Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair 2011: James Jarvis speaks at Mokita

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, viagra dosage where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. His job is a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, more about when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids’ books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, viagra so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints. Available to buy online here.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit so to keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print. All images courtesy of James Jarvis, more can be seen on Flickr.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March. Read a more in depth article about Mokita here and my transcript of a conversation with Sam Arthur of Nobrow here.

Categories ,Amos, ,Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop, ,atp, ,Character, ,Coca-Cola, ,Graphic Artist, ,illustrator, ,James Jarvis, ,Jim Jarvis, ,KK Outlet, ,Mascot, ,Mokita, ,Outlet, ,Pick Me Up, ,Plastic, ,Roger Hargreave, ,Silas, ,skateboarding, ,Somerset House, ,streetwear, ,The Face, ,Toys, ,Wisdom of Caleb

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Lee May Foster-Wilson of Bonbi Forest

Equus Scarf Print by Bonbi Forest
Equus Scarf by Bonbi Forest.

I fell in love with the artwork and treats of Lee May Foster-Wilson’s Bonbi Forest many years ago, look so it seemed only right to catch up and find out what inspires this talented lady.

Dark is the Night Slouch Sweater by Bonbi Forest
Dark is the Night Slouch Sweater by Bonbi Forest.

Where did your name come from and what does it mean?
Bonbi Forest is an amalgamation of a few different things. Forest is an anagram of one of my names, order Foster, information pills so I really wanted to incorporate that when I was coming up with a name. Bonbi is a bit weird, but it comes from some paintings I was making at the time of little birds with speech bubbles. One of them was saying ‘Bonjour’ and I always called him the Bonjour Bird I can’t remember why I did it but I shortened it to Bonbi and it stuck! I like how ‘Bonbi Forest‘ could be a place or someones name.

Big Cats Scarf Print by Bonbi Forest
Big Cats Scarf by Bonbi Forest
Big Cats Scarf by Bonbi Forest.
You’ve developed a very unique style over the years – where does your inspiration come from and why do you think your work looks so individual?
I take inspiration from nature a lot for my imagery. I have always enjoyed painting animals and plants and looking at the abstract shapes in the natural world. I also like to jot down things I have heard that interest me such as interesting facts or lyrics from songs to get me thinking about themes to draw from. My Stillness of Horses painting came about because I read something in a book about someone observing how still horses can stand for hours on end and how they seem to be deep in thought a lot of the time. I like to work with things like that.

Stillness of Horses by Bonbi Forest
Herd Painting by Bonbi Forest.

It’s something I have never really thought about but I think that what makes my work quite individual are the processes I use in creating the different things I make. Painting and screen printing require quite different ways of thinking about the final image and they both feed into each other when it comes to informing my style – the graphic elements of screen printing have crept into my paintings and drawings and painterly elements can be seen in my screen printing work. Also, I am not very good at using a very conventional colour arrangements when making my pictures. I see nothing wrong with pink grass, blue trees and purple birds!

Jackdaw by Bonbi Forest
Jackdaw by Bonbi Forest.

Why did you move from fine art into illustration?
A lot of people ask me if I am an illustrator but I never consider myself as one. I’ve never really done any illustration commissions, most of the commissions I have worked on came about for the fact that I could screen print the end result as well as supply the images!

I Love You Hand Printed Card by Bonbi Forest
I Love You Hand Printed Card by Bonbi Forest.

I was criticised a bit at art school because my work was too illustrative and I wonder if it would be the same now as I think these days there is a lot more crossover between the two disciplines of fine art and illustration.

Goodnight Locket by Bonbi Forest
Goodnight Locket by Bonbi Forest.

Your newest range uses a very clever print technique to print onto lockets and curved metal rings. Is there anything that you can reveal about how this is done?
I apply the images using a transfer technique which is a little time consuming but I love the end result. I think proper crafty types could probably work out how it is done but for the first time ever I am zipping up about exactly how I do a technique as it has taken me ages to work out how to do it. As much as I like to share I am keeping this one to myself!

Feathers Locket by Bonbi Forest
Feathers Locket by Bonbi Forest.

