Ahead of their massive Adventures In The Beetroot field this Thursday @ fabric, we caught up with Casper C, one of the main people behind the night for his thoughts on countering accusations of tokenism, who to watch out for and what time Gyratory System are on!
This is your 3rd or maybe 4th (or maybe 5th?) Easter AITBF isn’t it? Any sets that have really stood out over the years?
This is our half decade in fact! Some acts that really stick out in my memory include Neon Neon’s first ever European gig, debut Fabric gigs for wee nippers Brodinski, Surkin and Crookers, a mind-bending DJ set from Hudson Mohawke last year, and early gigs from the likes of Late of the Pier, Friendly Fires and The Invisible. To be honest though, it’s often the wird and wonderful acts that stick in the memory longest, such as medieval psyche-folk nutters, Circulus, septegenarian electro-crooner Louie Austen, an end of the night wig-out from Chrome Hoof and AITBF resident, Crispin Dior, playing ‘Stairway To Heaven’ in its’ entirety to a bemused/delighted Room 1, while James Murphy watched on.
Who else is involved in putting together the AITBF line ups? It looks like a whole bunch of you just go to the pub and try and out-cool each other with bookable artists you want to put on. Is that how it works?
You’re not far off, in that our office is based above a pub. AITBF was conceived by our boss, Dan, and for the last few years has been entirely booked by myself and Crispin Dior, with a few good friends to run our ideas by. We also book a sprawling network of venues across the UK, so we have an effective testing ground for our artists.
How do you counter accusations of tokenism? Sometimes the bills are so wide reaching it looks like someone’s gone “Does anyone know anyone that plays Funky? We’ve got a hole to fill” Is there a deliberate attempt to make sure the line ups are as diverse as possible?
A fair point, but AITBF has predominantly been shaped by the developing tastes of us as individuals than any market forces. Some of the acts we have chosen to support have made very little commercial sense, but fortunately we’re in a position to book people that we really like, or whom we can make a calculated guess will be exciting to watch, as people have come to trust our assertions with time
I remember seeing Ladyhawke a few years ago and thinking “…Mmm, not for me but I can see where this is going…” ….And then she went massive. Is there anyone on this year’s line up in particular you could single out as having CROSSOVER APPEAL?
We do endeavour to put on acts with genuine talent, some of whom will be in this business for years although, quite honestly, the buzz for us comes in taking a chance on people early in their careers and wishing them all the best in the future. Having said that, when we look back at our huge previous guests list, there are very few acts that we aren’t proud and delighted to have been associated with along the way.
What sort of stuff will you be playing yourself? Can you give us five tunes that are definitely in the box for the night?
I’m lucky enough to put on and play at different types of gigs, and I do my best to fit in with my surroundings. As I’m closing Room 1 this time, after Aeroplane, I’ll be looking to play some big room records that ease up a little on my techy inclinations. The following will certainly be in the bag.
Soft Cell – Insecure Me (Playgroup Remix)
Shit Robot – I Got A Feeling
Digital Mystikz – Pathways (Doc Daneeka Remix)
Nitzer Ebb – Join In The Chant
Mock & Toof – Fareweel To Wendo (Kink & Neville Watson Remix)
… and perhaps an end of nighter?… Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets
The Ransom Note doesn’t want to miss Gyratory System. What time are they on please?
Haha, I recommend you get down right at the start, just in case. You’ll probably want to be standing in Room 1 around 1:30 though
What else are AITBF up? I see there’s a Field Day on the horizon again. No offence, but any chance you could get the bar/toilets/sound right this year?
No offence taken, although anybody who has been all 3 years, such as me, would have already seen a massive improvement. We gave ourselves an 8 and a half out of 10 last year, with non-existent bar queues, very short waits for the more clearly signposted toilets, and very few sound issues. Of course, any inner-city festival has cumulative restrictions to adhere to, but we have learnt to be creative with programming in order to maintain immaculate levels. Moderat are playing this year, despite having issues (as Modeselektor) a couple of years back. They’re as confident as us that their levels will be as impeccable as anybody else’s!
You also captain Blogger’s Delight. How’s all that going, you certainly seem to get about a bit with it. Any hot parties coming up?
In addition to our regular Lock Tavern Sundays, and our stage at Field Day, we’re also doing a roadblock Brighton monthly, popping up occasionally at Start The Bus in Bristol, residing at Paris Social Club where we’ve been lucky enough to host the likes of Joakim, DOP, Nathan Fake and Chloe, and doing regular co-promotions all over Europe. This year, we’ve put on Trevor Jackson and Horsemeat Disco’s Severino in Athens, Berghain resident Len Faki in Switzerland and the likes of Noob and Matt Walsh in Amsterdam. And that’s not to mention our house/techno project with Matt Walsh, High Horse, which has been running weekly at the T Bar, and should be popping up soon with some special one-offs.
You were one of a whole crowd up young DJs (Kissy, Duke Dumont, L-Vis 1990 et al.) that came up around the tail end of new-rave/blog house and all that bollocks and lots of you have gone on to great things. Was there a sense at the time that something special was happening? Did it feel like a movement of sorts? And where should we be looking now for the next wave of young DJs coming through?
It’s funny you should say that, as I happened to call our party ‘Blogger’s Delight’, in order to represent a few things. Firstly, myself and Skull Juice wrote for well known blogs, secondly that we wanted to give a platform for fellow bloggers to play DJ support to some of the heroes they had been blogging about, and thirdly to represent infinite musical possibilities in the process, with real aficionados turning up mid-afternoon to share the weird, wonderful or just plain slow side of their collections. Being able to blood the likes of Brodinski, Noob and Duke, and host huge acts such as Justice, SMD and Erol as Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve did feel exciting, but the minute somebody decided to coin the phrase ‘blog-house’, and we were implicated on Wikipedia as the home of it, it did feel like the easy thing to do would have been to reinvent ourselves. Being decidedly cocky, and finding the night in a great position, I finally decided that we’d have to continue putting on what felt right, and stick with the name. If it puts off a few fickle people from attending, it only leaves slightly more room for those who put musical variety and integrity first, and those who have been coming religiously for 4 years now.
As for a next wave of Djs, I think it’s becoming harder for kids to prove themselves as Djs alone, and it has become about attention seeking bedroom edits, or DJ/nerd production duos. We were lucky enough to find Blogger’s resident NikNikNik on our own dancefloor. Seeing this hyperactive teenager bouncing off the walls, and asking all of the right questions, it was clear that we were onto something special. My advice to any would-be young DJs is to go to the clubs that you identify with, try to learn as much from what you see as you can, and generally ingratiate yourself with those around you, staying friendly and humble.
Lastly, The Ransom Note is getting the Easter Eggs in – what are you having?
Is this a euphemism for drugs by any chance…?
Check fabriclondon.com for full line-up of the night and how to get tickets in advance.
It’s only a fiver if you get an early arrrival (before 10) ticket.