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SJ Fowler is a poet and artist whose accomplishments could outweigh those of most artists double his age. His work has been translated into 21 languages; he has been commissioned to create work for BBC3 Radio, Somerset House and The British Council, and has taught at Kingston University, Tate Modern and The Poetry School, but name but a few. With so many events lined up for 2017 at Rich Mix, we felt it was only right we caught up with him to find out more about the man himself and his work.In your own words…who are you, and how would you describe you work?I’m a writer and artist. I’m interested in what I take to be the truly contemporary, that is often called experimental, and I’m an associate artist of Rich Mix, having performed and curated events here since 2010. It has been my home in many ways, I’ve had so many beautiful nights in Venue 2!What’s your favourite part of working at Rich Mix?Maybe the staff. Sounds trite but I’ve performed or put on well over 300 events, worked with a lot of venues and very few can match the level of personal investment, hospitality and unpretentious industry of people working at Rich Mix. I’m always treated with such gentle respect, nothing is too much.What was your favourite song of 2016? I didn’t expect that question. I think it came out at the end of 2015, but maybe John Grant – Black Blizzard. I don’t have one really.What was your favourite film of 2016?Again I don’t tend to have favourites but maybe, off the top of my head, I liked Embrace of the Serpent. Jungle Book was pretty great too, Fred the Pig and The Pangolin live long in my memory. What was your highlight of 2016?The most satisfying personally was the first English PEN Modern Literature Festival which I curated at Rich Mix on April 2nd 2016. I asked 30 writers to each write about a fellow writer, but one supported by English PEN, currently at risk in their own nations. English PEN are the writers’ charity and for such a long time I had wracked my brain as to how my skills could be of any use to their genuinely extraordinary work. This, in a tiny way, was such a magnificent day, so full of energy, reflection and heartfelt solidarity, that I felt sure, for perhaps one day, I wasn’t completely wasting my time. It was so good it’ll happen again on April 1st 2017, at Rich Mix.What are you looking forward to in 2017?Aside from the above, I’m happy to be presenting a new short play for Rich Mix’s centenary of the Russian Revolution program. It’ll be alongside 3 other playwrights, four mini-plays in one night, over three evenings in June. It’s about the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, a hero of mine. It’ll be very weird.
Sound Connections are a key organisation in music education in London, and are based here at Rich Mix. Initially established in 2002, they are the lead advocates for music education in the capital, and over the last 10 years, have worked, through partnerships, to strengthen the music sector, bridge gaps in provision and deliver landmark music programmes. I met with the Director of the organisation, Philip Flood, to find out more about Sound Connections and discuss the life-enriching work they do…In your own words…who are Sound Connections, and how would you describe you work?Sound connections is a music education charity, established in 2002. Our mission is to develop, support and empower young Londoners, from birth right through to 25 years old, through music. We also support the whole infrastructure around music and music education, and work with cultural organisations across London to achieve that. We’ve worked quite closely with Rich Mix in the last few years, firstly through helping them set up their Young Ambassador scheme, so we were there at the beginning steering that project with them, and more recently bringing people in to the building who are interested in music education. We also worked on a joint even that Rich Mix hosted, the Youth Takeover. One of our flagship projects is called Wired4music – essentially it’s a network of young Londoners aged 16-25, made up of about 500 young people across London, with a core of group about 50 people. It’s developed and shaped by them, we don’t tell them what to do – they decide what they want. A lot of what they’re benefitting and learning from that is based around leadership skills, and opportunities to develop their own projects, sometimes with a little bit of seed funding from us. It can range from learning how to conduct a choir, to launching a new label, developing an app, or something around managing an event. Journalism and film-making is part of what we do as well. It’s not just being on stage and playing and instrument, it’s all aspects of what we could consider the ‘music industry’. These are a really vital and enthusiastic group of young musicians, they’re the future both in terms of the audience and the people who are going to engage with music in London. So we’ve