Thanks so much to my favourite club promoter around, Matthew Rimell for this interview. Right now, TODAY, I don’t think there’s any better indiepop club around than Big Pink Cake. Matthew and Heather (Big Pink Cake) have been going for some time now, seen many other clubs pop up and then disappear, but they keep going strong. I still remember the first time I met Matthew, a long time ago, in Hamburg for a our friend Nana’s birthday party. We both played tunes, spinned the classics and the should-be-classics, and danced until the next day. Fantastic times. An exquisite taste, and true to his politics, Matthew, and his Big Pink Cake, deserve the recognition of the whole indiepop community.
++ First questions first, how did you two meet?
We met at school during music lessons and it evolved into a friendship with a shared feeling of stuff that was going on at the time
++ And how did you get into indiepop?
Well I was really influenced by my older brothers record collection, stuff like early Felt, Postcard Records, stuff on 4AD and Factory stuff jumped out at me. But then somewhere during early 1985 a band called The Jesus and Marychain grapped my attention which led to me wanting to know more about Creation records.
++ So Big Pink Cake. What made you start the club night? What is the manifesto? 🙂
Partly because no one at that time seemed to be talking or doing anything to celebrate the importance of C86. The music around that time led to so many special memories and I thought it was a shame that it wasn’t being seen as something very significant..as I think it really really was. We had a chat as friends do in a pub, on the bus home came up with a few names that seemed right, but Big Pink Cake seemed perfect in many ways..it still does. The manifesto is simple, its about celebrating indie pop and its relations with the kind of passion that we think it deserves. Big Pink Cake is inclusive and will always be so. Its about having a positive and friendly attitude…we definitely don’t do egos.
++ When naming your club night what other songs were options for the name? Or was it a straightforward decision?
Well looking at the original notebook the other choices were Completely and Utterly or the Only Fun in Town, Big Pink Cake seemed to say more about us really and we totally identified with it massively, aesthetically and I guess politically too.
++ Back in the 80s I’d assume you were going to lots of clubs. Which were your favourites? And how much influence of those nights is there on Big Pink Cake?
Well The Tropic was a massive influence on us I guess as we used to go together, the sticky floor was a bit gross but it really was spectacular. The Western Star Domino Club was special and quite a unique little place. I think the biggest influence on me was the attitude, it was refreshingly optimistic…which you certainly did not get with other very prominent sub cultures at the time. It was definately inspiring to be around something that felt fresh and different and weirdly comforting that some people were really really not getting it at all! that kind of made it all the more special.
++ Are many of your friends from back then not into indiepop any more? Why do you think this has happened?
I don’t have many friends that are still into indie pop that are were into it then. Around 1985-87 Heather and I would go to The Tropic and we were the youngest ones there! Most of the people there were university students or older, we hadn’t even taken our O levels yet. But the people I did meet a little bit later on got a bit fed up with indie pop and became mods or more influenced by the 60s thing, or started to listen to entirely different music altogether.
++ And so, what have kept you into indiepop and doing it for the kids?
I don’t know. Its what a person references I suppose a feeling of what has really shaped you and what you identify with. For me the indie pop stuff that I bought back then is as fresh and inspiring as it was when I was 15 or 16. The idea of independent pop being presented as something so special and with the love, care and attention to the whole package is just beyond words really, its an example of how things could and should be.
++ Matthew, you’ve DJed in many countries and in many cities. Do you have a favourite one so far? What crowd has surprised you the most and why?
I have DJed in lots places and all of them have been a complete joy and honour to play in. I loved the Hamburg P!O!P! fest in 2009 that was so special…I couldn’t help myself and tried to play indie pop with punk and people seemed to like it (sorry Pete from Horowitz, if I sort of took over.) Sometimes I can get a bit possessed by the proceedings…but Daniel from So Tough So Cute was a massive inspiration in just going for it and throwing yourself completely and utterly into the music. Crowds that surprise me is a difficult one, one thing you learn I think whilst DJing is never assume anything, this will work or this won’t work etc, it really is about creating an atmosphere and going with it and never take people for granted.
++ What about the Big Pink Cake Weekenders. You just did one in July, right? How different are they from a regular Big Pink Cake night? Are they easy to organize having so many bands?
The weekenders are hard work and Heather and I are nail biting the whole time especially with the lead up, with things happening here and things not going quite to plan there. We do love it though, the bands that play are always great, the people, the links other people make, its totally worth it. We have learned lots and lots from it, basically to relax a bit more as opposed to having a bit of a nervous breakdown, it gets easier with each one simply because you’ve done it before and you relax into it better.
++ From club night, to a label. How has your experience running a label been so far?
