Jay Brown, fresh from organising her first ever festival, gives Turn On Tune In a mini update on her life, times, and happenings. It aint half good to hear from you again Jay! If you haven’t met Jay yet and therefore theoretically can’t ‘catch up’ with her, check out our original Jay Brown interview from a couple of months ago here. And then come back here.
So, Jay, how’s tricks? Are you still busy combining the elemental forces of football, skateboarding and music?
I am indeed. Haven’t been able to skate in a while as I’m in nomad mode at present, trying to get myself back from the sticks and back to London life. I’ll miss Northampton but I have to get back to the buzz! Finding a place is HELL I tell you though – I just can’t wait to settle into my new place and have a de-stress skate. As for football, season’s back on and I plan to follow Newcastle United – TOOON ARMY – a lot better than I did last season! I kind of neglected the premiership last year.
As well as supporting the best football team in the world and being a kick-ass musician, you’ve just organised Greenstone Festival. What was the inspiration?
I remember eating a large bowl of pasta (as usual) in front of – I think it was, dare I say – Eastenders and thinking I want to gig more festivals. I had access to a field and I always keep in touch with people I gig with so I thought “why not start one?” If it fails then I will have learned something and if it’s a success then happy days. I also was inspired by ‘Sofar Sounds’ and ‘Nova festival’. They are movements and small festivals that are very intimate and target music lovers – I wanted to do my part in trying to support that too.
Don’t worry about Eastenders. I always get my best ideas when confronted with Pat Butcher’s sunken features. What kind of festival vibe were you going for? Did you only book certain types of acts?
I wanted it to be intimate and be for real eclectic music lovers. So I didn’t book on genre, I booked simply on what I like and what I thought other people would enjoy. I also wanted the festival goers to leave discovering something new and hopefully they did. Every act was different – from Lofi Swedish rockers ‘Francobollo’ to stripped down sets from ‘To Kill a King.’
It was also a bit of a family affair, as my dad was on the BBQ, my mum helped look after the bands and provide food, whilst my aunties and uncles and brothers and sisters all got stuck in with helping set up. My friend Laurence – a wicked sound engineer – did sound, Valou – who plays cello with me – was at the entrance, painted all the signs with me and had to deal with me and my ‘Godzilla moments’ ha! At times it was very stressful but I would do it again and again because the atmosphere was electric.
I also got a lot of support from local shops and radio stations. Inspiration FM, Mushroom Lightings and TGF Marquees – gotta show my support eeeeeenit! Ha!
Here’s a question to calm you down… Did you break even?
As far as I know, you never really break even in the first year of anything – so in other words I definitely didn’t – but I didn’t set out for Greenstone to be a business venture. The fact that all 20 bands showed their support in coming up from London to Northampton to play made everything worthwhile. It would definitely be great to break even next year though.
What was your own personal highlight of the Greenstone weekend?
There are a few. I loved Francobollo’s and the Midnight Barbers’ sets – check them out! Valou’s famous home-made hot chocolate for everyone in the morning. The mingling of people who I think in normal circumstances wouldn’t otherwise meet. The fact that it felt like a huge family party was perfect and the biggest highlight was to see people actually having a great time. When planning something it’s those things that make it worthwhile for me.
It sounds like it all went down exceptionally smoothly. Something must have gone wrong though – any portaloo based disasters occur?
Haha! Luckily we had a toilet on site so there wasn’t but that would have been hilarious!
Yes, yes, yes! I’m already looking at bands I want to approach, and new ideas that I want to test for it. Just getting a team together at the moment and we will hopefully have Turn On Tune In come down and document it as well?
We’d be delighted to. How do you fancy your chances for becoming the next Michael Eavis?
It’s funny; my management kept teasing me with saying that! If it grew that big then that would amazing! But let’s be honest, Michael Eavis is a tough act to follow…
Nah, he just got lucky with a load of naive hippies. What’s happening with your own music at present?
At the moment I’m in the studio a lot recording old and new songs with a guy called Mark Crew. He’s such a good producer!
I’ve been opening my mind to co-writing which I’ve always kind of run away from but realised, having now worked with certain people, that it’s not a negative thing.
I’ve also been working with ‘To Kill A King’ and playing their Play All Things nights as well as writing with them and getting involved in their Guerilla gigs.
I’m really excited about playing with Bastille! They have been a great support in taking me under their wing and encouraging me and recording with me. I really appreciate that and feel I’ve developed a bit more because of that. I’ll be doing a few support tour dates with them (Manchester, Birmingham and London) which will be exciting! One of the dates is Koko in Camden – a place I’ve always wanted to play – so I’m looking forward to that.
I’ve also been doin a few small festivals (NOVA and Greenstone) and playing for this secret gig movement called Sofarsounds.com. You need to go to one of their living room gigs! They’re doing something great for music and I’m so happy to be a part of it.
Over the next few weeks music-wise I plan on locking myself away and writing some more songs, and if I’m not writing I’ll be locking myself in the studio recording them or rehearsing ready for upcoming gigs.
Heady times! Jay Brown, always a pleasure, until the next time, goodbye!
This article was originally published on Turn On Tune In