Ratatat, Dec 4 09
I Heart Hiroshima, Dec 5 09
$5 ticket includes entry to both shows and two cocktails. Shows at 7 p.m. Limited seats. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The international music scene's presence will be felt in Cambodia in December when The FCC Phnom Penh hosts Brooklyn electronic music duo Ratatat and Brisbane indie-pop juggernaut I Heart Hiroshima.
"The bands are much into new experiences and audiences," says Australian Paul Curtis, the promoter for both bands on the Southeast Asian dates. "They are looking for unexplored territories."
For independent music fans, the announcement of the shows came as a minor shock. In the past, Phnom Penh has seldom played host to such live music hotshots.
For Curtis and the bands, like so many others, a date with Cambodia proved too attractive to refuse.
Ratatat recently wrapped up recording with hip-hop all-star Kid Cutie. They have previously toured with electronic music powerhouse Daft Punk, Bjork, The Killers, Scottish alt-rockers Franz Ferdinand, and many other indie-label heavy hitters.
I Heart Hiroshima represents one of the hottest acts to emerge from the blistering Brisbane music scene. Driven by the unpretentious vocals of Susie Patten, who also plays drums, the bass-less I Heart Hiroshima blends infectious lyrics and jangly guitars to create refreshingly authentic indie-pop with a do-it-yourself rocker attitude.
Traveling and playing together, the bands have recently finished a torrid European tour and will be playing in Vietnam before coming to Phnom Penh.
It was in Vietnam where Curtis made the Cambodian connection.
"The Vietnam shows have come about through past relationships that have developed over time," Curtis says. "Regurgitator, who I also manage, have wanted to play Vietnam for years as the guitarist/singer [Quan Yeomans] is of Vietnamese heritage. We finally managed to make it happen last year."
The Hanoi dates in 2008 quickly led to more shows in Saigon, where Curtis hooked up with Rod Quinton, a partner in Pacharan Saigon who is heavily involved with the Loreto Vietnam Australia Program, a non-governmental organization that works with underprivileged and disabled children.
"It was excellent," says Curtis of the Loreto show. "Both Rod and the Loreto people are excellent. Their work with education facilities for blind, handicapped and underprivileged children were such an inspiration that Quan now donates money to assist children and illness in Hanoi."
The Loreto shows held such an attraction that Ratatat returned with I Heart Hiroshima to play this year.
"Rod then suggested adding in some shows in Cambodia, which sounded great, and I trust him to come up with something adventurous, unique and fun."
Curtis admits that under typical circumstances, getting Ratatat and I Heart Hiroshima to come to Cambodia "would be difficult to have happen." But with a little serendipity, and fortunate timing, it was possible to make the shows happen.
"It's as much about the genuine inspiration that comes with going outside the norm and possibly facing challenges in how to approach the shows," Curtis says.
Phnom Penh fans couldn't be happier with the choice.
Ratatat plays The FCC Dec. 4. I Heart Hiroshima plays Dec. 5. Both shows begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 and include entry on both nights and two cocktails.