got a lot of connections and partnerships across London, but obviously our home in Rich Mix, so it is really important to us as well.What’s your favourite part of working at Rich Mix?It’s just a really stimulating, creative building to work in. We’ve had partnerships with other organisations in the building, and twice a year we run an introduction to music education, which we have in the Main Space. Anybody who comes in the building really feels welcomed, and if they haven’t been here before they often come back. What I like at the end of the day is walking out as I go home and listening to who’s playing, or wandering around the building during the day and hearing rehearsals. Music really is a big part of what the building is about.What was your favourite song of 2016 and why?The other night at our office party we all brought in our instruments and played carols, and we have a video of Sound Connections staff singing ‘White Christmas’, which I think was a triumph! I’m sure we can provide a link to that…What was your favourite film of 2016?I’ll have to say the new Star Wars which has just come out!What was your highlight of 2016?Gosh, it’s very difficult to pick one. We had two really successful conferences for the music education sector, bringing together a range of different partners, teachers, musicians and people who are involved in funding and policy. The first one was in the early part of the year, bringing together the early year’s music sector. We developed a network of early year’s practitioners and bring them together once a year to share best practise and to reflect on what’s going well. Then more recently, bringing together individuals and organisations who work with young people in challenging circumstances - so those young people really face barriers to accessing musical provision. We brought together a host of organisations to look at how we could better improve on our approach to inclusion, making sure that every young Londoner has access to high quality music making opportunities. Those have been the highlights, I’d say.What are you looking forward to in 2017?One of the things that we’re in the final phases of is working with the London Borough of Islington, helping them launch their music education strategy for the borough. We’ve just been asked by Essex music education hub to do an in-depth youth consultation on what young people in Essex think about music education. And then we’re going to be continuing to support teachers in schools, especially those in secondary school music. Because things are tough there, we’ve brought together a pan-London network of teachers in secondary school music, who we’ll be working with until July, and that’s a really exciting opportunity. So our plans are to continue focusing on those most in need in London, and to expand our work across England over the next 1-3 years. We really want to grow our work and engage with more partners outside of London.Keep up to date with Sound Connection’s work on Twitter
Zinzi Minott is visibly brimming with ideas and passion. Modest, but quietly confident, her work is clearly inherent to who she is as a person. Born in Manchester, and raised in South London, she is a dancer, and has become somewhat of a regular at Rich Mix. She is set to perform her new work ‘What Kind of Slave Would I Be? (WKOSWIB?)’ at Rich Mix on the 22nd of April, 2017, with workshops and discussions on the 23rd of April. With so much in the pipeline for Zinzi this coming year, I was keen to catch up with her and find out more... In your own words…who are you, and how would you describe you work?I identify very strongly as a dancer, not just because of what I do, but because more recently I’ve started to understand and articulate that that’s how I see the world. It’s how I gobble the world up and put the world back out. Some of us interpret and put the world out in different ways. Some people write, some people paint, and for me it’s dance. So even if I’m writing or painting, it’s usually as a way to facilitate me dancing. Also, it’s important to me because it’s not about speaking – I don’t think anyone would describe me as quiet, but I actually get quite exhausted by speaking, and I’d just rather dance all the time.I think my work is about me and my life, and my communities and communities lives, and things that I see and things that I don’t want to see. I don’t turn my ideas down – I make the work I get - and that’s often why I find my work quite difficult, because it’s not necessarily always about doing what I want, it’s about doing what I thought, and it’s not easy to deal with that voice in my head.That’s quite a brave way to work?People have said that me before, but I don’t feel like I have another way. I feel like if there was another option, and I chose this, then it would be brave, but the fact that I haven’t found or been given another option, it doesn’t really feel so brave... it just is what it is.Why Rich Mix?I love Rich Mix, I really do. I think Rich Mix is the best theatre in London - I like to come here whenever I can.  