Interview : James Scarlett (ArcTanGent)

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We had a chat with ArcTanGent band booker James Scarlett ahead of this years Festival about all things ATG…..

• Hi James,  It’s great to see ArcTanGent returning again this year with yet another astounding lineup.  Looking back over the years since you started have you noticed much growth within this weird little scene in general and how much has the festival grown?

Thanks! ATG is more than double the size it was in year 1 and it gets slightly bigger each year so we’re pretty happy with that. I think the math-rock/post-rock scene has definitely flourished. There seem to be more bands than ever which is great, although obviously that makes my job of booking a line up more difficult. I think the future is bright for our world.

Having said that, I think we continue to push ATG into new places/genres and I think the headliners (Glassjaw and Shellac) really reflect that. Wait until you see who I’ve confirmed to headline 2019!

• Are there any major differences planned to the site this year?

The site will be having one notable change – we’ve upgraded our main stage and it will now be housed in a beautiful big-top providing cover whatever the weather. Looking at the forecast, you’ll be using it mostly for shade from the blazing sunshine this year!

• It’s a massive lineup this year: and it seems pretty different every year while still catering to everyone’s weird and wonderful tastes which is awesome, is this something you purposefully try and change up every year to keep things fresh?

Yeah I want to keep the hardcore ATG fans happy but also keep things new and fresh and challenging.  My only stipulation when booking bands for ATG is “are they a bit weird? A bit left of centre” – if the answer is yes then I’m in!

• You’ve managed to secure some amazing UK exclusives this year like Glassjaw, Pelican, Giraffes? Giraffes! – Just how difficult is it to get these bands to come over from the states? Have you had to plan this for a long time?

It can take a lot of time and effort (and money!). Honestly I’ve been asking Pelican and Giraffes? Giraffes! for five years now and obviously if they are coming to the UK for just one show then ATG has to pay for everything. It’s expensive but worth it once they are here and I’m stood in front of the stage with 5,000 other people watching them.

• Are there any bands in particular (other than The Mars Volta) that you would like to get to headline in the future?

I think all of the following would work – Mogwai, Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age, Mastodon and Opeth. Watch this space!

• Do you get to see many of the bands playing over the weekend or are you too busy running round organising everything?  

I’m always available on my radio but my main aim at ATG is to see as many bands (and buy as much merch) as possible. If I don’t do this then how do I know if I did a good job with the line up and people were happy? It’s stressful at times but ultimately it’s my favourite weekend of the year.

•  Are there any bands you are particularly looking forward to catching this year or would recommend to the ATG fans?

My favourite album of 2018 so far is Boss Keloid’s “Melted on the Inch”. They’re on stage at 12:50 on Thursday so I would suggest people get in early. In fact I’d give a shout out to all of the Holy Roar bands (Conjurer, Svalbard, møl etc). Also I can’t wait to see what Pijn and Conjurer have come up with on their collaborative “Curse These Metal Hands” set.

Before people get to the festival I’d suggest they head to our website and check out the “For Fans Of” guide (http://www.arctangent.co.uk/2-week-klaxon/#3) and the Spotify playlist (http://www.arctangent.co.uk/2-week-klaxon/#5). There is nothing more fun that discovering your new favourite band!

•  What can we expect in terms of vendors at this years festival?

Below is a quote from my business partner Simon who books all the food. He put so much effort into ensuring all the food and drink at the festival is amazing – legend!

“We also have some of the worlds very best independent food traders – from firm favourites Smokin Hot Tamales with their stunning burritos to new additions Paelleria & Squid Inc.

For all you veggie vegans we have returnees Manjula Catering & brand new Seitans Grill. Both these guys will be bringing the veggie/ vegan delights (but most stalls include veggie/ vegan & gluten free options). And don’t forget dessert – we have teeny tiny Dutch pancakes from Poffertjes (you gotta try ‘em) & for when it’s blazing hot sunshine don’t forget to stop by Splitscreen Ice-cream to cool off.

There’s plenty more where that came from so make sure you let your taste buds come on the ATG adventure.”

• And finally, What are your festival essentials?

I go to a lot of festivals and there are only two things you need… 1. A fully marked up and planned out clashfinder, 2. A can do attitude. See you all at Fernhill Farm!

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ArcTanGent takes place from the 16th – 18th August

Tickets are still available from http://www.arctangent.co.uk/tickets/