The Sunday Tribune talked to Anthony Chalmers about the vibrant series of music events known as Baba Yaga’s Hut. He’s the modest head honcho and below he answers a few question about the club and his good self.
TST: What is Baba Yaga’s Hut? Nights, days, events, radio . . . ?
AC: Concert promoter based out of Corsica Studios in Elephant and Castle but doing shows all over London.
Radio and any extra’s just about getting more people down to shows and spreading the word!
TST: Do you have a philosophy? What do you want to be involved in musicwise and why? Do you think that your own taste in music is reflected in the club?
AC: Think my basic philosophy is that DIY doesn’t mean doing it shit. Doing it in an unprofessional, budget fashion. It means doing it’s yourself, on your own terms in the way that you want it to be done.
I want to be involved with musicians and bands that I enjoy, want to support and doing it in a manner which makes them feel like they are being treated well and the band & audience has an excellent concert experience.
My own taste is certainly a big factor although as we have expanded I have had to have a bit of leeway here and there on that.
TST: Where is Baba Yaga’s Hut based right now for live gigs? What other venues do you use or have used? What’s your thoughts on the venue situation for bands in London right now?
AC: We are based in Corsica Studios. Baba Yaga’s Hut was started by Adrian Jones & Amanda Moss the owners of the club. They brought me in 2013 and I’v been running things since.
Well just looking through our upcoming shows we have gigs at Cafe Oto, The Lexington, Bush Hall, Studio 9294, Round Chapel, Shacklewell Arms, Dingwalls, Corsica Studios, Village Underground… Just to name a few that we have coming up in the next couple months.
London is a good place for venues I think. Is loads of great ones. We have lost some special ones but gained some great ones too.
I think the loss of venues was felt much more keenly in smaller towns and cities that don’t have the amount of people wanting to go to shows that we have.
TST: You’re really a name in alternative, experimental, international and new sounds. Can you pick from the wealth that is on offer a couple of upcoming acts worthy of a special mention and describe why they are interesting. Be interesting to hear about two touring acts and two homegrown ones from London.
AC: Well while I am writing this I have Sarathy Korwar’s new album More Arriving on. It’s definitely one of my favourites of the year. He’s a London based Indian exploring what that means to him musically & politically. I’m a huge fan and been working with him since the launch of his first record.
Nothing to do with Baba Yaga’s Hut but I’v been utterly loving the Spaza album on Mushroom Half Hour Records. A brilliant slice of Avant-Jazz from Johannesburg.
I have long thought that the best band in London were Tomaga and haven’t been disabused of that idea. They are extremely profilic but their latest release is an collaboration with French composer and instrument builder Pierre Bastien.
Then a personal favourite over the last couple of years has been Belgian punks Cocaine Piss. They never fail to put a massive smile on my face.
TST: Can you tell me some more about yourself. Where you are from, your personal journey to this point?
AC: Sure, I’m 35, born in North London. Parents moved out of London when I was a kid and grew up in Sussex about an hour south of London.
I always did self-employed type jobs, builder, decorator, chef etc. I left school young and didn’t do any further education.
I ended up running a small catering company with a friend and that did well. I played in bands and went to shows and decided that I was going to start promoting some shows. First gig I did was April 2008. Went full time in July 2008 and I haven’t done anything else apart from promote shows since!
My first night was God Don’t Like It. That went from 2008 – 2012 before folding. Then I was booking the small venue Power Lunches, working with Catch in Shoreditch and doing some other musical bits and bobs, promoting a few shows here and there.
Then Adrian & Amanda got be into Baba Yaga’s Hut and things been going extremely well ever since!!
TST: How can we help Baba Yaga’s Hut be even more of a success. We really value it as part of our music and artistic lives so wanted to say thank you for the hard work. But what can we do for you to keep it going better and stronger?
AC: That’s really kind of you thanks. Basically it’s all of you guys that keep this going! As long as people keep coming to shows then we will still be doing it. Keep coming to gigs, spreading the word and being in such great bands!
TST: Finally, any labels that you’d like to recommend? Music labels are really important as clubs where you can discover music. That’s how I see them a bit. Not about money or business but about like-eared people on adventures together. So who would you tip who is operating right now?
AC: Well the labels we work with the most of the top of my head are Rocket Recordings, Riot Season, Hominid Sounds, Erased Tapes, The Leaf Label, Blank Editions, Hands in the Dark, Editions Mego. That’s a few there anyway!
I can also highly recommend my podcast
We a much deeper dive into the best new music and record labels completely outside of any gig promoters.
TST: Thanks so much and best of luck with the Autumn programme of events and beyond. Have you got a final tip of something to see/hear?
AC: Well from Oct 28th – Nov 2nd we have the maddest week of any gigs I’v done by a mile with 8 shows in 7 days and 5 of them over 600 odd capacity. So would love it if everyone came down to some Bohren & der Club of Gore, Snapped Ankles, Colin Stetson and the rest but I already know that you are!