For all the myriad issues surrounding a supposed fractured local music scene, Atlanta has long been very lucky to have a number of wonderfully dedicated people promoting local music in the city. Kyle Swick, founder of the DIY booking and promotional network Irrelevant Music, is one of those champions. The ex guitarist and vocalist for Places to Hide, Swick, who now performs with emerging local acts DiCaprio and Pretty Boy, has long been an active participant and helping hand for the Atlanta underground. Formerly the main promoter for the DIY space WonderRoot, these days he books mostly at the Drunken Unicorn and 529, each excellent spaces for both tour van veterans and bands fresh off the house show circuit.
Starting tonight and continuing through Saturday, Swick is celebrating the local scene he’s helped foster by holding the first — and possibly annual — Irrelevant Music Fest 1. The festival is packed to the gills with an exclusively local roster of Atlanta and Athens bands, and the eclectic lineup is sure to have something for everyone. We spoke with Kyle via email to ask him about why he started this festival and what makes it special.
Irrelevant Music Fest has about 20 bands spread across 3 days and 2 venues, and the lineup is pretty eclectic. Is there a common thread or theme that the festival is going for?
The idea behind this festival sort of came about via the the frustration of seeing all these huge corporate festivals popping up in Atlanta, and not seeing a ton of local love on the bills. I wanted to do a fest for Atlanta music, about Atlanta music, and affordable to local music fans and artists alike. This year I really wanted to keep the bill limited to artists that I’ve worked with a lot in the past — sort of a thank you party to all the artists that have been down to start relationships with me, and continue to grow in those relationships. I love pretty much every single band that’s playing this fest, both musically, and as human beings.
Why the two venues?
I feel that both these spots are incredibly important for local music, and also exceptionally good to folks in the local music scene in general. I have a very close relationship with both venues, and they are both my favorite spots to play, attend, and book in the city. Also the fact they aren’t exclusively 21+; I wanted to be as inclusive as possible for people of all ages. Atlanta is really lucky to have both of these venues.
There are some well-known bands playing, but I also noticed a few bands I’ve never heard of. Tell me about one or two of the lesser known or newer/younger bands on the lineup and why you we’re excited to book them for the fest.
Not sure exactly which bands you’re talking about, but I’ll just pick one from each night.
Nihilist Cheerleader plays tonight at the Drunken Unicorn:
Nihilist Cheerleader is an Athens band, and one of the few bands on the fest that I don’t know personally. I’ve been digging their TRUTH or DARE EP for a while now, and I’ve still yet to see them, so I’m extra stoked that they were able to play. I hear lots of Riot Grrrl influence… somewhere in-between Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear, and modern garage punk. Very much looking forward to finally seeing this band live.
FRICK plays tomorrow at 529:
FRICK may well be the most underrated band in Atlanta. The demo they have online doesn’t do them justice by a mile. [They’re] one of the best stoner rock bands around right now, in my humble opinion. Tasteful riffs, rhythm section locked in, and plenty of verb on the vocals.
Pyramid Club plays on Saturday at 529:
Pyramid club is absolutely one of my favorite local acts. I was listening to a lot of YMO around the first time I saw them play, and was totally floored. DKA Records is a force to be reckoned with in Atlanta — Pyramid Club is DKA artists TWINS + Anticipation, and it is the best of both worlds. They are closing out the entire fest for a reason — the music is dark, the music is primitive, and it’s totally going to make you want to dance.
Tell me a little about the partnership with The Peach Coven.
I have seen The Peach Coven taking donations at a lot of shows, mostly at DIY/Art spaces. Quinn Edgar, our social media expert, actually recommended that we reach out about working with [them], and of course I was on board. I look forward to working with them more in the future. The Peach Coven are doing extraordinary things, and if you’re unfamiliar, this is what they do:
“Most shelters don’t have budgets for feminine products. Pads and tampons are some of the least donated items. Because of this many homeless women, girls, and trans men must go without these essential tools for their health and hygiene. Every month, menstruation becomes something beyond discomfort, but a time of misery. Our intention is to change that. With the support of local businesses, venues, and the amazing generosity of others, we are assembling and delivering period kits to homeless shelters in the Atlanta area. Our mission is to organize in every Georgia city and create a network of dedicated, loving people who want to reach out their hands and help those who need it most. Join us.”
Is this a one-off event or do you have plans for future iterations of Irrelevant Music Fest?
I hope everyone (artists & attendees) has a special and incredibly positive experience at the fest this year. I hope to be doing this for many years to come.