Russ Tannen has to be one of the busiest people in North London at the moment, and to make it worse, it’s mostly self-inflicted. Seemingly not happy with running a club night, being the music editor of Volume Magazine and managing “three really good bands,” this guy took a look at his diary and decided that we all needed a mini two-day festival of the finest experimental young producers and forward-thinking bands the world has to offer.
Deciding to call it Binnacle presumably for no better reason than it sounds cool, it’s poised to take over the Old Blue Last from Saturday for what seems like SXSW crammed into a Shoreditch pub. With a line-up of bands, rappers, singers and laptop tappers playing everything from shoegaze to R&B, it’s sure to be a blast.
I used my gimbal mounted, magnetic field adjusted compass to safely navigate my way through a chat with Russ about the MicroFestival.
I am more used to ‘all-dayers’ being put on by punks, crusties and metallers. Is this an attempt to claim the all-dayer concept back for those who don’t wear leather trousers?
Let’s get this straight – there is no dress code at Binnacle. If you want to wear leather trousers no one is going to stop you.
When/how did the idea for Binnacle come about?
Back around about June time I discovered a few acts in quick succession that I wanted to put all on in one place. It went from planning a show, to planning a day, to planning a weekend in no time. It’s exciting to think how close it is now.
Sounds like it has been an epic voyage to get it sorted?
Yes, most definitely. I don’t think we will be able to relax properly until the last DJ finishes on Sunday night.
Did you have particular acts in mind? Or was it just a case of letting your ears lead you?
We made a list and I’m happy to say that 80% of it is on the line up that’s playing Binnacle. The nature of the fest means that a lot of new acts have appeared from their bedrooms and rehearsal spaces since we started planning it, so people like Only Real and Loved Ones have only been added more recently.
The only thing most of the acts (to my ear) have in common is that they don’t have anything much in common, and yet they all hang together nicely. Do genres even matter anymore?
There certainly are some extremes within the line-up, from Shoegaze (Carousels) to R&B (Active Child), but what everyone has in common is something more organic. The fact that there are four live debuts happening over the weekend speaks volumes for the youth in the line-up – almost everyone on there is an extremely new artist. It’s that youthful spark that brings it all together.
Who were you most stoked about getting to sign up?
It was really exciting when Acid Glasses came through, and when we realised the dates fitted in with Active Child being in Europe that was hugely exciting. Also, we’re bringing over Sun Glitters for his first UK show – that’s awesome.
…and Tropics will be there representing the UK wing of the (so-called) ‘Chillwave’ scene. Who’d win in a dust- up?
I’ve never met either of them in the flesh so I couldn’t really say. I’m kind of hoping that all the acts playing will use the weekend as a chance to exchange musical ideas and discoveries rather than blows.
Will you be using a sand timer to keep all the acts to schedule, and is your lighting rig a gas lamp?
You’re assuming that anyone reading this will know what a Binnacle is… brave joke.
Oh yeah? Well, we’ll see about that…
A version of this article originally appeared on Spoonfed on 10 October 2011.