The Great Escape Festival

The Great Escape Festival
Band 'DIY or Die' Moments: Part 3 — At The Great Escape Festival, Europe's largest new music showcase, we're asking up and coming bands to share their 'DIY or Die' moments.

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, May 8-10, 2014, in Brighton — we’ve been asking bands: What was your biggest DIY or die moment? (Read parts 1 and 2.)

Hermitude, Sydney

Luke Dubs: We used to run our sets back in the day off DAT tape. We had a little digital audio tape player and it ran on this four pack of double-A batteries. We were in the middle of the set at this festival called Livid in Australia, it was probably the first big festival gig that we ever got and it was a really big deal for us. We were halfway through the set and the batteries just died.

We were in the middle of a tour and it was like, ‘ah fuck….!’ We shouted out, ‘yo, has anyone got any double-A batteries?’ Suddenly people just started throwing batteries on the stage. We were running round picking them all up, loaded up the DAT player, hit play, and it kind of came back and everyone was like ‘oooooooooooh!’ So that worked to our advantage I think. Some people were questioning us after the show, ‘did you guys do that deliberately?’ It was really cool.

Find more about Hermitude.

Tru Thoughts Records, Brighton

Robert Luis (aka Nirobi), DJ, founder of Tru Thoughts: Sometimes it’s just about ideas. Today we’ve got Hot 8 Brass Band, who are a New Orleans brass band, on the label. Just before their album The Life And Times Of… came out Banksy went to New Orleans and did some commentary on what had gone on with Katrina all over New Orleans.

I was discussing with the band and asked if they’d heard of Banksy and they said, “Yeah, yeah.” I said: “Why don’t we try to get in touch?” I knew Banksy’s management company’s email address. The band had good street cred and was connected with the community. Spike Lee’s documentary (When the Levees Broke) showed that. I said, “Let’s try.” I wrote a really polite email saying, “This is what this band is about and we’ve seen your artwork. Could we get permission to use that on the album?”

I’d read he was never going to do anything for record labels ever again — and we don’t have any money as well. I emailed. Didn’t hear anything back. I emailed again and didn’t hear anything. We reached the deadline for the album, we had to figure out the art. I tried one more time and said, “Let me know. We’ve got 48 hours and we’ve got to go for another idea.”

The next day, we got an email from Banksy saying, “I’m up for doing it as long as you source your own photos, you don’t put something on the cover and there’s a little story about what happened with some of the things.” It was that moment where if you don’t try, you can’t get.

Check out more True Thoughts artists.

Dizraeli, London

Rowan Sawday (aka Dizraeli): DIY or die? I dunno man… my willy came out on stage. I was wearing this old pair of paint-spattered trousers that I used to love. You know how boxer shorts get kind of old and a bit loose? And I was jumping around stage. Big moment.

I used to love the Doors movie by Oliver Stone, with Jim Morrison played by Val Kilmer. He was kind of my model on stage and there’s this scene where they go, ‘from Los Angeles, California… THE DOORS!’ And Val Kilmer’s singing with his back to the crowd for half of the first song, and Ray Manzarek turns to him and says ‘you can’t do that man, you’ve got to face the crowd!’ Right at the peak of ‘Break on Through’ or something like that, he bursts round and presents himself to the crowd and everyone goes apeshit.

This was in my early days as a performer; I wanted to do exactly that. Everyone was building up and I was there facing the back of the stage and the big moment came, I burst out, turned round, big jump, and landed on my feet and started rapping. And I realised my willy had popped out, so I had to DIY or die that one! I had to somehow do this funny contortion dance to try and conceal my penis and get my trousers back in working order, whilst at the same time rapping. That’s probably my most urgent DIY or die moment.

Get to know Dizraeli.

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