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17 August, 2022

L’Afluent, as artistic director of the BAM Festival, is in charge of the festival's programme for the second year running. Which is why we talked to them to find out what's behind this year’s line-up and any messages hidden in all the names making it up.


Give us an overview. What do you aim to convey with all the acts on the BAM 2022 line-up?


In each new edition of BAM, we try to explore new lines that cover current music trends and which may prove to be a good retrospective, in the long term, of the era we’re living through and all its cultural activity. Being the La Mercè's alternative part gives us the freedom to be really daring and experiment more.


This time we're continuing to support self-management, though also through the collectivity, no longer just DIY artists but also entire collectives arranged around them and organising their own festivals in the city's venues. This leads us not only to the culture club, which, as its name suggests, is a crucial part of the culture in itself, but also to the more extreme types of music that have been working a lot on the fringes and in some cases have managed to break into more mainstream circuits.


Apart from these three lines (self-management, extreme music and club and collectivity) we’ve also been working with the new urban pop, all the artists that arising from the fluid and versatile umbrella of "urban music", until they become major pop artists.  And with the new projects that revisit tradition (understood very broadly) with contemporary elements, such as the technologies that have made enabled electronic music and home-studio productions.    


One of the highlights of this line-up is that it features collectives and collaboration between several artists and groups. Why do you think it’s important that this collectivity is present in the line-up of a festival such as BAM?


Starting with ourselves as an example, L’Afluent, we’re a collective and it is crucial to have a multi-faceted vision to understand any context. Local collectives such as Jokkoo, TORO, Don’t Hit a la Negrx and Sunkusi are responsible for a large part of the city's night-time offers and represent multidisciplinary artists who also break away from the usual DJ set or concert formats we’re accustomed to. Developing the way we understand live music has been one of our main creative driving forces; that means, if we wanted to put together a collective programme as such, we'd have to include these cultural players so ingrained in Barcelona's cultural fabric and give them a big space in the city's public programme.


You also include traditional music, but always with a new outlook, from young and emerging artists and groups. What do you think young people and electronic and urban trends bring to tradition?


Tradition is not an immovable element, it's natural for it to be reformulated in each generation and generated through repetition. The instruments of each era and the social and structural conditions musicians operate in, leave their mark on the music produced at a given time. So it's completely natural, given the development of the technology enabling the expansion of electronic music, for this to come about as a yet another new tradition that needs to be taken into account. Our aim with this programme is to convey not just the extensive range of existing traditions, but also the possibility of changing them and influencing the future lying in everyone’s hands.


A new edition, and once again independent projects also feature heavily on the line-up. What does it mean to you that a self-managed movement can be part of the BAM festival?


We come from self-management, in organising and planning not just spaces and events but also our own artistic projects. We need to support projects that are created outside the main structures, because they are the ones that foster the new forms of culture and put forward new models for creating and inhabiting. This will be therefore a constant to be repeated throughout our editions, with an honest aim to do them cultural justice.


The BAM Festival 2022 programme was made by someone aiming for a specific genre. People with various tastes and identities will be able to find numerous acts and events for feeling reflected and identified in. Is this one of your BAM Festival's goals?


As a free, public festival, it is important that as many sectors of the population as possible feel represented; so, yes, there are many specific musical styles that are represented there, along with offering that break away from the ideas we have about genre, understood in its broadest sense; musical genre and also the identity of the people that represent these genres on the stage, thereby trying in to change the global inertia where they are always represented by the same people. We want to show that the cis-heteronormative and white masculinity we see so often in music acts on stage is not the representation of neutrality or normality, that it's more of a plural entity.


And finally, when it comes to this year's lesser-known acts and events, which would you say are must-sees?


One thing we’d like to highlight is the recent incorporation of the Catàrsia collective, which is an artistic-political group of people of Asian descent and the organiser of one of the stages featuring artists such as the singer Vignesh Melwani, the singer-songwriter Isabella and the DJ sets of Hanakito and Yamamemaru. Also the work of the collective El Bloque TV whose show Durag will be presenting the latest new emerging talent from the local urban diaspora, and Yessi Perse, who will be offering an exclusive presentation of the show TOP5 with a 21-member choir, a soloist and an act that transcends what we understand by the term human.


In addition, there are the ultra-emerging acts and events such as Yeli Yeli, which is a project from the iconic electronic music producer from Lisbon, Pedro da Linha, with the cantaor queer Álvaro Romero.