Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Hugo Mudie, founder of Pouzza Fest

Pouzza FestEver wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, publicists (and even positions you may not have known about) make the music you love come alive! Taking place in downtown Montreal from May 15th-17th, Pouzza Fest is all about showcasing the incredible “punk punk punk” bands out there. With the festival right around the corner, A Music Blog, Yea? recently gave Hugo Mudie (founder of Pouzza Fest) a call to discuss dream bookings, festival excitement, curating, and their rad name. Here’s what he had to say:

AMBY: Hey Hugo, thanks for having a chat today.

Hugo Mudie: No problem.

AMBY: For our readers at home, how did you first get into your industry and into the groove of organizing a festival?

Hugo Mudie: I started a band called The Sainte Catherines when I was eighteen and then we pretty much toured around the world and all that. I wasn’t working, so all I knew was pretty much organizing shows for my band and my friends’ bands. I started doing record labels when I was pretty young and I had a bunch of them. Then, later on, I started organizing more stuff and I started a company where we decided to do a festival and that’s what we did. We based our festival in Montreal.

AMBY: It’s been awesome to see the event grow over the years and notice how Canadians have really seemed to embrace it. How stoked are you for the festival this year?

Hugo Mudie: We’re super excited about it. I think it’s going to be the best year since each year gets better and better. We’re more organized and there are always cool bands playing. People know about it more and people are coming back again. This year we put more focus on the outdoor scene so there’s going to be more bands playing, bigger bands, and there’s a bigger setup. I think it’s going to look cool and we’re pretty happy about that.

AMBY: This year’s line-up includes Joey Cape, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Muffs, Cerebral Ballzy, and tons of other great bands. Which artists do you look forward to seeing the most?

Hugo Mudie: The Muffs are my favourite band playing and the one I’m most stoked about. The one that was the hardest to get was them too; I’ve been trying to get The Muffs to play since the first year of the festival.

AMBY: It’s great that you finally got them. Congrats.

Hugo Mudie: Thank you. I’m super happy that we finally get to have them play for us and get to see them. I’ve never seen them play live.

AMBY: Are there any artists you’d love to still book that you’ve yet to?

Hugo Mudie: Yea, there are tons! The main one is Against Me! since I’ve been trying since the first year of the festival to get them. I know them well since I’ve toured with them before and I think they represent modern punk perfectly. They would be a band who I’d really love to have. It didn’t happen yet, so cross your fingers for next year?

AMBY and Hugo Mudie: [laughs]

AMBY: I’m sure there’s a ton of preparation and people you have to deal with before the festival actually begins. What’s been the craziest thing to happen to you so far while working on the event and prepping for this whole thing?

Hugo Mudie: The actual preparation of a festival is mostly office work, which is not really fun. Some shitty things always happen like band cancellations and all of that. I think the worst thing that happened regarding this was when we booked a band a couple of years ago… We sent money for their plane tickets and two or three days before the festival, I think the singer was missing, so they didn’t know where he was. They ended up not coming to the festival and we lost a lot of money on plane tickets for a band who didn’t play.

AMBY: Oh no. It sucks when things are out of your control.

Hugo Mudie: People were super pissed about it and it looked bad for the festival. Stuff like that always happens.

AMBY: I read that the name Pouzza Fest came from this combination of pizza and poutine. I’ve been to Montreal a few times, but I’ve never come across “pouzza” before. Is Pouzza an actual dish, or just a combo of the two words?

Hugo Mudie: [laughs] It’s something I invented fifteen years ago. It was more of a joke because those are my two favourite foods put together. It became an actual dish now. I think you can get it at Pizza Hut and a bunch of different restaurants. So, I think they owe me money…

AMBY and Hugo Mudie: [laughs]

AMBY: Seriously, that’s one of the raddest festival names I’ve heard of.

Hugo Mudie: Thank you.

AMBY: Is there actually going to be a Pouzza stand where fans can get the pizza/poutine combo? People would be all over that.

Hugo Mudie: There will be poutine and pizza for sure, so you can actually make your own pouzza which is pretty much the spirit of Pouzza; DIY music and DIY meals.

AMBY: Nice. Well, to wrap things up, what advice would you give to music lovers who are heading to Pouzza Fest for the first time this year?

Hugo Mudie: You have to go there with an open mind. If we stay on the food subject, it’s like an all you can eat buffet of punk-rock, so you have to be able to discover new bands and stay open to missing certain bands and then catching new ones or another favourite. It’s about discovery and meeting new people and having fun.


Follow updates from Pouzza Fest here.

Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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