Rich Mix commissioned one of my earliest pieces of work and was the first place with a name to give me a space, and I’ve always really appreciated that. I’ve performed here 3 or 4 times now, and it felt like a really good place to premier this work (What Kind of Slave Would I Be (WKOSWIB ) 22nd April & 23rd for workshops and discussions.) I had this piece and Rich Mix felt like the most obvious place that I would talk to, and that’s the kind of relationship we have.What’s your favourite part of working at Rich Mix?Everyone talks about diversity, and it’s such a lazy word for what’s actually a huge problem. The thing about Rich Mix for me is this: every time I get an email from them, and I see how hard they’re working to get everybody here, it’s phenomenal. If there’s a place in the world that has a nuanced film festival representing them, their people and their identity, and if it’s going to be in a theatre in London, it’s going be here. I really rate that. It doesn’t ever feel trite. Whenever I get those emails, it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to do something for their portfolio. As a black artist, I know when I’m being used, and something that is talked about a lot is when diverse artists get invited into a space, it can feel really horrible if it’s just about their NPOs. But there’s something about Rich Mix, every time I see it I believe it. There’s a lot of integrity and I like being here.What was your favourite song of 2016 and why?Oh, there’s quite a few in my head. I’m definitely going pick a Grime song for sure – I’ve closed the door to any Americans in my mind for this question. It’s going to have to be a toss-up between Stormzy’s ‘Shut up’…or maybe Giggs…no no…Giggs I’m so sorry! I’m going to go with Stormzy because we’re from the same place. Ok. Actually, it’s going to be between Nadia Rose’s ‘Skwod’ and Stormzy’s ‘Shut up’. The video for ‘Skwod’ was shot at a market near my house where I shopped with my mum, and Stormzy is from Thornton Heath, where I grew up. I cannot explain what it is like to see Grime blow up. I’ve seen those artists around, I’ve been at those raves for 15 years. I remember when the clubs got shut down, and you could only hear it on pirate radio stations. I feel immensely proud, I feel like they’re my family and they’ve made a music scene that’s about us and our lives. It is the scene where I danced. I’ve had the best musical year ever, I’ve been so excited about the London sound. Of course there’s people like Bugzy  from Manchester and Lady Leshurr from Birmingham, who are both doing amazing things as well. I saw Nadia Rose perform, she was wicked, and she also gave me her Adidas jacket, which I was very pleased about…so I think it’s going to have to be ‘Skwod’ ‘cause I wanna dance for her too I wanna dance for them ALLLLLL!What was your favourite film of 2016 and why?I’m not really a film person, but I’m friends with a lot of film-makers, and so they actually keep me going [to see films], because otherwise I wouldn’t which is great. It’s probably going be a bit cliché, because everyone’s talking about it, but for me it really is the best film I’ve ever seen - ‘Moonlight’. My friend, director and producer Joy GharoroAkpojotor had told me about a screening, and it was basically me and loads of industry buffs there. I felt like no-one “normal” knew about it. The director was there, and the lead actress was there, and it was really cool. I will definitely see it again.Why has that one stood out for you?It’s aesthetically beautiful. The director called it ‘the palette of the film’ – it’s really gorgeous. But actually the other reason why it’s so beautiful is because it’s a film about black men - black gay men. I feel like the images of black men are so stereotypical, and the images of gay men are so stereotypical, so to see them come together and be absolutely none of that…it was really tender, and really beautiful. You really root for the characters. It’s kind of a genre defying film.What was your favourite event of 2016?The ‘Gal-dem’ event at the V&A. They did something that I’d never seen before, and I felt like I was in a historic moment, which has happened to me before, but not related to being me, or to being a black woman. I’ve seen it in other contexts, but I’m really happy I was there even with all the difficulties and histories around that space- I had a great night.Personally, I got my work funded, and that feels like a big deal, a nice culmination of a long bit of work. I got some stable housing in London, that’s always a treat, don’t know how long it’s going to last but it’s here…so that’s nice.What are you looking forward to in 2017?I definitely feel like there’s been a shift, like a gear change in my career, and I’m having a lot of weird feelings about it. