International Noise Conference

Published on January 29th, 2014

inc_116Of the myriad anomalous art and music events that call Miami home, the International Noise Conference is a curiosity with little in the way of peers. The event has developed over the past eleven years into a gluttonous feast of avant noise, harsh sonic environments, and various spectacles of art and sound that can be as oppressive as they are encompassing. For sonic masochists with an open mind, a continence for pain, or anyone with a desire to experience something momentary and singular, the INC is a pinnacle event that boasts an overwhelming wealth of unique performances that span the range from grinding hardcore to description defying acts of aural violence and sonic manipulation.

For those uninitiated to the concept of noise performance or noise music, the form (which has no actual form) provides a final frontier for experimental music, and returns music back to a primordial, visceral, animalistic experience. Generally improvised, the INC’s rules are minimal and there to keep the human element as intact as possible, limiting performances to under fifteen minutes and barring the use of laptops to aid in the mayhem.

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Housed at the only suitable locale for such depraved acts of musical degradation, Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti, the ritual has expanded to a 5 day event for its 2014 iteration, thanks in part to a grant received by INC founder and curator, Frank “Rat Bastard” Falestra, who was awarded the funding after winning the Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge. Aside from the funding, the grant has also provided the International Noise Conference with a genuinely deserved dose of recognition by Miami’s straight-laced arts community.

Falestra is considered one of noise music’s true champions, an elder statesmen of the form with an international presence that betrays the always approachable local’s demeanor. We spoke with Falestra in preparation for what promises to be the most exciting International Noise Conference yet.

PH: It’s a serious undertaking to put together a festival of this size. What compels you to continue doing it?Rat: This would be the 11th year and there are so many great musicians that want to come down and do it! They’re all coming down, I’ve got 140 artists! A lot of locals have gotten involved in the program, so we had to add another night of locals. We’ve got three nights of local bands, one night of basically state bands, and the last night is the national and international groups.

PH: How difficult is it to arrange and handle 140 artists?
Rat: Not difficult at all. I know who will come down and there’s about 20 artists, I’m not sure — they’ve got kids or they’re working — they may drop. I’ll post most of the out of town bands and I usually get most of them — I’d say 80%. They come back every year, they always do different stuff. They’re like veterans at this point. Solid. They’re very creative people and that’s what part of this game is.

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PH: As a fan of noise music and a champion of the art, what performances are you excited for this year?
Rat: I always look forward to seeing Cock E.S.P., that’s a classic, but it’s always a surprise. I’m looking forward to seeing all the artists, they’re all great artists!

PH: How do you prepare someone that has no understanding of what noise music to attend the INC?
Rat: They have to show up with an open mind. They’ve got to want to come here and experience sound that they’ve never heard before. Sometimes it’s really loud, sometimes it’s not. You’ve got to just try to roll with it — you’re not going to understand what’s going on right off the bat, but as the night progresses, you may get into it. It’s creative ideas that are related to sound. The way I run it, I want people to do live performances rather than stare at a laptop, that’s why we try to keep the laptops out of it. I want people hitting pedals, running around, etc.

The International Noise Conference is FREE to attend and takes place February 4-8 at Churchill’s Pub. We highly recommend you attend. In a musical climate where even rock ‘n’ roll bands have started to rely upon loops and laptops to sanitize the piss and vinegar out of their performances, the INC is an opportunity to imbue oneself with sound creation and performance defined by human creativity in a completely unfettered element.

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~ David Von Bader

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