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Interview: Hugo Mudie (The Sainte Catherines) discusses Pouzza Fest

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If you listen to punk rock, even a little bit, you've probably heard about Pouzza Fest. Montreal's three-day, multiple venue punk rock extravaganza is going in to its second year as a festival, and creator (as well as frontman for Montreal punk outfit The Sainte Catherines) Hugo Mudie took the time out of his likely hectic schedule to talk to Examiner about some things you can expect from this year's edition.

Examiner: This is the second year of Pouzza Fest. What are some of the changes fans from last year can expect?

Hugo: There’s more bands than last year, at least fifty more. There’s two new venues, which are Club Soda and Theatre Ste-Catherine, and also we added some activities. We’re doing Pouzza Bambino, which is a more kid-oriented show with Mike Park, who just did a record for kids and Play Date, which is Greg from the Bouncing Souls’ kid project. We’re also doing Pouzza Popcorn. We’re presenting two movies at Theatre Ste-Catherine, which are “The Other F Word,” which is a documentary about punk parents, and also “Punk: The First Wave,” which is a documentary about the first wave of punk in Montreal. We’re also doing a skateboarding competition Sunday at Fouf’s (Foufounes Electriques).

Examiner: So it’s expanding more from the music to other punk oriented activities?

Hugo: Yeah, that’s what we wanted to do the first year but we just didn’t have time to do it. So this year we just planned more in advance. I think we’ll do more of that, especially since we noticed that a lot of people who are coming to Pouzza are not necessarily from Montreal, so it’s cool to have stuff to do during the day when there’s no shows or other than just seeing bands, because three days of shows is fun, but it’s cool to do other stuff. We also added a breakfast on Saturday morning, which is Stomp Records Hangover Breakfast. So it’s going to start at ten in the morning on Saturday. So yeah, you can start really early if you want.

Examiner: This year there’s a lot of big name bands, but also a lot of small name bands. How do you go about selecting bands to play Pouzza Fest?

Hugo: I have a list that I started last year of bands that I would like to get here to play Pouzza Fest, so we contact them. And some of them are bands that I know or that I’ve toured with or just people that I know. Some of them I don’t know at all, so we go through agents and labels and management, which is a bit more complicated. Then, when we confirm those, we received like, I guess, between five hundred and a thousand requests from bands that wanted to play. So I just listen to the first thirty seconds of the first song they send me, and I decide if I want them to play or not.

Examiner: There’s some names that were on the show last year that are on the show this year. Was that planned, or coincidence?

Hugo: We tried to not put any bands who played last year. It was hard to do, especially for local bands, I think it’s cool if the local Montreal scene is well represented on Pouzza Fest, since there’s a lot of people from out of town coming. I want them to see the good Montreal bands. For international bands, it’s just more people who are on tour.

Examiner: How do you decide what bands play when and where?

Hugo: It was a hell of a job this year, because there’s some restrictions of dates, because some bands are on tour so they can’t play whenever. So we put those in first, then we try to build a lineup that makes sense. But this year, we tried to mix it a bit more than last year. It’s really hard to do. We spent a week doing the schedule nonstop.

Examiner: When did you start planning for this year’s Pouzza Fest?

Hugo: Right after the other one. We started planning I think a week after the other one, but really working on it, probably since the end of August. We have other things to do here, so we can’t put fifty hours a week on just that, so at first we just do it on the side, but now we focus on it. I think the more it’s going to grow, the more we’re going to have to work on it, so it’ll become an all-year thing.

Pouzza Fets will be taking place on May 18, 19, and 20.

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