Mysterious purveyors of twisted disco and brooding electronic set pieces, Deep Hedonia have shape shifted into our consciousness this year with a blinding series of events – and some of the city’s most intelligent, intriguing and blood pumping nights out since Ringo played on the roof.
Not for them the kiss me quick of circuit bands and one night stands, Deep Hedonia are as much a state of mind, an ongoing intervention in sound, than a pick’n’mix and a quick fumble with an NME one-to-watch. They’re here to light up the afterdark, show us the way, and make our synapses tingle with anticipation.
We caught up with a full one-third of the collective, Jon Davies, ahead of another seismic weekend.
How’s it been so far?
It’s been very promising, although we know we still have a long way to go. The shows we’ve put on have definitely intrigued a number of people around the city, particularly those who are engaged in new exciting music, at the same time we’re still trying to reach a bigger crowd who go to gigs but perhaps are looking for something more challenging
Have you been surprised at the response?
We’ve been mostly chuffed by the response we’ve been getting from people who are in the arts world, and we’ve received lots of kind support from you guys, The Double Negative, The Royal Standard and Mercy, who we all respect highly. I think the most gratifying moments have been people speaking to us personally about how good our bookings have been. In particular was the (scuzzy house maverick) Ital show where we had a pretty low turnout but then we all ended up chilling together at Slim’s and making new friends.
Seems the motto in Liverpool is, if you want something to happen, do it yourself, yeah?
Absolutely. Risks have to be taken by everyone involved in the Liverpool music scene, especially when at times the range of music being presented here can be limited. We still have a number of things we hope to be involved with in the future and the city is a perfect spot to have a go at anything you want.
What have you learned along the way?
I think we’re still learning about the nature of the scene, despite two-thirds of us having lived here for around five years. When me and Sam (Twidale, who together with Thom Isom complete the crucial three) moved here we were taken aback with the amount of gigs that happened here, the ability to pop down to Korova and see some massive acts play in a dank basement, shows from Abe Vigoda, Crystal Castles, Dirty Projectors, Born Ruffians to name a few.
A lot has changed since then, I think there are fewer opportunities to go to see those kinds of artists, we tend to be inundated with half-baked indie rock and folk at the moment. We want to bring it back to then, seeing your potential new favourite artist for less than a tenner, or at least see something you wouldn’t plump for normally.
Is Liverpool a good city to act out your dreams in these days?
Right now I think Liverpool is as good of a city than any other – there’s a definite buzz around with new organisations and spaces popping up almost every week. Developments like Baltic Triangle bring an exciting wave of new opportunities for promoters and agencies, whereas pop up spaces like Kazimier Garden bring a nice alternative for summer.
As for Deep Hedonia, we realised there was a definite gap in Liverpool – other organisations in neighbouring cities pull off some interesting things, Now Wave, AND and Future Everything to name but a few. We want to bring in exciting new acts, artists, ideas and trends to this city, that’s our dream, time will tell if we’re doing it right.
What have been the major stumbling blocks?
We most certainly are looking for bigger crowds, more people knowing about us, and coming down to the shows. We’ve definitely not helped ourselves by bringing in artists who aren’t in the spotlight and are more of a listening workout, but that was the point of these shows. We knew it was going to be difficult, and we’re still ironing some things out – we’ve realised people aren’t as up to late shows as much as we are – but having had our first show in June, we’re still trying to cultivate a good reputation.
What’s next for you?
This weekend is Park at Camp and Furnace, and we’ve managed to bring in some awesome acts for this. The first weekender includes Holy Other (who has already played at the Kazimier supporting Little Dragon) Vessel and one of our favourites, Fort Romeau, who produced some of the smoothest house cuts this year.
The next day we’ve put together a number of acts from Liverpool to perform during the daytime whilst you can hang out in the hot tub, play kubb or wiff waff or take part in an excellent print workshop, then later in the night we’ll be hosting patten and Jam City, who has released one of the records of the year ‘Classical Curves’.
Then in October we’ve helped Mercy programme Fatima Al-Qadiri for their Electronic Voice Phenomena weekend. We’re massive fans of Al-Qadiri, one of the most genuinely interesting artists at the moment, both with her music production and her involvement in the arts (check out her blog Global.wav, uncovering weird and wonderful pop music from around the world.) She’ll be doing a special DJ set with ‘investigative vocals’, we’ve got no idea what that means but it’s quite the coup for Liverpool to see her perform here.
We’ll also be launching our first creative project at the Park weekender, called Acrobat, and we hope to be starting new projects down the line, such as A/V compositions, one-off performances, installations, all that kind of stuff to exercise our creativity a bit more.
What’s inspiring you here right now?
Despite their relative low profile in the city, The Royal Standard are true trailblazers for Liverpool. They’re situated in an industrial estate, so they tend to get much less footfall than other independent galleries, but them alongside Wolstenholme Creative Space have been consistently been putting on the best exhibitions and arts events. We see these two more kindred spirits than our fellow promoters truth be told.
We’ve got some really strong acts from the city right now. Bands like Outfit, Ex-Easter Island Head and Stealing Sheep deserve all the praise they get, John Heckle, Kasst and Evian Christ head up some pretty slick underground sounds. Forest Swords is one of the most inspiring acts to have come from Merseyside in years, and is a very sweet person.
Describe yourselves in seven words
Nice dudes bringing exciting things to Liverpool
Trust us, Deep Hedonia are staying. They are, unquestionably, the bravest and most pulse-quickening new promotors this city’s seen in a while. And in an age where taking chances is considered pathologically self-destructive, it’s good to know that some people in the city are investing in the long game.
Camp and Furnace
Saturday 25 August