Host Spotlight: SPINE

Host Spotlight: an opportunity to shine a light on our wonderful radio hosts and wider community, be it a new music release, a brand new music residency or simply to champion them as an individual. This time, we chat with SPINE host Christopher Connor, following the first month of events at new venue Q U A RR Y alongside the launch of SPINE Records! Find out more about both projects, and more, below… 

Q U A RR Y, 17 Love Lane

Who are SPINE and and how was SPINE born?

SPINE’s team consists of myself (Christopher), Ben Ford, and Jezebel Halewood-Leagas. Each of us are working artists and musicians in the city, working both collaboratively and independently, who have specialised in different aspects of experimental music for a number of years. 

In 2018, we began promoting SPINE as a monthly event series to showcase the harsher side of experimental music coming from the North West and beyond. This included various noise music(s), industrial, minimal electronics, sound art, and the frayed ends of ambient. In the beginning, SPINE was primarily a vehicle to promote our own industrial noise collective LONESAW and the projects of our peers. However, it has since grown into something much larger than our own immediate creative network, with a supportive and caring community surrounding it. 

The possibility of adapting SPINE into a record label, as it is now, is something we each discussed from the beginning. However, our previous plans never came into fruition due to concentrating on live events and our own musical endeavours. With lockdown ceasing live music, it was a perfect opportunity for us to make the shift over to a label and start producing tapes for our favourite local artists. The whole experience has been a learning process for us all, but being able to redefine what SPINE is and what it can be for our creative community has proved an exciting journey so far! 

Does your monthly radio show ‘SPINE’ influence your calendar of events and vice versa?

Typically, the given lineups at each upcoming SPINE event would dictate the direction of each radio show; some might be noisier with piercing electronics throughout, whilst others more sirene and hauntological depending on each performing artist’s sonic palette. In general, we like to use the radio show as a platform for upcoming artists as much as possible. It’s always exciting having your own music played on the radio! Although for artists working in the often-harsh realm of noise, there are fewer opportunities for radio airplay. 

We have been lucky enough in a few instances to have artists perform at our events who we had previously played on the show out of sheer love for their music; AJA, Arma Agharta, Leila Bourdreil, and knifedoutofexistence, to name a few (sadly, we could not add Lingua Ignota nor Show me the Body to this list as a result of covid). It’s always nice for us when the radio show ends up influencing the show, though these instances are less frequent. Unfortunately, we are still waiting on the phone call from Cosey Fanni Tutti & Diamanda Galas’ respective agents…

What are the ideas behind your new music venue Q U A RR Y? What do you hope to achieve through the space?

The core ethos behind Q U A RR Y is quite simple. We want to provide supportive and caring space for both artists and attendees with great sound (and drinks) to boot. Q U A RR Y itself isn’t only a product of SPINE, but also that of Jack Wait and Pauline Hauzy; the pair who previously ran the original QUARRY studios. The project is something we’ve been silently working on together for a few years now, although as a result of the pandemic we’ve only been able to open the space regularly over the past month. Now that we’re open, it’s difficult for us to express how wonderful it’s been for us to have people in the space supporting the artists and each other!

Unfortunately, over the past five years many important grassroots venues in Liverpool have closed as a result of inner-city property developments and gentrification. Whilst many vital venues remain open (e.g. Kaz Stockroom, 24 Kitchen Street, Meraki, North Shore Troubadour), it’s important for artists in the city to have a variety of venues to perform at if the local scene is to continue to thrive. With a cultural history as rich and diverse as Liverpool’s, it’s a great privilege for us to have this opportunity, to humbly join the ranks of Liverpool’s clubs both past and present. 

What’s coming up next for SPINE Records and Q U A RR Y?

The rest of the year will see us temporarily take a step back from our roles within our own musical projects as we concentrate on increasing the awareness of both Q U A RR Y and SPINE Records. The label has recently released the Polexia’s debut EP ‘Immolation’, an uncompromising record of beautiful noise, with forthcoming releases from Prison Behaviour, WHXRS, and shockchords. With Q U A RR Y, we aim to be open every weekend for the foreseeable future, with a variety of events ranging from pummelling harsh noise walls to psyche-jazz freak-outs!

Check out the latest release, Polexia – ‘Immolation’, on SPINE Records below and keep tabs on upcoming events at Q U A RR Y here!