Jessi Eastfield, (singer from the band Eastfield), live at 0161 Festival, Moston Miners Centre, Manchester, UK, 01/05/2016.
The preferential treatment and disproportionate interest given to people and the ins and outs of their lives just because they play in a pop group has always been a source of bewilderment. Does it really matter what someone’s favourite colour is? The anti-hero stance of punk was great, but sadly a lot of punk rock literature comes across as Smash Hits for people with spiky hair. Eastfield exist as a counter-reaction to shoddy attitudes, rock star egos and placing of people on pedestals. They strive to be decent and down-to-earth while at the same time poking a bit of fun out of all the related crap that winds them up.
Lyrically, Eastfield punctuate socio-political comment with associated references from the world of adverts, 1970’s TV programs, railways and first-hand experiences, making sure it always remains relevant (or not!). If used in the right context, humour can be a powerful weapon to use against and poke fun at the establishment. Eastfield don’t actually set out to be specifically either humorous or ‘political’ but a mixture of both is surely a good thing, besides it reflects how they are as people.
Musically they play 3 chord, sing-a-long, simple catchy songs. There has never been any attempt to copy anyone’s style or stance – this would be totally pointless. Regardless of whether what Eastfield do is any good or not, it is better to be a first-rate Eastfield than an eighth-rate wannabe someone else. They have no pretensions that they are doing anything original, they do what they want and what they like to do.
Keeping integrity is quintessential for survival. Call it sheer bloody-mindedness but the fact that Eastfield can do it their way and it works is a reason to carry on in itself. If they were aspiring to be ‘rock stars’ or e.g. chasing that elusive ‘record deal’ then they would have got disheartened and split up years ago, but signing to a record label has always been irrelevant to what Eastfield do. Eastfield has always been more about lifestyle choice than just a band and the ethics of DIY are firmly ingrained in this.
Eastfield don’t need a record company, agent or manager to tell them what to do or how the band should be run. They make thyeir own decisions and choices – if they work – great, if not – then they can learn from their mistakes. Printing t-shirts, designing record sleeves, flyers etc is evidently harder work but it’s much more rewarding and it gives them more control over what they put out and what they do. Anyone that deals with Eastfield deals with the band in person, which means that they get to know people face to face. These mutual relationships are what form the ethos of what they do. They have taught themselves and learnt stuff that they have passed on. To do everything themselves has been a conscientious decision of Eastfield from the start and they wouldn’t want it any other way.
This doesn’t mean that DIY has to be inferior or not taken seriously – Eastfield produce good quality stuff at sensible and affordable prices which sells well and without ripping people off. Their stuff is properly pressed and the same quality that you get in the shops or big bands charging ridiculous prices for. However, they liaise with manufacturers direct, to cut out the unnecessary middleman/woman. They make a small profit on everything, but this goes back into the collective pot to help fund the day-to-day running of Eastfield whether it’s recording, releasing, mending broken equipment or buying petrol to play benefit gigs. Everything is covered without anyone needing to dip into their own pockets but no one makes a living from Eastfield either. If they were doing it merely to line their pockets then there would simply be no point.
More importance is placed on the fact that things have ticked over nicely due to commitment, belief in what they are doing and a high degree of mutual co-operation with like-minded souls. Eastfield have no time for competition, one-upmanship and bickering especially when there are more important things to worry about in life. Favours breed favours but not necessarily in a tit-for-tat fashion, you soon discover who the good people are. It’s deemed a success when they hear that they are frequently looked upon as the good guys and girls. In addition, Eastfield seem to sell their stuff, people come to their gigs and they constantly get to communicate and make new friends by meeting lots of top people on the way. Eastfield are chuffed that they have managed to do all this totally on their own terms, without shafting anyone else or selling themselves in the process.
0161 Festival :
Moston Miners Community Arts and Music :
- Chewed Up : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 01/05/2015
- Holger Burner : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 03/05/2014
- Skitvärld : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 03/05/2015
- Bo Weavil : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 04/05/2014
- Bobby Funk : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 02/05/2015
- Joe Solo : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 29/04/2016
- Tommy Gun : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 03/05/2014
- 2 Sick Monkeys : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 01/05/2015
- Captain Hotknives : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 01/05/2016
- The Wakes : 0161 Festival, Manchester, 04/05/2014