Paul Edwards took a break from selling t-shirts and doing beer bongs to talk to us after a sold out Front Bottoms show in Nottingham. Paul puts on house shows at Rathaus (previously at Number 3), helps to run Cats? Aye! Records and helps out with WrongWayRound promotions in Southampton. We asked him about how the Southampton scene, house shows, getting involved and touring with The Front Bottoms.
So how did you start out in Southampton?
Jay Cavalier (of Young Attenborough) lived at a house that we called Number 3. I was living down the street with my girlfriend, now fiancé, Kerry and we were all really good friends collectively. Jay started doing house shows just to test the water with Great Cynics and that went really well. We did a couple more and then Kerry and I moved into the house. I was so into it and it was doing really well so we started doing one a month at the minimum for around 2 years. It was kind of constant so we got this scene of people who would just come to house shows and donate enough for use to be able to pay the bands and from that we got a reputation. It was kind of the same thing as the Homestead, which was a house that had a very similar sort of vibe, and it was incredibly successful. A lot of people that wouldn’t normally pay to go see bands loved it and from that they started coming to more shows.
Do you think the Homestead had a big influence on you?
I went to two house shows at the Homestead, Sundowner and Bomb the Music Industry! I remember thinking to myself that if I could ever do a show like this that would be incredible. We had to move out of Number 3 so we found another house that is suitable for house shows which is how Rathaus started. So Rathaus is just picking up where Number 3 left off.
What are the best 3 shows you’ve had at Rathaus?
The first one we did was Young Attenborough, that was nuts. Another really good one was Throwing Stuff from Manchester who are a bunch of my friends and so much fun to see live with Boston Manor who are a really cool sort of emo crossover band. And the third, very recently, we did Bear Trade, Giles from Great Cynics, Catherine McLean and Bloodbust. Those three shows were insane.
What advice do you have for people looking to put on house shows?
First of all, you need to test out the scene a little bit. I would recommend doing it on a Sunday or like in the middle of the day as a matinee show so that if stuff starts getting weird you’ve got enough time to do some damage control before you start annoying your neighbours. The way we do house shows is that we have 3 real rules (we have 5 rules but 3 real ones): don’t be a dick, respect our house and donate to the bands. With a house show you feel like you’re going to a free show but the people who run house shows can’t afford to keep doing them and bands will stop playing so people aren’t gonna come. When we put on one, basically someone will go out and buy enough food to cook for everyone in the band and the house which will normally amount to about £10. Anyone that comes to play the house already knows that they’re going to get a donation and the donation could be £50 or it could be a tenner – but they don’t have the expectation of making a lot of money.
How did you get involved with WrongWayRound?
Ricky is a really good friend of mine. We actually met because he was wearing a Lawrence Arms shirt at an old club in Southampton. We started talking and I used to shows when I was 15/16 at The Joiners, I used to just put on my friends’ bands so I had a little bit of experience. We realised we had the same taste in music and we both had a bit of background so he invited me into his inner circle. Basically, he only ever used to do it on his own and now, well, he does all the work still [laughs]. Basically my job is to do whatever Ricky needs doing when he’s doing other stuff. I do a lot of artist liaison I guess because Ricky is running around making sure that everything with the show is fine so I just kind of flirt with the bands.
For people trying to get involved in the DIY scene through playing or putting on shows, what are your words of wisdom?
Honestly, just do it! If you wanna start a band, start a band. If you wanna get involved with something then just go for it.
So, finally, how has touring with the Front Bottoms been?
I met the Front Bottoms because Ricky did a show and I got really friendly with Brian and Mat. After that they let me do their merch. Honestly, it’s amazing! I get to travel round the country with my friends and see my friends all over the place. Yeah, it’s always so much fun. I love it.
You can keep up with the Southampton scene by adding WrongWayRound on Facebook. They will be putting on WTFest 5 next month with a bunch of great bands, including SYS favourites The Menzingers and Andrew Jackson Jihad. You can check out the event and full line up here.