We interviewed Joe Bates, one of the producers of Filthy Lucre (Bussey Buildng, Peckham, Friday 11th July).
LondonJazz News: What is Filthy Lucre?
Joe Bates: We call ourselves an immersive, mixed-genre music night, but that’s a bit buzz-wordy. We bring together artists from a load of traditions – musicians, poets, jazzers, dancers, film makers and DJs – to explore particular themes with an orchestra. This one is called ‘Lost In The Nameless City’ – we’ve created a decaying urban world at the Bussey Building in Peckham.
LJN: So you’re seeing what you can do with audience expectations ?
JB: Most of us listen to music across genre lines, so the decision to mix it in performance came naturally from that. The immersive element was inspired by nights like Secret Cinema and Punchdrunk. The way they lead their audiences is one solution to the problem of audience expectations – when genre lines are destroyed, are you meant to act like you’re at the Wigmore Hall or dive bar? By providing dramatic cues to the audience, we try to overcome these anxieties. It also augments the works we present in a playful, engaging way.
LJN: So what’s happening on Friday?
JB: The programme is built around the UK premiere of Fausto Romitelli’s Lost, a surreal setting of Jim Morrison’s poetry. We’ve commissioned two young composers – Emma-Jean Thackray and Aaron Parker – to write for our orchestra. Emma’s also written works for electric guitar in collaboration with poets Luke Newman and Cecil B Demented. The guitarist is performing Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint with a new film by film-maker Paul Vernon. We’ve also got DJs Ilghazi and Napper and the house DJs from Turf responding to the theme. Check out the full set list below:
LJN: Is there any jazz?
JB: Yes! We’ve commissioned jazz composer, trumpeter and band leader Emma-Jean Thackray to write three works and to arrange Gil Scott-Heron’s Home Is Where The Hatred Is.
Emma-Jean Thackray says of her piece: “My piece is a lament for the diminishing Green Belt, particularly the small Yorkshire Village where I grew up, which is now a sprawling commuter town due to its easy access to Leeds, Manchester and York. Those who recently moved to the village were attracted to the quiet, open green spaces, small schools and caring community, all of which are now hard to find. Now, the local high school is nearing on 2000 pupils, the post office has been bumped out for a chain convenience-store, some ‘golden arches’ have found its way into a disused field and ‘Mesco Tetro’ has began buying up the pubs. A mile away is also one of the largest shopping centres in the north, complete with every high street store imaginable and a variety of restaurants, including the nation’s favourite Portuguese chicken.
The piece explores the pain of going back there to visit, with each train journey up the country being met with new houses eating the woodland, and every time, another piece of my childhood is gone.
Of the Gil Scott-Heron piece, I’m not quite sure what to say… I’ve tried to work with and expand the colours of a very haunting song through the orchestra and to build the tension felt by the audience by building and dropping it.”
LJN: Who else is involved?
Joe Bates: We’ve also got the phenomenal jazz guitarist, rising star Rob Luft. Back when he was just 16, LondonJazz News was describing him as ‘whiz guitarist’ – you can imagine where he’s gone since then.