Interview with Felix Petty, member of the art collective Off Modern, London, January 2010.
Off Modern are a collective of artists, writers, promoters and curators based in South East London, who put on monthly nights at venues across the city, publish a quarterly arts magazine, and collaborate on projects with other like minded individuals, artists, writers and musicians. Their aim is to promote contemporary art, literature and music at a grass roots level. Conversation with Jennifer Byrne, London, january 2010.
Today i spoke to one of the five members Felix Petty, about future plans and sunshine dreams.
— Which five emerging bands or artists do you have high hopes for in 2010 ?
I’ve been steadily ignoring more and more new music for the past two years. BUT good bands I like at the moment include Fiction, who I think, will probably get ‘massive’ by the end of the year, they’ve got enough potential certainly.
Who else ? I saw Kong play in Brixton the other week, mixing Fugazi / Shellac in tiny red shorts and doing it well, with added fun, which you wouldn’t except for a group who quite clearly worship Steve Albini.
We’ve got Django Django playing at the next Off Modern in March, they are great, continuing that long line of excellent Scottish indie bands, equal parts Josef K / Orange Juice / Beta Band.
Thee Vicars are also really impressing me at the moment, I just got my hands on their debut album, Back On The Streets, its nothing new, but its fun and really good at what it does, there are all these bands doing this lo-fi / garage punk thing at the moment, and despite all scenes getting kinda boring, there are generally a few bands who are actually genuinely good, Thee Vicars do it by generally accepting it’s been done already and dressing up like the Beatles in Hamburg, the other band I’d recommend would be Fair Ohs, again, lo-fi / garage punk, but with sweetness and Paul Simon chucked in.
To know more about Fiction and download a free song : www.offmodern.com)
— How long has Off Modern been going for ? You have already established a strong identity, and eager audience, how important is aesthetic to you ?
In 2007, Yuri and I ran a night at a shitty little pub in New Cross, that mixed art and music, and we made a few zines to go with it, all under the name 'Conveyor'. It was in October of 2008, myself, Yuri Pattinson, Johnny Pinchard, Tom Harrad and Josh Millns decided to start up a night that would take, pretty much the same premise, but do it on a more palatable scale, actually make something happen, Josh left soon after and Will started to help out. Back then, there was literally nothing going on in South London, if you wanted to do something fun or engaging you’d have to head out of the area, and have a two hour trek home too. We really just managed to fill a gap. From the beginnings, we totally just hooked into the idea of creating a solid aesthetic / ideological base for the night, and every little change / alteration we’ve made over the last year and a half has evolved along those principles.
— Have you been to Paris before ? Do you think O//M nights could go off over there ?
I’ve never been, but we are talking to some people at the moment, so hopefully something’ll happen, I’d love for us to do shows in different cities in Europe.
— There are five boys in your collective : do you always agree, or is there a lot of compromise ?
Quite simply, no, there generally are aspects of compromise, but on a lot of the things that the nights actually comprise, like line-ups artists, we seem to have little discussion, in the actual running of things and the little details and set ups that most discussions go into.
— Do you all live together ?
I lived with Yuri for a year, and we were in student halls at Goldsmiths together (me, will and yuri) I think that’s enough time to live with the people you work with before you all want to kill each other.
— If you could live at any time and place in history...where would that be ?
Anywhere sunny, right now.
— When you are looking for venues, where do you start? i.e Mayfair squat. What venue in London would you most like to have a party in ?
Corsica Studios - because we’d been there quite often, and its a very interesting space to work with, the people who run it are really nice and helpful too, for other venues, like the squat party, the space became available because of people we knew and we sort of just went for it and it snowballed into a huge party.
— What are your future plans ?
We are currently planning for the summer, we’ve got a few exhibitions in the pipeline, we have the first issue of our journal coming out in March, in association with the Tate and ICA, and following that more publishing projects hopefully.