Phyll Pearman is fifty percent of the brains behind Resistanz Festival, the largest industrial festival of its kind in the UK, which he runs with his partner in crime Leighton James-Thompson. As well as running Resistanz Phyll is also an established top name DJ on the Alternative scene. The Black Flag caught up with Phyll to have a chat about his DJ career and the juggernaut which is Resistanz…..
TBF: You’re co-owner of Resistanz festival, along with your business partner Leighton James-Thompson, which is rapidly approaching its third year. How did the festival come into being?
Phyll Pearman: The festival came into being a little by accident and a little by luck like most things that happen and become successful. I’d known Leighton for years but we had never worked together directly before the festival. It turned out that we both had the same idea about wanting to put on a new type of industrial festival in the UK. We thought it was criminal that the UK industrial scene only had one large festival devoted to electronic music, yet there are many on the European mainland which meant that numerous bands never got the chance to play in the UK and the UK scene was missing out. We decided to join forces and give it a go and Resistanz festival was born. Luckily it turned out to be a complete success that everyone, including the bands, DJ’s and the audience has enjoyed being a part of and we couldn’t have done it without their support.
TBF: Resistanz has been described by many, as the best weekend of their lives. How does it feel to get that kind of recognition for an event that you created?
Phyll: I am totally blown away and speechless when I hear something like that. We created Resistanz Festival to be a great place to go and be a part of and it feels amazing to think that we succeeded. Every year has gone from strength to strength so we must be doing something right. But those guys who enjoy the festival and have a great time are who make the festival the success it is.
TBF: What bands and acts have played the festival and what’s been your highlight so far?
Phyll: There are so many great performances that it is hard to pick but if it had to come down to it, W.A.S.T.E., Icon of Coil. Faderhead and Ultraviolence’s Ministry cover. Then there are the many highlights such as the onstage collaborations which have made the festival special to so many people such as Stewart Whoo performing with XP8 or the Droog dance to Modulate’s remix of Prodigy, but its seeing people’s faces when this happens that is the real highlight for me.
TBF: Last year’s Resistanz was huge compared to the year before and also a sell-out to boot. What’s in store for 2013 and how are you going to beat that?
Phyll: Resistanz Festival 2012 was a very special year and caught us a little by surprise when it sold out! The only way to beat that was by aiming to be bigger and even better. Resistanz Festival 2013 is now three days and bringing to the UK the biggest line up a festival of it’s kind has ever seen with the usual Resistanz style surprises thrown in for good measure.
TBF: What different rooms/areas are there at the festival?
Phyll: Resistanz Festival comprises of the live arena, DJ’s, stalls, shops, a food court and some of the best after parties you will have ever been to. The main arena where all the bands play has one of the best live rigs and sound technicians in the UK which make for a very smooth operation when it come to changeovers and set ups for the artists. The shops, stalls and indoor seating area is a massive area comprising of plenty of seating for everyone with table service from the bar and the ability to get away from all the madness for a moment and chill out. The food court and outdoor smoking yard is a place to satisfy anyones food cravings as we have a great variety of foods available this year, serving everything from German bratwurst to mexican wraps and falafel. Not forgetting the essential tea and coffee which everyone needs after a long day dancing and singing your heart out to your favourite bands.
TBF: As well as bands and DJs, you also have stalls trading at Resistanz festival. What kind of brands and merchandise can we expect to find there?
Phyll: We have a lot of diverse traders at Resistanz Festival for instance clothing, latex and accessories from companies such as Jed Pheonix (Clothing), Urban Halo (Clothing), Heresy (Clothing), Mico Couture (Clothing), Zhyon (Clothing) and music suppliers Juggernaut Services (Music) and Mark Haigh (Music) will also be joining us for the weekend. Finally, there is of course the official merchandise stand which not only sells all the official Resistanz Festival merchandise but also all the band merchandise from the artists who are playing at the festival.
TBF: What do you think is the secret behind the festivals success?
Phyll: The bands, DJ’s, the venue and of course the people who attend all contribute to the success of Resistanz Festival. Together they create an amazing atmosphere that makes it an amazing weekend and something thats so great to be a part of. If it wasn’t for their enthusiasm, dedication and love of the scene, the festival wouldn’t have ever been as successful as it has been.
TBF: As well as running Resistanz, you also DJ regularly at the Corporation. How did you initially get into spinning records and how long have you been at the Corp?
Phyll: Like most people who get into DJing, it was by total chance. I had never thought of it as a career option! I used to go a club night pretty regularly and so knew the DJ pretty well. One night, the DJ unexpectedly couldn’t make it and phoned me asking to stand in for him. I grabbed every piece of music I had and thankfully the night was a success. From that night I was bitten by the bug and here I am, many years later still DJing. As for how long I have been at Corporation well we opened in 1997 and I have been here since we first opened those doors!
TBF: What qualities do you think make a good DJ?
Phyll: This is one for a good debate but for me it is the ability to listen to what people want and importantly have fun doing it as no one comes out to be bored to death and played music they don’t want to hear. They want to have a good time and you are there to supply that.
TBF: Strangest song request you’ve ever had?
Phyll: If I had to pick one song out the list of strange requests I have had over the years it would have to be Cliff Richard’s Millenium Prayer which I wouldn’t have the balls to play to a room full of alternative people.
TBF: What’s your opinion of the modern music industry? How has it changed in the time you’ve been working in it?
Phyll: The music industry has changed so much just over the last year, let alone over the time I have been working in it, but I think it is definitely in a time of flux at the moment. More and more artists are taking control of their careers and the music they create than ever before, as they have direct access to their audience through the internet. I think this is a really positive change as for too long artists have been taken for a ride by large archaic corporate music industry giants and its about time the artists were back in the drivers seat. For the last few decades, the music industry has been shoving mass produced nonsense in our faces and I’m glad that not only are real artists who create real music getting the chance to shine, but we as music consumers are also getting more variety, choice and control over what we listen to. In a similar way to the punk movement in the 1970’s we are sticking two fingers up to the establishment and that can only be a good thing.
TBF: What advice would you give to wannabe DJs/Promoters?
Phyll: Work hard, do your best and with a little luck it may all work out for you.
TBF: Anything else you want to plug? Upcoming gigs, other projects…..
Phyll: Well of course Resistanz Festival 2014 as we have some huge plans for this event which I am keeping fully under my hat for now but our Resistanz army will be in for some real treats. I also DJ a weekly alternative night ‘Drop’ which is held at Corporation every Friday and is one of the most legendary alternative nights in the UK. Finally, Corporation also plays host to a monthly industrial night ‘Revolution’ which is not to be missed.
TBF: Where do you see yourself and the festival in five years time?
Phyll: I think Resistanz Festival in five years time will be a sight to behold. Every year we keep expanding and coming up with great ideas on how we can improve it even more. The festival has grown so quickly and we have achieved so much already so I’ll be excited to see where the festival will be in five years because as we have seen so far, in just a couple of years anything can happen!