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Glade Festival 2009 Feature:
An interview with Ned Beckett

As part of our special Glade Feature, we have decided to interview Ned Beckett. The man behind the Overkill programming at Glade Festival and the Littlebig artist booking agency that’s roster includes people like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Autechre, The Field, Otto Von Schirach, Fuck Buttons and Mike Patton (to name a few).

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B: How did you get into the music industry?

NB: Looking back it seems that i was always drawn to parties / events.. I started djing & putting on small events in my teens. I then realised that my uncle (Steve Beckett – co-founder of Warp Records) was involved in something very interesting.. I started making tea & answering phones for Warp in Sheffield.. and it went from there .. it was when i got my teeth into the live side that i really got hooked.

B: What made you move from the UK to Berlin?

NB: Mainly because me and my lady wanted to get out of England for a while and Berlin was the one place we both loved. When i realised i could run Littlebig from there and save money it was a no brainer…. er.. and you can get a big bottle of beer for 40p…

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B: What do you feel is the state of the live music industry at the moment and what challenges are you currently facing?

NB: In general the live industry is booming. As the recording industry hangs on for dear life, the live side has been growing rapidly. For acts that play live and tour, the fact that you can easily hear their music gives them quick & easy promo. But its a bit of a double edged sword .. without the record labels pushing high quality product, the challenge is ‘how do you promote the artists?’

Things change so quick in the live industry.. a band or festival can do well one year and then be gone the next. For us as a booking agency the challenge is maintaining a good network of trusted people (promoters / clubs / festivals etc) whilst promoting the acts we’re working with. Its really saturated out there now .. Compared with 5 years ago there are a swath of new exciting acts / bands / trends.. its Overkill!!

B: Tell us one of your favourite stories from a show or tour?

NB: hmmm.. On The Overkill tour in Nov 2006, Budapest, pre show. Wandering around with Shige (Scotch Egg), we spotted a ladies dance class in full swing.. mirrored walls and stockings vibes.. Shige rides into the room on a hobby horse that emits hi pitch 8bit horsey noises and starts doing insane japanese freestyle breakdancing at the front of the class.. and then profusely apologises and gives them all a flyer for the show. I’ve got it on film somewhere.. that whole tour was bonkers. (Bleep: we will be requesting for that video!)

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B: You work with many artists who have reputations for being “aloof”. Do you consider your role to be the link between certain industry-shy artists and the industry who want a piece of these artists? How does this relationship work for all said parties?

Haha, yes, i’m the gatekeeper to the awkward little geniuses locked in their underground studios.. :0) you know, some of them have developed their own languages that revolve around complex musical scales. I’ve had to learn it so i can pass on gig offers. hhmmm….

I was lucky enough to get to know alot of the Warp acts through doing alot of work with them when i was at Warp, so i guess i’ve got an understanding of how some of them want to work and certainly what doesnt work.. thats it really.

You can catch Ned’s Overkill Tent at this year’s Glade Festival featuring Venetian Snares, Hudson Mohawke, Kid 606, Drums of Death, DJ Scoth Egg, Tim Exile, iTal tEK, Limewax, Milanese, Shitmat and Ned himself. Tickets are available to buy here.

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5 Responses to “Glade Festival 2009 Feature:
An interview with Ned Beckett”

  1. July 8th, 2009 at 09:57

    Dental Vista says:

    Very nice interview.

  2. October 6th, 2009 at 20:04

    wowdudez says:

    um that’s nice :3

  3. April 21st, 2010 at 13:55

    kohls coupons says:

    Your blog is very beautiful, can you tell me how to make.

  4. April 25th, 2010 at 14:19

    Rich says:

    I think this interview actually glosses over quite how substantially Ned influenced the live scene for electronica in the UK over the past few years – his early Overkill shows in London and Brighton had rosters in 2005-6 that would cost £50k to book now, and brought stacks of artists to the UK, like Modeselektor, for whom there was really quite little platform to play live, really fueling the growth of nights like Bangface and Bloc – all three of whom are now big players in the UK festival circuit.

    He was also a key player in turning Brighton into the experimental/electronica capitol of the UK during the same sort of period (mid ’00s) where you could find all manner of weird and wonderful acts playing, often for free. I recall Chris Clark at the Fortune of War overlooking the sea, in ‘06, for example.

    When Overkill moved to Berlin, the British south coast became essentially devoid of live electronic experimentation, or at least the mood of acceptability for experimental music evaporated very quickly, replaced by the prominence of the early Dubstep scene… though this was the direction that was obviously evolving in London and other areas of the UK too.

    Either way, this man is a LEGEND.

  5. May 29th, 2010 at 04:49

    Wesley Rydelek says:

    Wow what theme is this? i really like it.

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