To celebrate the upcoming 8th edition of Aloud Music Ltd.’s AMFEST, one of Europe’s most respected indoor festivals for four full days of instrumental/experimental post-rock and metal, and its amazing line-up featuring Daughters, Zeal & Ardour, Alcest, Pelican, Deafheaven and a whole load more, we have teamed up with the organizers for an insightful interview
For over a decade, Aloud Music Ltd, has forged an inseparable bond between themselves, the artists they support and the fans that follow their Aloud Philosophy. Flying the flag of honesty in a business infamous for selling passion for quick profit, Aloud has constantly strived to be different from the get-go. In 2008 they not only embraced free downloading but actively promoted it through their website for all their back-catalogue releases, making it an indispensable portal for those interested in their history and output.
AMFest will take place between 10-13 October 2019 at Fabra I Coats, Barcelona. To purchase your tickets for the festival visit this location. Hear a special playlist of artists at AMFest, stream and share the official festival Spotify Playlist, and check out our interview below!
Thanks so much for taking some time with IDIOTEQ. Congratulations on the impressive lineup for this year’s AMFest! If you allow, before we jump into the details of this great event, please let’s go back in time and learn a bit about your background. What were some of your earliest or most affecting experiences of interacting with art and music that got you really hooked, and got you involved in something more than just attending?
For me it all started with a juke-box in my mom’s small town where I started listening to the soft tracks of Metallica, Mr.Big and Extreme when I was 7 years old. Then an uncle with a great musical taste who saw some sparks in my ears and eyes and started feeding me with music I progressively started to like more and more until I found myself spending afternoon in records shop, spending money I basically didn’t have and finding out music had become my main passion already. Getting involved in more tan just attending is sometimes just a matter of being in the right spot, at the right moment, finding yourself surrounded by the right people. And not being afraid of failing or losing money. Which happened, happens and always will!
How has your work with Alound Music changed over the years? How’s the label doing these days?
Aloud music is now 16 years old and my mate Sergio has been at the front of it for this whole span of time and still does. Think of how much the industry has changed in 16 years and you’ll guess the rollercoaster that it has been for the label. Sergio still remembers when he was one of the first to upload free mp3 of our albums onto our website and everybody looked at him as if he was mad…
Label wise, what are your plans for the coming months? What releases can we expect from Aloud in 2018, early 2019 and beyond?
The label is doing fine these days. We suffer from the downfall of physical sales which there is honestly no way we can compensate with the digital distribution. Luckily the booking and management part of it is in good shape so we are excited about the future. This year we have released the great album “La Felpa” by DobleCapa – who brought them to festival like ArcTanGent or MadCool and we’ll release the new album by our new signing, “Pinpilinpussies”, a duo with lots of influence from the 90’s noise/garage/grunge and at the same time from contemporary artists like Courtney Barnett. In 2020 we’ll release the new albums by Jardín de la Croix and Viva Belgrado, bands who have sold hundreds and hundreds of albums and toured Europe and the World – and that brings loads of excitement too!
What inspired you to organize the first edition of the fest and what motivates you to do it annually?
The first edition of the festival was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Aloud Music in 2013. Then it turned into something more complex, a bigger team, bigger ideas and, of course, bigger risks. But it is an amazing feeling and that keeps us doing it every year despite of the lack of sponsors, public funds or any other external helps.
What do you think is the special thing that distinguishes this gathering from other summer events and other festivals in Barcelona? Apart from shows, are there some other events, workshops or other add-ons to the formula that can engage people?
There is no lineup like ours in Barcelona whatsoever. The artists you’ll find in our lineup are rare to be seen around here and some of them just come to play AMFest every X years. Looking at the recent tendencies in music industry and festivals booking, it isn’t rare to find an increasing interest in our festival from those who feel left out from the new wave of modern music, as we keep bringing back some old-school made-by-humans-hitting-strings-and-banging-drums-music – yet not being blind or deaf to what’s happening around us and trying to fit that into our core ideas. The venue, Fabra i Coats, is an old textile factory that delivers a special halo to the concerts and, last but not last, Barcelona in October is beautiful and not as frenetic as in other years. Oh, yeah, and our prices, both of tickets and food/drink are totally cheap! Put all that in a mixer, shake it, and what comes out is AMFest.
Looking back, were there some major fuck ups you remember about the festival and how you managed it?
I can’t forget in 2017 when the venue we used to hold AMFest at, Sala Apolo (which we deeply love), had undergone some major refurbishment and it wasn’t really finished for the opening day of that AMFest.
LITE and Sleepmakeswaves walked in to soundcheck in some sort of disbelief, seeing dust, paint, machines and all the stuff that made that look still a working site. You could see us on stage with mops and cleaning tools to make that look decent for the bands. Yet, we made it and it all went great!
How do your team work toward incorporating such diverse line-up?
I wish I could tell you that “we book what we want or like or have in mind”. The reality is that we have no economic power to get fly-in shows from outside Europe and we must fight with promoters way bigger and powerful than us. So we try to do things right, to have a structure of the festival clear in our minds before starting the booking, to book bands we like and saw live, to keep costs under control, and to basically fight for what we can. We have been lucky and capable enough to have good lineups every year so far!
What do you personally envision for the future of AMFest?
Well if you ask me 20 days out of the festival I just envision the sweat, efforts and sleepless nights that await the whole team behind the festival. We have already started to think about 2020 with some exciting ideas in our mind, yet we’ll need to survive to this edition and then think about the future.
Awesome! Thanks so much for your time and have a great 8th edition of AMFest! I visited Barcelona with my family back in late May and I really enjoyed it. Come and visit me in Warsaw, it’s not that beautiful, but I bet we’ll find some great spots to keep you interested haha! Cheers and many thanks for your work!
Thanks for your interest man, next year try to book your trip to Barcelona around mid-October and come enjoy the festival in person!