Get To Know : Fear Of Fiction
We chat to Sam and Loki from Fear of Fiction, the multi-faceted Bristol music project who are hosting their very own multi venue festival on November 10
Hi Sam, how would you describe Fear of Fiction?
Sam: Fingers in pies. Delicious pies. We're basically a 360 music collective, working on various publications, releases and live events.
How did you originally get into promoting and the like?
S: I personally started promoting about 5 years ago when i was at uni, originally i was running a group of volunteers doing charity shows, then i took a bit a bit of a break and was offered a residency at Start The Bus in Bristol. From their the live shows grew and grew until i was helping run weekly shows at Proud Galleries Camden and Powers Bar in Kilburn (with the great guys over at No Fiction, our long lost promotion cousins) while bringing lots of touring acts through Bristol (as part an awesome double team experience with Tim at Lofi Hifi, now in-house at The Fleece). Since then we've kept promoting, been involved in hosting stages at lots of festivals, running club nights and launch parties and getting to work with amazing bands like The Joy Formidable, Pulled Apart By Horses, Errors, Team Me and a host of others!
You've grown quite a bit recently, especially your gig listings zine, most people wouldn't think a listings magazine would be that in the world of online ticket agencies but yours has proved really popular, what do you think's the secret to the success of that?
S: Yeah Fear Of Fiction had a massive shake up this year, Loki got involved and the magazine was born. It's kind of crazy how positive the reaction has been, in a year when print publications seem to go under on a weekly basis, but we've managed to grow every month. Including our November issue out within the week, we've now put out 110,000 copies. It doesn't even feel real.
Loki: Yeah it's been mad. I've known Sam for longer than I'd care to admit, and FOF is definitely a different beast in 2012. But in all the right ways we feel. With the mag I think that even though it's a lot about online promo these days, people still love to pick up something real, pocket it, pull it out on the bus when their iPhone hits 3%. But regardless of this the options for venues, promoters and bands are just so wank. General interest magazines masquerading as musical authorities with front page stories about roadworks, whats-on guides that fill you in on the local covers bands and which Eastenders wash-up is in town with a panto. So as much as Sam and I love the whole 'artistic spectrum' this had be exclusively music, and people have really responded to that. Giving the limelight to deserving acts from the Bristol area has been one of the most unique things about it I guess. It's a rung on the ladder for bands that isn't any of the awful things they're used to, and pulls it together in a way that says "YES, there IS a scene!". Bands start to believe in themselves, work harder, and people like us have more to write about.
Let's talk Fear of Fiction festival (we've got a stage there and all!). What can we expect from the day, apart from music?
L: Mayhem. If you're me or Sam. If you're not, an awesome day of musical discovery. Aside from the showcases there's going to be a record/music fayre with a host of labels and stores showing the public what they've got going on, plus some cool vintage stuff owing to Bristol's finest Shop Dutty, Best Before and The Birdcage. The unearthly works of artist Joe Evans are also being exhibited at the wristband exchange which can't be missed. Mmm broadening.
S: One of our venues is the Cube Cinema, being taken over on the day by Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records and BEAM (Bristol Exchange of Arts and Music). It’s going to be a really interesting musical experience, and something a bit unusual, with documentaries, John Milton films and a range of other visuals. Everyone’s a bit numbed to standard three bands at a normal venue's line-up, so it’s going to be pretty interesting to change people’s perspectives on what seeing a band actually means.
Who else is showcasing on November 10?
L: Apart from your lovely selves we've got a plethora of national and local labels/collectives presenting showcases - some little, some large. As Sam said there's Geoff Barrow's Invada, plus The Line Of Best Fit, and up-and-coming bloggers London In Stereo. The main stage will be presented by the loons at No Need To Shout, who promote a good proportion of the leftfield stuff passing through the city, as well as the odd boutique release.
S: Yeah, it’s really exciting to see the acts that such influential music blogs, magazine and labels are bringing together. It’s an interesting insight into the music which is sure to break in the next six months, especially the likes of Toy, Lasbyrinth Ear, Chad Valley and Blood Diamonds. There are also some awesome acts playing as part of the Big Scary Monsters and Alco-pop records showcase. They put on an amazing show at The Great Escape this year, and I can’t wait to see the likes of Tellison, Stagecoach and Talons. A personal highlight is also the fact we have a stage being curated by James from 2000 Trees Festival / ArcTanGent Festival. 2000 Trees has been my favourite small festival for the past few years, and its really exciting about his new festival launching next year, plus the fact the Three Trapped Tigers, Arcane Roots and The Physics House Band will be playing back to back in one small venue. Minds will be blown.
Fear Of Fiction is also a label, what have you got coming up?
L: We're still reeling a bit from the success of Idles, which we're really proud of them for. But as the 'Idles Experience' starts to become slightly less relentless (they're back in the studio as we speak, working on some awesome new material), we're working with an exciting new band who featured on our split 12” we releases in May. Things are a bit hush hush right now, but they're a jangly, reverb laden explosion and we're really into it. Think Smiths for 2012 between walls of sound and some Twilight Sad spookiness.
S: It’s kind of an eye of the storm situation, Idles are back in the studio but playing lots of dates across the country and recently got back from some shows in France. Their next release is going to be fantastic. We also have a short list of other acts we’re currently working towards releasing early next year. There are a few Bristol bands which we’ve been dying to work with for months, which even though its only in the demo stages, it’s all sounding amazing. There’s also a few London and Brighton acts on the list. Whatch this space!
There's quite a lot of talent coming out of Bristol at the moment, is it all a coincidence or is there something in the water?
L: It's because we finally have some bloody infrastructure! Bristol has always been a hotbed of talent, just with bands bouncing around like a bees in a jar. And it's not all about the labels and zines themselves, or even that talented bands have suddenly wised-up and gotten organised (believe me...). People are just working together, and something magical is happening.
S: It seems like an odd creative arms race is happening in Bristol. You get one band who get some national press attention, then every other bands opens their eyes and sees what is possible for a band to do off it’s own back. I agree it’s also to do with infrastructure. There’s finally independent organisations doing great things like Artscare Records, BEAM, Drunken Werewolf, Rise, Howling Owl and Crack, which makes a big difference.
I think there are some truly amazing bands in this city at the moment, and everyone has suddenly realised that. I’ve been watching bands like The Naturals, Idles, Casimir, Towns, Seasfire and Scarlet Rascal and the Trainwreck surpassing every touring act they have supported for years, and they are finally getting recognition for this.
Apart from the festival, if any first timers are coming to Bristol on November 10, what in Bristol would you suggest they check out?
L: There's a statue of a gorilla dressed as Brunel by the suspension bridge - that's obviously pretty rad. I don't think we're too-cool-for-school Banksy bashers either, go check that out, why not? Plenty of him along the festival's length if you're feeling lazy. Some great indie stores along there too, as well as Park Street, although the latter will do serious things to your calves. Oh and if the Bristolian accent doesn't crack you up already, treat yourself to one of our Pirate Walks, where ten different pubs will claim to be the inspiration for Treasure Island. But don't let anyone sell you any 'Brisol Pounds'.
S: There’s an amazing shop almost next door to one of the festival venues called Here Gallery. It’s and amazing independent shop selling all manner of interesting DIY publications, books and art.
Thing about Bristol is, it’s as independent as it’s music scene, and there's always something new and exciting to discover, just don’t stay at home/in your hotel, go out and make something happen.
Check out all the details on the Fear of Fiction festival, where we'll be hosting out own stage at the Motorcycle Showrooms, HERE.