“What’s My Age Again?” – Emo Night South Africa
As we get older, we tend to think back to when things were once simpler. We ponder our high school days when hormones were slamming through our bodies, making life ever so confused and enraged. We thought nothing in the world could possibly get any worse and we discovered the joys of black kohl eyeliner and head-to-toe charcoal attire, with a somewhat ironic band tee that simultaneously expressed how we felt about the world that we lived in.
Scoring the soundtrack of our lives, we begged to be woken when September ended and remembered when our fathers took us into to the city to see a marching band. And when we remembered that day, when the car had crashed and burned, life as an angst, hormonal teen was a smidgen less shitty (even though we still slammed the door in our parents’ faces and told them to kindly fuck off).
When one reaches a certain age, adulting and responsibilities become an inescapable inevitability. We turn back time in our minds to try, even for a moment, to relive our teenage emo “glory days”. We replay our dusty old CDs or mixtapes we once made for that one guy we had a crush on that one time. Man, if only there were a way to share this nostalgic experience with the rest of my adult friends who’re experiencing the same thing…
I give you Emo Night South Africa!
Earlier this week, we had a chat with Craig Roxburgh, one of the organisers of Emo Night South Africa, who have made it their mission to provide a place for our inner angst-ridden teen to come out and, well… play.
Their upcoming event, Writing Sins Not Tragedies (19 November 2016, The Mercury Live, CPT), was one of the emo subculture revivals.
Gugu: First things first. What is the Emo Night origin story, and the whole idea behind it?
Craig: The origin of Emo Night pretty much started as a joke between Dominique Lea and myself . If I recall, we were joking about Made For Broadway touring in Cape Town (which still needs to happen) and how we would just take over their show with a pop punk DJ set, and then started babbling about getting a slot at Rocking The Daisies and so forth. It was that moment that we just decided: “you know what – let’s actually make that pop punk DJ set a thing and style off the American concept of Emo Night”. The idea is twofold. On one hand, we really want to relive the nostalgia of the emo subculture with people and play some of the songs that heavily influenced us and what we listen to currently, and on the other hand – we are obsessed with recreating the emo subculture and creating an emo revival in South Africa. That is one of my personal goals with Emo Night: to get a culture where pop punk and emo isn’t ridiculed in the local scene like it currently is (to some extent).
Gugu: For a noob who has absolutely no idea what they’re getting themselves into, what kind of vibe can be expected when walking into an Emo Night event?
Craig: The space at Emo Night is this amazing inclusive space that really operates under a principle of come as you are, or come as the epitome of the emo cliché, so no-one really feels excluded. From a musical perspective, they can expect a vibe steeped in nostalgic classics while we work in some more modern and current tunes into the mix. It is actually a great mixture of nostalgia and a more modern element in terms of the music. We once transitioned from old-school Blink 182 to Twenty One Pilots’ “Lane Boy”.
Gugu: That’s awesome! So what inspires the theme for each event?
Craig: I try really hard to base the theme around a specific band or album, but that is mainly for the online presence as opposed to a set theme at the event. But now that you mention it – themes sound pretty great. Will bear that in mind for the future.
Gugu: Haha, glad to be of service! You’ve done two other Emo Night SA events earlier this year at the Manila Bar in CPT – the first of their kind. What kind of response did you get?
Craig: We got a lot of support for those events and the response was amazing. People seem really keen on the event concept so that was quite a confidence booster for us.
Gugu: The November edition of Emo Night is coming up, and we see it’s bigger. Will there be any cool additions and surprises added to the line-up?
Craig: The only real addition is including bands on the line-up and getting them to play some covers, so patrons can expect some surprises in terms of covers, but no actual planned surprises from us in the time being. I guess people just have to attend to see if there is a surprise of not. It’s like Schrodinger’s Cat (or rather Surprise) in a way.
Gugu: Fair point, sir! With the original Emo Night being a booming affair in the US, can we hope for more Emo Night events happening across SA in the near future, perhaps Gauteng? *nudge, nudge*
Craig: We really want to get to Gauteng sometime in the near future. We will visit that idea in a year or so, but it is something we want to do, and have been asked to do, but it all boils down to funds and so forth.
Gugu: That would make my year! Where can the people find you if they would like more info and updates?
Craig: They can grab us on Facebook or on Twitter!
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