Sounds From The Other City

April 21, 2017

9 DAYS TO GO: Interview with Grey Lantern

With 9 days to go to the festival, we’ve had a chat with Simon Catling – the man, the myth, the SFTOC legend. Having been at the festival as a punter and volunteered, Simon has ran his own stage for the past few years, absolutely smashing it each and every time. This year, his line-up includes Flamingods, Vanishing Twin, Snapped Ankles, Virginia Wing, Farhood Melting. We spoke about his Sounds highlights over the years, his favourite tracks, and laying in bed.

Final tickets for SFTOC are available via now. Physical tickets also available now at Common, Islington Mill, Kings Arms, Font Chorlton and the Old Pint Pot (all bkg fee free) as well as at Piccadilly Records.

Hi Simon – how are you? What were you doing just before we made you answer these questions?

Hello Matthew. I am fairly well thanks and was enjoying a morning lying in bed listening to Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and marvelling at the fact my girlfriend will have been in work for nearly 2 hours by this point. Life is great.

Right, so you’ve been involved in Sounds for more years than we can remember now – what has been your highlight?

That is incredibly hard to pick. As Grey Lantern I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with some of my favourite promoters, publications and labels at Sounds – if pushed I’d say getting to put on a Faux Discx label line-up with Faux head honcho Dan Reeves at the Angel in 2015 was probably my favourite year though. Faux have long released music by some of my favourite bands in the UK, and the quality of the line-up that day was testament not only to the label itself but also Dan’s incredible powers of persuasion in getting a bunch of bands to come up north for a one-off show on a very tight budget.

However, my favourite all-time Sounds memory is witnessing the might of Chrome Hoof in 2010. At the time they were completely unknown to me and I stumbled upon their set purely by chance – an hour of choreography, glitter and weirdo proggy punk later I was blown away – and that’s totally what Sounds is about, stumbling upon something completely unknown and it totally changing you, if even just for that half hour/hour you’re watching something.

If we’re not mistaken, this is the first year you’ve curated a stage all by yourself, isn’t it? What kind of vibe would you describe it as having?

It is! Don’t get me wrong collaboration is a wonderful thing but sometimes you just have a line-up in mind from the off and it’s best just to get it down and sorted. As for the vibe…I’d say it gradually gets more rambunctious as the day wears on but I think always with an eye on the innovative and thoughtful. Also Flamingods right at the end should be an absolutely massive party.

It is like choosing between your own children, but if you had to pick one song by one band on your stage to force everyone to listen to, what would it be?

I am absolutely not doing that. But here’s a track by each artist that is a personal favourite

Flamingods – Mountain Man
Vanishing Twin – The Conservation of energy
Snapped Ankles – I Want My Minutes Back
Virginia Wing – Grapefruit
Farhood – Milad
Melting – Change

You’re in Regent Trading Estate 2 – Caustic Coastal’s gaff. Did you get a chance to see it last year? Are you excited to take the space?

Sadly I didn’t get a chance to leave my stage last year but having had a gander around the place earlier in the year I’m really excited to be there and very grateful to Caustic Coastal for having me – being next to Islington Mill, it feels like the hub of the festival so I’m looking forward to the energy that that should bring. Caustic Coastal also have some things up their sleeve design wise so it’s going to look a lot different to last year!

Lastly – difficult one, but what else on the Sounds line-up (away from your stage, sorry), would you recommend people go watch?

Giant fucking Swan all day every day.

Thanks Simon!

Grey Lantern’s stage is being held at Unit 2, Regent Trading Estate – Caustic Coastal’s home.