Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Q&A with David Bash of the IPO

Although I dont mean to turn the Seattle Powerpop Blog into a non-stop promotional machine for the International Pop Overthrow, I thought it would be interesting to throw some questions about the IPO Seattle to main guy David Bash. Here's our email conversation in its entirety.

Seattle Powerpop Blog (SPB): IPO has been happening for almost a decade. What's different now from when you started? Anything better or worse, in your eyes? What's changed?

David Bash (DB): I guess the main thing that's different is that IPO has expanded to several cities since we first started. From 1998-2001 we did the festival exclusively in my home base of Los Angeles, but at a panel conference in 2001 several bands who had been travelling a long way to come to LA for IPO asked that I take the festival on the road. I had thought about doing it for awhile, but wasn't sure we were ready. The bands' enthusiam and reassurance convinced me to take a chance. I'm glad I did!

SPB: What's the experience like moving the event to different cities? How many cities has it been in total?

DB: As of now we're doing IPO in nine citiesl: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Boston, Nashville, Seattle, Vancouver, and Liverpool, UK. The experience has been very positive, and each city has its own scene and vibe, which adds to the variety.

SPB: What do you consider when picking a town to host an IPO?

DB: First and formost, the city has to have a strong local pop scene. I wouldn't have a problem with doing the festival in a city that didn't necessarily have a strong scene, but, like it or not, the reality is the shows must be able to draw a crowd sufficient to ensure that the venues will have us back next year. The only way this would be possible is if there are enough local bands on a bill.

SPB: This is the first year it's been held in Seattle. How did you go about finding the bands for the four nights? How many of them have you seen in person versus hearing recordings?

DB: Many of the bands at IPO Seattle were found on myspace, which has been a godsend! Others were bands with which I had been familiar through hearing their CDs. I haven't seen too many of the bands play, but we've had a few of them at previous IPOs.

SPB: Anything unique about hosting IPO in Seattle?

DB: I'm sure there will be something very unique, but I won't really know until the festival is over. However, it is certainly interesting for me to hold the festival in the city that has been traditionally known as the Mecca of
Grunge. I still get people asking me if there are any good pop bands in Seattle, as they assume that grunge is still happening there! I get similar queries about Nashville, with "country" being substituted in that sentence for "grunge". Stereotypes always die hard, but hopefully IPOs presence in Seattle will help to eradicate this.

SPB: What's your perspective on the state of powerpop in general and in the Northwest specifically?

DB: With the proliferation of home recording devices and various avenues for exposure on the internet, there are more powerpop bands now than there ever have been. Of course, there is good and bad in that: good in that there are more capable bands than at any time in music history, and bad in that there are more incapable bands than at any time in music history! The northwest has a healthy powerpop scene, but nothing will beat the scene in the Chicago area, which has traditionally been home to the best and most prolific power pop.

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