RADICAL MUSIC WEEK
by Charlotte Hampshaw
We are using this time to reflect on some of our favourite events, moments and highlights. The Fish Factory strives to join creativity and the community through performance, events and art, especially within the music scene.
One of the most successful and wonderfully bizarre events we’ve had the pleasure of hosting is RADICAL MUSIC WEEK. Each summer the RMW Festival would welcome a multiplicity of experimental artists, musicians, poets and sound designers to perform every night at the Fish Factory in a celebration of expressive human sound.
I was fortunate enough to chat to Fish studio artist and RMW organiser Amy Lawrence about the incredible festival.
interview with Amy Lawrence/THE WORM
C: So! How did Radical Music Week begin?
A: The Radical Music Evening first happened in a small gallery in my friend's front room in Nunhead in South London. A group of us decided we'd like to share some music or poetry we'd been working on and arranged the night and the little room was packed full of people. It was really relaxed and fun and afterwards everyone stayed up and danced.
C: It’s great you could all inspire each other like that. Your close relationship with everyone and the intimate setting must have been so comfortable but dynamic! What brought it to Cornwall?
A: I did the second one at the Fish Factory soon after we moved into the sail loft on commercial road. The line-up that night was The Worm (myself playing the cello), Hannah Levene (a poet), Sam Sweeney (a singer and guitarist), Nathan Conway (a fiddle player) and the band Hockeysmith.
C: What I really like about RMW is that you never know what’s going to happen next as there’s such a mix of talent! The evenings feel so expressive with different voices, lyrics, classical instruments and computer/machine noise. I bet they were popular in London as well?
A: These evenings were super popular! I held them alternately in London and Cornwall and often had guests down to perform from London so it felt like a good cross pollination of creative ideas. Also there would always be a raffle which the artists and musicians would all contribute a prize to, it was very sweet!
Then Rose and I decided to do a week of it (it was actually 8 days I think) with events on every night and some days at the Fish Factory.
C: It’s so great people from everywhere are involved! It feels surreal and timeless, like the Fish Factory is a time machine, except we’re not visiting any places, we stay still and all the different sounds from past and future have climbed in! It feels very inclusive. Do you have a specific way of describing this genre of music? Like experimental?
A: There is no defining genre in the festival other than a degree of open-mindedness required from everyone involved. We have had medieval recorder music, hand-crafted analogue techno, giant pieces of scrap metal played like gongs, choirs and even a one-man-band. I am certainly drawn to experimental music but I think a wide range of schools of thought put in one room for an evening works really well.
C: I really love that open-ness, as it means the festival is versatile, incorporating everything new. And it’s all really affordable and accessible too. For families or people who may not be free in the evening, do you organise anything in the day?
A: Yes! There are also usually several workshops which are either free or a maximum of £5, last year we had a sound-making workshop with co;noise, a singing workshop and an experimental improvisation workshop, all of which were really good! Did you have any particular favourite event when you came?
C: My most distinct memory of RMW? I was working at the bar and it was the night with Paddy Steer, he had a huge robot head with flashing lights and was surrounded by synth towers, computers and wires. It was almost as if he was a one-man-techno marching band and the bass was so loud that all the glasses on the shelves were rattling. Then a box of marshmallows wobbled off the shelf and I found myself surrounded by mallows watching a giant robot play electronic music! When will RMW return?
A: Although I am very sad that there won't be a Radical Music Week this summer, when the Fish Factory re-opens fully the festival will be back in a slightly different form, broadening to include dance, readings and talks, performance art and of course some really fantastic music.
C: I can’t wait! Thanks Amy.
Stay tuned for more Fish Factory Highlights and check out our RADICAL MUSIC WEEK page to see the full line up of the performers and events from June 2019.
If you like seeing all the events we've had, you can also check out the ARCHIVE for an entire list of everything we've been up to here in Penryn. Photography by Chris Trevenna