|2Henning at Match&Fuse 2015 – Valeria Zangger and Rahel Kraft
Photo courtesy of Match and Fuse
Alternative musicians, underground artists and European collaboration are all celebrated later this month when Match &Fuse returns to London for its 2016 festival (28/29 October). The musicians have a strong sense of the festival’s mission. In Chris Sharkey’s words : “At a time where the world can often appear more fractured, divisive and regressive, Match&Fuse proves that where there is culture and music there is abundant joy and hope.” And Isabel Sörling says: “Match&Fuse are like the parents for the future of a creative music scene.”
Dave Morecroft, who started Match&Fuse in 2011, spoke to Peter Bacon:
LondonJazz News: Match&Fuse champions the work of “alternative musicians” and “underground artists”. How important is it for you to avoid the jazz word?
Dave Morecroft: For me, avoiding the jazz word is not dictated by my personal tastes exactly, nor any reflection on which artists we work with, but more to avoid falling into the media/genre labelling traps set for festivals when it comes to how widespread your coverage can be, or which audience it is deemed appropriate for. The word ‘jazz’ seems to automatically act as a ceiling in mainstream media, so we do use it often in an adjectival sense, but usually I like to avoid genre titles altogether if possible. ‘Alternative’ and ‘underground’ are two words that for me describe an approach of an artist rather than their genre or description.
LJN: Matching and fusing not only bands and musicians but also countries across Europe is at the heart of your work. How will Brexit affect it?
DM: The message of Match&Fuse has always been one of open-mindedness, collaboration and the importance of transmission of culture across borders – that will continue no matter what the state of relations… not only by M and F but hundreds of cultural actors across the country. In real terms, it will be most interesting to see how other people’s perspective of the UK changes.
LJN: Can the Match&Fuse promotional model be a template for jazz’s survival? What do you see as the major challenges facing UK jazz music?
DM: DM: I think the two main challenges are obvious: the lack of money in the sector and an ageing audience/misrepresentation of jazz in the media. Tough conditions over the last 10 to 15 years have also led to an incredibly disparate scene – through my work with the Jazz Promoters Network and other projects we’re trying to rectify this. I would say that our openness to collaboration has always been our strength, and perhaps this model can be useful for other initiatives in the future – one of Match&Fuse’s greatest strengths across Europe is its partnerships and the engagement in reciprocal projects.
LJN: How have the events/festivals you have promoted since 2012 developed? What’s new for Match&Fuse London 2016?
DM: DM: Well, they’ve got bigger! In a sort of snowballing, rapid descent of a hill way! Since 2012 we’ve engaged new partnerships, added new events and have a greater emphasis on collaborations commissioned for the festival between UK musicians and artists from other European countries. These partnerships involve more school workshops, a seminar at SOAS, a launch party at our accommodation partner Green Rooms, live streaming of the festival through Screensaverlive.tv and this year we will be working with designers Liam Bunster and Tom Malyon, who will be aiming to transform one of the gig spaces into more of an installation-style experience, with fixtures, lighting and effects giving a more immersive feel to the gig. Furthermore, our festival wristband model gives a great exploratory feel to the festival, allowing people to ‘write their own story’, moving and choosing between gigs they want to see – this will occur on both nights of the festival for the first time.
LJN: What are you most looking forward to hearing at Match&Fuse London 2016?
DM: I look forward greatly to all of the collaborations of course, so Chris Sharkey + Julie Kjaer, Susana Santos Silva + Evan Parker and Julie Campiche + Pete Marsh and Paul May this year should all be surprising treats. For me, its also really special to bring artists to London for the first time, so look out for Sheep Got Waxed (Lithuania), Krokofant (Norway) and Soil Collectors (Sweden).
* Match&Fuse London 2016 will be at three venues: New River Studios, Cafe Oto and the Oto Project Space, and Vortex and Vortex Downstairs. It will feature 23 acts from 14 different countries. It happens on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October.
* During the preceding week Match&Fuse’s travelling mini-festival goes to Newcastle (Tuesday 25 Oct), Birmingham (Wednesday 26) and Bristol (Thursday 27).