TLD Interview: Barry Hogan of “All Tomorrow’s Parties”
There are big happenings at Pier 36 on the East River this coming weekend. All Tomorrow’s Parties, the highly regarded indie music festival is coming to the Lower East Side Friday-Sunday. The festival, which began in Great Britain, is co-curated this year by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs and features Frank Ocean, the Roots, Phillip Glass and many more artists. Recently, we posed some questions to festival founder Barry Hogan about the decision he and his wife/partner (Deborah Kee Higgins) made to move an American version of the event from Asbury Park to the LES.
TLD: Why is All Tomorrow’s Parties coming to New York City, and how did you choose Pier 36, the new events space on the Lower East Side?
Barry Hogan: We had planned to move to NYC in 2013 and brought it forward as sales were too slow in Asbury plus we had various logistical issues that made it hard for us to deliver the event we really wanted to present. The venue was picked by Myles our US production manager as he did a new years eve party with Deadmau5.
TLD: Tell us about your plans for Pier 36, which is usually the home of Basketball City:
Barry Hogan: Yes its been open less than 12 months and we plan to use the front area outside the venue where the FDR is and that runs over the top of the second stage and we also have the back of the venue which has the most spectacular views of Brooklyn between the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.
TLD: All Tomorrow’s Parties is seen as a festival that steers away from the commercialism that permeates a lot of big music events. How hard has it been to maintain your independence?
Barry Hogan: Yes is been getting harder and harder. A lot of festivals are designed to make shit loads of money and they don’t care about the music as much. ATP is all about the music and we strive to make each event like an awesome mix tape for the stage. We now live in a changing world so we are looking at ways of creating extra income by partnering with companies. It’s not (as though) any artists can complain. Some of these bands wouldn’t think twice using their music on Calvin Klein adverts yet they object to us having a few sponsors. I think sponsorship should be used to make the event better for the fans and the bands so we are not opposed to it as long as it is done in the right way.
TLD: Can you tell us about your decision to invite Greg Dulli to curate?
Barry Hogan: We are big fans of The Afghan Whigs and my wife Deborah adores them and especially the record Gentlemen and we had been nudging Greg for years to come and play that LP. But when you see the shows now, they are better than when they were around the first time. They are tight and they totally bring it and it’s great to see them having a good time and blasting out all the classics plus have you heard their version of Love Crimes by Frank Ocean? It’s so great. Plus I think we always knew Greg must have an eclectic record collection from the records he has made, and acts he has toured with and the Whigs always reminded me of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds so we instinctively knew he’d be a perfect curator.
TLD: We understand Greg really wanted Frank Ocean to be part of the festival.
Barry Hogan: Yes it was Greg’s choice as i mentioned before he covered “Love Crimes” by Frank and is a huge fan and when ATP moved into NYC we had a opening for another band and we were in the right place and the right time when we approached Frank as he had just cancelled his euro tour opening for Coldplay and we were fortunate he was able to come and play ATP. He’s smart as he is selective about what he does and is more into quality over quantity so having him part of the event is a real coup.
TLD: There’s a huge lineup for the weekend. What are some of your personal highlights?
Barry Hogan: I am excited to see Thee Oh Sees, who are my favorite band at the moment. They are just incredible live and on record, but also stuff like Dirty Three who I think have made the best record I have heard this year and also great to see some old school ATP legends like Lightning Bolt and Make up and Autolux but new acts such as Blanck Mass and Demdike stare who make proper electronic music and not all the bullshit that is labelled electronic by assholes like Skrillex or Deadmau5.
TLD: There’s, of course, a rich live music legacy on the Lower East Side, but in recent years that’s faded a lot. Do you think ATP can help reinvigorate the scene here?
Barry Hogan: I hope so, so many great artists from Leonard Cohen to the Velvets wrote their best music whilst living the life in the Lower East Side, It’s a great area and I hope people dig this event and want us to return as the music of New York has been a huge influence on what we do at ATP.
The full lineup and ticket information for the ATP Festival, “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” is available here.