As a predominately solo, bedroom musician one thing generally lacking from my musical exploration is other people. Though I’ve jammed with friends on occasion, I haven’t had anything blossom into a long-term collaboration.
I’m curious what any of you have done to focus on growing a creative, explorative artistic community around you, whether it’s for music or other forms of art.
So far my two tricks are “date a musician” and “go to local shows and talk to at least one person you didn’t go with”. The second one is hard.
I have booked house shows at an old frat house for 5 years here in Ann Arbor. We have a close knit group here and have booked all kinds of acts and genres.
The hardest part, id say, isn’t getting people to come. It’s getting started and staying passionate about actively building communities and strengthening artist networks.
That being said, if anyone wants to play a show in Ann Arbor, hit me up! I’ve never booked a Lines member, though @stripes and Florist had a show booked at one point, but it fell through. Let me know y’all!
I have an answer to this that will involve LCRP, but just this tease for now until I get Hylozoic out. Stay tuned.
Slightly related - I find that surprisingly few people talk to touring bands or musicians at a show, so I try to make a point of saying hi and discussing how their tour is going. And yes, it may be uncomfortable sometimes, but the way I see it, more people will be friendly than not.
Organizing things is a great way to both meet people and build long-term collaborations.
I haven’t really done any of this since I moved to Tokyo but when I lived in Paris I co-organized Dorkbot every month there and it was a great way to do all of that. Also, just going to events/concerts regularly and talking a bit to people you keep seeing there is the simplest, most organic way of becoming part of a community…
And the first one is easy??
well, No, definitely not but in this particular case also Yes
I might be starting something similar in Chicago, it’s exciting and I hope it can help foster some community among experimental music here, which can be a little spread out and disconnected imo. I’ll announce some deets soon in the Chicago thread.
I’ll tell the touring acts I book about your spot! Regional community!!
Yes please! I’m on the major lookout for acts, would love to have people on tour.
Yes! I couldn’t find a scene here in San Diego, so I started a monthly series back in 2013. This led to all kinds of cool stuff.
I’ve been plugging away at the local scene for years and it was hard at first. Not sure about other places, but where I am, people tend to fall into cliques - so the first battle is breaking down those walls. I felt like the first thing I had to do was to establish my presence and allow people to put a face to a name. There’s quite a few mentions about hitting up local shows, which I’ve found helpful too [plus it’s nice to support people]. Also lending your skills if you can - I used to do live music photography around my local scene and I did music reviews too.
In terms of online - I’ve enjoyed being part of the Disquiet Junto, and also here in general. To get a weekly writing prompt and to be able to talk to lovely, non-judgmental people from all over the world is really nice, and also interesting to see what else people are doing beyond my backyard. I’ve found Facebook to be another good way of networking, and a good way of seeing what opportunities are there.
If you have the time and inclination, organising your own shows is another great way of creating a community. Especially if your style of music is under-represented in your area.
Just posted an idea to encourage cultivation of community right here on lines. Hope you will join us!
Thanks for all of the excellent responses!
I guess part of my issue is also that I’m not entirely sure whether I’m planning on living where I’m currently living permanently, or moving elsewhere at some point in the future, and so I’ve been a little bit more wary of making the investment needed to be a part of a local community given that situation.
however, the random forces of life meant that I recently had a Lyft driver who releases sort of Musique Concrete stuff on a tape label, and who seemed enthusiastic about the possibility of setting me up with a person who sets up noise shows…
and I think I’ll follow-up with any other opportunities for performance/collaboration just to see what’s out there.
The second one is really hard, but I’ll try to give it much more of a shot!
I’ve done some of this in the relatively small place where I live, and done some of it online.
In person, I totally agree about organising stuff. A couple of friends organised a tiny exhibition recently and I played some music and put my tapes out for sale, while visual artists had things in the space. All the people (exhibiting stuff, having a look, or just hanging out with their friends) chatted freely with each other and although it was tiny, it was a really nice sense of connection. It was just like a relaxed house party with a point of focus.
Organising online, a la this latest RHCP - wait, LCRP - can be great. I organised a “double helix” parallel remix chain thing in maybe 2000 and there’s people involved with that I’m still in touch with now.
A strangely basic tip for online stuff is if I agree to a one-off collaboration or whatever, I do try to share a bit of basic stuff about my life. Not like “here’s my life history”, but just some of the same kind of things you might discuss in person if starting a new project and making small talk while having a break from talking about the project. Where you live, what you do with your days outside music, how long you’ve been making music for, who you live with maybe, etc. Just whatever comes up naturally - but sometimes you have to kick it off a bit consciously. I’ve got some musical connections I’ve stayed in touch with online for over a decade. Three of us are just trying out a long-distance collaboration after all that time.