Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Trials of a Non-EDM LivePA



LivePA artists have it tough of enough in this world, trying to battle DJ's, stupid fans, and spilled beer. Those few artists out there though who try to do livePA that is not dance music have it even harder then the rest of the PAs around. I myself am one of those non-EDM livePA artists who has struggled tying to find places to perform and people to listen to me. It seems that the electronic music world is completely fixated on dance music and sometimes even the fans are left scratching their heads as to what exactly a non-EDM artist is doing. Perhaps because they are actually looking at us instead of dancing.

Before I started doing livePA I composed mostly ambient music. I love the genre and for whatever reason I found that I am fairly good at it. Over time though my creativity began to run a little stale and at the same time I became increasingly interested in LivePA. As I began to explore the whole process I decided to take the change as an opportunity to help redefine my style and creative persona. As I moved over to my livePA set, I began to incorporate beats into my music, but overall I still retained the non-dance music feel.

It was about two years ago that I finally had my live project all ready to go and I began to start looking for places to perform. I passed out demos, talked to clubs and in the end found that no one was looking for non-dance electronic music.

At first I thought that most events would have chillout rooms that a performer like myself could perform at. It seems logical, but to my surprise the chillout room seems to have fallen out of favor, at least in Chicago. I honestly have to say, the first few months of trying to find places to perform was extremely discouraging.

In the end I was able to find some places to perform, but none of those places truly felt like they fit for the music I was trying to convey. Chicago has a very nice underground IDM scene, and you could possibly argue that IDM is not really dance music. I found myself in a couple of lineups for IDM events, but to be honest my music was not IDM and consequently I really did not fit the crowd.

So in the end of it all I had to settle on doing performances mostly in cafes, art shows and other similar venues. Granted these are not the large parties that most livePA acts probably hope for, but I find performing for twenty people sipping on coffee is better then performing for no one.

So what exactly is the point of this post? Basically this.....If you find yourself in a similar position as I have, as a non-EDM livePA, try not to get discouraged. Try to find more creative ways in which you can distribute your music and perform. That cafe show with twenty people may not be exactly what you are looking for, but you may actually find the intimacy of the event quite rewarding. At nearly every performance I have done I have had someone come up to me and tell me that my music was "beautiful". In some way that just means a little more then the "Rockin' set man" you might get from someone at a dance party. And if you happen to find some other non-EDM performers in your area, try to network with them, because honestly, we all need to stick together.


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1 comment:

Ted said...

I liked this article a lot!

I hear you on not having an audience locally - I played in dance music duo, but I've switched to more ambient/drone type stuff. I'm frankly a little scared to start gigging again.

There are more "out there" people who are open to this kind of music - I have played in art galleries as incidental music (with a lot of success), and there are more people who are getting into music without a beat. I guess the key is really thinking outside the box, as you say.