be Eat Skull
Luke: I have no idea, I'd like to work with Ivor Cutler but he died...
Nirvana would have been good.
Boop: What were your top 5 albums of last year?
Chris: I really like the Women album,
Luke: The No Kids record was really good,
Claire: US girls - introducing, Was the Animal Collective album this year? because that was really cool.
Boop: With your 200th show recently, what have been some of the highlights from the last five years?
Chris: We did a few shows with Frieze art magazine where we did shows with Liars and and band called Sunn O)))
Claire: We bought Sun O))) two cases of wine, which they drank before the show and their tour manager told me before they came on that they couldn't walk properly with their robes on so we had to carry them with their robes down three flights of stairs.
Luke: Maybe, or that massive Italian dinner we had with Deerhoof and I guess that was the first time we were a bit star struck.
Chris: Another highlight would be South By South West
Claire: South By South West was great because it meant we got to meet load of people we were working with in one place. We expected it to be a kind of stuck up industry event and it really wasn't. I mean every show has something amazing about it.
Boop: If you could give advice to aspiring promoters etc what would it be?
Chris: We wanted to create an environment for people so that they could perform, providing help to those people that needed it. We try and give people as much inspiration as possible, we try to be as un cynical as possible.
Boop: In the last five years how do you feel that music has changed?
Luke: The biggest difference has been the internet. Even when we started people were sending us demos through the post on tapes and cds and now its all about Myspace, Blogs, Etc. In a way that's great because it means that the music is more accessible but equally makes it really hard for us as a label, so we make sure our releases are a bit more special, which is why we go down the route of Vinyl releases, really nice packaging, etc to try and get people away from the whole file sharing etc.
Claire: There has been a greater open mindedness, people cross over genre's a lot more, because everything is so 'online' what this has meant for us is that the expectation of an artist has become much greater, you can now take a band who are unsigned and they can become totally different within the space of two months, because the reaction will become so insane. A good example would be No Age, when we first got in touch with them no one was particularly interested in them and all of a sudden there was an insane bidding war and we didn't have the funds to work with them.
Luke: It just means we need to be even more ahead of the game.
Claire: In the UK there is no print media that will really cover us. The underground is a very strange place at the moment. The mainstream doesn't really know what it's looking for.
You have to know what you are doing all of this for.