You probably haven't heard of Miala. There's no obvious reason for that name to ring any bells to most people. But if you are: a) French and/or b) an electronic music fan, there's every chance you'll be aware of what they do.
As well as hosting one-off events, concerts and club-nights across the year, the production agency are also behind a pretty impressive array of festivals.
Lille's Les Nuits Electriques is arguably the flagship, having been held since 2013, but last year the team added a coastal party – Touquet Music Beach Festival – and another new festival in the northeastern city they know so well to their growing roster.
That festival, built in very much the same mould as Les Nuits Electriques, is called Les Nuits de la Filature. And ahead the festival's second edition this April, Miala's artistic director Anthony Ferrat took the time to give us the lowdown on the whole affair.
First of all, congratulations on a successful debut for Les Nuits de la Filature last year – how are preparations going for the second edition?
Better than ever. Very excited by the lineup and all that we are cooking. This will be definitely a tasty edition.
Congratulations are also in order for something else – Konbini recently published ‘the 100 most beautiful posters of French festivals in 2017’ and Les Nuits de La Filature came in at number two on the list. (Les Nuits Electriques and Touquet were also both featured). How important is the visual element of what you do? And what do you think it says about the festival(s)?
Shout out to Parade studio, our design agency since day one.
The visual identity is definitely a key element. That's the first thing that our audience will see. We are always very sophisticated about our poster. And Parade is a trustful partner who truly understands our requests.
And for the case of Les Nuits de la Filature, the guidelines are graphic, colourful and dynamic. We always have a hidden reference to the original function of the venue 'Les Halls de la Filature': this warehouse used to be a textile factory.
Obviously Les Nuits Electriques is older and slightly more established at this point, taking place in the same venue at a different time of year – do you see Les Nuits de La Filature as part of the same concept, or is it an entirely different event as far as you’re concerned?
The concept is... Nope, to be honest, the only concept is that Les Nuits Electriques - that happens in winter - is so successful that we decided to do a spring edition, and opt for a new name.
As it happens in spring, we try to be a bit more pop, more disco but in the end it's still two electronic nights and massive party!
Was it made easier – launching a new festival – because of what you already had in place: the contacts, fanbase, venue etc.? Or were there still the same obstacles that come with organising a first edition?
It's clearly easier as we know the venue, our audience... But each event is always a challenge even after years and years of experience.
What were your ambitions when launching the festival back in 2017, and do they remain the same for this year’s edition?
The main goal is to follow the success of Les Nuits Electriques, and fix regular rendez-vous for our community.
… and possibly other surprises!
In the long term, what do you hope to achieve with all of your festivals, and with the Lille events in particular? It looks like you’re in a position to make the city a real destination for electronic music…
We do our best! Lille is a very dynamic city and all the Hauts de France territory too. We welcome people from Paris, Belgium, UK... everybody is welcome.
A big part of that obviously comes from the acts that you book. How do you go about creating the lineup for your festivals? Is it a case of the team all sitting down together and coming up with a 'hit-list'?
We play chifoumi (the French version of rock-paper-scissors). No I'm kidding, it's a global discussion, with a shortlist of names we definitely want to book. Headliners, newcomers, discoveries and locals.
Then, you have to deal with the availabilities and exclusivities, it's always a real puzzle but at the end, it makes a tasty mix.
How easy/difficult is it to find the balance between internationally renowned acts, and the more local talent that you want to help promote?
You always need big names but you make the difference with the acts you book around. For example we were the first to get Dixon and Jeremy Underground in Lille, before the hype. Same for Motor City Drum Ensemble and Bjarki. And we also represent our own roster, we brought Jacques and Molecule for their first show in Lille too.
And never forget the local scene. They represent the grass-roots and they are always very blessed to play at our events, they are the best to promote it. Support your local dealer.
Charlotte de Witte seems pretty much a perfect booking for Les Nuits de la Filature this year – as someone from just over the border in Belgium, and undeniably one of the fastest rising names in the global scene. Was it an easy decision to invite her to appear, having previously booked her for Les Nuits Electriques and Kolorz?
It's even easier because we represent her for France too. But remember when she played at Les Nuits Electriques two years ago, she played in the small room with Amelie Lens. The atmosphere was totally unreal - and two years later, they are headlining the main festivals in the world. This is a success story and we're glad to be part of it.
Without wanting to give too much away – is there anyone else still to be announced that you're particularly excited about?
We've just announced Detroit house old-timer Mr Terrence Parker: "the telephone man". That's gonna be a boogie! And stay connected, we will unveil a special light show this year with an awesome design. More news very soon.
Finally, for anyone who hasn’t been to the festival, or Les Nuits Electriques, or even the city of Lille before – what should they expect?
Tasty music, friendly and excited audiences, memorable nights!
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