Talking Heads frontman David Byrne described the ‘punk aesthetic’ as being able to express yourself and produce moving, serious works with limited means, and, with the music industry today seemingly so closed off to small, unsigned bands, this DIY ethic is being adopted by more and more musicians and artists.
Grae Wall is one such musician who has embraced the punk ethic whole-heartedly, and is definitely doing it himself – as well as being a member of two local outfits, The Trailer Trash Orchestra and Grae J Wall & Los Chicos Muertos, he is also a founding member of St Albans-based micro-label and promoter Trashville, which organises gigs for local bands and releases their music to the public.
“It sounds corny but the way we’ve always operated is, if we see or play with someone we really like, we want to work more with them,“ explains Grae, 51, “we book them for gigs. It’s that inter-supportive thing which comes from the punk era – which I remember! That was very much the way things were done back then – you released your own stuff and you gig-swapped with bands you met on tour, they’d invite you to play with them in Liverpool and you’d return the favour.“
Trashville has just released a free download album via its website, The Lo-Fi Lounge Album Volume 1, which features songs from acts that have played at Trashville Lounge Nights at the now-closed Cross Kings in Kings Cross and the Torriano Bar in Kentish Town, as well as gigs in St Albans, over the past five or six years. Acts include The Knoxville Boys, featuring Watford-born Knox, Hemel Hempstead’s DodoBones, and St Albans’ Rae Kelly and The Pocket Gods.
“The album is a way of highlighting some of these great acts,“ Grae continues. “We put the album up online last week and almost straight away a promoter friend of mine in Reading got in touch and wanted to set up some gigs for Rae Kelly up there, so it would be great if the album could do that for all the bands and artists.
“If there are any bands out there who want to get in touch, we’re always interested in hearing from new acts.“