In the past few months, the London music scene has faced a major downfall. It all culminated with the closing of music venues such as Passing Clouds and Fabric. This sad development will have negative consequences for performers and music lovers alike.
Since the closing of the venues, the citizens of London have expressed their sadness over it. In September, thousands of people marched from Hoxton to Dalston to show in protest of live music closures. An online petition has also been made to save the music venue Passing Clouds. The petition already has over 15.000 signers.
Some of the most vocal supporters of the music venues are Sam and the Womp. They played their first show as a group at Passing Clouds on June 1st, 2010 and they have come to see the venue as their second home. We have talked to frontman Sam Ritchie about the recent events.
What does the closing of Passing Clouds mean to you both musically and personally?
Passing Clouds was one of the main London grassroots venues where the band played its first gigs and has continued to play for the last 7 years. It is where I first heard decent reggae, afro-beat and gypsy music and the vibe in there was amazing, indiscriminate and where I met and jammed with loads of like-minded musicians and partygoers who are good friends still. The Womp gigs at the venue were always well attended with colourful happy people in the audience and was a perfect place to experiment with new musical ideas and fusion of genres.
We were lucky enough to play a great show and premier our new single ‘East Meets West’ the week before the venue was closed last month.
Both Passing Clouds and Fabric have shut down in London, do you fear that more music venues will have the same destiny?
It is very sad to see our favourite clubs closing down – Clouds and Fabric have had a huge influence on both our musical and social lives. With other local venues also closed this year like ‘the silver bullet’ and others dropping like flies new bands just won’t have the support we did when we were starting out.
You recently marched in protest from Hoxton to Dalston. Tell us the importance about that?
Dressed in red to represent the blood and death of music venues in London. We did this United as musicians and music lovers! blasting our horns and banging drums we ended up at the venue. Alongside the eclectic mix of musicians from around the world it was truly a union of ‘East meets West’ musicians and culture. We want our protest and performance to count and the mayor of London take proper notice and make the developers change their mind.
The Womp family IS the passing clouds family. Our sound engineers are the crew for the venue and have lost their regular jobs as a result of this. We have nowhere else to play in London that we can call our second home. We want it back!
Passing Clouds brings brilliant musicians and creative people from all backgrounds and nationalities together in a magical way.
The venue has helped me open my eyes and ears and given me and many other artists the support needed to realise our deepest creative dreams. It would be a great injustice for Passing Clouds to remain closed.
What do you hope will happen to the music scene in London?
Hopefully, new live music venues will crop up that support both new bands and established artists/acts and not just clubs for Djs.
It’s not just about passing clouds it’s about all venues. If we don’t get back our passing clouds maybe another new venue could come in its place as a result of the huge support and turnout at the march.