What do you get if you lock one guy who likes live music and one guy who likes dance music in a rave cave and don’t let them out until they’ve agreed on a line-up? If those two guys were Tom Rose and Grant Heinrich the answer would be FIELDS, A showcase of live electronica, new bands, DJs, duos with that bit of extra hardware, danceable experiments. Following a successful launch night at Islington’s Electrowerkz they have decided to waste no time in kicking off 2012, paying no heed to light wallets or delicate heads (and stomachs).
I caught up with them over Christmas to reflect on their first night, their future plans, the state of music in general and their ultimate line-up.
Is the time ripe for your kind of ‘crossover’ night? If so, why is that do you think?
Tom Rose: We’re getting to the stage where kids are growing up using Ableton, rather than a pair of 1210’s and learning super-impressive production techniques without having to spend £1,000’s, or even leave their bedroom.
Soundcloud is also a huge help for burgeoning artists to meet fellow producers. We’ve been trying to do our own informal stuff in the background to encourage the acts to work together, which is mostly buying a crate of beer letting people get on with it. That’s been fun, and we’ll definitely continue with it.
Grant Heinrich: We’re not trying to rule the world, or create some kind of megascene from nothing. There are bands playing this music; we like to support that, and we figure if we like it, other people will as well. Music’s funny like that.
In the past there has been a sort of snobbishness about ‘bands’ playing electronic music, or DJs playing instruments, why do you think that was?
TR: Hasn’t London always embraced bands that play electronic music?
GH: What it’s not keen on is bongo players at DJ gigs, and it’s not hard to see why…
You describe it as an electronica night showcase with ‘a bit of extra hardware’ is that all it is, the only difference?
GH: In my view, the difference is “songs”, it’s not just three-chord guitar nonsense from some earnest bloke who wishes he was Bono, or tracky percussion to keep you riveted on the dancefloor. We’d like to think there’s a wider range of feeling you can have than just fistpumping or falling over in a heap – as fun as that is, obviously.
TR: I think of it as a club night with live music. We bring in a full lighting rig to each event and try to segway each act seamlessly between each other. The emphasis is on having an amazing night out, but behind the scenes doing everything we can to support the scene.
This time you’re going ‘a little bit pop.’ How broad is the FIELDS church?
TR: I’ve personally got quite dark/leftfield tastes in music, so I can see it swinging the other way in the future too.
GH: If you can’t appreciate pop music – the real stuff, the three-minute distillation of a feeling you forgot you had – then you are dead inside. That said, we’re more Sugarcubes than Sugarbabes: done right, pop shouldn’t be a dirty word.
Too, right! What do you think of the state of electronic music at the end of 2011? And London?
GH: The press certainly banged on about it being an amazing year for electronica, but I was just reading Pitchfork‘s readers’ poll this morning and 2011 seemed a great year for albums generally. In electronic music, the ResidentAdvisor top DJs list, which is pretty much the canonical reference of who’s on the up, is a lot more diverse than it was last year.
TR: In London, there’s always a healthy scene for live music – some may say too healthy, with an over-saturation of live music every night.
GH: In electronica, it’s always had an amazing range of influences, and that kind of grab-bag approach makes for very original music. Bass music is helping to bring the focus of electronic music back to the UK, where arguably the last three-four years have been Berlin Berlin Berlin techno techno techno…
You had Ghosting Season down for the first night, and that lined up pretty well with them finishing a great first year as an act. Do you reckon you’ve got the golden touch?
TR: With any night, the ‘golden touch’ is usually an accumulation of a lot of hard work behind the scenes. We are out there to offer more than just a club night to artists and help to raise their profile/further their career. So hopefully we’ll be more of a catalyst than lucky.
GH: It’s not so much that we have a “golden touch” as a keen interest in what everyone’s up to and a finger in a lot of pies. We think Capac and the Slow Revolt, two other acts we’ll be working with next year, have the same potential to be massive. As does our new resident DJ Graphics, who’s getting a shedload of attention in the bass scene at the moment.
But that said, we really want to do the launch night for Ghosting Season’s upcoming album.
Who would be your ultimate ‘crossover’ line-up, living or dead?
Bjork (and her 20 piece icelandic female touring choir), Karin Dreijer Andersson (Fever Ray/The Knife), , Michael Nyman on piano, Get People and Capac on some cool 21st century instruments like the Reactable, Slow Revolt on vocals, Whiskas FX on visuals, the new Funktion1 3D sound system, and the FIELDS allstars: Max Cooper, Graphics, Ghosting Season … and William S. Burroughs as MC. … Or Tom Waits.
With a lineup like that, we could compromise a bit.
This article first appeared on The What Where When on 4 January 2012.