Monthly Archives: April 2014

…March, April & May: PopFest Preview: Copenhagen PopFest

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Now that Birmingham Popfest has wrapped up its weekend, which appears to have been a tremendous success, and with the Oddbox Weekender just days away, we bring to you yet another festival that looms on the horizon.

Copenhagen Popfest is being organized by three musicians and pop fans — Morten, Kasper, and Mikkel. There hasn’t been a festival in the city since 2010, which was clouded (quite literally) by the volcanic eruption on Iceland. As Mikkel tells us in our brief interview, it caused some problems. So, years later, the three of them got together and organized the popfest themselves, taking place on May 16th and 17th at Huset-KBH.

What can you expect to see? Some incredible indiepop bands from across Europe including Sweden, England, and Spain. Mikkel also gives some tips if you’d like to experience a bit of Copenhagen, too!

1. Can you give us a history of Copenhagen Popfest (dates, organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved? Why did you choose to set up this event?
There was an edition of Copenhagen Popfest held in 2010. A lot of great bands played, and a lot also unfortunately got canceled due to the volcanic eruption on Iceland that resulted in a flight ban over Europe.

 At the time, Kasper, Morten and I played in a band called Ampel that performed at the Popfest, and we really enjoyed the great mood that surrounded the entire thing. 

Since then, we kind of hoped that someone would set up a Popfest again here in Copenhagen. We have attended a few other popfests across Europe, and when we went to Popfest Berlin in October 2013, a loose talk about “what if we did it ourselves?” turned out in us shaking hands that we’d be the ones to make it happen.

 The reason we decided to set it up was that there were just so many great bands that we’d like to see play here in Copenhagen, but it seems that they never get booked to play here. And that is too bad!

So now — half a year later — we’re looking at a two-day popfest (16th and 17th of May) in a venue that fits 150 people and with way greater bands than we’d imagined possible.

2. What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to request to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
Well… As we announced in January that we were doing a popfest in May, we had already made arrangements with 3 of the bands on the poster and decided that we wouldn’t fit more than 9 in on the main stage. But as soon as we broke the news, we were swarmed with requests to play from bands from everywhere, which was a very nice surprise. 

It took a lot of talking back and forth and a lot of listening to, but there really was only one rule to “make the cut” — We three had to like the band for them to be taken into consideration, and then it had to include elements of indie pop of course.

3. What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing Copenhagen Popfest?
It’s not as hard as it seems to set up a Popfest. We really wish that more people would do like we did. 
The result is very satisfying and you receive so many happy wishes and emails for doing so.

That. … And then not to think that a band “might not want to come and play anyway,” and therefore keep from contacting them. It takes nothing to ask them. The worst thing that could happen is that they’ll reply with a “thanks, but no thanks…”

4. When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one? Or, if this is the first of such event, when will you start planning for next year?
This is the first time we arrange a popfest, and we’re not sure yet if there will be a 2015 edition. But so far we haven’t lost the drive, and we’d sure like to give it shot again some time.

5. Do you have any inside tips for festival goers?
If you are used to cycling, rent a bike for a few hours and experience Copenhagen like we do. It is really the easiest way to get around. If the weather is nice, try out the spiraling tower of Vor Frelsers Kirke (The Church of Our Savior) in Christianshavn. It’s quite like nothing you’ve tried before.

At the popfest: Best to be there on time and bring your best dancing shoes. Working 4-5 bands within the limited time frame means that we must follow the schedule pretty tight and start on time to end on time.

Besides all this advice, it is our experience that popfest attendees are quite capable of throwing great parties as long as you set the frame. They are all very nice to be around and enjoy everything that a given popfest has to offer. We’re sure Copenhagen Popfest will be satisfying to the attending crowd too… We’ll do our best.

6. What are some of the best and worst moments of any Popfest that you can remember?
The best moments are almost too many to mention, and I’ve already mentioned when Ampel played, but I do recall Roadside Poppies playing Copenhagen in 2010 quite vividly. They wore home made volcano hats and they played a cover of “Cross the Lines” with the only Pocketbook band member, Jonny, that was able to make it over here due to the ash cloud and the flight ban playing the drums. Great fun!

The worst moment? There was a time at last year’s Popfest in Berlin, where a friend of mine talked me into drinking absinth with him – The day after that wasn’t my finest hour….heh

Thanks, Mikkel!

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For news and information on the line-up, tickets, and even helpful advice pertaining to getting around Copenhagen, visit the Copenhagen Popfest website.

Will we see you there?

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… March, April & May: Festival Preview: Oddbox Weekender

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Odd Box Records is turning five!

