ATP 2:0 Nightmare Before Christmas: Artist Jake Chapman On The Return Of The Holiday Camp Fest

In 2004 artworld renegades Jake & Dinos Chapman flexed their Michael Eavis muscles and curated the very first Nightmare Before Christmas offshoot of the ATP festival, taking over a deserted seaside holiday camp and letting loose the likes of Aphex Twin, Throbbing Gristle, Peaches and Sun O))).

On November 27-29 they return to do the whole thing all over again at Pontins in Prestatyn, North Wales. We spoke to Jake about ATP 2.0: Nightmare Before Christmas, which will see sets from Courtney Barnett, Holly Herndon, Thee Oh Sees – but sadly not One Direction, though Jake says they’re more than invited next time.

What made your first ATP festival so special?
Jake: “It was an amazing, strange drawing together of the most unlikely people to the most unlikely place. There’s just something really nice about the idea of a holiday camp in its winter months being rescued by a bunch people into electronic music and noise. It reminded me of a George A Romero movie. There are all these slot machines and the little arcades Aand then these people just wandering through them to go listen to Lightning Bolt or Aphex Twin.”

Lightning Bolt are on the bill again – why book them for a repeat appearance?

“Well, they’re amazing live – they’re just really spectacular. It’s one of the best drummers in the world and one of the best bass guitarists in the world playing at full pelt. It’s an amazing sound, it’s really sort of the petrol chaos on the cusp of falling apart. It’s absolutely stunning.”

Courtney Barnett is also playing…

“I think what’s kind of typical about both of their stuff is that it’s experimental, but not painfully so. It’s not constant pain. The music that gets picked within the paradigm of ATP is normally pretty much the same sort of stuff. You’re never going to get One Direction at ATP, although that would be a fantastic idea. If they would do it then that would be great, they’re more than invited!”

Who are you most happy about booking?
“I’m going to be elegant in my reply and say I am equally, democratically and egalitarian-ally happy about all of them. I would have to say at the last one it was amazing to have Throbbing Gristle – that was astonishing, and Aphex Twin.”

What’s going to be happening outside of music at the event?
“I don’t want to bang on my own drum, but we’re going to show every horrible little film that we’ve ever made. We’re going to show a whole range of stuff, including a film called The Plank [1967] which is a silent movie. It’s a film about a plank of wood and some builders and the plank of wood becomes the subject of a series of catastrophic events. It’s a very good film.”

Will there be any of you and your brothers’ art be on display?
“I’m sure there will be… I’ll be doing portraits in the reception!”

Have you been down to the site yet?
“No – it’s quite nice to turn up like everyone else does. These places are infinitely interesting because you have to get a train and a donkey and a skateboard or whatever to get there. It’s very funny, getting an inappropriate audience to the holiday camp seems very apocalyptic. I quite like the Biblical migration of a population – it kinds of feels like the end of the world.”

Did you go to holiday camps as a kid?
“Its kind of a difficult thing to say isn’t it, a holiday ‘camp’ without it swooping off and replacing it with something a little more ominous. We had one in Hastings and there were all these rumours that it was used for Italian prisoners of war during WWI, which shows you the history of British holiday camps; they work well as prisoners of war camps as well!”

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