Interview:
Latitude Festival 2007

All Under One Roof

The roof in this respect is the sky above, as the Latitude Festival returns to Suffolk’s sunshine coast. Now set to take its second year. This award winning festival is once again hosted in the breathtaking grounds of Henham Park Estate in Southwold where organisers Mean Fiddler are promising an even more spectacular event.

Latitude’s arrival last year re-wrote the rulebook on traditional festivals and provided a well-needed breath of fresh air. On one of the hottest weekends in history, Latitude shimmered and glittered in the sunshine, providing a relaxing weekend break in the countryside. Bursting with weird and wonderful sights and experiences, it embraced and showcased an eclectic array of art, entertainment and attractions for all generations. The concept of Latitude is for visitors to sample all the varied aspects of the arts world in one place; to be able to wander from books, to music, to film and theatre, to be able to discover new and exciting things whilst surrounded by beautiful countryside. It’s unrivalled in this country.
The brainchild of Mean Fiddler boss, Melvin Benn, Latitude’s huge success last year surpassed expectation and as Melvin explains:

…with Latitude I wanted to re-format festivals and break the mould which I successfully did and provided a fresh angle that the public responded to. Due to the success of last year, artists and performers are now approaching us to be involved. For example; Rob da Bank asked to DJ at this year’s festival which is such a great honour as, not only is he a great DJ, but he runs his own festival (Bestival) which I’m very fond of and respect, so it’s a great feeling to have that appreciation from him. Also the Chief Executive of BAFTA came last year and having seen the Music and Film Tent wanted to participate in some way this year, so we’re very pleased to announce their involvement. Having read comments on the message boards and forums from happy festival goers it’s clear that a lot of people found their festival home in Latitude which is fantastic and something really positive that we can keep building on year on year.

So with the concept in place and an event that looks once again able to inject a breath of fresh air into the evolving views of how a music festival should look, feel and sound, this year's Latitude festival is certain to be not just another on the years live music calendar.

Read on to see just how some of the artists billed feel about the part they will play in Suffolk's rising live music event...

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The Hold Steady - Tad (Lead Guitarist)

Appearing at the Obelisk Arena of this year's festival, The Hold Steady, bring their sound to Southwold and the Latitude festival. Their album, ‘Boys and Girls In America’ was lauded by public and press alike, with UNCUT describing this as “the first great album of 2007” and none of us who have heard the album would disagree. I have nothing left to say so while I take in the album, again, would urge you to take in their Q&A and dream of a long hot summer, with the best in music filling the sky’s.

Question: What aspect of Latitude Festival interests you the most and why?
Tad (HS): It's always fun to meet other bands. And you can drink all day. And then they'll pay us.

Question: What can people expect you to bring to the festival and do you have anything special planned?
Tad (HS): We're bringing a mountain lion. If we can get it through customs. Might be weird. Just don't look it straight in the eyes. It will eat you. 

Question: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
Tad (HS): Girls. Lots of girls. And drunk people making terrible decisions. Myself included. 

Question: If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
Tad (HS): Drinking and peeing on cars. 

Question: What is your favourite colour Sheep?
Tad (HS): I like them closely shaven...

With this rather bizarre conclusion to this Q&A and if you can’t make it to the festival to see them, at least check out the album, (what, you already have it? Well why not pollute this summer’s day with the it’s smooth sounds again and wake up the neighbours!)

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Wild Beasts

Leeds is taking its rightful place as a hot bed of talent in the music stakes and with Cumbria’s Wild Beasts having adopted this as their home, the trend looks set to continue. With the inclusion of the band for this years Latitude Festival, they will no doubt inject their brand of “Wishy-Washy Whim..” to the proceedings and pick up more than a few followers in the process.

If you can’t make it to the festival however, a little more about the group whose appearance at Leeds’ club 'the Faversham' saw their first single ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’ released on the club's Bad Sneakers Records label. The club night’s ability to see new talent when they heard it was paid-in-full when label Domino snapped up the group for further releases. So with a weight of work that’s only sure to continue, in the short term it’s Latitude that beacons, so here is a little insight;

Question: What aspect of Latitude Festival interests you the most and why?

(WB): Having never been to Latitude Festival before and for that matter having never played any festival before, we don’t really know what to expect…I suppose what we’re most interested in is how do we lug our amps and drums into the middle of a bloody field? And why? Because we don’t want to be stranded with them under the baking sun, surrounded by hippy revellers and having to thumb some dodgy truck driver for a lift.

Question: What can people expect you to bring to the festival and do you have anything special planned?
(WB): We’ll bring our BBQ and plan to have some speciality meats.

Question: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
(WB): Arcade Fire-their enormity is mind-boggling.