Not many people have successfully managed to use illustration on jewellery. Why was it important for you to find a way to do this?
It has bugged me for a long time that I haven’t been able to make that final connection between my painted and printed work and my jewellery. Although the colours I use in my jewellery take inspiration from my other work and I use little charms that pick out the themes dear to me, I have always felt this disconnect and that it didn’t really have that special unique ‘Bonbi Forest‘ edge that my other work had. It was all made with beads and charms that anyone else could find if they looked hard enough.

Dark is the Night Locket by Bonbi Forest
Dark is the Night Locket by Bonbi Forest.

I have been considering for years how to do it in a way that was a bit different to the usual illustrated jewellery that you see (such as images behind glass) and finally hit the nail on the head earlier this year. I have figured it out for pendants and rings and now I am working on ways to make it into pretty earrings and bracelets…

Blossom Pop Earrings by Bonbi Forest
Blossom Pop Earrings by Bonbi Forest.

Your products are described as ‘treats’ – why do you think it’s important to treat oneself or a loved one?
We all work so hard for what we have in this world and it is nice to be able to treat ourselves to something lovely every so often. I like using the word ‘treat’ as it implies that this is something worked for and that you (or a loved one) deserve it. Something special rather than another piece of throwaway fashion from the high street that can be bought at any time from any shop…

Locket Making by Bonbi Forest
Locket Making by Bonbi Forest.

What kind of things have you made for Bat for Lashes? How did you hook up with her?
Natasha and I lived together throughout university and are still close friends. I made her first ever BFL t-shirts which we sold at the first All Tomorrows Parties that she played at in 2005, and then I continued selling them online for her. She likes to work with lots of different artists so I haven’t made anything for her for a while but she wears Bonbi Forest jewellery quite a lot and we have chatted about maybe doing other things together in the future too…

Pegasus painting by Bonbi Forest
Pegasus painting by Bonbi Forest.

(in fact, going back to the ATP merch stand we had, I remember being very excited when the day was over and looking at the huge amount of email addresses collected on her mailing list clipboard and seeing your distinctive ‘Amelia’ signature on there. ‘Oh my god! Amelia from Amelia’s magazine was stood right in front of me and I didn’t even realise!‘ I think I said…)

Sketches by Bonbi Forest
Sketches by Bonbi Forest.

Who else do you aspire to dress? And what would you put them in or adorn them with?
To be honest it’s not something I have ever really considered! When I am making stuff I think about what sort of person would like to wear it, but I never have anyone specific in mind. I do have my ideas about how pieces look their best though and I am always intrigued to see how other people incorporate them into their own style.

Pegasus tshirt by Bonbi Forest
Pegasus Tee by Bonbi Forest.

I am always very honoured that anyone at all would like to wear things that I have created…in fact I have been known to blush when I see someone in a t-shirt or scarf that I have made out ‘in the wild‘!

Bonbi Forest custom made pleated purse
Bonbi Forest custom made pleated purse.

Why did you decide to live in Cornwall? Is it where you grew up or was there some other draw to that wild part of the world?
I grew up in Cornwall. I was born in London but my folks moved to Cornwall when me and my brother were 4 and 5 so I feel like Cornwall is my motherland (though I can never describe myself as Cornish. You can only do that if were born on the right side of the Tamar!)
Spring Cluster Necklace by Bonbi Forest
Spring Cluster Necklace by Bonbi Forest.

After studying in Brighton and living there for a few years afterwards the draw back to this beautiful part of the world was too great. Starting Bonbi Forest and making it work was the only reason I could come back as there are very few good jobs here. Thank goodness for the internet is all I can say!

Flowers Locket by Bonbi Forest
Flowers Locket by Bonbi Forest.

