Wednesday, 12 October 2011

OUT OF STEP Interview

Richard Cartwright, the man behind the promotions outfit Out Of Step has brought Male Bonding, The History Of Apple Pie, Trash Kit, Grass Widow and Gun Outfit among many others to the stages of Birmingham's finest establishments. Birmingham owes Richard. Big time.

Secret Admirer loves what he has done with the place.
So, to thank him for his generous contributions to society, we sent him the greatest present of all: an email full of questions.

When and why did Out Of Step make the leap from being an alternative club night to being a promotions outfit putting on gigs?
I started to put on gigs at the start of 2010. It’s the classic case when you live somewhere which has nothing in the way of music that you like or has good show’s to watch you just end up doing it yourself. There was this night in Wolverhampton called Colour (started by good friends Matt Andrews and James Nash) they would play and put on the best in indie/alternative etc. You always heard the The Twang or Kooks at indie nights in Wolves and that made it a miserable night out. Colour were the only people on my wave length playing Fugazi, Why?, Pissed Jeans the list would go on. Anyway I played a few songs at their night and enjoyed it very much. O.O.S was just a Monday night thing where I could play Pavement through a loud PA system and have fun with my friends. The gig side of it was a real learning curve. I have no background in sound engineering but the bar where I worked was pretty good at letting me do what ever we wanted.

Where did the name Out Of Step come from?
‘Out of step’ is a song by Discord punk outfit Minor Threat and I’m a huge fan ever since I was 12. Ian Mackaye the founder of Dischord records I admire a lot. They keep the records and door entry for shows cheap. Plus I have always felt that the way we do things is out of step with the world.

Do you think there is a lack of alternative music promoters in Birmingham?
No, Carlos from Brum Promoters is bringing some wonderful bands to the city and works hard at what he does. Its Just Noise are RAD, Raya has been putting on shows for ages; the best show for me being Thee Oh Sees at the once great Basement bar in Brum. This is Tmrw, that’s run by Matt is putting on great shows, so far Abe Vigoda and Times new Viking. Matt just puts on gigs that always have brilliant line-ups. The one we are working with him on is Mazes, Milk Maid and Calories, it’s an epic line-up. There will always be someone putting on shows in the City, people just have to go to them to keep the promoters going.

How do you go about organising and putting on your gigs?
At first it was pandemonium, sound checks take forever and bands can always go over time, especially support acts. In Wolves we had a base to put on shows every Monday. In Brum it’s just Island bar or The Victoria. The way I do it is I book bands that I like, there is no point in putting on a show and you don’t even like the band. As long as the door covers the band, venue, sound engineer and anything else I’m happy. I never went into this to make money. If you start to think like that it loses its purpose and drive. We are very lucky to have James Nash who creates amazing illustrations for show posters. We always do them in black and white it’s cheaper on print.

What has been the best gig you have put on so far?

Male Bonding was great mosh pit times. So glad they played for us. The Grass Widow show was awesome just because of The Knocking Shop TV’s Graham Gadget was there. Go look on Youtube for that footage.

Who have been the best band to work with?

Work with no, hang out with is the best way to put it. They have all been great.

Who have been the worst?

Never had a problem with any band we have put on.

Which bands would you love to put on?

No Age, Not Cool (again) and Bleached. If I had a shit load of money I would like to do an all day show. It was going to happen, ‘Not Far’ bringing great bands from London to Brum. But the budget was crazy with the cost of travel and hotel’s etc. Bleached would be good they’re the best I’ll get to Mika Miko.

What is your favourite venue in Birmingham?

The Victoria is great, nice small venue with good ales and cocktails. The basement was great someone needs to buy that place it was like LA’s The Smell. I think all venues in Brum are good just depends who’s playing and who goes. I like punk shows so sound is never on my mind if I cant hear vocals over a ride cymbal I don’t mind. Plus I’m pretty deaf nowadays. I fear one day I’m just going to wake up and it’ll be gone?

Which bands are you currently listening to?

Playing loads of No Age and Dinosaur Jr. of late. New bands I really like are Novella and Bone Yards, pretty much anything on Conan’s Italian Beach Babes label. The dude puts out the good shit.

It seems to be the common view that live music has become more popular and beneficial for the music industry than recorded music. Do you think the popularity of gigs has increased?

I hope it’s hard right now, people don’t have money, I don’t have money half the time so going to shows people price it up. The door price/ticket price cost of drink and getting there and back. Getting people out is the hard part. The Old Blue in London puts on free shows and you think people would go there due to all the shows are free but they don’t. Most go there because they want to be in Vice magazine or just talk crap to their mates when a band are playing. At the end of the day as long as bands don’t ask for stupid fees and the agents of bands understand that some promoters are putting the band on because they are fans of the band then promoters will put on the shows.

What kind of crowds do the gigs you put on attract?

Everyone, I wish I could do all age shows, the dream. I helped in Wolves run an all age mental hardcore night. Bands played in the bar where I worked. The kids where really into it and was the first time I saw a sense of community in a scene. All age shows one day, where no beer is served it’s just the music that people want to see, hear, dance and mosh to.

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