Interview: Mark Daman Thomas – From Now On Festival

Breadwoman at From Now On Festival [Photo by Adam Chard]

Quench chatted with Mark Daman Thomas, founder of Shape Records, member of psychadelic band Islet and curator of Cardiff’s experimental music festival From Now On. After it’s third year filling Chapter Arts Centre, Jack Boyce caught up with Mark to ask about his experience putting on the event.

You can read Jack’s review of From Now On Festival here

1) What is your vision for From Now On? How do you feel it fits in the current spectrum of festivals available? 

It is a joy to produce a festival where people can explore music, sound and art from outside of the mainstream. All of the artists involved are chosen for the leftfield approach to song writing and/or performing.

2) From Now On has been running for three consecutive years now, what has changed or what have you learned from this experience? 

The more we do it the more we realise that audiences want to be challenged and surprised. We had quite a few more regular-ish bands in 2015 and we had a feedback that people wanted stuff to be more out there – which is great from our perspective because that’s how we like it!

3) How much have the facilities at Chapter affected the festival? I don’t feel like there are many festivals that could provide the right setting for the performances of certain acts like Mark Lyken, L’Ocelle Mare or Synthfonia Cymru.

Yes, you are totally right there. Chapter is a wonderful place and the staff there have major attention to detail regarding the lighting and atmosphere. The spaces are normally used for theatre so they have a totally different approach to the artists and the audiences. We used the cinema more this year as well. It is just brilliant to know you can book something really strange and Chapter go out of their way to make sure it works.

4) The lineup is quite small in terms of popularity of acts, but you managed to land Julia Holter this year (who is a huge name). Do you feel the need to get a big name to bring people in? 

Julia Holter is someone we have been wanting to bring in since we started the festival – she is the perfect From Now On artist to us. It definitely helped us reach more people this year but we’re not really thinking about big names or headliners.

5) Did you have a ratio in mind of how many local acts you want at the festival compared to acts from further away in the UK, or even abroad? 

There is no ratio – we aim to curate a line up of local, UK and international artists who take risks and create and perform music that is individual and thought provoking. 

Read more of Jack’s work here