It sometimes occurs to me that this is a place that people move to when they have done the city thing and are ready for a quieter life. In my twenties I did worry that I was missing out on all the things that living in a cultural city could offer, but as cheesy as it sounds I feel so much more inspired here. I love the variety of the landscape here, you have the green fields and quaint villages and also the rugged and wild coast with it’s ever changing sea. I am a country bumpkin at heart it seems…

Lee May-Bonbi Forest Portrait
Lee May Foster-Wilson and her horse.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working? Any favourite activities?
Horses!!! I have been riding since I was tiny and there have always been horses in my life. I don’t own a horse of my own anymore (I sold him last year after 7 1/2 years together which was heart breaking stuff indeed) but my mum has a little black beauty mare called Pia who I go and ride a couple of times a week and compete in dressage with regularly. We don’t do too badly, this week we have just qualified for the British Dressage area festival national finals! I like how riding gets me outside on a regular basis and it’s exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. It clears the thoughts and sets you up for the day. I am VERY lucky to be able to do it so often.

Bird prints by Bonbi Forest
Bird prints by Bonbi Forest.

Other than that I like to hang out with friends and drink red wine, go to music festivals, go for walks, pull up what I think are weeds in the garden (I have the blackest thumb…I managed to kill a cactus once which is apparently nigh on impossible), bake crazy multi-coloured cakes for friend’s birthdays, eat popcorn in the cinema, and hang out with my husband on the sofa in front of crap TV.

heart balloon tee by Bonbi Forest
Heart Balloon tee by Bonbi Forest.

How does your consideration of the environment affect the way you produce work?
I am very conscious of how my work impacts the environment and try to think about how my practice impacts on the world around me. I use water based inks for all of my printing (much kinder to everything, including me, than the horrible Plastisol inks used in a lot of t-shirt print manufacture), recycled card for all of my card stock, British suppliers wherever possible and I even cut up all of the boxes that my supplies arrive in to use as envelope stiffeners when sending out my art prints.

Mens Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip Bear tee
Mens Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip Bear tee by Bonbi Forest.

I do use American Apparel for my t-shirts which I know have a fairly large carbon footprint having had to come from half way around the world. But having done a lot of research I can’t find another company that manufacture at an affordable price in the UK. A lot of the manufacturers and distributors based in the UK actually get the garments made overseas anyway. It just seemed logical to me to use a company that I know looks after their factory staff as well as having an amazing range of goods for me to use for my brand.

limited edition Sweet Butterfly Pendant by Bonbi Forest
limited edition Sweet Butterfly Pendant by Bonbi Forest.

What next for Bonbi Forest?
I really want to expand my range into home wares and stationary in the not too distant future so I think that is the collection that I will be working on next. I want to continue honing my skills and developing my work to be the best I can be…Other than that, onwards and upwards as they say!

Equus tee by Bonbi Forest
Equus tee by Bonbi Forest.

Lee May is off on holiday today, but if you pop by her website you’ll get 20% off any order over £10 by using the code HAPPYHOLS at the checkout! Happy shopping.

Categories ,All Tomorrows Parties, ,artwork, ,atp, ,Bat for Lashes, ,Big Cats Scarf, ,Blossom Pop Earrings, ,Bonbi Forest, ,Bonjour Bird, ,brighton, ,British Dressage, ,Cornwall, ,Dark is the Night Locket, ,Dark is the Night Slouch Sweater, ,Equus Scarf, ,Equus tee, ,Feathers Locket, ,Flowers Locket, ,Goodnight Locket, ,Hannah Zakari, ,Heart Balloon tee, ,Herd Painting, ,illustration, ,Jackdaw, ,jewellery, ,Lee May Foster-Wilson, ,Mens Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip Bear tee, ,Pegasus painting, ,Pegasus Tee, ,Pia, ,Plastisol, ,screenprinting, ,Spring Cluster Necklace, ,Stillness of Horses, ,Sweet Butterfly Pendant, ,Tamar, ,Transfer, ,Treats

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with The Raincoats as 1981 album Odyshape is rereleased on We ThRee

The Raincoats by James Shedden
The Raincoats by James Shedden.

The Raincoats are an all girl band who formed during the late 1970s and split up in the mid 1980s. I was very little at the time of their original releases so unfortunately I did not discover The Raincoats until much more recently, online well into my adult years. The band had an exciting can do attitude that melded punk, see classical and reggae influences into spiky arrhythmic folk punk tunes that even today sound way more exciting than many current bands. They reformed in the mid 90s after a resurgence in interest thanks to gushing plaudits from Kurt Cobain and are now widely hailed as one of the seminal post punk bands. I catch up with founders Ana da Silva and Gina Birch as they gear up to rerelease their second album on its 30th anniversary.

