Banshee Collective are a group that came together out of a need to for alternative. Comprised of Holly Farrell, Liam Buckley, Caitlin Dempsey and Gillian Adamson, they curated their first event last August, undercurrents, featuring outliers in the art, live music and wholesome feelings scenes. They are back to work for 2018, and started by roasting this interviewer about not coming to the August event. Jeez.
I must admit, I have another, hidden agenda in interviewing Banshee – the Mrs. is involved and I'm trying to claw my way back into the good books – Christmas has left me a little bit chubby.
What is Banshee?
C: I give the same spiel every time, it gets boring!
Well, change it up! From the outside it looks like a girl's club with lots of girls in it…
G: Lots of girls and Liam.
C: Girls and Liam, the most beautiful boy in Newcastle.
G: Should I answer this question properly?
G: Banshee is – as much as I hate calling it a ‘creative collective’ – it is a creative collective. It's a little group of us who like putting on art and music events and creating equal opportunities for local artists and musicians, with a strong focus on gender and cultural diversity. We try to choose a broad range of artists and musicians to create a more diverse event. This event we're organising at the Cambridge on February 2nd has Morgana Osaki, Dalmacia, Moonsign and Milkman's Daughter (aka Sarah Sandford). It's a big mix.
So you sort of pick someone out of a lot of different cliques?
C: Yeah. And I think we're mindful of someone like Milkman's Daughter (Sarah), who put a track up on Soundcloud last year and I think that's the first time she's ever put any content out there, and then she only started playing gigs in 2017. We're trying to make sure we're not slogging people who find it really easy to get gigs and are already well-connected and know how to book shows etc. I think we felt the same about Undercurrents (Banshee's first event held in August 2017); we had musicians who hadn't played as many gigs and artists who hadn't exhibited before.
You said you have a strong focus on gender diversity. Are your events predominantly non-male?
C: When we started, we said we were committed to having lineups that were at least 50% non-male, which is something that we said we'll stick to throughout every event. I think we want to have events that are predominantly non-male just because we think that affirmative action is important, and that's the only way we're going to change the culture and create social change, or have people recognise how important it is to book non-male acts.
Kind of like reaching out from what's easy? Like, you see Dune Rats playing every year and every festival where a non-male act could take that spot for once.
G: Yeah. So really what we're trying to say is that we're the opposite of Dune Rats. That's what we're trying to do.
C: Next time we organise Falls Festival, we shan't book them.
Camp Cope on the big stage too.
So people are going to pick this up on February 1st and your event is February 2nd, but there's other events coming up, right?
C: We've got some secrets for March.
H: Yeah, we've got secrets.
C: There are a couple of events in the works at the moment, so you'll have to be on the lookout for them throughout Feb/March.
But this is your first event since Undercurrents in August last year?
G: Yeah, which you weren't there for, Ryan.
C: Where were you?
G: You were in Sawtell or something?
Yeah, with the Owls. Sorry.
H: You're dead to me, Ryan. Put that on the record.
So Feb 2nd – it's locked in. But it's not just a gig, is it?
C: Ryan, it's so much more than a gig.
G: Because we've got four bands playing and two visual artists who are doing projections. We've got Bleck, who is really talented and did a piece for Undercurrents, and we've also got Mr Josh Bailey from the Owls, who's been producing a lot of video content lately that we liked. So we told the artists, if they wanted, to listen to the bands who will be playing that night to influence their works and create something that is kind of reflective of what's being played. So it goes into one big melting pot and creates a big beautiful event.
OK, last question. Are you aware that the Wickham Chicken shirt (Banshee's T-shirt collab with Newcastle Mirage) is very popular?
H: Is it?
It's blowing up. There's no more mediums or smalls left.
C: No! I really wanted one. He's an icon, that chicken. Well, I guess he's a rooster, not a chicken.
Are you aware that you got that wrong and he is in fact a rooster?
G: Wickham and rooster don't rhyme, Ryan. He's a chicken for this purpose.
If you say so.