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OK Electric Afterthoughts

10/21/2010

Well its almost been a week since the show.  I had a great time even though not a lot of people showed up.  I had a lot more people in front of me when I performed than I expected mostly due to Suzy and Stephanie’s advertising.  All the bands that performed were fantastic.  The inherit problem with an electronic show is that so much of the good electronic music is relaxing which was pretty much the beginning of the evening.  I didn’t catch all the bands the evening (Sorry Chrome Pony and Bruder!)   I played but I’ll write about the ones I did catch.

The evening started off with Gear CX.  The sound didn’t seem loud enough to me but their music was fairly fascinating.  I would be curious to see their creative process as some of it resembled live remixing (one track remixed was a Guerrilla’s track for instance).  Much of their work reminded me of early90’s Skinny Puppy or some of Cevin Key’s side projects.

Next up was Sigmund & Freud whom I automatically hated because they were born with more money than me.  Okay that was sarcasm.  Pretty much they had an extremely expensive rig and vehicle they pulled up in but wealth envy aside their music was genuine.  It was primarily centered around the main piano player with a lite background track and occasional vocoded vocals.  I’m actually pretty amazed by how common it is for band to use the MicroKorg for their vocoding.  Its always been a neat feature to me but I would have thought most audiophiles would have something against the low quality mic.  Sorry, tangent.  Sigmund & Freud primarily stayed in the relaxing groove territory and closed out with a much appreciated Air cover.  I picked up the free EP they were giving away but I have yet to listen to it since I left it in Suzy’s truck.

The Phase is a band from OKC that I only caught some of their act.  Two Mac’s and some type of electronic reed instrument is what I remember.  I spent most of my time trying to figure out if the reed instrument was a clarinet or saxophone so I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember what they sound like or what the other member of the band played.

Novachild I played a show in OKC with before.  Previously it was a one man act with a synth and a laptop.  Since founder Bruce has upgraded substantially and now boasts a four man trio consisting of percussion, guitar, and keys.  Novachild’s music has always to me been on the New Age side of things, reminiscent of such acts as Enigma minus the vocals.  Having the relaxing vibe sent out by the music accompanied by the live drumming really added to the overall energy and vibe of the music.  The guitar was pretty hard to hear most of the time though so no comments there.

Lastly I stayed for the act after my performance, known as Daniels.  Daniels worked how I imagine a Squarepusher show would go.  Incredibly hectic and layered electronic music and beats with a live bass player.  The thing that made the show were the custom videos created to with the music.  One track remixed Disney’s Robin Hood cartoon to dance to the sporadic and spastic rhythm and melodies.  Other songs featured a home improvement video and Tron among many others.  The amount of work that went into creating these videos to coincide with the music is astounding and certainly makes me feel lazy.  While the videos were the highlight of the show for me, they aren’t something I think I’d ever take the time to incorporate into one of my shows unless I somehow made music my job, getting rid of my current job.  I will also say years ago I heard one of the main features of going to an IDM show was the rampant video mixing that went along with it.  I have to imagine this is what those people were talking about although the music was definitely not IDM, or not as I’ve known it.

The show was setup in the Tulsa Living Arts gallery, which is a gallery with no actual stage.  I had never been there so I did not know what to expect.  The sound was provided by Steve from my old band Axis who has almost doubled his speaker count since I was in the band.  The show was run by Rob from Recorder.  Rob has been running electronic events in Tulsa since I met him in my teen years.  I’ve always had the impression he usually throws events that people show up to.  Unfortunately this one seemed to be an exception to that although I don’t blame anyone involved for it.  Its just how the world works.  Most people showed up for the band they were supporting and left, which is fairly counterproductive in the support department.

There is a bit of a conundrum to being a musician.  See your friends never really become your fans.  Or at least your close ones most certainly do not.  There are always exceptions but most people’s egos are too large for this particular instance.  I have found my best musical comradery to be with other musicians and performers (ie Specter, AllThisIsMeaningless, TheStillLifes, etc).

It really starts with the fact that to be a successful musician financially is to be an icon.  And by financially I mean the musician is able to support themselves for the time being off of their music.  As friends we do not look at each other as icons and are prone to fits of jealousy and insecurity as such is the human condition.  And while the condition of being a fan does not require that you treat the subject matter as an icon, it does require that you acknowledge this person is doing something you cannot and are not doing.  The last statement is a bit absurd in that I’m never going to be able to make a song that one of my friends make because I’m me.  But the statement is still true.  People are not nearly as supportive as they like to think themselves.  But our lives are busy and our time is little, especially for those of us with family’s and jobs that require more than a 40 hour work week.  Which is also of course why people in high school and college fund so many of the music scenes.

I can think back to all my shows and I know which friend showed up to which show.  If you don’t believe me then test me.  I have an extremely bad memory but having my friends enjoy my music is so utterly important that those memories are all I get.  At the same time I don’t expect my friends to show up or even like my music really.  There’s a whole emotional roller coaster I simply avoid by losing those expectations.  And of course the benefit is I’m happy with anything I get.  Its also very telling on a person’s personality to see how they react to their friends’ art.

Anyway, I’ve blabbed on long enough.  I had a great time.  I’ll always be amazed by how everything I own will stop working when I set it up on a stage but work perfectly at home.  Thanks to everyone who showed up.  I would encourage those people to stay for a few bands next time.  To quote a friend who was quoting someone else, “there are no boring places, just boring people”.  Any description we have of ourselves or our friends will only be temporary.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    11/02/2010 18:50

    “Its also very telling on a person’s personality to see how they react to their friends’ art. ”

    Sure is!

  2. Specter permalink
    11/18/2010 08:19

    I try to be supportive – So much so that the first time I didn’t show up for a local act playing I got 500 texts from people asking me if I had died.

    It made me feel like my support meant something, which is always good.

    I know it means everything to me… Not just “Hey I showed up, now where’s the bar?” or “I had nothing “better” to do tonight” but REAL bon-i-fied “Hey man I dig that 3rd song you played – It reminded me of ______ and I love it” type support.

    I have a million things to say about my own performance but I’m not allowed 😥

    Other than that I believe that for the 20 people that were there your set (and possibly our part as well) was amazing sauce and we rocked their faces off… I saw several people DANCING. That in itself was incredible.

    I also did the splits and didn’t die.

    Yay!

    ~Specter

    P.S. – Not having monitors and standing behind speakers, not being able to hear yourself and trying to sing is HARD! *runs away quickly before being pommeled*

  3. 11/22/2011 03:05

    I just found this doing a google. Nice to know someone was there to hear what we did, though your description of my music might take a turn when you hear the new stuff (and a lot of the stuff I haven’t performed in Tulsa). http://novachildmusic.bandcamp.com.

    I placed a bid to make OK Electric happen this year, but it was declined. Oh well.

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