How Collaboration Happens Between Different Bands In The SLO Music Scene When They Need It Most

When the weekend rolls around for Cal Poly students, it’s not long before small halls and homes are energized with the mutually encouraged liveliness of group-fan interaction. Commonly referred to as “house shows,” these events have grown in popularity as a key way for students to connect with each other through musical stimulation, while allowing local bands to gain exposure.

Yet, from every vantage point of the band scene in San Luis Obispo, there is a harmonious recognition that collaboration is central to the success of the music community according to Cate Armstrong, senior sociologist and singer of the band Purple Hibiscus. She said she has witnessed this first hand throughout her own immersion within this community.

In San Luis Obispo, many small groups have made or are working to make their mark, using passion, group chemistry, and a desire to succeed.

Kiwi Kannibal, a local three-piece band, was founded on friendship when its two senior members discovered the value of working together.

“I would go to Adrien’s dorm and he would play bass and I would play guitar and we would start jamming,” said head of journalism Amanda Wernick, who is the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist. “That’s when I started to understand how to record music and find a sound. We just had musical chemistry and we just started hanging out together, like he was my buddy from music.

With the establishment of grassroots bands such as Kiwi Kannibal, the importance of building community within the band scene has become more recognized by those within it. Armstrong said it was essential that there was a sense of mutual respect and a level of “passion,” or passion, present.

Throughout her experience in Purple Hibiscus, Armstrong said she also realized that these community connections flowed from the artistic spirit and could respond to it as well.

“I think what’s really unique about the music scene here at SLO is that there’s such an essence of creativity that always blooms in music, art, anything creative,” said Armstrong.

Wernick echoed that the role this kind of atmosphere can play is where everything “loops on and on” and you can “form a grassroots community of creatives who can promote each other’s work,” a- she declared.

While the creative and collaborative aspects of the band scene are often characterized positively, there are still learning curves.

Adrian Rosas, Kiwi Kannibal’s bassist and senior journalist, described the first phase of forming a band as the “honeymoon phase”.

This phase for Kiwi Kannibal ended when its members needed a drummer. Despite their initial concern about how they were going to carry on until they found one, the band was met with even more support and more collaboration than before when they reached out to the music community more off San Luis Obispo for help.

“We made a lot of really good friends in the scene and that was one of the times where Amanda and I kind of realized that it was really cool to connect with a lot of musicians here,” Rosas said. . “Not all of them, but a lot of them, because you can’t be friends with everyone, but we’ve made good connections with a lot of people.”

Just as Kiwi Kannibal has had interim drummers for a longer period, San Luis Obispo bands are generally flexible and use back-up musicians when needed. Armstrong said other bands often use fill-in musicians from different bands when a member leaves or is unavailable for a show.

“Especially being in college and being so busy and having so many different areas that we occupy, like we can’t do all the shows, so it kind of depends on the flexibility of the band,” Armstrong said.

San Luis Obispo community groups also show their support by attending each other’s shows. Armstrong said people can promote shows that aren’t their own on social media, or even members of the band’s scene, including herself, can go see other bands perform, at the both as a sign of solidarity and for fun.

“It’s my last term at Cal Poly, so I really think I’m prioritizing the shows and the people I want to play with. Every time I see a Couch Dog show, I’m in the mosh, I’m having a good moment, I’m sweating, smiling, everything,” Armstrong said.

This universalized collaboration also helped Kiwi Kannibal develop “a core sound that people kept coming back to. [to]and find a writing style that “stands out as distinctly [their] clean,” Wernick said. Now with their permanent drummer Jon Achee, Wernick also said she feels Kiwi Kannibal is more stable than it would have been without the band’s prior collaboration with temporary drummers.

Partnerships in the local music community have also manifested in ways that are not as directly associated with band members crossing paths in the shows.

Kiwi Kannibal recently worked with Couch Dog band member and logo designer Max Ferrer to produce shirt designs, poster graphics and logos for their own band.

The groups also help each other by coordinating to have everyone bring some of the necessary equipment to house shows or other events so that no group has to manage it alone, which Achee says is a useful form of collaboration.

As this community continues to grow with the presence and involvement of new musical creators, Armstrong said the brotherhood that has grown between the bands will grow with it.

“There’s just an urge to have live music available again. I think collaboration is definitely central to that, because it takes a village to get this all started again,” Armstrong said. not just be one band, it has to be all bands with the same common vision of bringing music to life in SLO.”

About Armand Downs

Check Also

Alex Bauman-Lyons, head of design at edyn • Hotel Designs

HD: What were you doing before working for edyn? AB-L: I spent my early career …