Growing steadily over the last 3 years, Parklife has matured from a one day event to a two day experience and a rite of passage for any self-respecting, glitter-wearing student in the Manchester area.
It now holds the hallmarks of any big time fest – overpriced sweet cider, face-painted revellers and that good old British mud, however shies away from the big-bucks price tag (just £65 for the weekend).
Predominantly a dance festival, Parklife 2012 held a strong line-up with The Flaming Lips and Dizzy Rascal headlining, and seemingly every artist worth their weight in hype completing the attraction, from indie boy shoegazers Alt-J to dubstep kings, Nero.
The festival, on the rainy Saturday afternoon, had a sense of urgency about it and with a line up as strong as this Manchester fest, it’s little wonder why! Every corner stood a not-to-be-missed set. Notably, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, who has firmly made himself known on the dance scene over the last 3 years, played a set so large the tent was bursting to the brim. And as ‘Household Goods’ dropped, the crowd bounced as one, united in synth.
The Saturday ended with The Flaming Lips on the main stage, who brought their fun-filled big-ball experience to a (slightly somewhat bemused) Platt fields, whilst Jackmaster ended proceedings with more than a bang and a flash on the ever-so-aptly named ‘Thrasher’ stage.
Sunday slowly picked up its weary head to be greeted with glorious sunshine, making those Saturday night hangovers and blurry memories that little bit easier to deal with. The afternoon saw Murkage, Manchester underground music legends, open up the main stage. Playing a set that felt close to biblical for the Manchester firm, Murkage had passion and energy that seemed to radiate across the entirety of the festival. I managed to grab a chat with the band after their gig.
Hello there Murkage! So, we’re here at Parklife. Must have been pretty amazing today to open up the Main stage, right?
Yeah. The last time we were here, we played the Treehouse, but it was a very special thing to come out on the main stage with everyone down the front wearing Murkage t-shirts, chatting back the lyrics.
You guys started out as a small unit and now we have the +50 strong Murkage Cartel. Would you say working with the cartel has influenced the music of the band?
Definitely. We have a sold out club night in Manchester every Thursday, and the DJs feed back from the MCs and vice versa.
Do you feel like Manchester as a city has influenced your music?
Yeah, for real. We’ve made our own name in music and a big part of that is being in Manchester. We take inspiration from everyone here – from Joy Division, to the Stone Roses to acid house acts. And oasis of course.
Dare I ask – Red or Blue?
(Cue roughly five minutes of football fuelled commotion) Back in the day, when we used to hold R&B raves, the players would come in as youths and if we see them now in the street, they’ll say hello.
How important is it for you guys to get the youth involved in music and the arts?
We’re all still in our youth – it’s everything to us, that’s where our energy comes from, we’re all about new ideas and deconstructing the old. There’s also that purity of youth where you are still formulating your own philosophies and your own ideas, as well as creativity. We work with young people like Dash, who produced Paperweight for us when he was only 18 years old – he came up to me at a night we put on, gave me his CD – a remix of a techno track by his college friend Mark Wells, who we’re also now doing a record with, and that union led to Paperweight. So the youth is key.
Not so much now, but in the past underground music, urban music, and grime has had a bit of a bad reputation with the press. Do you feel that artists like yourselves are changing the face of the more underground genres?
People sometimes have a preconceived view of what to expect from those genres but we don’t talk about that shit, and we don’t have to. The best idea is to do whatever you want to do, don’t feel like you have to talk about something negatively.
Your music videos, especially your most recent one ‘The Door’, which dropped a couple of weeks ago, are heavily stylized and tell a powerful story. Would you ever consider making films or documentaries, such as Plan B who has just brought out Ill Manors?
The videos come from our minds and if you have the means to then you’ve got to tell a story and take it as far as you can, so we’re gonna make films definitely. We’ve discussed how making a film is one of the most creative things you can do. It’s a big challenge, and we think big.
And you extend the creativity past the audio and visual – your t-shirts are extremely popular.
We encourage people to buy them. We’re not signed and everything we do is funded by us, so we think outside the box in order to be able to put on as many shows and club nights as we can
You guys have really strong philosophies – you should hit up politics.
Hold tight – The Murkage Party for 2020!