Raincoats in Poland

Why did you decide to reissue Odyshape now?
ANA:  This year is the 30th anniversary of this album. So, as we like anniversaries, we decided to release The Raincoats and Odyshape on their 30th… We remastered the albums for Japan and re-did the art work so it would sound and look the best possible. We now own the rights to them and, as they should be available, we thought we’d release them on our own label We ThRee. Both on CD and vinyl. They look and sound the best ever! Theyl also have a booklet and A4 sheet respectively with liner notes, lyrics, photos and a piece of writing from me on the 1st album and from Gina on Odyshape.

The raincoats odyshape
What does Odyshape mean?
GINA: The title was a pun on the odyssey of a body. The idea that a body could have an ideal shape and it if did, what happens when a body doesn’t live up to that ideal. It was at a time, when (as probably now) there seemed to be a body fascism. It was important for women to be this shape or that shape. Thanks to people like Beth Ditto, and hopefully The Raincoats, things have been broken down a little. Hair can be crazy, messy, outfits can be baggy or tight, inside out or upside down, we can be fat or thin, creative, playful, stylish and beautiful without having to subscribe to some fashion mag ideal.

The Raincoats1981
You formed the original band whilst still at art college… how did your studies in art influence how you made music?
ANA: Besides the obvious side of art work, I think we’re trying to do what art should do: create works that inspire other people, that question the status quo, that express ideas which come from our own minds and hearts and also works that look at the human condition and provide some comfort to the listener.

The Raincoats by Karin Soderquist
The Raincoats by Karin Soderquist.

Odyshape seems to owe as much to contemporary classical music as it does punk – was this something that inspired you?    
ANA: We listen to all sorts of music so, intentionally or unintentionally, different  things appear. I do like some classical music very much, like the Bach‘s cello suites, Erik Satie, some opera, etc.  but I don’t think my playing sounds very classical…maybe you mean the violin which was played by Vicky Aspinall who is classically trained.

The Raincoats by Janette Beckman1981
The Raincoats in 1981.

You haven’t produced a new album since the mid 90s – what have you been up to since then?
ANA: I’ve been doing my own solo music and released an album called The Lighthouse on Chicks On Speed records. I’ve also been doing some drawings and paintings some of which I’ll be showing at the Pop Montreal festival, together with Gina’s videos and Shirley’s photographs. It’s really a great opportunity to show our art, visual and musical. It’s the first time we do this and are very happy and excited about it.
GINA: I have been collaborating with various musicians and artists and very involved in a project called The Gluts, (with two women artists) Also I have been playing solo, writing songs, making films, painting and, raising two children.

The Raincoats by Rukmunal Hakim
The Raincoats by Rukmunal Hakim.

Gina – you were an early fan of the craft revival – knitting on tour. Do you still craft and if so what?
GINA: I did knit on the first Raincoats tour, when I wore the jumper at the final gig… and then didn’t do any knittingfor quite a few years but have always liked to paint, draw, knit, mosaic, make films whatever. I have been knitting a lot in the last year or two and have made Raincoats inspired bags, and I have also been sewing banners with lyrics and messages on them.  

The Raincoats by Kassie Berry
The Raincoats by Kassie Berry.

Has Gina Birch’s film, The Raincoats, Fairytales, been completed? 
GINA: The film is still a work in progress. It is an organic process it seems and hopefully will be concluded in the coming six months.

YouTube Preview ImageBaby Song performed live in the 80s

You will be playing your debut album live again at ATP this December – anything special in store and what are you looking forward to most about the Holiday Camp experience?
ANA: Just playing is a special thing, but we’ve played twice at ATP and really enjoyed it: swimming, meeting people, being able to choose amongst so much different music and the relaxed atmosphere. We will be playing the first album at Jeff Mangum‘s request but will play other songs too, not sure which yet.

