The fourth edition of Weird Place Fest is coming up next month in Melbourne, so we had a chat with Richard Cahill about all things Weird.
Who are Weird Place and what’s the idea behind it?
Weird Place originally started in late 2018 as a place to physically put out music from a band I used to play in called Noughts. RIP. We now put Monthly Residency shows on at The Retreat showcasing new bands from all over, we have Weird Place Fest 4 coming up at The Curtin over 2 nights on April 24th/25th and also manage Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice.
Why did you decide to set up the festival?
I had organised a lot of Noughts gigs, and this initially gave me the idea to pull together an all day gig with a line up of those bands. This eventuated into the 1st Weird Place Fest, which took place on December 15th 2018 with Horace Bones // Dicklord (NSW) // Mesa Cosa // Hideous Sun Demon // Vintage Crop // Spiral Perm // Meat // Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice // Noughts // The Creeks and the 50/50s from Japan who were a secret band as Pablo from Bone Soup was putting them on later that night. The first festival was really stressful as I was constantly feeling out of my depth, and to top it off the original venue closed down just weeks before the festival. However, this turned out to be for the best as we were able to shift to the Gasometer upstairs and ended up cramming 250 into the 150 cap room which gave it an amazing atmosphere.
The crowd and vibe was so good at the first festival that the day after I went straight into planning Weird Place Fest 2, this is where the idea came to branch out and try and get the some of the best up and coming bands around Australia on board. I had only been in Melbourne for a few years so my knowledge of bands outside of Melbourne was very limited. After hours of researching we ended up with a great line up at The Old Bar in May 2019 of Mini Skirt (NSW) // Los Tones (NSW) // Stiff Richards // Concrete Lawn (NSW) // Liquid Face (NSW) // Ute Root // Easy Browns // Electric Toothbrush // Mod Vigil // Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice // Noughts // Eternal Smoko. This one again had a great feel about it and remarkably had people waiting outside for tickets even though we had sold out beforehand. The 3rd Festival was when we got Jamesons Whisky involved as a sponsor so my memory of this festival is pretty hazy. It was a huge deal to me to do it at The Tote as it’s such a historic venue, it was the first place in Melbourne I watched live music and to sell the whole venue out was a huge surprise to say the 1st festival was only 8 months prior. I remember a huge set from Slag Queens who were our first ever band from Tasmania, Horace Bones and Vintage Crop which was so packed they stopped letting people up the stairs and Velvet Revolver who blew my ears off.
There are a bunch of other one-day festivals in the Melbourne region, does that make it difficult or is it all just friendly competition?
It definitely makes it stressful knowing that more than likely there will be other amazing gigs announced on the same day as your event. I remember nearly throwing up when I saw Amyl and the Sniffers and a Bench Press curated all day festival announced on the same day as the 1st Weird Place Fest but it’s something you have to deal with and embrace. Jerkfest, Maggot Fest, Gizz Fest, Boogie, West End Fest are all doing really great things and want to make you keep trying to improve.
There are a number of out-of-state and even international bands on the bill this year. What’s your strategy for booking bands?
I suppose that goes with the last question, there is so much live music on in Melbourne that sometimes the same bands can get recycled round and round so I’ve always tried to get bands from out of Melbourne when possible to give more of a reason for people to attend. Bands like Los Tones // Mini Skirt // Dicklord // Liquid Face // Arse // Concrete Lawn // 100 // City Rose // Stone Witches have been some of my fave performances and they are always really positive and happy to be playing which is nice! I have Zac from Oh Jean Records to thank for introducing me to Die Die Die who I saw for the first time in his shop and knew straight away we had to try get them on WPF4 and Julian Wu to thank for bringing Tsushimamire over who are going to be a festival highlight for sure.
Bands like Nice Biscuit, Lexicon and Aborted Tortoise haven’t released anything new for a while now. I think it’s great that they’re playing, but many festivals focus on buzz rather than the quality of the live performances. Why do you think that is?
It’s the old way of selling tickets, ain’t it? We’ve always tried to keep the venues quite modest so far, so that ‘intimate’ vibe thing is still there and that makes it special. I think people who are into this type of music know who the good bands are and appreciate it if you make an effort to bring bands over from all corners of Australia, without them needing the usual hype. This will be Aborted Tortoise’s first time in Melbourne and I think Nice Biscuit and Lexicon have only been here once before so it’s really cool and exciting they agreed to play as i know how much of an effort it is.
Name one US band and one European band you would’ve loved to see on the bill?
Mars Volta playing Deloused in the Comatorium, Patti and Warthog. I know they are Canadian, but I love Metz so I gotta include them also. Black Midi would be great to see from England.
Pictured at the top are Hexdebt who are one of the headliners along with Low Life from Sydney.