If you’ve felt a slight ringing in your ears the past few days, it’s because a certain clamorous time of year is upon us. The International Noise Conference (INC) will descend upon Churchill’s Pub for several nights of end-to-end insanity February 6 through 10. Think shrill feedback, outré performance art, weird fluids, and maybe even some melodies.
To say the showcase is one of the most extreme in Miami is an understatement. At the center of it has been local musician and producer Frank Falestra, better known by his stage name, Rat Bastard. “In 2001, we had an event called Bored Shitless Fest at Churchill's, which was a combination of extreme noise and singer-songwriters in alternating sets, and in 2002 Heatstroke at the Dorsch Gallery in Wynwood,” Rat recalls. “These Miami events influenced De Stijl/Freedom From Festival 2003 in Minneapolis, but with bigger names like Tony Conrad, which then influenced No Fun in NYC in 2004. February 2004 was the first International Noise Conference, with 27 out-of-town artists and seven locals.”
INC presents itself as a noise music conference, but really, anything goes. The main rule is not to be boring. Asked if there were any major changes this year, Rat says, “After the first year, we eliminated laptops and, later on, droning by mixer-only sets because they were just boring to watch.” He says the actual content of the show has always been eclectic. “Actually, believe it or not, [genre-wise] it's about the same overall since the first one in 2004. Only now, we have about 50 out-of-town artists, including some well-known acts, and about 150 local artists involved — both performing and curating.”
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Spread over three stage, acts come from as far away as Providence, Rhode Island; and Austin, Texas.
“This year, some new additions are Twig Harper, Black Mayonnaise, Fierce Deity, Stone Garden Jam Temple, Patrick Cole, Azalia Snail, Heaven Limousine, and Wolf Eyes,” Rat says. “These out-of-town acts come down here at their own expense because they get to see and perform with the insane South Florida artists."
Rat often emphasizes that the show’s not-for-profit nature is key to its success. “It’s a free event; no one gets paid to perform," he says. He’s also keen on funneling the gains back into the music community. “Any money granted or generated from it will be spent on equipment needed for our local musicians throughout the year, like touring, recording, mastering, PAs, musical instruments, and — believe it or not — a vinyl lathe cutter that embosses polycarbonate discs that can be played on a standard turntable.”
International Noise Conference 2018. Tuesday, February 6, through Saturday, February 10, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission is free.