Two questions popped up for me today about listening and making money. Both made me think about the growing DIY music thing that is happening of which we are a part of almost by accident. If my ... cousin-in-law ... if there is such a thing, Mario Santana had never told me about dodiy.org I probably wouldn't have known about the DIY scene. Sure I'd know that something like that existed but for the most part my initial reaction would be that it was mostly punk and hardcore bands. Not true. The mixture and diversity that I have been exposed to, and in turn exposing northern NH to, is really encouraging.
Young musicians are spreading out across the country, probably the way they always have, but aided with technology and a loose network of basement shows, house parties, art studios, etc they have a place to play music, their own music, no cover songs that everyone knows, original art. Thats what keeps modern music alive is supporting and sustaining the current sounds of the present not relegating music to a rehash of music made by other folks.
Don't get me wrong, two of my bands play tons of covers, in a way its a chance to try and stretch the limit of what a known song can be.
On listening. As I was driving away from The Loading Dock last night after The Vulnerable played I caught the tail end of an interview on NPR with the guy that started Story Corps. He said that just listening is the most direct expression of love, to listen without having to contribute and just take it in is drawing a deeper connection between people. Those connections are so important to small rural communities like ours in the north country of NH. Taking a few hours to be in the moment and listen to someone is a heavy heavy experience for the listener and for the one that has something to say.
Money... or currency. Would a musician or band still play music for people even if they did it for free? Again, I look at the DIY music scene, these artists are looking to play in places that are about people coming together to listen, that is the primary transaction. Sure everyone needs to get to the next gig and still have money to eat but did they have an attentive audience and make at least one connection? I think that is nourishing. That said I firmly believe that artists should be compensated financially for their dedication to their art. We charge $10 at the door and split 50/50 with the musicians the proceeds. I get seriously stressed out about the possibility of not being able to pay musicians what I think they deserve. Over and over, if its a tough night and I can only pay $50 they are still psyched, and I appreciate that. Personally I try to make up for it other ways, like cooking them a meal that adheres to their dietary restrictions. We can all find ways to create different forms of transactions that do not directly involve money, that can make up a bit of the difference... but not all, these guys struggle, they put on a good face, they play their hearts out and move onto the next show.
Up next is Mixed Doubles / Turtle Pond Union / Astral Leaks this Thursday. We are headed into different sonic territory. Astral Leaks is Dan Salomon from our local amazing music store Northern Lights Music in Littleton. Dan will be playing electric guitar, possibly joined by his two sons, Asher and Ben. Not to be missed these guys! Turtle Pond Union plays acoustic guitar based Americana, finger style, male/female vocals. Mixed Doubles is from Brooklyn. They play acoustic guitar duo, layered and improvised weaving dense textures of sound.