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with this piece of work, ‘What Kind of Slave Would I Be’ (WKOSWIB?) generally. I’m definitely looking forward to performing it. I am also terrified of this piece. It’s hard, you want to do things but you’re overwhelmed by the things you want to do, but you do them anyway….I’m looking forward to seeing what my residency at Tate yields, and to see if some applications that I put in materialise. I really want to dance in the tunnels at Tate, desperately. I’ve wanted to for about 5 years so I’m going to have to see if I can make that happen before they kick me out. I think that’s it really – I’m looking forward to not panicking, about my work, my life…I’m just trying to be about my work. Last year was difficult, but the one consistent thing was my work and I was grateful for that, it anchored me, and now that things have settled, I’m looking forward to have time to dedicate to my work. I’ve never had the ability to dedicate all my time to my work until this past September, and that feels like a big deal, and a massive privilege. I’m intimidated by it and I enjoy it. I’m looking forward to the people I’m working with, and I’m really excited about the scene, and my friends - so many of them are blowing my mind, the things they think and make. I’m really excited by the people I’m around, and I’m hoping some of it leaks on to me via osmosis…I’m really aware that this could all not be here in a year, and I could go back to working in a coffee shop. I just have to run with it and see what happens. My friend said to me the other day, you‘ve been banging at a door for so long, and then it opens, and you’re caught unaware…and you walk in, and you’re sweaty and your hands are bruised….I’ve been really grateful that people have been so supportive, they’ve vouched for me, people and institutions, they’ve pulled me up, they’ve told me ‘no that idea’s rubbish’, and when you feel a shift, whatever that shift is, you can’t help but think about the collective of people that made that shift happen.Keep up to date with Zinzi on Twitter
It’s fair to say Phrased Differently are making waves in the music industry. The music publishing & artist management company has called Rich Mix home for the last 6 years, and have slowly but surely grown, now inhabiting the whole of our West Basement. Their writers have been credited on a staggering number of huge hits around the world since the company’s birth in 2006, with hits like Little Mix's ‘Move’, and ‘How Deep is Your Love’ by Calvin Harris & Disciple, and their talents have earned them BMI awards, an MTV VMA award, and a BRIT award! I caught up with the team – CEO Hiten, A&R Manager Dan, and Creative Coordinator Claudia - to find out more…In your own words…who are you, and how would you describe you work?Hiten - The romantic version or the real version? Phrased Differently is a collective of dreamers, music publishing company and artist management company investing in human talent. That was the romantic version. The real version is – we’re a music publishing company that develop songwriters and artists. We have 7 studios here where we write constantly, and the aim is to try and help our writers that we’ve signed achieve success, either as songwriters or as artists.Why Rich Mix?Hiten - We heard that there was a room available, and we basically came in and asked if we could hire it. So we started off with one room 6 years ago. Over those 6 years, we’ve added a room or two a year, and now we have the whole West basement. We’ve had growing pains. We couldn’t all fit in one room, we all needed our own rooms. And now we’ve probably got to the stage where we need more studio space.What was your favourite song of 2016 and why?Dan – Bruno Mars - 24K Magic.Claudia – Kehlani – GangstaHiten – Zara Larsson – Lush Life. I dedicate that one to someone who is no longer with us…What was your favourite artist of 2016 and why?Dan – Diplo or Skrillex. No, Diplo. Working in the industry, people always give references to what kind of songs they want, and somewhere somehow it always leads back to a song that he’s involved in. He’s part of Major Lazer and Jack Ü, and that whole sound is Diplo. Half the Justin Beiber songs are Diplo. Yeah.Claudia – I think 21 Pilots. I just love how they’re so versatile – I used to follow them before, and this year they’ve blown up so much.Hiten – The Weeknd. Because it’s amazing how much success they’ve had only working 2 days a week! No. Just how they’ve basically taken over all streaming platforms. They’re cool and commercial at the same time.What was your favourite album of 2016 and why?Hiten – It’s got to be The Weeknd – StarboyDan – I’m probably going to go with 24K Magic again. It’s between that and The Weeknd – Starboy. But really, it’s 24K, because I can name every single song on the record.Claudia – David Bowie – Black Star. Or Sia – This is Acting.What was your highlight of 2016?Claudia – Signing 5 new writers! The more the merrier!Dan – My highlight was getting another BMI award – which is an award getting over 150,000 