Get To Know: Pizza For The People

Sure, earth has served up some great duos in its existence; gin & tonic, Dick & Dom, cordial and h2o – but now, the blend of live music and food is making a strong case for the mantle of top dynamic duo. Where can we sample such a magical mixture we hear you cry? Well, Leeds based promoters Pizza For The People have answered the calls, and set about celebrating the combination of live music and food through their very own Indie Banquets.

With a taste for fuzz pedals, pizza and vegan fried chicken, Pizza For The People have been drawing together some of the best local garage, surf and indie bands and pairing sonic delights with those of the culinary kind.

Returning for the second edition of Indie Banquet on Friday 16th December, Wharf Chambers will provide the back drop, while music will be supplied by Cowtown, Team Picture, Party Hardly, Yard Wars and The Orielles – not to mention food from The Pizza Guy and Vegan Fried Chicken.

Ahead of the show, we took the opportunity to catch up with the brains behind Pizza for The People, Ryan and Julia.

For the nonbelievers among us, please can you tell us a little bit about Pizza For The People and how the idea became a reality?

Well Pizza for the People consists of two people Ryan & Julia, we both love food & music in equal measures and found that there weren’t many places we could go watch the bands we love and get the food we crave at the same time so we decided we would do that for other people and create our night Indie Banquet combining the two together in some of Leeds’ most unique locations. As for being named Pizza for the People, pizza is our particular favourite so we want to bring more of it to the people!

Your bio describes unique locations, awesome food and lively sets as the events “holy Trinity”. Was this potent concoction something you stumbled upon by chance, or a calculated moment of genius straight from the drawing board?

As far as we are concerned this concoction is the perfect trio for us. We love to find new venues and spaces that are unique and have a great atmosphere, where people can be who they want to be and allow people to let their hair down and have fun. Awesome food makes people happy and when it’s that good it’s a talking point for people and brings out a passion in people that is weirdly communicated through strange noises and hand gestures that make us smile. At our first Indie Banquet we overheard someone describe What’s your beef burgers’ loaded fries as “life changing”. That’s the type of statement we love to hear when it comes to food! Obviously the bands bring the lively sets and when that happens the crowd are more involved and that makes for a more intimate experience for all that can be talked about for years afterwards.

So far Pizza For The People has hosted an Indie Banquet at Duke Studios, with your second show to take place at Wharf Chambers. What is it that has drawn you to host your events at these spaces?

We want to put a spotlight on the great venues the north has to offer as well as the bands, so if we can help someone else along the way and the venues get new faces in them then that is something we like to help with. These two venues are places that we have loved visiting and that have been kind enough to let us use their events spaces. We’d recommend people go visit and support where they can.

While Trinity and Victoria Gate have been springing up, Leeds’ indie scene has been getting on with its business with the likes of Independent Leeds helping shine a light on its activities. Do you think the independent scene in Leeds is in good shape at this moment in time?

Yeah we would say so there has been a lot of re-gentrification in Leeds of late. We aren’t the people to be telling you whether this is a good thing or bad, but we would say that it makes us want to discover more independent spaces and those likeminded people supporting the Leeds indie scene which can only make it stronger in our eyes. It also drives more people to get creative and do/try new and different things – which is never a bad thing!

For your next event you will be hosting Cowtown, The Orielles among others. Could you talk us through how you begin to piece together your lineups? Are you aiming to curate a distinctive sound for Pizza For The People and Indie Banquet?

Everyone that we approach to play we really admire and are massive fans of. We also like to put together line ups that we think fit well together and that people will be excited about seeing on the same bill, and what is equally important to us is supporting our local talent and giving them a boost and a platform to get out there too. There are a huge amount of bands that we’ve seen over the years that have gone on to do great things and so we’d like to be a part of bands’ journeys and be there to support them at every step. We wouldn’t say that we want a distinctive sound for our nights as that just leads to a generalisation and every band that we have worked with and wish to work with are unique and different in their own right so, no, if we like a band and they want to play then we are happy to have them.

Leeds has always been a hotbed for DIY and LoFi bands doing the rounds on the circuit. Is offering a platform for bands on the lookout for a breakthrough an integral part of Pizza For The People’s belief?

Definitely. We love supporting the local DIY scene and hope to be an integral part of it in years to come.

Got any tips for local bands we should expect to see making waves in the not too distant future?

Not really any tips but if you are wanting a place to shine and develop your craft if we can help then just give us a shout and if we can’t help we will try find you someone that can. But there is plenty of talent that is ready to burst out of the Leeds scene for sure and two bands that we are particularly excited about right now and playing for us at the next banquet is Team Picture and Party Hardly, so you should come down and see them.

With unrest in the social climate (dependent on how you look at it) and a thriving indie scene, would you agree that these times we live in will inadvertently become fertile grounds for creativity and inspire like-minded people to come together

Absolutely, whenever there is a climate of unrest you get people providing a sound track to those years and people fighting to give others a glimmer of hope – just look at the likes of Sex Pistol, Public Enemy, Nirvana and The Specials. They may not have been a direct product of unrest but certainly fuelled by the times they had been a part of.

There is a great quote that we’ve always remembered from Horace “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant”

Finances aside, if Pizza For The People were able to welcome any band in the world to its Indie Banquet stage, who would it be and why?

We will have to break this one down as we both have different ambitions of who we would want to book in a dream situation!

So for Ryan –  it would have to be The Cribs they are my favourite band in the world and have been since I was in my young teens when my brother Andrew took me shopping on my birthday and on the way to the shops he played me The Cribs first album and from then on I was hooked and have seen The Cribs on 44 occasions to date (never put on an average show, I’m always left wanting to see them again). My ambition is to have The Cribs headline an Indie Banquet before I hit 50 shows if that happens I would be able to die happy.

And for Julia – it would have to be Slaves. Ever since I saw them at Glastonbury a couple of years back I was absolutely hooked. Their live performance was phenomenal and I think I ended up seeing them three, possibly four times, over the course of the festival weekend. The amount of charisma those two have is incredible and something you might not grasp from just listening to the tracks; I’d recommend anyone that hasn’t seen them live to go check them out asap.

To finish things up, if it came down to it and you had to live in a world without pizza or music, which would be that bit more bearable?

Ryan – I couldn’t live with out music, not been able to go to festivals, gigs and put things on would be devastating however my bank balance would appreciate it!

Julia – Same! Don’t get me wrong…life without pizza would be pretty hard but no music would be intolerable.

Photo courtesy of John Jowett

Originally published to Ticket Arena 09/12/16

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