Bands know better than most those moments when you’ve got to put together what you have to keep the show on the road. It could be trying to turn a dime into a dollar to record a demo or trying to fix an equipment meltdown mid-show. At The Great Escape festival — Europe’s biggest music showcase festival, which concludes today, Saturday May 10 in Brighton — we’ve been asking bands: What was your biggest DIY or die moment?
Courtney Barnett, Melbourne
Courtney Barnet, singer, songwriter, founder Milk! Records: I did a tour years ago and it was just me, before I recorded any of this stuff. It was just me and a drummer and we drove up the east coast of Australia. I booked all the shows and they were in pretty terrible places like cafes and sports bars.
I think we lost a bunch of our gear and I lost my capo. I had to get a rubber band and a pen to make a capo. It was like the worst gig in the world anyway because there was wrestling on the TV behind our heads as we were playing. I was thinking, “This sucks.” But I’d organised everything myself.
Making the first EP was pretty DIY. I recorded track by track every instrument in my room and did all the artwork for the CD. So with that I did do everything myself.
Check out Courtney Barnett on tour and watch for our upcoming Huck film profile.
Angel at my Table, Luxembourg
Robin Teuwens, guitarist: One of our biggest DIY moments was when we were shooting a video clip. In high productions they have sliders, instead we had three people carrying a wooden board with a camera on top running from one side to the other.
So midway through every take, we would all crack up. It was just too funny. These three little guys running across the set with this board. It was like they kept trying to steal the camera!
Learn more about Angel at my Table.
John Hassell, singer, synth and guitar: When we did our show in Europe, in Birmingham —
George Nicholas, synth and melodica: Don’t tell that story! (Laughs.)
John: Long story short: We lost our synthesizer on the way there. The band that was supposed to supply the drums didn’t come. Our booker pulled out last minute. Everything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong.
It was a matter of moments before we were going to go onstage trying to figure out how we were going to play on different synthesizers than we were used to. Then we went on stage and there was maybe two or three people there.
It was an important introduction to touring overseas. Especially at that time no one really knew who we were. It was the first time we’d been to Birmingham together. It resulted in us learning to not focus on what’s going wrong. Just focus on making things go right.
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Huck is hosting its first ever showcase at The Great Escape, tonight Saturday, May 10, 2014 at Komedia Studio Bar. Come join us.