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Q&A With Bernard Butler – Tipping Point Live 2019

Tipping Point is thrilled to welcome Bernard Butler as a Curator for this year's Tipping Point Live Festival. Check out the Q&A we did with him...

  1. What excites you about supporting an event showcasing the best new music in the North East and wider North?

I am excited to be trying a songwriting experiment to a live audience and attempting this for the first time in Newcastle. I have worked with young people from all over the world in this way as a closed workshop collaboration. This will be the first time I have tried it to a live audience and I am excited to meet my collaborators, young people I will have never met before or whose music I will not know. We all come at this with no pedigree and no history. It will be a largely spontaneous 90 minute journey, setting questions and challenges in front of the writers, and posing the group a set of “what-if?”s around the song arrangement. Creativity has been blessed by the infinite possibilities of technology, but what interests me most is what we can do with our limitations, our mistakes, and our human interaction. Creativity so often overlooks these powerful factors in the modern world. I will also be curious to see how an audience responds to the crude methods of creativity that make up a song arrangement.

  1. How important do you feel festivals like this are for the development of artists?

Musicians need to get out of their bedrooms and heads out of their laptops to really gauge where they are as artists and as people. There is no better instant source of feedback than throwing yourself to an audience in a performance setting. Even if you rely entirely on backing tracks, you are still a performer the moment you enter a stage and this changes your perspective and presents you with new possibilities. A community run event such as this, focussed on your city brings a welcoming atmosphere rather than a corporate, global affair based around brands. The people running this event are music people and thrive off showcasing their community art.

  1. Do you have any fond memories of the North East 

I ran the Great North Run a few years back which I absolutely loved. Memories? Only in the North East do you have somebody standing at the edge of mile 14 with a tray of pints and custard creams. Turning on the stark charcoal grey winds of South Shields was quite a moment! I have had several nights at The Cluny so I know its veggie burger very well. I also had a wonderful time working with Frankie & The Heartstrings, rehearsing with them in Sunderland, recording at Blast in Newcastle, drinking with them in The Cluny, running along the river every morning, and of course playing in the Pop Recs store in Sunderland with Field Music, such a credit to the individuals for their achievements there. I had a lot of great times with them, made lots of friends, and now always jump at the chance to return.

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