Okapi outside the Drie Gezusters, Groningen

In January 2015, Institute band Okapi and Institute Label Dyne Road Recordings (DRR), travelled to the Netherlands to perform in Tilburg and at Altersonic in Groningen as well as writing and recording with students from Fontys Rockacademie.

This trip was subsequent to Rockacademie band Billie Rodney and DJ/Producer Budakid visiting the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in December 2014. During their visit the Rockacademie students also had co-writing/recording sessions with Institute students and performances at, 93 Feet East, The Good Ship and the DRR Christmas Party (Hoxton Underbelly).

The band, Okapi, (Antoine Cotton, Georgina Tunbridge, Timothy Jacobs, Matteo Baldazzi and Miles Burke) and Sam Sutherland (DRR) travelled to Tilburg, from Victoria, arriving at Rockacademie the following afternoon for a co-write session with Songwriting student Kris van Son. The next day the band returned to the Rockacademie studio to record a new song of their own – Warrior – with Nina Giampaolo - a Songwriting student majoring in production at the college.

Their first gig was at Extase, supported by acoustic act IVY and rock band Shoulders of Giants, who won a competition to join the Institute stage at Camden Rocks in 2014. When Okapi took to the stage they showed how they are really coming together as a live band, performing their set with its eclectic mix of genres.

The next day began with a train journey from Tilburg in the south of the Netherlands to Groningen in the north, where the Altersonic Showcase is held at the Drie Gezusters in the centre of the city as part of the Eurosonic Festival. The band was on the Hoppe Classic stage at 20:50 playing to an audience, including some Eurosonic delegates. After watching Billie Rodney it was time to head back to the station for the late night train to Amsterdam, where they were left to enjoy the weekend before returning back to the UK on Monday.

With much travelling, carrying gear around, performing to new audiences and seeing, meeting and collaborating with new artists, and sharing social experiences as a band, it was a great experience for an aspiring young band to see how hectic life can be on tour.  

The Institute is looking forward to developing its relationship with Fontys Rockacademie further, a sentiment shared by the students. In Sam Sutherland’s words “Banter was the key word throughout this trip….an eventful few days that felt like a month! DRR was very happy to be a part of this and look forward to future ventures with Rockacademie and Eurosonic!”.