plays on a song in the USA. Going up there to get it was when it hit me – like wow, this is actually a big deal. To be credited for a song from the UK as well. Seeing everyone else who won – Sony, etc - huge names, faces you only see in magazines. And to know the amount of money they’ve put to get to where they are, and to see us competing on that level and winning was great!Hiten – Winning our first MTV VMA. And having 3 BRIT award nominations for the first time. (He also got a BRIT nomination for A&R Manager of the Year!)What are you looking forward to in 2017?Hiten - We’re genuinely excited about all of our writers, because they’ve all got something really positive to shout about. I think in particular, we’ve got singles coming up with Disciples, who are signed to Parlophone in the UK, which we’re really excited about. We’ve got a single coming out with DJ Fresh and Digital Farm Animals which we’re really excited about. And in the summer, we’ve got a single coming out with Selena Gomez, which we’re really excited about to. And we’re really excited about our internal, home-grown organic artists. We’ve got Disciples who are signed to Parlophone. Andreas Mo who’s signed to Sony. Rafaella, who I think next year will be her year. A new girl called Anisa, who has written already for Ariana Grande, and has performed with Brandi at the O2 just a couple of months ago – we literally signed here a week and a half ago. And a few more….we’re just really excited. We get excited every single second every chance we get to give our writers good news.Follow Phrased Differently on Twitter  
Max Reindhart takes you through a two hour selection of tracks from the top quality artists appearing at Rich Mix in November and December. With a special focus on the EFG London Jazz Festival 11th – 20th November, with interviews from saxophonist Phil Meadows and young new sensations Blue Lab Beats.FULL PLAYLISTAndy Shepperd – Aoidh, Na Dean Cadal Idir, Pt. 1The Peter Edwards Trio – Samba CityTheo Croker – ChangesBollywood Brass Band featuring Jyotsna Srikanth – Rakkamma Kaiya ThattuMelt Yourself Down – Listen OutTransGlobal Underground – London ZuluDavid Bowie – LazarusSkint – Rehearsal #5Phil Meadows InterviewSkint – KrakenVula Viel -Takyen KorakoraKefaya – IndignadosOddarrang – Admiral Byrd’s FlightBlue Lab Beats – SkippyBlue Lab Beats InterviewBlue Lab Beats – Sweet ThingSona Jobarteh – Mali Ni CeThe Baghdaddies – RomanySlowly Rolling Camera – The BrinkSlowly Rolling Camera – All ThingsBlack Top -There Goes The Neighbourhood! (excerpt)Bernhard Schimpelsberger – Smells Like Teen SpiritJames Blood Ulmer – Are You Glad to Be in America? (live)Petra Haden – God Only Knows
Founder of Filotico Arts, Livia Filotico, talks to Rich Mix's Anna Woods about their new story telling event 'Magic and Power in Alf layla wa layla' - where Egyptian storyteller Chirine El Ansary, and mythographer and writer Marina Warner, invite you to listen to, engage with and discuss stories of magical transformations from The Thousand and One Nights. Storytelling is an age-old and universal art form, yet it’s not huge in the UK – not on the mainstream arts circuit, anyway. We have had an increasing number of storytelling nights (such as the fantastic Crick Crack Club events) here at Rich Mix and they are always popular – do you get the sense there’s a hunger for more dedicated storytelling events?Absolutely. To give you an example, Chirine and I are running a development scheme for emerging storytellers. I hoped it’d be popular of course but the number and variety of applications we received kind of shocked me. There definitely is a hunger for more events, more training opportunities, and for a much deeper integration between storytelling and other art forms. The number of gifted storytellers and emerging talent out there definitely begs for that.I think there are many reasons but one of them is that storytelling has a pretty unique ability to connect audiences and performers, and at times like the ones we’re living, human empathy and a sense of wonder are much needed. It’s something we as humans have always sought in one form or another, and it seems unlikely we’ll ever stop.Storytellers have always used their art to bring communities together and to put into words the deepest values of their communities. That’s why they’ve always been so valued in society and looked up to as guides.Mythographer Marina Warner makes some very interesting points about the significance of myths and fairytales. How did you come to hear about Marina’s work?   