To celebrate the happy occasion, Odd Box label boss Trev is throwing the 4th annual Odd Box Weekender the first weekend of May. Taking place in various venues throughout London (Friday at Power Lunches, Saturday at Macbeth, and Sunday at the Lexington), the Weekender is chock full of bands from the US and the UK. As the Facebook event states, “It’s also a BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND so no fear of an early start on the Monday.”

The Weekender has been occurring steadily on the same weekend in May for the past four years now but Trev is certainly no stranger to organizing gigs in general. We asked him for a little background on the Weekender and got some great insight into how he’s been managing such an undertaking for the past few years.



1. Can you give us a history of the Odd Box Weekender (dates, previous organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved?
Odd Box Records is just me. I used to be involved with Lost Music Records before I started Odd Box. We used to put on pop shows (me and a couple of friends). That ran into difficulties and I was feeling constrained by the need to compromise on band choices and so on. In 2009, I decided to leave/bring Lost Music to an end. The plan then was start Odd Box and continue running a record label and not do any shows, but that kinda didn’t pan out as I planned, as Odd Box became heavily involved in promoting shows. So after two years of running Odd Box, I thought I’d hold an all-dayer to celebrate the 2nd “birthday” of the label — that event took place in May 2011. There were so many bands that it soon morphed into a two-day “weekender” and hence the weekender was born. It’s happened the first weekend of May ever since. This year is the label’s 5th Birthday and the 4th Annual Weekender. It’s also the first time I’ve run the weekender over 3 days (although I did do a warm up show on the Friday last year!).

2. What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to apply to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
As it’s just me, there is no process apart from me liking the band and asking them and hoping the band says yes. There are a few bands that, for one reason or another, I’ve asked that have been unable to play, but for the most part bands seem keen to play. Some bands have “applied,” but I tend to discourage this as I want the weekender to be a balance of showcasing bands on the label and picking what I consider to be a selection of the most exciting new bands. There are always too many bands I want to book, and I can only ever fit in about 20-25 bands over the weekend. It’s also a delicate balancing act when looking for headliners, but I try and make sure the line-ups are fairly weighted towards new bands, but I have had a few more established bands play too. I also like to mix it up and pick bands you often wouldn’t see at a regular indiepop fest, simply because that’s where my taste lie — somewhere between indiepop and noisepop. I don’t have a rule about bands playing 2 years in a row, as that would often rule out a lot of Odd Box bands which is part of the reason for doing the weekender. I think a fair few bands have played two years in a row!

3. What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing the Odd Box Weekender?
Pffff, lord knows. I should try and do less maybe! You probably shouldn’t get drunk on the Saturday and try to pay the bands twice when you’re a little too refreshed (no, no, no that has never happened to me ;-)). Keep a timetable and try and stick to it. Have fun. If it stops being fun stop doing it.

4. When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one?
I usually start planning for the next one after Indietracks ends (so early August). It seems sensible to try and have an idea on venues and potential headliners early on — but first bookings aren’t usually confirmed until just before Christmas. After that, I like to get everything booked by February so I can start promoting the event to try and make it a success.

5. Do you have any inside tips for festival goers?
Not really! Enjoy the weekend and take a chance on new bands is probably the key thing. As the venues often change year on year, so I can’t really recommend places to eat/stay! But I suppose my tip for the all dayer would be to get there early on the Saturday so you don’t miss out on some of the exciting opening acts.

6. What are some of the best and worst Odd Box Weekender moments you can remember?
Every year it just always feel like the best time. It’s a tremendous thrill seeing bands you’ve chosen (many relatively unknown bands too!) getting a good reaction and it’s lovely to see a bunch of people having a fab time listening to new music. I think when The Chasms played the Windmill in 2012 stands out for me as one of those moments that I find hard to forget — nearly everyone there had no idea as to what to expect as they unleashed their wall of noise sound. The Chasms didn’t play live very often and both their London shows were for Odd Box so it was a thrill seeing them confront and confuse the audience a little. I like the bills to be nicely varied. Elsewhere I’ve enjoyed sets by all of the Odd Box stable down the years — it really is hard to pick a favourite or best moment. I mean Standard Fare wowing the Buffalo Bar was special, as was the double-drummer assault of Methodist Centre. And getting a crowd of unsuspecting people all really getting into at Martha before they had played many “popshows.” And those three examples are all from the Sunday in 2012! And every day has had these moments that I’ll cherish forever.

As for worst? Falling asleep a little worse for wear one year at The Windmill when I was supposed to be DJing was probably something I regret. I don’t tend to DJ the weekender anymore as I simply have too much to do!

Thanks, Trev!

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You happen to be in luck, too. Very few weekend passes are still available, so don’t hesitate to snatch one up while you still can! Click here for more ticket information, including weekend passes.

Odd Box artwork by Andy Hart. Odd Box Weekender poster by James Indiehorse.

