We caught up with the folks behind Contort, a Berlin based free daytime event who are hosting a showcase at this years Atonal festival, for a chat taking in their ethos, visual arts and the forthcoming showcase…
Hello. For the R$N massive whove never been to or heard about Contort , please tell us who you are and what youre about…
Contort is a no money spent no money made Berlin based event which usually takes place on aSunday day time. Focusing on the more experimental side of electronic music, we invite international and local artists to show a different side to their art, and give total creative freedom to explore different avenues, something they dont usually get to do at 3am on a Saturdaymorning. Not all artists make just one specific style of music, and we are just providing a platform in the right context and with the right people for them to showcase this.
Youre putting on a showcase at this years Atonal Berlin – who are you taking down and is this the first time youve taken Contort into a wider event?
This is the first time we have taken Contort out of its usual surroundings, and its definitely something were hoping to do more often. Its great showcasing our vision in a different environment.
Sundays Atonal sees some familiar artists playing Samuel Kerridge, Zan Lyons, Positive Centre & Lower Order Ethics all of which have played Contort at least once before, then there are the newcomers to Contort, Russell Haswell Ancient Methods, Rashad Becker, Grischa Lichtenberger & Violetshaped, though Shapednoise played our last party. Each act has prepared a special performance for this show.We have also invited some visual artists to come and do art installations to give the event a different dynamic. This is something we have been working into contort nights and will see a lot more of at future events.
You usually put on the parties at an old mill, how did you find the venue and is it a fixed home or is the plan to move Contort around?
Weve always held Contort at Mindpirates in kreuzberg. The venue itself is pretty incredible, lots of nooks and crannies to explore and beautiful dcor, but besides the aesthetics we were also attracted to Mindpirates open approach to art and music. Once we told them about our project we got their full backing. They have always believed in Contort, and the event has grown well beyond our expectations, but due to its growth Contort may have to relocate to a bigger venue soon, though we wouldnt want to completely lose our place with Mindpirates but its good to keep things fresh and change can be good.
The majority of your lineup at Atonal will be playing live, and we notice that for most of your parties you tend to err towards a heavy live element. What is the philosophy behind this?
This goes back to the freedom we give our artists. Playing live just opens up so many different options. Generally speaking on most events its half live and half DJ. I think live shows are a lot more attractive for audiences, although a well crafted DJ set can be just as interesting. It just so happens that this Contort everyone bar one decided to do a special live performance.
We hear youre taking some visual artists with you to Atonal, how important a part of your events would you say the visual element is?
Very important. Especially with music that isnt made for the dance floor. When done correctly it can reinforce the music, and create an incredible impact, Zan Lyons is a fine example of that, his A/V performances are breath taking.
Through Mindpirates and Contort shows we met Jolene Borelli. She provided us with visuals for Contort #5. Jolene has curated 6 hours of visual art for the Atonal showcase, All filmed and curated herself. And as mentioned previously we also have artists working on their own pieces, each of them has picked an area of Kraftwerk and has erected their own sculptures/artwork.
You usually put on your events for free and the artists tend to play for free. Do you find that , once the money aspect is taken out, there is a different, better vibe?
Exactly. As the focus is 100% is on the music not the fee or the need to please. They get free beer, but they arent doing the gig to pay rent just solely for their passion for music. The crowd appreciates this too, and people donate money at the bar, which obviously gets dived between the artists at the end.
Will you continue to do this in the future, or will you eventually start to charge/pay the artists?
Future events there will be a fee. Only small, 2euros. But it ensures the people who attend are there specifically for the event, and again well split what we make between the guys at the end.
It will still never be a money making event, its purpose is to encourage creativity.
We hear Sam is playing at Plastic People next week, as part of their new Thursday night series?
Ive heard nothing but good things about Plastic People, Im really looking forward to this show. Its my first LIVE performance in the UK, and I will be testing out a lot of new material too.
Any plans to bring Contort to London in the future?
Definitely, we will hopefully start working on a show later this year. Were taking our time choosing a venue, pretty important. Then who knows, Paris, NY 😉
Finally, please tell us your dream lineup for a fantasy Contort…..
Similar to previous Contorts actually, an all friend lineup, best vibes!
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