Marina’s work takes all my passions and bundles them into a gorgeous mix of inspiration. I stumbled upon her work thanks to Treadwell’s, London’s premier esoteric bookshop, where I worked for over three years. I found Phantasmagoria on one of the shop’s shelves, on a particularly quiet Sunday afternoon, took it home and read it in in one breath. I was fresh out of university, where I graduated in anthropology and media, and the book is all about exploring the cultural history of spirits, unpacking symbols and metaphors and arguing for a radical imagination. You can imagine how excited it made me. I actually cried as I read through it. The next book of hers I read was Stranger Magic, and it inspired this event. The book is about feminism, magic and how 17th century Europe objectified the East. And obviously I was in love.A lot of people will be familiar with at least some of the stories from the epic The Thousand and One Nights, do you think that people coming to your event will gain a new take on it?Absolutely. I think it’s fair to say The Nights have had an interesting and complicated history. Fetishised by the West for centuries, admired by some and dismissed by others, I think The Nights have so much to say that hasn’t been heard yet.For example, in this event we want to focus on how The Nights refuse to be pinned down to any one form, and how subversive that act actually is. Their shape shifts, flexes, adapts and mirrors a cosmology that is extremely open to The Other. This is in stark contrast with most post-enlightenment European cosmologies, where knowledge is fixed and narratives prescribed.So along with feminism, oral literature and magic as tools for political subversion and cultural re-appropriation, we will also be looking at The Nights in a colonial and post-colonial context.Part of the event will be a discussion of ‘the role stories can play in creating new futures’. I’ve heard this discussed in relation to science-fiction writing as well – it seems like right now we have a great need for stories that can imagine alternatives to broken systems. Can we expect an opportunity for the audience to join in with this imaginative act? I am certain there will be at least a few budding storytellers in attendance…Before I could read, my dad acted out bits of Azimov’s Foundation for me. My first crush, at the age of 4, was one of my sister’s classmates, as he would tell me stories from Aesop before bedtime. At the age of 14 I began tabletop role-playing and around the same time I was introduced to magic and paganism. I might not have realised it at the time but all these things fulfilled a very similar need: they allowed me to get lost in alternatives so that when I came back to the room, I always had a lingering feeling of enchantment and possibility. These stories and the tools and frameworks people around me used to recount them, allowed me to think in ‘perhaps’ rather than in absolutes. And that is the most valuable gift anyone can receive and give. It’s the kind of gift that prevents wars from breaking.We hope that everyone attending this event, whatever their views and their level of familiarity with the stories we’re presenting – which let’s not forget are all related to magic - might be inspired and comfortable enough to contribute their ideas. We are leaving a good 30 minutes for a Q&A session and another full hour after the formal part of the event is over for people to chat and discuss possible collaborations. My absolute dream is for a bard, a poet, a novelist and a ritualist to meet on the night and start some kind of artistic collaboration. Or rather, to think up an awesome solution to broken systems.Livia Filotico is an events organiser, arts marketing consultant and founder of Filotico Arts. She works with arts organisations, universities, cultural institutions and individuals to understand, nurture and promote ideas of enchantment, storytelling and myth making within the arts and cultural sector. @LiviaFilotico
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This weekend the 1Xtra and Mobo approved Silvastone is headlining the all-star A'friquency launch party, showcasing the finest contemporary music coming out of Africa and the Diaspora. We spoke to the DJ, producer and vocalist extraordinaire to find out what we can expect from his set and the future. Hi Silvastone, thanks for joining us. How’s your summer been so far? My summer has been blessed thanks. Mainly long studio hours finishing up my new forthcoming EP. You’ve also been travelling a fair bit. Where’s been your favourite place to play this year?Well, this year I'd say that the best place I've been to would be SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas USA. It was a crazy experience. Did 3 showcases out there amongst some of the biggest artists in the world. Felt like every big artist was out there and the crowd response to each of my performances was fantastic. The whole city was buzzing those 5 days the festival had taken over its streets. I've never experienced a place so vibrant like that. You’ve worked with an incredible number of esteemed artists in various capacities, but which has been your most interesting collaboration? Yeah they been quite alot but I would say working with Chaka Demus and Pliers on the "Skatta (Remix)" last year has been probably the most interesting. So many amusing stories about that whole hook up - from