Q&A: Ende Tymes Fest Organizer Bob Bellerue On The Apocalypse And The Evolution Of Noise
It's possible nobody told you, but the world will come to an abrupt, ear-rupturing end this weekend. If you're planning to be anywhere near Brooklyn, you'll probably hear it before you feel it; blame underground musician, teacher, and author Bob Bellerue, who's bringing the Ende Tymes Festival of Noise and Experimental Liberation to Silent Barn and Outpost tonight and runs through Sunday.
Or just blame the miscreants he's brought along with him: mold-spore drone farmers Hex Breaker Quintet; fluid-obsessed upstarts Yellow Tears; serrated sonic strobe spewer Kyle Clyde; wall-noise slammers Work/Death; avant legend Phill Noblock; tinnitus crusaders Haters. (Also poised to crack foundations and wreck equilibriums: Fatale, Twisty Car, Rust Worship,Cowards, Al Margolis, Mike Shiflet, and Vertonen. Some of these names are unfamiliar to Sound of the City, too, but in this particular scene ignorance often quickly gives way to psychotic bliss. YouTube is your friend.) In an email interview earlier this month, Bellerue clued Sound of the City in on Ende Tymes' genesis, how to launch a big-city festival, and how there's no need to anticipate the end of the world because it's already happening.
The first thought one comes away with after perusing your website: damn, this guy has organized and performed at a ton of festivals. So my first question is this: what are the key things to consider when curating, coordinating, and executing a massive underground music/cultural festival in New York City?
The main unifying element in creating this fest was my own selfish desire to bring together friends and respected colleagues, and have a great time listening to awesome music & watching amazing video art/movies. That's the only reason to ever do anything, especially when there is no money involved. Festivals sink when there is a concerted effort to bring in performers for financial reasons"Well, I don't care much for them, but they will bring in a crowd"rather than for desire of great experiences and spreading the dharma of ecstatic sub-garde revelatory art creation.
So it began as a series of questions: Why not? What venue do I know who might want to put this thing on with no guarantee that we'll sell a million beers?
If you arrange things well, the ball is rolling before you ask anyone to play. All I had to say was "I'm doing a fest, you want to play?" and nearly universally the answer was, "Fuck yeah, I'm there." The ship is on the water, the people are all on board, and all I had to do was give it a little push to send it on its way. That's the beauty of the noise scene: no guarantees, no riders, no negotiation, no hotel rooms, just pure love of good times. I am lucky in that I have a lot of friends who are great performers, and I do my best to run good shows that stay on schedule and don't fall apart with drama, disorganization, politics, bad art, bad sound, etc. I'm in awe of people who pull off killer fests with real funding, but I'm happy that i don't have to let that hinder my fest, thanks to the enthusiasm of the artists to go thousands of miles in some cases to rock my world.
Kyle Clyde performs at Silent Barn Saturday at 1:20 a.m.
Tell me a little about Ende Tymes as a unifying concept, about its genesis.
I don't share an interest in death and despair and negativity that you see in some of the noise scene, but I'm not afraid of monumental change which is happening around us, even though I wish as a species we could limit our impact on the environment. With the end of the Mayan calendar approaching, the problems in Japan, Chile, New Zealand, and Iceland, the financial crises, the failed rapture, it just seemed useful to remind ourselves that no matter what epoch we live in, we always have to be prepared for the end of our time, whatever, whenever, and wherever that is, and we need to liberate ourselves from attachment to comfort & security & traditional ways of thinking.
How this relates to noise I don't know, because when the apocalypse comes we'll need a lot of hamsters to power the PA. We need to shift gears to move forward, we need to reinvent ourselves as a civilization. But capitalist systems don't like to change the power structures that benefit them, so I'm not hopeful it will be an easy process. People do seem to be waking up and getting the picture of what is going wrong, even though we also don't want to give up our way of life with all the comforts of year-round tomatoes. So, if anything, it's a name that inspires me to think of how to end these nasty dirty stinking times that we live in, which I and all of my friends help perpetuate in some way, and move forward to new times where we can live within our means and not starve the planet of resources so we can have a new phone every month.