INTERVIEW: Industrial Coast | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Steve Kirby

I sometimes like to write a spurious preamble to an article to set the scene, and tease how the article might pan out. Some genres of music are more difficult to precis than others. Experimental noise tends to be much more malleable, easier to keyword and storyboard but ultimately less well read because the audience is exponentially smaller. They don’t call it the No Audience Underground for nothing. It’s a paradox I’ve struggled to reconcile over the years.

But Industrial Coast somehow manage to do things differently without forcing it down our throats while also making it impossible to second guess their next move. Which is why it was something of a surprise when a one-off live show to promote the North Yorkshire-based cassette label’s recent cover art show, Non Stop Ecstatic Eston, at Eston Arts Centre, was followed by three events at Middlesbrough’s Auxiliary. The third (so far) being noise artist Container on Monday 7th November.

Plenty of people have already tried to put on experimental noise shows on Teesside over the years but struggled to find acts and audiences, so I asked Industrial Coast brains Steve Kirby how he does it. “I’ve been operating the tape label and distro for four years and built up some strong working relationships. Secret Boyfriend asked for help getting a couple of UK shows so I ended up getting him to play the Eston show. As for audiences, it’s a step-by-step process. I hope to see people put faith in the curation based on the quality of artists we are putting on so that, in time, numbers will increase.

I hope to see people put faith in the curation based on the quality of artists we are putting on

It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t had the time while running the label as a hobby. Having left work this summer to go full time that situation has changed. I’m tired of having to do two-day jaunts to London to catch artists I want to see and I’m also very aware of the great stuff happening in Middlesbrough right now and I want to be part of that as well.” Container is Ren Schofield who cut his teeth in the Rhode Island noise scene, so I wondered how the show came about. “Ren had support slots in Leeds and Glasgow either side of 7th November, so I asked if I could put him on, specifically in Middlesbrough.” Apparently sometimes you’ve just got to ask.

With the label now more of a full-time endeavour I expected Industrial Coast to have plenty already diarised for 2023, but it seems the label’s evolution may be more organic, at least for now. “We will continue with our cassette releases and will be looking to increase the distro side of things. I’m also aiming to run a programme of shows with the Auxiliary but other venues also. The plan is to include workshops and artist talks too. I have expressions of interest from a host of great artists so we are now working on budgets to see how far we can take it, but the programme will definitely happen in some form or other.”

Finally, and most interestingly for a cassette label, Steve told me: “We will be running our first vinyl presses. The intention is to run an eight album white series. White vinyl, white label, white disco sleeve…”

Industrial Coast present Container at Auxiliary, Middlesbrough on Monday 7th November.

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