YouTube Preview ImageThe Raincoats perform live at ATP in 2010

Which other current bands do you enjoy listening to or watching?
ANA: I think P.J. Harvey‘s latest album is so good, so I enjoyed listening to it at seeing them live a couple of times. Also saw Portishead whose music I like but had never seen live and that was very good too. I was listening yesterday to Ponytail, Colleen, Electrelane, Neutral Milk HotelLouis and Bebe BarronJenny O in the car coming back from Portugal.

The Raincoats by Barb Royal.

What next for The Raincoats?
ANA: We’re doing a tour in the U.S.A. and Canada (New York, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto and Montreal) in September and ATP in December. And because of the re-release of Odyshape and those dates some interviews too… thanks for your part. Otherwise nothing concrete, but I’m sure other things will happen.

YouTube Preview ImageOnly Loved at Night, performed live in 2009

Odyshape is rereleased in heavyweight vinyl and as a special edition CD on We ThRee records on September 12th 2011. The band will tour the east coast of the USA from 16 – 26 September 2011 and play Jeff Mangum’s ATP, Minehead on 3 December 2011.

Categories ,1980s, ,2011, ,album, ,Ana da Silva, ,Arrhythmic, ,atp, ,Baby Song, ,Bach, ,Barb Royal, ,Bebe Barron, ,Beth Ditto, ,Body Fascism, ,Chicks on Speed, ,classical, ,Colleen, ,December, ,Electrelane, ,Erik Satie, ,folk, ,Gina Birch, ,James Shedden, ,Jeff Mangum, ,Jenny O, ,Karin Söderquist, ,Kassie Berry, ,Kurt Cobain, ,Louis, ,Neutral Milk Hotel, ,Odyshape, ,Only Loved at Night, ,PJ Harvey, ,Ponytail, ,Pop Montreal, ,Portishead, ,punk, ,Rerelease, ,review, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,The LIghthouse, ,The Raincoats, ,tour, ,Vicky Aspinall, ,Violin, ,We ThRee, ,WETHREE

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review – Gang Gang Dance: Eye Contact


It was probably down to skepticism that it took me some time to get into the latest Gang Gang Dance album. After all, erectile how on earth could they follow 2005′s Saint Dymphna, page in which Lizzie Bougatsos & co managed to mix psych, free form, drone, noise, high-pitched vocals, dance, urban music and more using both analog and digital instruments? What could possibly be left to borrow, crush, mash and cover in gold in order to convey the same sort of amazement that any listener of Saint Dymphna must surely have felt at the moment those drums kicked in around minute two of Bebey?

Illustration by Noemi Martinez Santiago.

Well here it is: Eye Contact was released on 4AD on the 9th May… think overwhelming motifs, syncopated velocities, spinning rhythms and sidereal vocals. Paint it all in silver and fluorescent pigments from the brightest star in the sky and you’re quite close to what Eye Contact sounds like. Instead of trying to fullfill similar expectations the album cleverly shifts the focus onto different musical frontiers, taking more inspiration from the electronica with hints of Far Eastern melody. Once again Gang Gang Dance manage to surprise.

Bebey from Saint Dymphna:
YouTube Preview Image

The tracks perfectly intertwine with each other in an almost endless techno-psych trip that can be listened to over and over again. In fact, with its uplifting beat and at times aggressive mood, it’s the perfect album to have on your iPod while whizzing through the heat wave in a city, thinking of faraway tropical paradises and sparkling Bollywood nights.

Illustration by Noemi Martinez Santiago.

The album starts with Glass Jar, an 11 minute masterpiece of spiralling sidereal melodies and cosmic atmospheres. As a wave it gently carries you to ?, a sonic interlude that leads to the core of Eye Contact: Adult Goth, a hypnotizing lullaby in which the glistening keyboards and pressing beats layer with Lizzie Bougatsos’ otherwordly vocals. Chinese High has a syncopated theme and gold dust coloured clinks that sounds more Bollywood soundtrack than anything Chinese. The pulsating Mind Killa is one of the most ‘pop’ tracks on the album, and it has taken over the blogosphere with its whirling motif and tribal beats.

