Kid Acne Leadmill Interview
In 35 years The Leadmill has seen its fair share of musical legends grace its stage. From Amy Winehouse to Fat White Family, Primal Scream, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and countless more, the venue has become a rite of passage for new bands to play and is planted firmly in the memories of some of the greats who cut their teeth there. In recognition of this rich heritage, The Leadmill have commissioned Ed Bradbury, AKA Kid Acne, to doodle up the entrance way with the names and lyrics of past performers. We had a chat with Leadmill Brand Manager Elyse Peacock about the collaboration and the future of The Leadmill, and caught up with Kid Acne to find out more about his current projects.
Why did you decide to decorate the entrance to The Leadmill in this way?
Elyse: I contacted Ed because we’d had Pete Fowler do the doors outside earlier in the year. The plan is to work our way into The Leadmill using various different artists. They won’t all be local but they will all have a slight music link, whether they’ve worked with artists before (as Pete did with Super Furry Animals) or produce music themselves.
Elyse: We want to get art back into The Leadmill, that’s kind of why it opened in the first place – it was a home for the creative folk of Sheffield. We’re going for absolutely everything from comedy to screenings of old films – classic stuff – and we’ve got some creative performances pencilled in too. Turning 35 has made us think about what we used to be, and we need to look at the next chapter. We want it to be more than just a music and club night venue. It’s time to get back to what we were when we started.
Kid Acne: I’m just trying to carry on the whole of the theme of what Pete’s done on the doorway, so as you get inside you get this whole list of lyrics and bands that have played here. A journey into the club, that’s the idea. As you’re queueing to get your tickets you can have a look and say, ‘oh I was there, I remember that’ and engage in the whole experience from the outside to the in.
Kid Acne: I’m working through this list of everyone who has ever played here and trying to incorporate as many as possible.
Elyse: It was a bit of a challenge creating the list because obviously we haven’t got a fixed record of all of the bands in the ‘80s and ‘90s. From the 2000s we have them all online so that was easy to pull off, but the old ones were hard to search for. Then we asked people on Twitter to submit their favourite lyrics.
Kid Acne: Well it felt like a lot to be honest! I started making records when I was a teenager, it was purely DIY, manufacturing it ourselves, screen printing the sleeves and distributing it all ourselves. Over the years it kept going up and up in numbers and I just felt like it was nice to do something that was back to basics, back to the plan where it was super limited and all handmade. Eventually I ended up with a record deal and it wasn’t limited anymore, and then I stopped making music altogether for a while. So this was like going back to the start. Mongrels was something we started as teenagers and then I started doing Kid Acne as an artist and had a deal with EMI for a while.
I just wanted to go back to making music with my friends again and do it all DIY. So 300 felt like the right amount and they’re going out, so that’s cool. We’ve got a 7” at Christmas and then an album in the new year, there might be 500 copies of that.
But from past experience, having made thousands of copies, sometimes they just sit there in boxes. So we made it limited, made it desirable and if we have to repress it, then we will. It’s a more sensible route.
Yeah I’m a lot more into this stuff than some of my other to be honest. The reason we decided to make this in the first place is because we found a bunch of old demos and half-finished material from when I did the last album, in 2005-2006. I felt like a lot of the stuff we didn’t release actually sounded better than some of the stuff that we did! We thought it had stood the test of time better so we’ve revisited it and then that turned into a whole body of work.
When you do art or music or any kind of creative thing it’s really easy to get distracted by what other people want you to do, pushing you in a certain direction. It’s hard work when you’ve got a record label and management. It’s quite distracting. So it’s nice to go back to it in this way, it’s what do I want to do.
Yeah I like to do a lot of different things; it’s sometimes to my detriment, as I spread myself a bit too thin sometimes. I like printing, painting and making music and as much as possible I want to continue moving those things forward. The last couple of years I’ve been focusing on the music so I haven’t been painting much outdoors. There’s only so much time that you’ve got and I think if you want to do something well you’ve got to focus on one thing as much as possible. But there’s always something lying dormant that will come into focus when the other thing goes back to being dormant.
You can buy Mongrels’ ‘Low Budget High Concept’ from www.kidacne.com and you can catch his Leadmill art work the next time you’re on your way in!