Interview with Haywire Festival’s Flavius Retea May 2017

Flavius Retea is the drummer of stoner/prog/psychedelic metal band Methadone Skies, as well as one of the co-founders and organizers of the infamous Haywire Festival out in western Romania.  The Haywire name also extends to both booking and recordings as well, so it’s really like a man with several arms coming to rain blows upon you.  **Our interview with Flavius can be found at the bottom of this post – however, if you want to know more about Haywire first, read on…

What Is Haywire Festival?

The festival strives to promote thought-provoking alternative and underground bands from all around Europe and beyond. It started from the great chemistry of their friend group and their band as they set off to make their sound heard. Shortly thereafter, it snowballed into a full-on production company that tops off the year with a wicked festival.

methadone skies band
Photo credit: Vladimir Gheorghin / Methadone Skies Facebook Page

It all started when the band comprising of Flavius, Alex, Mihai, and Casian took a leap of faith that many bands in their scene don’t seem to do. They decided to go on a tour throughout Europe.  On their travels, they happened to meet a lot of different bands from a lot of different scenes and, upon returning, they decided it might be cool to bring them back to their hometown of Timisoara. Their prediction was quite on point…..it was pretty cool to bring those bands to play in their hometown. This laid the foundations of their production company under the ‘Haywire’ name.  

They continued organizing shows and growing their presence until they had enough interest to put together a two-day festival. Thus Haywire Festival was born…..and it was a sight to be seen.

Here’s the trailer for the 2016 edition of the festival.  An epic line-up indeed…

Last year’s installation of the festival (2016) was nothing short of a riot, with bands coming from all over to form an excellently curated and rockin’ lineup. It really underlined one of the group’s core values, and that is to not have any one band sound like another. Don’t get us wrong, it is a dedicated festival of psychedelic stoner rock, for those deeply passionate about the style. However, within it’s curation the point is that it is all fresh and varied as well as thought provoking and nuanced. So while it is a festival dedicated to a specific niche of alternative genres, you get an extensive and stimulating experience while you are there to check it out.

Touring Europe

This got us curious and excited about their plans for the future and their take on the scene in Europe as well as in Romania. Touring in Europe is a lot different than in the US or Canada because of the distance between cities. You can drive three hours between major cities in different countries in Europe.

distance between major cities in europe

Hitting up important cultural hotspots across numerous countries in Europe is easy because of the short distance between them. On the other side of the ocean, touring can be a bit more tedious as you might find yourself driving for hours upon hours before reaching a geographic point of interest. The cool thing about Haywire Festival’s hometown in Timisoara is that it is on the very western tip of Romania. This makes it very accessible to a lot of bands from western and central Europe, making it fertile grounds for a festival that strives to bring quality underground talent from further out.

Here’s a clip of Zippo playing live @ Daos in 2015.

Flavius and the team go with this momentum to fuel their desire to bring out the best stoner rock, progressive, psychedelic, and jam bands Europe’s underground niches have to offer. The goal as he put it is to be able to book any band they’d care for and to have an effective mechanism by which they can sustain these shows. He acknowledges that it isn’t an easy journey. Naturally so, their goals are set high, and they come with a large price tag both financially as well as in terms of time and labour.

haywire fest

DIY Til The Cows Come Home

However, just like with any diy community, this is what makes their work valuable. If it was easy and everyone could do it, then it wouldn’t be such an important thing to accomplish. The thing that we’re all familiar with that Flavius brings up, is the fact that there are tons of amazing bands out there that nobody’s ever heard of.

The problem with that is that not a lot of people would come out if they hear a random name of some band….even if they’re fantastic….people are too shy to take the risk and go by just a name. That’s why one of the main goals of him and the crew is to get the Haywire name out there as much as possible. The idea is to build a trust within the scene that if an event is put on under this brand, people know that it’s gonna be crazy good. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the bands. It doesn’t matter that their names are unpronounceable and have German diacritics. It doesn’t even matter that some of their fonts and logos are absolutely illegible. You know a Haywire show is a show you need to be at. This is what they are striving to do and so far it’s proving very effective at cultivating enthusiasm among people to come see bands that they might have not heard of before.

Here’s a clip of House of Broken Promises playing live @ Club Daos to give you another great example of Haywire’s spot-on taste in bands.

Staying Fresh

Haywire really chooses to emphasize both freshness and variety. For any kind of niche genre or underground subculture, there can sometimes be a risk of falling in the same groove and creative repetitiveness. This is where they carefully curate their experiences so that you don’t hear the same riffs two times in a row. It thoroughly stays true to the genre, but the sounds never get repetitive and you always have a reason to keep your ears perked. Extending this to their own band, Methadone Skies, they work to achieve the same with each album they put out. It can’t be a re-hash of the previous tracks, it needs to be fresh.

These ideals are what have made their efforts successful so far, and it’s what they hope will propel them into the future. That’s why Flavius’ best advice to all the bands and musicians out there listening is that you have to record, you have to tour, and most importantly you have to persist. You need to be fresh, and you need to drill your name into the heads of headbangers out there that you put on a wicked show.

Now, without further delay, check out this great convo we had just the other day!

Connect with Haywire Festival on Facebook

Connect with Haywire Booking on Facebook

Connect with Methadone Skies on Facebook

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