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Common People

This weekend, Common People festival comes to Southampton for the third year running. The festival is filled with music and activities and has a little something for everyone, making for a great weekend. With headlining acts, Pete Tong and Sean Paul, be ready for the party to come to Southampton this weekend.

There’s a whole host of bands playing over the weekend ranging from DJ’s, to hip-hop to rock music, which is one of the great things about the festival. Unlike many other festivals, it doesn’t cater to just one genre of music but covers a whole variety of genres and that makes it unique. Additional to the headliners, expect to hear music from, Tom Odell, Fatman Scoop, Faithless and many more.

It’s not just the music that’s going to make Common People a great weekend. The festival boasts a number of activities for all the family. One of the most impressive things about the festival is that it’s got The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle. The bouncy castle is 23.8m long, 20.7m wide and has a height of 12.8m, which makes for a lot of fun. There’s also fair rides, circus shows, face painting and even more happening over the weekend. If you find yourself wanting to do something other than watch the bands, there’s plenty to do.

World's Biggest Bouncy Castle

In preparation for the weekend, we spoke to Bill Acharjee from Southampton’s own, The Diamond Age, the winners of this year’s ‘I Want To Play Common People’ about what’s in store:

The Diamond Age

So Bill, who are The Diamond Age?

The Diamond Age was initially a project that Matt Canning and I started at the tail end of 2013 as a duo. After the typical trials and tribulations of playing within local Indie bands in terms of managing ego’s and musical differences, we decided to set up a duo writing synth infused pop music. We did this within a studio setting rather than the traditional approach of getting everyone together in a practice room and jamming for as long as it takes before anything meaningful is created.

Beyond all our expectations we received incredible reviews from influential bloggers, enquiries from A&R scouts from major labels and invitations to perform at The Great Escape

The first track that Canning and I wrote was ‘Yesterday Was’, which we simply uploaded on to the Soundcloud platform to test the water. Beyond all our expectations we received incredible reviews from influential bloggers, enquiries from A&R scouts from major labels and invitations to perform at The Great Escape and even a gig offer in the USA all from one track! We tried to perform as a duo but it didn’t feel quite right so we decided to work with various musicians until we found a line-up that suited our sound. From early 2016 we became a trio when Steve Barrett joined us on the drums. We fully endorse the DIY ethos and continue to write and record in my home studio.     

What got you into playing music?

I have always been heavily into music from a very young age and grew up listening to John Peel’s radio shows’ on Radio 1 and loved the breadth and diversity of the tracks he used to play. Then one day, I believe I was 11 or 12 years old, John Peel played a track called ‘There is a light that never goes out’ by The Smiths which blew my tiny mind and from that day onwards I knew I wanted to be in a band and write and perform music for ever!  However, for the Diamond Age a band called LCD Soundsystem was also very pivotal as they incorporated various genres together to develop their unique indie/dance/pop sound, which was exactly what we wanted to achieve too within our music.      

You released your EP, Popular Science, last year. What’s the reaction to that been like?

‘Popular Science’ received a great response when we initially released it last year with great blog reviews, positive comments on Soundcloud and it even won ‘Track of the Month’ on the Amazing Radio Audition show too which was a great achievement for us! However, it’s been crazy that the track has had a bit of a renaissance this year after it was picked up by Stephanie Nieuwenhuys from BBC Introducing Solent, which has also resulted in a forthcoming live session at the end of June 2017.  

As a Southampton band, how do you feel about playing a Southampton festival?

As a Southampton band and growing up and spending so much time on Southampton Common. During our formative years we were desperate to perform at Common People, and although, we normally don’t agree with the battle of the bands model because music is so subjective it was amazing when we won the ‘I want to play Common People’ heats at The Joiners earlier this year.  

I really believe Southampton is a great place at the moment for live music with so many interesting and cutting-edge home-grown bands and artists emerging.

It was even more exciting and totally mind-blowing when the promoter (Ricky Bates) announced that we would be opening the festival on Saturday 27th May on the main stage, which will be the biggest show of our career to date!  I really believe Southampton is a great place at the moment for live music with so many interesting and cutting-edge home-grown bands and artists emerging.                

You’re playing other festivals such as Blissfields this summer, is there any other festivals or performances upcoming?

Our forthcoming shows are as follows:

27th May – Common People, Southampton

30th May – The Talking Heads, Southampton with Death Valley Girls

3rd June – The Art House, Southampton with Dan O’Farrell & The Difference Engine

6th July – Blissfields, Winchester

22nd July – Smoked & Uncut Festival, Lyndhurst   

When can we expect new music from The Diamond Age?

We’re always writing new music so once we have a clear schedule we’re hoping to book some studio time and work with a producer to have a new single to drop before the end of the year.  Anyone interested in hearing our music please feel free to check out our Facebook and Soundcloud pages.    

The Diamond Age will be performing on the main stage at Common People at 11am on Saturday 27th May.

You can still buy tickets for Common People here

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