sending Chaka Demus the audio to them both flying in to film the music video. I grew up listening to his music as a child and played many of their tunes whilst DJing. To be working with one of your legends is a dream come true. What’s your view on the afrobeats scene right now?The Afrobeats scene is in a great place right now with so many artist doing amazing things. I feel that's it's only going to get better. Who are you feeling at the moment?I'd say right now. I'm feeling everyone who is pushing the scene, its sounds and opening new doors. Quite a few people doing that right now. Big up everyone.You’re bringing your amazing 5 piece band to A’friquency this Friday. What can we expect from the live show?This is gonna be such a dope show. I'll be performing alot of the new EP material I've been working on and bringing out some special guests that are on the project. Of course they will also be some songs from my first EP 'Transitions' in the set list too. Can't wait!What aspects of a live performance do you get most excited about?I'd say its the rehearsals I love, especially whilst trying out new ideas with the band. But, nothing and I mean nothing beats vibing with the audience directly and having the place liven up when you are on stage. That feeling of people reacting to your music creation like that is priceless.What’s on the horizon for you for the rest of 2016?Wow, 2016 is the entrance to my 2017. I'm getting ready to drop my second EP  "LEVELS" shortly and dropping more visuals and ofcourse more shows. Got some more travel lined up too - ofcourse. Look out for me at A3C Festival in Atlanta next month. And follow me on the socials to find out where you can also catch me live near you and news about the new music. SilvaSays!!!!Africori presents A’FRIQUENCY PRESENTS SILVASTONE (LIVE), DJ EDU, NEW AGE MUZIK, DJ NEPTIZZLE, BEATING HEART. FRIDAY 9 SEPTEMBER
Theatre Collective Acrylick came to Rich Mix earlier this year as part of our Radical Ideas season with their debut show Jagged Edge, an immersive and multi-media vision of future East London. Not only did they sell out their show (requiring three extra rows of seating to fit everyone) but they also sold loads of tickets well in advance, an impressive feat for any emerging theatre company. How did they manage to generate such interest in a new collective with a totally new show? We asked them. 1) BE SOCIAL“At the start of the project, before applying to Rich Mix’s Radical Ideas, we thought it important to form a cohesive look and identity for the show - so we created a Twitter account, Facebook page and website.”2) BE VISUAL“We designed a logo and some initial images to use whenever promoting the show, so we had a strong visual association. At the end of our show we handed out posters and flyers to audience members to keep this association going.”3) REACH OUT“We set about following and interacting with organisations in the theatre world (and outside of it) whose work connected with the themes of policing, xenophobia, gentrification and resistance that made our show.”4) OFFER PERKS“Our crowdfunder successfully raised £1500 and it also generated lots of interest. It helped us to involve interested people with the production from the start. We offered perks ranging from stickers for a £5 donation, to a stage combat workshop for a £50 donation. Everyone who donated got a personalised thank you email, a shout out on social media and updates as the show progressed along - so we gathered and maintained their interest as we put the show together.”5) WIDE APPEAL IS A STRENGTH“As a multimedia show, and one that engages with current political issues, Jagged Edge lends itself to connecting with different crowds - theatre, dance, film as well as activists, political commentators and academics. We used this as a strength, contacting many organisations - community campaigns, political groups, academic, performing arts, festivals, filmmakers, comedians and historic archives to invite them to see the show, to follow our work and to give their thoughts on the production before our premiere.”6) TARGET NICHE MEDIA“To generate further interest, we connected with independent publications, like Skin Deep magazine, submitting adverts and articles about the issues our show dealt with and how this connected with their readership. This helped get word out and share more of the story we were trying to tell.”7) DOCUMENTATION“We asked some artists to capture our premiere and rehearsals and produce a trailer with reviews, pictures and video. We’ll use this to secure future performances in more venues, building more of a name for ourselves on the success we have achieved already.”Becka Hudson, Acrylick. Acrylick are performing pieces from Jagged Edge as part of a festival about displacement and gentrification at the London School of Economics this September 28-30th. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and check their website for details. Get in touch acrylick@outlook.com.