Question: If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
(WB): Our weeks come by like pass the parcel, the music stopped on July 15th so we’ll unravel with relish, otherwise we’d be passing that parcel waiting for the music to stop.

Question: What is your favourite colour Sheep?
(WB): Coming from the Lake District we know our sheep. Blue-faced Leicester must boast not only the finest colour of any sheep, but also the most dignified persona of any livestock in the farmyard today.

So if it weren’t music that took their fancy, could it have been agricultural college that may’ve beaconed? With this question hanging in the air, why not emerse yourself in the band’s idealogy and visit them online and if you can make it, why not take a dip at this years Latitude Festival.

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Herman Dune - David

It may be thought likely that Sweed’s Herman Dune will turn up to this years Latitude Festival behind the wheel of their country’s most famous automobile export. But it is more likely that this is just a flight of fancy.

A band who have been touring practically everywhere for what seems like eons, have this year brought their brand of delicately tinged indie-rock to the UK’s East coast. With a palette of influences that includes those of Neil Young, Bod Dylan, Sonic Youth, Pavement and the New York scene led by band’s such as The Moldy Peaches, will bring their sensitive guitars and a lo-fi savoir-faire to an audience that are sure to lap them up. But how do they feel about the prospect?

Question: What aspect of Latitude Festival interests you the most and why?
David (HD): Man, of course, playing my songs to a bunch of festival-freaks.

Question: What can people expect you to bring to the festival and do you have anything special planned?
David (HD): I'm bringing my songs, I'm planning on playing them, I hope the kids will like them.

Question: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
David (HD): Probably, I'd say Regina Spektor, the guitar player from The Strokes, and also Tony Allen, I've never seen Fela play, I'd just like to see his drummer play (he's the drummer for Damon Albarn)

Question: If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
David (HD): July, I'd probably be playing Basket Ball and be trying to finish up the songs for Herman Dune's next album

Question: What is your favourite colour Sheep?
David (HD): I love black Sheep, white sheep, I love sheep

If we were to encounter this kind of reply on a dark night, then perhaps the local constabulary might take this slightly differently. But sheep shagging aside Herman Dune will fix beards and play the festival on the 14th of July.

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Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey, star of the Simon Pegg comedies Spaced and Hot Fuzz, along with his own stand-ups, honoury Buzzcock and contender for Bill Oddie's crown as naturalist and friend of all little creatures, can be seen prior to his sell out UK tour at this years Latitude festival. He plays on the Comedy Stage, these were his thoughts prior to the festival;

Question: What aspect of Latitude Festival interests you the most and why?
Bill: The fact I'm staying in a caravan.

Question: What can people expect you to bring to the festival and do you have anything special planned?
Bill: I'll be bringing some Thai Basil and we're planning a couple of really nice hot curries.

Question: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
Bill: The Magic Numbers because I favour the bearded singer.

Question: If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?
Bill: Whittling.

Question: What is your favourite colour Sheep? 
Bill: Black

Well that’s short and to the point, so with Bill not afraid of meeting a sheep on a dark night, I’ll leave it there.

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Howling Bells - Juanita

A band said able to take us to a place far eerier than Twin Peaks. A place filled with beguiling melodies, as this four-piece reel and roll about our heads like desire and anticipation - incidentally the twin themes of their debut album.

For me the place is 1991, the album almost ‘Loveless’, the band maybe The Thowing Muses, when in fact neither of these are the case. A sumptuous outfit whose music lurches between blues-fuelled rock to country-folk lamentations, will appear at the festival on 15th July. Don’t miss them, while in the meantime you take in their thoughts on Latitude;

Question: What aspect of Latitude Festival interests you the most and why?
Juanita (HB): The thoughtful line up. Last year I saw Patti Smith and Lavender Diamond, I
loved the variety. The totally appreciative audience. It seems everyone is
there to consume art in any shape it comes, an open minded festival I think!
 
Question: What can people expect you to bring to the festival and do you have anything special planned?
Juanita (HB): Ummmm.... we try create a very intimate and Noir-ish experience. Our audiences are usually very quiet, so that kinda vibe!
 
Question: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
Juanita (HB): The Good,the Bad,the Queen. Andrew Bird, CSS, Arcade Fire, The Rapture
I guess they’re bands I’ve been curious about for a while, so it'll be groovy to see them in a festival atmosphere!
 
Question: If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?
Juanita (HB): I suppose as this is our last show of the tour, we'd probably be off somewhere having a ball.... but we'll probably do that at the festival anyways!
 
Question: What is your favourite colour Sheep?
Juanita (HB): I work for A.P.C.S, an organisation that works against people colouring Sheep. It's all very sensitive!!!

Why does it always come down to sheep? Is this facination a healthy one? Perhaps we should leave it on Juanita’s thoughts, a very healthy and sheepish one and not go about colouring them.

