I want to start a cult, but for music
August 17, 2010 12:43 AM   Subscribe

I want to play music with other people. I want to focus mostly on live performances that skew toward improvisational. Seems easy enough... right?

My highest ideal is to play music with other people and explore the possibilities, hopefully for an audience of people (however small) who are similarly interested in getting lost in the sound. Here are the issues that seem to be getting in the way:

1. The town I live in is somewhat small and college-y. Not so small that there aren't other like-minded musicians around, but small enough that they are few. There also is not a surplus of places/venues where I come into contact with, ahem, 'real' musicians. Not to mention the general lack of an improvisational/instrumental music scene here. Jazz while people dine or noise/loops at all ages venues, but not a lot of the in-between.

2. I'm 36. I don't really care that much about anyone's age, but younger musicians often do, and musicians my age are generally making babies more than music/art these days.

3. The musicians that I already know and have played with are frequently unreliable, sloppy players, poor listeners and/or unmotivated. Understandably, what makes my world turn does not necessarily do the same for them. I am not incredibly talented myself but I work really hard to overcome that.

My latest plan has been to put together a solo act in order to get some more exposure to other musicians. However, playing solo and setting loops isn't exactly what I am after, so it has been hard to really motivate myself. Not to mention that the idea of relying on a laptop and some finicky foot pedals to play music feels a bit like a gilded cage. I do play in a rock band right now. I also play 'jazz' while people eat their dinner and ignore us. I collaborate on recorded music over the internet with other people. I love each of these things. They are not fulfilling.

Anyway, I could really use some perspective and ideas from others out there, not necessarily specific to music, regarding how one might go about assembling a group of motivated, articulate and inspired people who are interested in making art. Or perhaps you could help me to let go of this insane pipe dream and tell me to buy a playstation.
posted by palacewalls to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
While my band doesn't focus on improvisations on stage, maybe just occasionally as an encore, we enjoy long-winded jams during our rehearsals. Usually someone just starts repeating a single chord (or a beat in case of the drummer) and the others join in. This is a lot of fun and even though there is no audience it is quite fulfilling for me. Maybe this is how you can get your current bandmates interested in this kind of thing.
posted by cronholio at 2:02 AM on August 17, 2010

go to the coffee store that the college kids hang out at, put up a flyer. this seemed to be the way that every jam band and jazz group put themselves together in the small college towns i've lived in.
posted by nadawi at 2:28 AM on August 17, 2010

Other than craigslist posts/flyers/etc, maybe look for open mics in your area and see if there's anyone doing stuff that seems compatible with what you're trying to pull together, and approach them after their set?

Also: Have you poked around Kompoz at all? I know swapping tracks is not exactly improvisational, but it might be a way to at least partially scratch that itch.
posted by usonian at 6:04 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I apologize if this isn't useful to you, but you might enjoy Kilimanjaro's work here—entirely improvisational. I do second the ideas suggested thus far and offer my encouragement; I share your attraction to this kind of an idyllic musical collaboration, and very much hope it materializes.
posted by alexandermatheson at 11:40 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Useful suggestions, all. Thanks to alexandermatheson for introducing me to Kilimanjaro- what they are doing is totally in line with what I am after. It is inspiring.
posted by palacewalls at 8:55 AM on August 18, 2010

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