FEB038: “Glow Like There’s No Tomorrow” by Lunchbox

 

Tim Brown and Donna McKean are the two constants among a revolving lineup in the critically-acclaimed Bay-area, California, indiepop band Lunchbox. Forming in 1994, Lunchbox released a slew of singles and EPs, and a string of albums between 1996 and 2002 — their self-titled debut on San Francisco’s Not Happy label, “The Magic of Sound” and “Evolver” on Portland’s Magic Marker, and “Summer’s Over” on Stewart Anderson’s (Boyracer) 555 Recordings.

A re-formed Lunchbox will play the 2014 San Francisco PopFest on May 22-25. The band will release a full-length album on Jigsaw Records sometime this spring.

Check out our interview with Lunchbox’s Tim Brown.

Lunchbox_Shafter

 

“Always a poppy and sonically diverse group […] Their strength is in their variety and versatility.”Stephen Cramer/All Music Guide

“The first song on either side, ‘Satellite’ and ‘Fernruf’, are just as amazing as the last Lunchbox record. In fact I remember really loving ‘Fernruf’ when I heard them play it live last summer.”Indiepages

“Nice layered poptones with a layered feel, ‘Satellite’ plays with a breezy 60s EZ-pop-with-a-pulse, segueing seamlessly into the more psychy, mostly instrumental ‘I Could Have Been Someone Else’. The fun continues on the flip with the similarly layered pop of ‘Fernruf’ and ‘Gravity’.Shredding Radio

“This EP released in 2001 on the Magic Marker Records blew me away when I first heard it. Though slightly more loopy then most indiepop, there is the underlying melodies and pop mentality that make this EP so enjoyable.”Barf Out Dolls blog

… March, April & May: PopFest Preview: Birmingham PopFest

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How many interviews have you read with bands you love? Now, think back: How often do you read an interview with someone involved behind the scenes? Summer is quickly approaching and with it comes various festivals and weekenders, each organized by people who want to share their love for indiepop with the rest of us. Some of these festivals are brand new, 2014 being their first year in existence. Others have been ongoing traditions for fans spanning several years.

At its very beginning, February Records promoted DIY pop shows and was responsible for setting up three years of the Elm City Popfest, which sadly is no longer in existence. We have an idea about what these festivals entail and we thought the people organizing these events not only deserved to discuss them outside of their own self-promotion, but could also shed a light on what they have personally experienced.

So, we reached out to everyone we could possibly think of that was involved with organizing an event in 2014: Wales Goes Pop, the Popfests in Madrid, Berlin, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Birmingham, Baltimore, and New York City, Indietracks, Indiefjord, the All-dayers or Weekenders such as those coming from Oddbox, Nottingham, and Light it Up, even the indiepop showcase at SXSW.

Who knows? Perhaps they’ll inspire you to start organizing something, too.


Birmingham, which has the second-largest population in England, seems like an ideal location for one of these brand new festivals. Birmingham Popfest, which will take place April 25-27 at The Actress and Bishop, highlights 14 bands from France, Sweden, and the UK.

One of the organizers involved in bringing Birmingham Popfest to you this year, Gavin Priest, answered a few questions for us.

1. Can you give us a history of Birmingham Popfest (dates, organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved? Why did you choose to set up this event?

Its a new Indie Pop festival running from April 25th to April 27th in Birmingham, UK. It’s based on similar Indie pop events that run all over the world. We are passionate music fans, we love indiepop and thought why not give it a go. A great excuse to see some of our favourite bands in our hometown!

2. What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to request to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
No we don’t have any rules, just that the bands/artists have an indie pop feel. We have been inundated with bands wanting to play, (we reply to them all by the way!) but we would really hate to set up an application process, I can’t understand how that works. Our bill is a mixture of bands we have met whilst playing in our own band The Proctors at other popfests, and groups we weren’t aware of who have come highly recommended to us by people with great taste! The bands are positioned on the bill by merit (popularity, releases etc)

3. What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing Birmingham Popfest?
Go with the flow, and stay loose 🙂

4. When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one? Or, if this is the first of such event, when will you start planning for next year?


There is no timeline, we are pretty disorganised, but the love of the music will see us through. Next year if it happens is dependent upon what happens this year! As things stand we have a strong feeling this will happen again though 🙂


5. Do you have any inside tips for festival goers?
Go with the flow, and stay loose 🙂

6. What are some of the best and worst moments of any Popfest that you can remember?
Probably one band having the plug pulled on them at a popfest I attended. Going to make sure that won’t happen here! 🙂 Great highlights have been playing at Madrid, Berlin and New York Popfests!

Thank you, Gavin!
If you’re interested in attending, it’s not too late! Visit the Birmingham Popfest website for more information regarding the line-up and purchasing tickets.