FroZac set up shop in Sheffield a good few years ago, bringing a fresh blend of genres to a variety of venues across the city. Known for going the extra mile with psychedelic decorations, homemade food and performers of all types, this small group of music-mad individuals has made a big impact so far and […]

FroZac set up shop in Sheffield a good few years ago, bringing a fresh blend of genres to a variety of venues across the city. Known for going the extra mile with psychedelic decorations, homemade food and performers of all types, this small group of music-mad individuals has made a big impact so far and will continue to do so. We spoke to one such individual, Tim Feben, about FroZac past, present and future.

What got you into promoting and how did FroZac develop early on?

We started doing FroZac events partly as an excuse to put on more elaborate parties with our friends, booking the bands we wanted to see rather than waiting for someone else to book them. It also gave an opportunity for a group of wildly inexperienced DJs to play to far more people than they deserved to, while guaranteeing great party tunes we loved – loud. We gave all the profits to charity and split the workload, with friends all pitching in. We just wanted to have some fun.

I think it was also underpinned by a love of the diverse experiences you can have at festivals. We wanted to have parties that were like festivals indoors. Bands and DJs would be given equal billing on the night – less going to see a band-based gig and the night fizzling out when their set finished, more the party’s only just got going, time for a rave! And why not have dance troops and samba bands parading around in between other acts, with a café (Treats and Beats) in the corner and a comedian to warm things up?

That’s how we got started, and things haven’t changed a great deal apart from increases in attendance.

What has been your best promoting experience?

I’m sure all involved will have different highlights, but a definite highlight for me was our Peace in the Park fundraiser at Yellow Arch studios. The event gave us the first opportunity to have a proper festival feel indoors. Instead of cramming all of the entertainment into one room, we had four rooms – a band room, a psychedelic rave, a party tunes room and a dub soundsystem room. Good times.

How did the last Shoes Off Party go?

The last Shoes Off Party was hosted at Cemetery Park in Sharrow as the finale to the Sharrow Fringe Festival and it was incredible to be a part of. The event is basically a rip-off of chill out areas at festivals, and as such we lay out as many cushions, rugs and coffee tables as possible around a single soundsystem (Studio 45) playing a mix of deep electronic and downtempo music. Listening to this music standing up in a club is no good at all, so it’s strictly ground level, shoes off chilling.

It was an important event in other respects as it was our first event fully produced – in terms of infrastructure etc – by the new Regather cooperative, based just around the corner. The event’s needs were fully met without having to change our creative direction, so that made the whole thing as easy as sitting around in a park with your mates. More of this please.

Which local acts should readers investigate further?

A mention definitely has to go out to the Bell Hagg Orkestar. They inspired our first conga line, which descended into a mosh pit while people got down to their high-energy Balkan bangers. Captives on the Carousel also did a pretty special set for us at the last Shoes Off Party, mixing softly delivered guitar and vocals with a cello backing. Well worth a shout.

What is special about music in Sheffield?

Firstly, its DIY culture is great – people organising what they want to see happen for themselves, finding the spaces and making it happen. Independent culture rules supreme. Secondly, the alternative music scene has amalgamated into one big melting pot. Whether this is down to there not being enough people to support more defined scenes or whatever, it means we get bands of totally different styles playing together all over the shop, with mixed crowds and the same friendly faces time and time again.

Do you have any advice for aspiring promoters?

Events are mainly made up of what you put into them and how creative you can be. Put more effort in and try new things as there are no rules, but deliver them like you mean it and people will hopefully remember you for it. Also, quality over quantity – make sure the music is in your opinion the best possible.

What is on the cards for FroZac for the rest of 2011?

First things first, we’re hosting the second stage at Off the Tracks Festival on the 2-4th September in Derbyshire. Then I imagine another party in October at Penelope’s as part of our main FroZac series. Expect a multifaceted event with some live special guests from out of town and high quality tuneage a la tropical, world, Balkan, swing, electro, breaks and all the usual trimmings!

Interview by Sam Walby.