INTERVIEW: Northern Electric Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Pining for a weekend that offers something a little different? Craving the live experience, but can’t find anything that fulfils that hunger for exciting, new electronic music? Northern Electric have exactly the treat for you.

Born out of necessity, the multi-venue event taking place on Friday 2nd–Saturday 3rd September is the brainchild of Steven Chell who had noticed the distinct lack of representation for the genre. “When I was gigging in a band, we’d have gigs lined up every week and never ran into any problems finding an audience. When I transitioned into creating electronic music, I had nothing. I didn’t know where or how to gig and there weren’t the same opportunities, thus the festival was born.”

As a promoter with a decade in the industry, Chell was eager to keep his toes in the water and utilise his abilities to create a safe haven for like minded artists.

Often slipping under the radar, the northern electronic scene is thriving, as the festival ably demonstrates. Several years into its evolution, each event has seen an array of talents from new faces to respected stalwarts alike take to the stage and parade their art.

Acts like the hypnotic Potaito are new to the scene, whereas headliners Vigilance State have long cemented a reputation for high energy, explosive sets. Elsewhere on the bill, expect to find the abrasive and engaging debut of SpaceBros, elaborate and cerebral stylings of Danica Dares, cross-genre duo Badger, ambient three piece Worry Party, the irreverent and melodic sounds of Amateur Trepanning, Newcastle electronic duo NOVYI LEF, the darkwave electronica of Holy Braille and producer and electronic artist M Data among many others.

there’s an ingrained gearhead enthusiasm, dissecting and discussing the technical aspects of each sound

It’s definitely a celebration of grassroots artists. Celebrating local people, be it a kid in his room with a computer or someone more experienced. It’s about giving people a platform, but really it’s about who you meet along the  journey.” Chell’s fervent and tenacious determination for building up a sense of community is clearly the steering motive behind the process, steadfast in his goal to cultivate something pure and purposeful. 

At it’s heart, it’s building up a network. It’s giving people a place to communicate, find opportunities, make friends and feel seen. All punters are welcome and anyone passionate about music will enjoy it, but there’s something special about electronic fans; there’s an ingrained gearhead enthusiasm, dissecting and discussing the technical aspects of each sound. Northern Electric Festival helps start that conversation.” 

The festival will feature artists across two venues, The Cumberland Arms and Little Buildings, climaxing in a late night of techno and rave in Little Buildings. The festival has made a deliberate promise to itself this year to explore the full wingspan of the genre. “Exploring is all about flavour. That’s what we’re trying to give people. New flavours and new colours. It’s the unknown, it’s the anticipation of knowing any act could provide your next eureka moment.”

With new artists emerging every year, Chell is constantly urging new artists to find their path and raise their voice, in whatever way they feel, nurturing a myriad of paths for new creatives. 

Northern Electric Festival takes place at The Cumberland Arms and Little Buildings in Newcastle on Friday 2nd-Saturday 3rd September.

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