Alter The Press!


Interview: Rob Fisher (Derby DIY Collective)

Based in the East Midlands and influenced by punk rock, pop-punk, hardcore and more, Derby DIY Collective has been booking and promoting shows with the likes of Grown Ups, Franz Nicolay, Off With Their Heads, Into It. Over It. and more throughout 2010.

2011 will see Derby DIY Collective expand itself with the launch of a regular club night named 'Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems', a zine, a podcast and several vinyl releases.

Alter The Press! recently spoke with founder and owner Rob Fisher, to discuss Derby DIY Collective's origins, the Derby music scene, it's future plans and more.

Alter The Press!: First of all could you explain what Derby DIY Collective is?
Rob Fisher: Derby DIY Collective is a not-for-profit collective I run which aims to put on great punk/hardcore/indie shows, publish a zine and other interesting things involving records, club nights and such.

ATP: How did Derby DIY Collective start and what were the main motives behind its formation?
RF: It originally started as a way for me and my friend Dean to put on the odd show here and there in Derby. Dean had previously put on shows many moons ago in Derby but we'd both done nothing to this level before. The main motives was that as far as punk shows go, there wasn't really any in the Midlands. There was the odd show in Nottingham but that was rare, or we could go to Birmingham but after a show it made it pretty hard with transport, so we decided to just go it ourselves.

ATP: How was the music scene in Derby before it started?
RF: It's always been a tricky one. Derby's a pretty central place with great transport links but the scene was at its hey day in the early 2000s. We had Lightyear reaching great heights with playing Reading/Leeds, having some great tours, BBC sessions etc. Shows were good around then too, we had The Vic Inn which used to have shows almost 6 days a week. To think I've seen Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms and others now in a pub kind of blows my mind. But after all this, nothing really happened for years and years minus a ton of metal shows.

ATP: With Derby being in the same region of Nottingham, which is known for its various venues (Rock City, Bodega, Rescue Rooms etc). Is it difficult to draw people from there towards Derby?
RF: I don't feel any kind of threat from Nottingham. The venues Nottingham has are aiming towards big touring bands with guarantees, huge riders, a big bus outside. There are some great people in Nottingham who do put on DIY shows as well, and we help each other out with promoting the shows and try to get to each others when we can but Derby DIY has always been fortunate to draw people in from all over. So I feel lucky in that sense.

ATP: 2010 has seen you promote/host various shows, including bands like Grown Ups, Cobra Skulls, Franz Nicolay and Off With Their Heads. What are your stand moments?
RF: There's been many. After the Grown Ups show we did a Grown Ups house basement show which was incredible. Evan from Into It. Over. It said that "Derby has better DIY than most of the states" which was an amazing feeling. The most stand out thing for me was just the chance to put on some of the bands we did, especially when it's some of your favourite bands. I've made some amazing friends out of it and I've always rooted for my friends bands by putting them on the bills.

ATP: In the new year you're beginning a regular club night called 'Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems'. What can you tell us about this
RF: There's nowhere in terms of a night out, that really caters to what Derby DIY does. There's bigger clubs but it's primarily slightly more on the commercial side of music. My friend Dean who left Derby DIY during the end of Summer was given a venue to manage and we both wanted a weekly club night that could just play music we loved and out of it came that.

ATP: If you could recommend the club night, who would you recommend it for?
RF: I don't want to say it'll appeal to just punk/hardcore kids but I think a lot of people will come for something different. I'm going to be playing typical Derby DIY punk bands and some real hardcore as well. But I think blending that with some pop-punk, mid 90s "emo" and hip-hop will give it a unique edge.

ATP: In addition you're also going to be expanding the Derby DIY Collective brand with 3 vinyl releases. What can we expect from these releases?
RF: Unfortunately, there is some legal wrangling still to be sorted so I can't mention names. There's a bit of a mess about who owns the music; whether its the band or the label but this has been going on for a couple of years before I decided I wanted to put out the records. But all will be revealed very shortly. I can say though, that it's a pretty big band and they've never released any vinyl either. My main priority is giving it really nice packaging and not skimping on any aspect of it. Also releasing an exclusive vinyl of the same band with unreleased music too. I'm freaking out and I'm very excited and I hope everyone else will be too.

ATP: You're also planning a podcast and 6 zines right?
RF: Indeed! Definitely making it hard for myself, especially with it being a one-man job! Working on a podcast. No idea if it's going to be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Probably not weekly though. Going to feature Derby DIY bands, hopefully a few exclusives and heavily push some great UK bands that I love. Collaborating with some other people on the zine though, going to feature art, reviews, interviews and general rad things!

ATP: On top of you're going to carry on booking shows. What do you have lined up?
RF: A few I can't announce yet, but we've got Franz Nicolay with Dave Hause of the Loved Ones coming back in January on the 10th at Vaults which will be a great time. But you can expect the usual things from me and a few surprises too!

ATP: Are there any other areas/scenes that have influenced DIY Collective?
RF: There's nothing thats made me outright gone "We have to do this now!". It always just started as two kids being bored in there town with no shows, so either put up or shut up and that's what we did. I've made some great friends doing this too from their own scenes in their cities. Kieran, James and Rosie do a great job in Manchester with Moving North, my friend Daniel puts on some great shows in Nottingham and then there's Dan running Norwich DIY with some people. Just great people and friends all over the country. Go to one of those shows and also come to mine!

ATP: What attributes make a good DIY "scene"?
RF: Definitely being positive and always be prepared for the worst. Whether it's losing money from having a bad turnout or bands dropping out, always remain positive and focus on the good elements. Sure, I've lost a ton of money but it shouldn't be about that. It's a shame that so many bands aren't happy with a great turn out and being a few quid short of the guarantee. The community is also extremely important. You need to get people interested and you need to have as much help as you come, there is nothing better than a group of people being united through a shared passion of music

ATP: What advice would you give to those who are looking run a similar operation?
RF: Be prepared to lose money, lose sleep, and stress. You'll definitely see in the end though it's worth it. Maintain a comfort zone, that is to say if you want to put a particular band on... check the area. Will enough people show up? Will people come from afar? How strong can you make your line-up? Is your ticket cost worth the show? There is a large amount of shows that fail from having terrible lineups and expensive costs. Be courteous and always give up your lounge floor to a band. They deserve it. Treat 'em clean!

ATP: What up and coming local bands should we be on the look out for?
RF: Directions are a cracking local band. Some very big things happening to them soon! Also These Waves are a great local band doing some great stuff. Derby unfortunately does lack a healthy amount of punk bands but The Atoms are returning and there are some great indie/alt bands such as Beyond This Point Are Monsters, Stay Classy, San Diego and also Callum from Switzerland (RIP) is doing some great acoustic things!

ATP: Any other words?
RF: Go listen to Apologies, I Have None, Calvinball, Cynics, Directions and Above Them!

Further information on Derby DIY Collective can be found at and on Facebook.

Information on the 'Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems' club night can be found here.

Alter The Press!