Mind Killa music video:
YouTube Preview Image

Separated by the rest by another two whimsical ? (namely, ?? and ???, little evocative aural curtains) are the last 3 tracks of the album. Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor lends his vocals to one of the most accessible tracks of the album, Romance Layers, a luscious nu(est)-disco post-soul piece that would figure well in the playlist of a party on one of the Saturn rings. Sager and Thru and Thru follow the zigzagging sprawling line traced by the first minute of Eye Contact. Think of silver sunsets on purple beaches and parties on yet-to-be-discovered planets. As I get off my bike a voice claims ‘we are forever’ at the very last second of Thru and Thru and already I could play the album all over again. The ride is over but the energy of this record will stay with me all summer.

Gang Gang Dance will be playing at Animal Collective curated ATP on May 13th to 15th and at XOYO on 16th May. For the luckiest ones, not to be missed is their performance at Primavera Sound, Barcelona on May 26th to 28th. Eye Contact is out now on 4AD.

Categories ,4ad, ,Alexis Taylor, ,Alternative, ,Animal Collective, ,art, ,atp, ,Blogosphere, ,Bollywood, ,Cosmic, ,Eye Contact, ,Gang Gang Dance, ,Hot Chip, ,Lizzie Bougatsos, ,Mind Killa, ,new york, ,Noemi Martinez Santiago, ,Primavera Sound, ,psychedelia, ,Saint Dymphna, ,techno-psych, ,XOYO

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Amelia’s Magazine | ATP Film – A Review

atp montage1

All Tomorrow Parties, clinic a music festival that largely happens at out of season holiday camps, try celebrates it’s tenth year in 2009 and part of that anniversary celebration sees the release of this film, edited from fans and filmmakers footage on equipment ranging from super 8′s to mobile phones, the viewer is let in to the world of All Tomorrow’s Parties. The ensuing montage, of performances and backstage vox pops, is a cross between a really great music documentary and an advert for the music festival.

The documentary side of this film’s personality informs the viewer that the premise of ATP started with Glasgow’s saccharine indie pop makers, Belle and Sebastien. Along with visionary ATP promoter, Barry Hogan, they originally had the idea of putting on a festival in a holiday camp, curated by artists and did just that for the ATP pre-cursor, Bowlie Weekender in Camber Sands. The viewer also learns that ATP manages to exist independently, without the help from corporate sponsors, adhering to a punk rock ethic.


The advertisement side shows you just how much fun a festival in a holiday camp can be with footage of holidaymakers looking like the cat who got the cream whilst dancing to Micah P. Hinson, or playing a rendition of ‘Maps’ on the chalet kitchen sink.


I’ve alluded here to some of the musical footage that belies the rockumentary. If Kitsune is the indie electro rave that you have to be young to get into, ATP is where you retire, where you give up on pretending to keep up with the rapidly changes fads of NME and resign to sticking to what you know best. And if what you know best hits the Richter scale somewhere between alternative and experimental, then you’ll be familiar with a fair few bands that frequent the ATP line-ups. Not only are there fantastic show-stopping ATP performances from YYYs, Nick Cave’s Grinderman, Gossip, and Mars Volta, you also get to see the spontaneous performances that may not have been billed, like the Grizzly Bear beach a capella and Daniel Johnston regaling his insecurities via music in the grass and from his chalet.


These elements of the film are weaved together with a cinematic collage of artists backstage, like Bat For Lashes dancing down the stairs of her accommodation. And just to remind you where you are, there are also vintage stills and clips of Camber Sands as it is known best, as a holiday camp, including what looks like a dance competition whose contestants could rival anyone down the front of a moshpit.


Having never been to ATP myself (but always having wanted to), I wonder whether this has captured the essence of the festival. But with enough music and merriment to keep you entertained, it really doesn’t matter.


Patti Smith closes the film and I’ll close this article with a quote in the film from her, which is in line with an underlying message of ATP, “rock and roll belongs to the kids and not the big companies.”

Categories ,Animal Collective, ,atp, ,Bat for Lashes, ,Daniel Johnston, ,festival, ,film, ,gossip, ,grinderman, ,grizzly bear, ,mars volta, ,Nick Cave, ,patti smith, ,review, ,yeah yeah yeahs

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