Amy Clare Tasker is the director of Home Is Where, a production which weaves headphone verbatim, music, movement and multimedia together. Amy kindly allowed us to reproduce part of her blog, where she writes about the challenges and excitement of bringing new work to the stage...Devising is done and we’re on to the next phase: shaping all these impulses, elements, and ideas into a coherent and cohesive script.Guleraana and I got together with a stack of sticky notes (one of my all-time favourite creative tools!) and made a list of the Things We Could Do: ideas of visual moments, technical possibilities, thematic concepts, character relationships… Those became magenta sticky notes: 'political context soundscape,' 'tweets from outside HQ,' 'headphone verbatim broadcast projection,' 'lighting actors with torches in blackout.'Some of those ideas have narratives intrinsically attached to them, so we started putting them together with plot points, things we knew we wanted to happen during the course of the play, and developments in character relationships.Before long, our sticky notes found their way into a rough 3-act structure, which Guleraana has sent off to the cast and creative team. Now she’s working on putting dialogue into the framework, I’m combing through our 30+ hours of verbatim interview material to choose sections to feature, Yaiza is starting to write music for the opening soundscape, and Paula is sketching out a choreography to teach the cast on our first day of rehearsal. Clarissa is creating beautiful flyers and getting the word out to audiences about the show (among about a thousand other things – producing is a hugely varied and demanding job!).In a perfect world, we’d have more time (read: funding) to develop the overall structure with the cast, layering in their impulses, new character discoveries, alternative narrative ideas, more complex technical designs, and working together to fill in the details of the big picture.  As it stands, we won’t know until we start our rehearsals at Rich Mix (in just two weeks’ time!) exactly how all the elements will all come together, and then we’ll have just 8 rehearsal days before Home Is Where takes the stage.But this is a surprising and fruitful way to make theatre, an exhilarating risk we take with our work, and I am so excited to share our hot-off-the-press play. It’s been years of development (we started interviewing Third Culture Kids in 2014) and yet it still feels 'soon' to be bringing Home Is Where to its first audience. And in some ways, this performance at Rich Mix is just the beginning: from here, we’re planning a longer run of performances in London (probably after further edits to the script, another rehearsal period, and an expansion of our design team), and eventually a tour around the UK.Book now to see Home is Where on Fri 2 Sep – and check out Guleraana’s free pre-show workshop, using performance games and inclusive discussion to delve into the themes of the play: home, culture, and belonging. The workshop is offered in partnership with HOPE not hate as part of their #MoreInCommon campaign. September 2-4 is a national Weekend of HOPE.To read the full-length version of this piece, please visit Amy's blog.
Mathieu Ajan was the winner of one of our Pitch to the Mix series. He also produced an event for our annual Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival. We asked Mathieu to write a few words about his involvement with us over the last couple of years. Are you looking to get involved in the arts or live performance? Keep an eye on our Young Creatives page and follow @RMYAmbassadors for upcoming opportunities.Rich Mix has had a massive impact on me not only as an artist but also as a person. Trying to break into the creative industry can be a rather daunting experience, especially when you don’t know where to start.My journey with Rich Mix all started 2 years ago with me randomly scrolling through my twitter and seeing the opportunity to get involved through a scheme called Pitch to the Mix.From day one Rich Mix offered me unrivaled support. I remember first walking through the doors of Rich Mix in preparation for my presentation for Pitch to the Mix, instead of the dragons' den experience I expected, I was greeted by a room of people who genuinely wanted to help and was matched with a space within Rich Mix to bring my idea to life.This initial interaction with Rich Mix led to my first ever exhibition in an amazing venue, which I wouldn’t have traditionally been able to afford. After this experience Rich Mix offered me more support through mentorship and the chance to be a part of their Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival where I was able to curate a second event in their Main Space.One of the biggest milestones in my career was this year where I was granted the opportunity to have a solo exhibition running for 30 days in Rich Mix’s upstairs gallery space. Rich Mix provided me with financial support and a dedicated team to help bring my solo exhibition to life and was always there when I needed a bit of advice or support which went a very long way.My experience with Rich Mix has had a huge impact and unlocked countless opportunities not only for myself but other emerging artists. Rich Mix to me is much more than just a building, for me it’s a place, which is defined by its people and their shared passion and commitment to supporting and celebrating emerging talent of all shapes and sizes.Mathieu Ajan, May 2016
Nov 25, 2015With the comprehensive spending review under way, we’re keeping a close eye on news sites (and twitter) to see how the arts have fared.At Rich Mix, we’ve been very well supported by Rushanara Ali, our local MP, who came in to meet us and a number of the other arts organisations who live in our building. She sent a powerful letter of advocacy to the Treasury last month in anticipation of the spending review  - have a read of it here. In it, she outlines the need for continued funding to protect 'one of the richest and most vibrant arts scenes in the world.'  We’ll be reading the small print of the Chancellor’s statement to see if he truly intends to heed the voices of those speaking on behalf of the arts. Look forward to seeing your responses once we see the statement in more detail.Jane Earl, Chief Executive

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