Following the recent highlighting on Arctic Drones of some of the great festivals coming your way this year, (12 Music Festivals You Don’t Want To Miss In 2015) I caught up with Stewart from Bad Owl Presents to tell us a bit more about StrangeForms 2015. This is a two day “post” smorgasbord of known and up and coming bands held in the intimate Wharf Chambers venue in Leeds, England.
Hi there, not long to go now until StrangeForms 2015. Are you up to your eyes in final stage planning chaos or is everything long since sorted and you’re just relaxed and looking forward to the event?
Stewart (Bad Owl Presents): Yeah, I can’t believe it’s so close! StrangeForms has been in the planning stage since last September but there’s lots of things that we couldn’t really sort out until now. At the moment we’re sorting out backline and interviews with all the bands. It’s certainly not chaos but Kerry and I won’t feel totally relaxed until, Sunday headliners, Her Name Is Calla start to play their last song. We’re both very organised people but, as with all DIY shows, we know that you can never take it for granted that things are going to go according to plan no matter how prepared you are!
How long has StrangeForms been going and how did it begin?
This is only the second year of StrangeForms. Last year’s inaugural event was part inspired by how much we enjoyed the first ArcTanGent and by thinking it would be lots of fun to get some of the bands that we’d put on in the past few years to perform together under one roof. We received so much positive feedback both during and after the event (as well as having an amazing time ourselves) that we quickly decided we wanted to do it all over again this year.
Can you tell us a little about Bad Owl Presents?
Kerry and I started Bad Owl Presents back in July 2012. Our friends, What The Blood Revealed, from Glasgow had been in touch asking if we could help them out with a show in Leeds. When we were unable to find any shows for them to jump on we decided to organise the show ourselves and we’ve continued to put on around a show per month ever since.
As well as putting on gigs Bad Owl Presents looks after a couple of ace Leeds bands (post-metal act, Envoys, and noise-rock act, Himself). As with our shows, we do this not-for-profit and purely because we love being involved with great music and great people.
Wharf Chambers is really a small venue, did you think that numbers might not be good for a two day celebration of “post” music?
We picked Wharf Chambers as we really admire their ethos and it’s such a great place to hang out in. It’s also important to us to keep the festival as intimate as possible where festival-goers can socialise with the bands between sets and vice-versa. It was great seeing so many new friendships being made last year as, by the Sunday everyone recognised everyone else’s faces and were all there for the same reason – a passion for the same type of music.
Will there be tickets available on the door or is the event totally sold out now?
According to the amount of people listed as going on the Facebook Event, StrangeForms will be close to selling out but we expect to have tickets available on the door. Come early!
What do you think of the “post” scene at the moment? It seems to be flourishing in all sorts of different directions and I guess that’s why you have such a good line-up for the event.
I think it’s as highly regarded and supported as it ever has been. In my view, ArcTanGent has been a massive part of that by bringing lots of like-minded people and bands together in one place. There’s also a great DIY ethic and camaraderie by both bands and promoters in the scene. The genre also seems to be getting slightly broader and more accommodating, for example you have someone like Mogwai or Explosions selling out massive venues at one end of the scale and you have a local, noise-rock band playing a tiny pub at the other end yet both can fit into the “post” spectrum alongside each other and are championed equally. I think it’s really important for the scene that this continues.
How did you pick the bands you wanted to play at StrangeForms 2015?
We’re very selfish and just pick bands that we love! To try and do it any other way would seem too formulaic and business-like. Obviously we hope that other people will love the line-up enough to come along too but, if not, our thinking is that it’ll be a fantastic private performance for us! A bit like a small wedding but with less cake and some awesome bands instead of a shit DJ.
Will you be back bigger and even better next year?
Haha, well the success of each year goes some way to determining the status of the next year’s event. It would be really nice to be able to attract even bigger acts to StrangeForms and to compensate our performing artists as much as they’re truly worth but, as mentioned before, I think it’s the intimacy of the festival that makes it what it is. The likes of ArcTanGent, 2000 Trees and Handmade are real inspirations for us but it would be wrong to try and emulate them completely as they’re already the best at what they do and it’s nice that we’re on a much smaller scale, hence offering something different.
Was there a particular highlight from last year’s festival for you?
There were so many highlights from last year for us. Seeing how much the bands and the crowd were enjoying themselves was a particularly great buzz. There was a moment during Codes In The Clouds set, as they brought the weekend to a close, when Kerry and I turned to each other and smiled knowing that we’d managed to pull the whole thing off. That was pretty special.
Finally, who are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s event?
This feels too much like having to pick a favourite child – I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing every band as much as the next one!
Thanks for your time answering these questions. Is there anything else you want to add?
No, big thanks to you guys for taking an interest in Bad Owl Presents and StrangeForms. Weekend tickets cost £15 and are available in person at Jumbo Records and Wharf Chambers or you can purchase online from https://badowlpresents.bandcamp.com/merch whilst day tickets cost £9 and are available from https://www.wegottickets.com/f/8765.
We’ll also be taking donations for Leeds Food Bank at the festival so if you were able to bring in an item from those listed below it would be much appreciated…