Body & Soul Interview special: Emmet Condon (Homebeat)

Carriages (playing Tree Haus at Body & Soul)
Chatting Tree Haus, Body & Soul and Fading Lights with Homebeat's Emmet Condon...

The following article was published in the 18th June 2015 edition of Cork's Evening Echo.

Starting out as a side-stage area of Electric Picnic, Body & Soul has quickly shot to prominence as the boutique festival of the Irish summer. Based in Ballinlough Castle, the June jamboree not only serves up a stellar - and diverse - line-up (from festival heavyweights Leftfield and Super Furry Animals to the more eccentric presence of Austra and Goat) whilst maintaining the promise of “an entire experience”. Integral to this year’s experience will be Tree Haus, Body & Soul’s own festival-within-a-festival, featuring a kaleidoscopic gathering of homegrown bands, DJs, “madcap aerialists” and more, carefully chosen by independent Dublin promoters Homebeat.

On a sunny Monday afternoon in June, Tree Haus curator, and head Homebeat honcho, Emmet Condon looks forward to his team playing their part at the fifth instalment of the Westmeath weekend.

What makes Body & Soul stand-out from the other festivals taking place around Ireland this summer?
Emmet: I think Body & Soul is by far the benchmark festival in the country now. It’s dedication to art and atmosphere is second to none, the site is so magical, especially the woods where Tree Haus is. Also Body & Soul’s booking policy is brilliantly balanced by interesting electronica and warm-hearted everything else; the bookers strike that balance between intriguing and alienation perfectly in my opinion, and that’s no easy feat.

From where did the name Tree Haus arise?
Well I guess my own booking policy tends to run from folk to electronica, and, as a DJ I listen to a lot of German music and I spend a bit of time in Berlin. I just wanted the stage to have a natural vibe with a contemporary edge. The German’s do that so well. Hence Tree Haus.

What’s it like to be in charge of selecting a three day line-up?
It’s unbelievably exciting, quite literally a dream come true. The hard part is trying to fit in all the bands you want to play within constraints of budget and time. Doing this for a few years you become lucky enough to know a lot of the artists and it’s really difficult to leave some out, especially as they are friends. Still, the onus has to be on fitting the act to the vibe so there were some tricky decisions to make, but it’s really exciting to get the chance to showcase the acts you believe in dearly and to play with when and how to present them – for instance I think Conor Walsh in the woods late on Friday night is going to be mindblowing.

In a nutshell: the lifespan of Homebeat so far?
Homebeat has gone from very humble beginnings as a house concert for friends to its hopefully still humble but slightly more evolved state. There have been various docking points so to speak as it developed along the way, Fading Light in Kerry was our first festival, and then this year we have added Body & Soul and then Hollow Sounds, a new two-day music and film event, headlined by Jape and based in the incredible Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre, Kilkenny in July (3rd & 4th).

Besides being simply another stage, what makes Tree Haus a little different to the rest of the festival?
I hope we bring a little of what Homebeat is about to Body & Soul – and that is championing the incredible wealth of talent we have in this country at the moment but doing so in a heartfelt way. The fact that it’s such a beautiful stage set in the heart of the woods speaks for itself, and the addition of our main man Mark Hearne a.k.a. Le Tissier who has built a bespoke projection mapping installation for the stage and will be doing live visuals throughout the weekend means that, come nightfall, Tree Haus is going to look incredible.

What three Tree Haus bands are not to be missed at Body & Soul?
Conor Walsh late in the woods is going to be special; Margie Lewis fits into that bracket too, she’s on the verge of greatness I’m sure; Lasertom is going to be brilliant as always; Planet Parade are longtime favourites as are Ghosts, Ryan Vail and Ciaran Lavery’s Sea Legs project is astounding and a rare one to catch; Carriages are always one of my favourite acts, as are Buffalo Woman and Sign A and we have a very special guest on Saturday night which is going to be great too. Vinyl Love with Nialler 9 and Stevie G early Saturday and Sunday afternoon is going to be brilliant craic but, honestly, I’m just naming the first things to mind. They’re all great!

What’s your top tip for surviving a weekend in a field?
Fig rolls – the perfect festival food, easily transportable, just as good for breakfast as a late late late night / early morning soaker!

Tree Haus timetable as of 18th June 2015:

3amConor WalshSpecial Guest
2amSleep ThievesBantum
1amLeo DrezdenLasertomTaste DJs
12amBuffalo WomanSomadroneGhosts
11pmCarriagesBen Bix & FeatherPlanet Parade
10pmHare SqueadSlowPlaceLikeHomeFeather
9pmMy Tribe Your TribeMargie LewisI Have a Tribe
8pmLyttetSignANova Collective
7pmNubuslittle xs for eyesSea Legs
6pmParticipantSkelocratsIdiot Songs
5pmHomebeat DJsTomorrowsHilary Woods
4pmVinyl LoveElephant
3pmVinyl LoveVinyl Love
Vinyl LoveVinyl Love

For more on Body & Soul visit:

- Tree Haus features at Body & Soul which takes place in Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath 19th-21st June 2015

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