Well we’re starting off quite small and that’s what we want to do. We want to put on bands that we’re passionate about and do them the justice that they deserve. We see it as a bit of a natural progression really,it certainly wasn’t our intention but we love the bands that we put on and to do something extra for them is all the more worthwhile.
++ First release was the “Piece of Cake” compilation that included bands that had played in your club. By now many more bands have played in Big Pink Cake. Is there any plan to do a second volume?
Yep, one is in the pipeline, but its hard organising a compilation, people think they have to record something new, or we haven’t done anything for a while and so you have to reexplain it and it can take forever…but we’re on the case.
++ And speaking of which, what have been the best gigs you’ve experienced at Big Pink Cake?
Too many to mention really, I think one that sticks out for me was seeing Francois And the Atlas Mountains perform at The Avon Combined Services club that was just so magnificent, organic and completely spellbinding, seeing Gregory Webster do an acoustic set was pretty amazing, Pocketbooks at The Cube, The Wendy Darlings at The Cube cinema with films as a backdrop was pretty special. Too many really I could go on and on.
++ Second release is the “Best Of” The Groove Farm. They are from Bristol, just like you. So I want to ask how important is this band is for you as well as for your town? And which are your favourite songs by them?
Actually I might be wrong but I think The Groove Farm are from Plymouth, they moved up to Bristol during 1985, I might be wrong though. The Groove Farm is a massively important band for Heather and I. It was the first band that Heather and I were really really passionate about together and totally loved! So for us to put out the cd was like a dream come true, I couldn’t believe it when it was happening, it was a sort of I’d better pinch myself moment. My favourite songs by the Groove Farm are ‘Couldn’t Get to Sleep, ‘Corrupt,’ and ‘It Always Rains On Sundays.’ Bristol well mixed feelings really, its nice to go home, but as you well know I don’t live there! Most people are surprised to see me at gigs in London and think that I’ve come up especially. Bristol is where I grew up and my family are all still there…but really its a bit too small for me, I like living in the busyness of London.
++ Is there more plans to release more old gems from Bristol?
Yep, The Kick Inside have got a release coming out as does Jonny Collins of Modesty Blaise, but we don’t want to keep it Bristolcentric as that would be a bit daft in our eyes
++ And the last release so far, the brand new Garlands 7″. One of the best singles this year for sure. I can go on and on why I love this band, but I want you to tell me why do YOU love it? And what can people expect from this single?
The Garlands are one of the most important bands right now. Perfect perfect POP, a total rush of sheer joyous energy, Christin’s voice is just so wonderful and angelic. They remind me of all the reason’s why I love indie pop, the songs are up there with the best of them. From the single you can expect two songs that will capture, stir and melt your heart and leave you wanting more and more, all dazzled by the sheer beauty of it all.
++ So on the label side, what are you bringing to all of us in the near future?
We have some surprises in store, any more would be spilling the beans…and we can’t and we won’t, but yes we’re really excited…we can only hope you will too.
++ Let’s talk a bit about yourselves. When you are not doing Big Pink Cake related stuff, what other hobbies or interests do you do?
Well I’m in a band called The Fireworks, that’s quite new at the moment and we’re only into our 4th gig, I love to read when I can, mainly philosophy or stuff with a philosophical perspective that might be a bit challenging or make me think about why stuff works or why people think in specific ways. I really love 60s glass and have a few prized possessions, I also love doing nothing, my busy day job sees to that pursuit very well.
++ And what about the obvious question, can you bake a cake?
I used to make cakes every Saturday when I was about 14…but I’m probably no good at it now…I love cooking though…cakes as ace…I can bake a pretty good flapjack, thats because they’re easy.
++ Last question, so, club, label, when are you writing the Big Pink Cake fanzine?
I’d love to but I know I’d sound like Matt Haynes almost immediately, the ‘Are You Scared To Get Happy?’ fanzines were so amazing and so passionate that…well I think I would just come across as too passionate and worry if I’d embarrass myself, but then I think just get on with IT!!! Looking at fanzines though, they do seriuosly take a long time to do, especially if you want to do it well, art work that says it right, colour of words that expresses it in the right way…I’d love to you’ve planted a seed maybe…who knows maybe one day.
++ Thanks again Matthew, anything else you’d like to add?
Just to say a big massive thank you to all the amazing and fantastic people that we’ve met so far along the journey so far, it really has been brilliant and one thing that Heather and I say constantly is how wonderful it is to meet so many great people within the world of indie pop that make your heart go ‘awww’ and give you a special feeling of being humbled by peoples loveliness.
Razorcuts – Big Pink Cake