Brighton Noise: The NWfA line up has been consistently awesome every year, the venue is bound to be packed again, how do you see the festival developing in the future?
Pete Lambrou: Well this year we wanted to grow – not too much at one time – but hold an outdoor festival right on The Level. Again all free and showcasing ‘Post Rock’. (although anytime I tell anyone in Brighton it’s a Post Rock Festival they assume I mean Prog Rock…) Let’s just say underground new music…Due to sponsorship problems the outdoor stage has been postponed til next year, but we’ve already been speaking to all parties concerned and next year is all go. We’d like to see it as a fully outdoor festival, as close to Brighton City centre as possible with the noise restrictions – and still completely free. We’d love to get GY!BE and Mogwai headlining one day….
BN: We’ve had a lot of festivals here in Brighton over the past month. What do you think makes a good festival? Do you think Brighton is particularly suited to events like this?
PL: It’s just the volume of people and the vibrancy of the City..there’s always so much to do and see and so many people that want to see good music. Personally a good festival is all about the bands. Plenty of big festivals are really nice – I went to End of the Road last year and Latitude a few years before. Lovely festivals, but if they haven’t got the bands then it’s not the same. Great Escape is always great for atmosphere and all these people to see new music – but it’s so packed I’ve never been able to get into the venue I want!
BN: It looks like you’ve got a bit of a theme going for each of the festival nights, how does it work? How do you go about choosing and curating a line-up? Any newcomers or hotly tipped acts we should be looking out for this year?
PL: We try to every year, but obviously if bands we particularly want can’t make specific days we’ve changed things round a bit. I don’t think it’s too important to theme it as everyone there is purely after good music, it all comes under one huge umbrella anyway. We always look for the more heavy Post Hardcore stuff on the first night – really start things off nice and loud. Sunday has to be the more shoegazy day too….especially as the Queen has stolen the festival’s usual bank holiday recovery this year. In terms of curating, we go for the headliners straight away. I always like to book at least 1 unheard of band that’s going to blow everybody away – that’s the best bit! We were unlucky this year to have 1 exceptional trump card not able to change dates after the outdoor stage reshuffle. I won’t tell you who it was though! Every year I try to get them. Hopefully next year….! Aside from TTT and the bands people have already heard of, I think Fall of Messiah, Theo and Slow Revolt are going to silence everyone this year…
BN: The Druids is quite an intimate venue for a post-rock festival and set to be packed to the rafters. What made you choose this as a venue?
PL: It’s the atmosphere really. You get right in the noses of the bands. I remember Maybeshewill playing here for NWfA a little over a year ago…nice as they are, they didn’t want to say anything about their shock upon turning up for soundcheck. But as soon as they played their first track and looked up to this swarm of bearded faces, I’ve never seen them enjoy a show so much.
BN: The festival is free, thanks! Have you thought about charging or is it part of your agenda to make the music as accessible as possible?
PL: Yeah it’s our agenda. It’s been the whole point since we started, so hopefully it can keep going – obviously we run into problems when sponsors pull out, and this year we are going to be sending out donation buckets for as much help as we can! There’s always cheap shots and other drinks going round where all the money goes to the bands too. So I encourage everyone to be generous and keep drinking. The whole idea is to get this style of music as such out to the wider world, keep it free and introduce more and more people to it.
BN: What’s the best thing about putting on a festival?
PL: That one band that no one has heard of silencing the entire venue. Everyone expects to be blown away by TTT, but there will be one band you’ve never heard of that you’d never have seen otherwise.
And the worst?
PL: I should say sponsors pulling out…but we’ve managed to get round that this year! I’d say the changeovers when something goes wrong – I run the sound too so I have far too many jobs on at one time. It’s often so packed that we can’t get through the crowd to fix any tech issues or even swap gear over for the next band. We have a rather large team with a box of Sharpies and colour coded tape. It’s a science.
BN: If you could choose your fantasy festival line-up what would it be?
BN: Math Rock. Probably the hardest of music genres to define. How do you guys go about it?
PL: Not so easy. I kind of end of saying, no it’s not tech. It’s more atonal, creative. Tap is fine, just stop tapping to Satriani. I think from a guitarist point of view it’s so creative – all bedroom guitarists can practise and play 100 notes a second in the key of G. How many of them can create that atonal piece that carries melody?
BN: How do people who are into post-rock find out about new bands? Apart from your own website, what blogs or forums are there to get exposure to emerging talent and gigs?
PL: I wish I was better at it! It’s just word of mouth for me. There’s a little DIY Post Rock scene that runs through the UK, and when you get together with people like Alright the Captain, you find out a lot more.
BN: Who would you back in this mud wrestle: Mogwai vs. Godspeed You! Black Emperor?
PL: I think it’s fairly obvious that Mogwai would kill or maim almost anyone that offended. I think GY!BE are a little more passive…although in a protest or courtroom I’d back Godspeed.