INTERVIEW: Astral People Talk OutsideIn Festival

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OutsideIn has become one of Sydney’s most beloved festivals after just one year in operation as it brings together brilliant live music, tantalising food and an abundance of good vibes to celebrate music with some of the best new talent the world has to offer. 

The entire shindig is a collaboration between touring agency Astral People and record label Yes Please, without these guys, OutsideIn wouldn’t be possible. We had a chat with organisers Tom, Lee and Vic to see what makes the festival one of the most anticipated musical events of 2013.

Your headliner Zomby is known for touring very rarely. How difficult was it to persuade him to play OutsideIn Festival?

Tom: It really wasn’t too hard at all. I saw him last year in Brooklyn at an old big rope factory warehouse for CMJ’s and I absolutely loved his set and knew that we had to get him over here at some point. I saw on (his infamous) twitter that he was keen to start playing shows internationally again and we figured that OutsideIn would be the perfect platform for him here in Australia.

It took a while to find his agent but once we did everything ran smoothly from there. He doesn’t have the best track record from earlier in his career that’s why I think most promoters were scared off by him which made the whole situation a lot less competitive.

An act I’m really interested in checking out this year is BadBadNotGood, who perform different versions of tracks by a wide selection of artists in a three piece band including Kanye West, James Blake and Joy Division. Have any of you seen them play live before? What made you want to book this particular act?

Lee: I saw them last year just after Coachella in some tiny club in LA, it was just after they’d done the Tyler collab and all of the Odd Future guys were there, it was so different to everything else I’d seen. We hadn’t even started Astral People yet, but knew that this was an act that I really wanted to work with, so luckily people caught on to how great they were and now we’re stoked to have them perform at OutsideIn.

A very exciting element of this year’s line up is Astral People’s exclusive live take on The Avalanches’ classic album ‘Since I Left You’. How’d the band react when you asked for their permission to do it?

Lee: Jonti has been working with them for over a year now on three tracks for their next album, so the relationship was already there, so luckily it wasn’t so out of the blue, when we asked, but it took us a while to build up the courage and actually ask for their blessing. When we finally manned up and told them about the project, they were really flattered that we cared so much about Since I Left You and were really supportive of the idea.

Can you tell us which artists from your roster will be apart of this performance?

Lee: Well obviously Jonti is one of them, we’ll be announcing the rest of the artists closer to the event. The performance is still very much a work in progress, so there are constantly parts we’re adding.

Earlier this year we saw Mark Pritchard play at your Beyond Blue fundraiser at Goodgod Small Club and at Vivid LIVE, as apart of the brilliant Africa Hitech, making him a regular at Astral People events. What is it that influences you to continue booking him?

Vic: Mark Pritchard is a don of the UK scene in every sense of the word. Under his various monikers and releases on high profile labels such as Warp and Hyperdub, he continues to push boundaries and provide fresh takes on genres ranging from dubstep to footwork. His latest release ‘Ghosts’ is no different and we’re stoked to welcome him back to OutsideIn in solo mode this year. It’s an honour to have someone that we’ve looked up to for many years now call our city his home.

For the people like me who aren’t aware of him, what sort of music does Freddie Gibbs produce and what can we expect from his live show?

Tom: Freddie Gibbs is a gangsta rapper from Gary, Indiana (home of Michael Jackson) who has been releasing music for close to a decade but has only risen to fame over the past years years. In my opinion he is the realest rapper out today and is extremely versatile, this is probably why he’s usually referred to as the modern day 2Pac – that and the fact that they look quite similar. The truth is that the majority of rappers today can’t put on much of a live show but Freddie definitely has his live show down pat.

Which other artists would you say are similar to Objekt?

Fans of SHED, Shifted and/or KiNK should definitely not miss Objekt at this year’s festival!

One of the strengths of OutsideIn Festival is that it encourages punters to find out about new music. Can each of you name an artist that was around for a long period of time before you discovered them?

Lee: Black Moth Super Rainbow – I’d never really listened to them or Tobacco in the past and got hold of a copy of their new album earlier this year and have been obsessed with it and went and explored all of their older music.

Vic: Kaytranada. That one completely flew under our radar till earlier this year when we got requests to host him here in Sydney. In regards to OutsideIn we’d have to say Laurel Halo – she’s been someone that has only come to our music libraries in the last couple of years
despite been around for a lot longer than that. There’s always others, it’s hard to keep track in this day and age with the amount of quality music coming out of all corners of the globe.

Tom: Lijadu Sisters – An identical twin sister duo from Nigeria who made a fusion of Afrobeat and Reggae music between the late 60s – mid 80’s. I only discovered them early last year and have been hooked ever since, check out their track ‘Come On Home’ and you’ll probably also jump on the Lijadu Sisters’ train.

Even though last year’s event went rather smoothly, is there something you’ve all been working hard on to improve OutsideIn Festival for 2013?

Lee: As soon as we wrapped up last years event, we sat down and looked at ways to improve the event. We are looking at ways to make the outdoor area more comfortable and free flowing as we underestimated how much time people like spending outside. There will be a lot of new.

Words by Tony Kingston

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About:

During the week Tony works in a busy retail corporate office. Once day becomes night, there’s a good chance you’ll see him at a gig or DJing at a house party.