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Sonic Flyer - Yulia (Singer/lead guitar) and Rob (Bass)

It might be thought of as extreme justice to be sent to Siberia, but to get out? Well that’s just where brother-sister combo Yulia & Dima started out and began writing and touring together before moving to the UK in 2006. When here the two were joined in their new home of London by Chris and Rob who have funily enough all adopted the christian name “Sonic”, but not a boom in sight. Here are their thoughts on the forthcoming Latitude Festival, at which the group are due to appear;

Question: What aspect of Latitude Festival interests you the most and why?
Yulia/Rob (SF): We're naturally most excited about the line-up on the music stages, but it's the variety of stages and activities that's going to make it a great festival.  Not forgetting the sheep, of course.

Question: What can people expect you to bring to the festival and do you have anything special planned?

Yulia/Rob (SF): We're apparently playing at a time when no other band is on another stage, so people can expect us to bring noise in place of silence.   Don’t expect anything visual like fireworks, dancing or anything, we’re not about that. But we’ll definitely bring some great sounds that’ll blow your mind!
 
Question: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
Yulia/Rob (SF): We're very excited about seeing The National, and Arcade Fire are bound to put on an amazing show.  Also keep an eye out for the brilliant Cherry Ghost in the Uncut arena.
 
Question: If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?

Yulia/Rob (SF): We'd probably be locked away in our sweaty rehearsal room, making sure we were good enough to be invited to play next year.

Question: What is your favourite colour Sheep?

Yulia/Rob (SF): We have an inclusive approach to sheep and treat all equally, regardless of their colour.  That said, a bright green sheep would be quite something or what about painting a big Mod's bullet on a sheep's back?

A little dangerous, for the sheep I would imagine, but as long as the sheep are in agreement, why not? Sonic Flyer will appear at this years’ Latitude on the 15th July.

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Alabama 3 - Rob

A band who surely need no introduction and one who The Guardian said were "The best live band in the country", praise indeed. So with ‘Woke Up This Moring’ still riding high as the opening strains to HBO’s ‘Sopranos’, Alabama 3 will surely get the welcome they deserve.

A band who Atomicduster have already had the pleasure of questioning on two previous occasions (1 & 2) Alabama 3 are sure to be one of the hot tips for this year's Latitude, but with all the hottly tipped artists on offer at the festival, which one will you choose? Well to help you decide, here are their answers to the Latitude top 5;

Question: What aspect of Latitude festival interests you most and why?
Rob (A3): Whether there are communal showers in the VIP area, our pianoplayer has always dreamt of sharing a shower with Paul Simonon.

Question: What can people expect you to bring to the festival?
Rob (A3): A sober and focused critique of all things magical

Question: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
Rob (A3): I'm looking forward to seeing Paul Simonon in the mud, because he’s the nattiest dresser on the block and a bit of mud wouldn't hurt him

Question: If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?
Rob (A3): Explaining to my probation officer why I'm not doing it

Question: What is your favorite colour sheep?
Rob (A3): As an honorary Welshman, I believe the colour of wool is no baaaar to the joy of festival flock hunting.

Such a witty retort, at least he wasn’t offering to help a sheep over the stile (ahem) that really would set his probation officer on edge. Anyway we’ll have none of that thank you, Alabama 3 may be caught on the 15th of July at this years Latitude festival, part of an exhausive summer of work for the band.

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Annuals - Mike Robinson

Hailing from the quiet capitol of North Carolina, the Obelisk stage at this years’ Latitude festival will act as home for the Annuals on the 14th of July. The penultimate evening of the festival will see this band, the six peice of multi-talented musicians confound the crowd when they exchange instruments on stage, a trade mark of their performance it is said, both in the studio and on stage.

This “musical commune” will attract fans “who appreciate well-produced material and astounding artistry”, so with their debut album “Be He Me’ set for UK release to coincide with this years festival, if a signing tent is on hand, they’re sure to be inundated. Here are their thoughts on the Festival;

Question: What aspect of Latitude Festival interests you the most and why?
Mike (Annuals): The longitude!


Question: What can people expect you to bring to the festival and do you have anything special planned?
Mike (Annuals): We're going to be bringing 6 ridiculous, big, absolutely dumb faces!


Question: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival and why?
Mike (Annuals): Camera Obscura, we're all pretty big fans but none of us have seen them yet. Arcade Fire and Jarvis should be exciting too.


Question: If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?
Mike (Annuals): Something else involving gravity?!?!


Question: What is your favourite colour Sheep?
Mike (Annuals): Corduroy!

A word to the wise, get that album, put it in a water proof bag and be sure to pick up your ‘Sharpie’ before the festival kicks off. Oh and please mind those corduroy sheep, they’re the one’s who’ll be following Jarvis Cocker I would hazard a guess.

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