The Great Escape Festival

The Great Escape Festival

'DIY or Die' Moments from the Huck Stage — We asked the bands who played on Huck's stage at The Great Escape Festival to share their 'DIY or Die' moments.

Huck was incredibly privileged to host four awesome new bands on our stage at the The Great Escape Festival, Europe’s largest music new music showcase. French for Rabbits, Young Summer, Blessa and Oliver Wilde threw down amazing performances and packed out the Komedia on the final night of the festival. To get to know these bright new talents a little better, we asked them all for their biggest ‘DIY or Die’ moments.

Oliver Wilde, Bristol

Oliver Wilde: When I moved to Bristol, I was still recording in my bedroom. This scene was bubbling up and everybody was struggling to record music. I did an EP with a band in my bedroom and they were like a noise band. I thought, “OK. This isn’t going to work.”

So I decided to put away every penny. I was eating nothing, just rice. I live on my friend’s floor right now — I don’t have a house, I don’t have a car, I don’t have anything. All of my money, along with that of our drummer and a guitarist from another band, the Velcro Hooks, has gone to renting an industrial space and we’ve made a studio there. It’s a reaction against the mediocrity of studios where we’ve had to record before.

It’s basically a glorified living room. We’ve got old sofas everywhere and the walls are caving in. We’ve got mice and stuff and there’s a smell of damp and we’ve got the crappest equipment but we’re recording bands and making albums that I think are going to be huge and important if they get the right exposure. Bands like The Naturals, The Spectres and Something Anorak, who you will hear about. You will.

In Bristol, no one has any money so everyone has to do everything DIY. DIY culture is the only place where you can get pure expression. People who exist in DIY culture do it out of necessity.

Find out more about Oliver Wilde. See him live at the Wood Festival in Oxfordshire on May 17.

Young Summer, Washington, DC

Bobbie Allen, singer, songwriter: Everything I do is DIY. I tour manage myself, manage myself.

This tour was funny because I’ve never been to the UK. I booked everything beforehand. Mapped everything out and printed things so we’d know how to get from place to place. I booked all the rooms, all the lodgings. But I didn’t realise the first leg of the trip was all in pounds. So I was like, “What a deal, the Marriott for $425!” Then they rang it up in US dollars on check-out. Aaaaaugh.

It was a lot more than I thought. When you’re doing it all yourself there’s so much you’re going to overlook. So I have to be very forgiving of myself. That was a crazy oversight — it’s like double the money.

Check out Young Summer. See Bobbie live at London’s Servant Jazz Quarters on May 13.

French for Rabbits, New Zealand

Brooke Singer, vocalist/piano/guitar: We were playing this show in Berlin. It was our first house concert, we did this big DIY tour around Germany and Europe last year for two and a half months. The first show I realised I didn’t have a microphone stand. So there was this lamp that went up kind of over me, it was bent over with the lamp shade on top. I had to attach the microphone to that and I kind of felt like I had a rhinoceros horn on my head for the show, and it was just the funniest thing.

Get to know French for Rabbits. See them live at in London on May 19 at The Finsbury and at The Strongroom on May 21.

Blessa, Sheffield

Robert Piercy, guitarist: We tour on trains. We got the train here today from Sheffield to London, with all our gear. We had to take it on the tube, and then another train down to Brighton.

Jake Murray, bass: Don’t tour on trains.

Andy Piercy, drums: We can’t afford a car, basically.

Alex Burton, guitar: We did the artwork and released our EP ourselves as well.

Liv Neller: I drew it.

Jake: The EP we did on our own label and Liv did all the artwork.

Liv: Alex’s writing is on all the tracks on the liner…

Rob: … in his scrawl. It was like, who’s got the worst handwriting in the band, and Alex did it and it looks alright.

Keep an eye on Blessa. See them live at the Evolution Emerging Festival in Newcastle Upon Type on May 24 and at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on May 26.

For more pics from the Huck showcase, check out a gallery of photos on our Facebook page.