02 Apr 2020 - Ajay
As the Lockdown comes closer everywhere, festivals and concerts are being cancelled left and right, the live music industry is collapsing within a second, the only remaining way to experience music first-hand (or second?) is to watch some live-music-streams. One imaginative example of how to bring live-music to the people is the Post-Poned-Series, a collaborative effort bringing you quality shows to your screen while you don’t have to be afraid of contacting the Cov’.
Well, we are grounded, right? Nearly every country restricts public life more or less, with a few exceptions here and there. Thus we all have a lot of time on our hands and can relax quite a lot, if it weren’t for the fact that we all enjoy being out in public and, best case scenario, witnessing a good chunk of live music. Nevertheless, this is impossible and forbidden in most cases and thus we do not get any concert feelings. A few weeks ago, the German telecommunication giant Telekom did not want to stop the pop-wrecking ball called James Blunt from performing live on their own online-media platform, but without any kind of audience inside Hamburg’s awesome Elbphilharmonie (basically the most modern opera hall in Europe). This concert was streamed online and now we, the people who actively seek music and good concerts are given a chance to see some awesome post-rock bands in concert online without audience but for us, the post-community.
In order to spread the word for Post-Poned, a live concert series streamed online, MerchantsofAir held an interview with the three guys behind the concert series, Ronnie from the highly prolific YouTube-channel WherePostRockDwells, Andrew Heyer from Dome A Records (who recently released the awesome VASA record that we also reviewed) and David Zeidler from Young Epoch PR.
The series had its debut last week with the live-concert of Circus Trees (watch). If you want to help the series by making a donation, HERE is your chance. Make sure to check the social media channels of WherePostRockDwells and all the others mentioned throughout this interview. Believe me, when I say that the oncoming announcements and concerts will be awesome, so don’t forget to tune in!
And now on to what Ronnie, Andrew and David had to say.
So first question for everyone: What are the two or three events that got cancelled over the last few weeks that hurt you the most as an individual? Mine were Roadburn, Sons of a Wanted Man in Belgium and probably not seeing Einsturzende Neubauten in May.
Ronnie: (WherePostRockDwells): There were a couple of really good Indian post-rock acts like Celestial Teapot and The Reasonable Hope who had to unfortunately cancel their India tour. But the one that hurts the most is Intronaut’s show in Bangalore Open Air. I was really looking forward to experiencing their new album live.
Andrew Heyer: (Dome A Records): Oh man, probably the Caspian shows at the Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachussetts. Not only is the Sinclair my favorite venue, but I’ve always wanted to see Maserati, and was really happy for Junior Beef and Circus Trees for getting on those bills. Outside of the post-rock realm, I was going to see Dance Gavin Dance with Animals As Leaders, and the Circa Survive “Blue Sky Noise” 10th anniversary tour. My inner mosh comes out at Circa and DGD shows. Four dollar PBR tall boys baby.
David Zeidler: (Young Epoch PR): For me, it’s dunk!festival. I have been working with dunk! closely for a few years now, first as the U.S. rep for dunk!usa, then as a copy writer for the label and the EU festival. This would have been my fourth year in a row. There is so much being missed out on here, aside from obviously missing all the great bands. It’s a huge annual networking summit for people who work closely with the post-rock community – artists, label folks, writers, other festival runners. You can’t imagine how much gets accomplished in those three days, how many projects are hatched, connections are made, relationships forged. It’s a real shame. I’m also missing the Caspian show that was supposed to take place in Woodstock, New York April 4th. I’ve seen Caspian several times, including their show with the orchestra back in November, but they really are one of the best live bands going and I was stoked to see them play the new songs. However, as bummed as I am, I do feel like this is for the best. As much as we all wanted to go and are all heartbroken we won’t be able to, it also wouldn’t have been the same if we convened in a version of Europe that was functioning at 20% capacity. I think that would have been the elephant in the room the entire time for everyone, and it would have greatly compromised the experience. Best to just settle in for now, beat this thing, then re-convene once we’re back to some semblance of normalcy.
You talk a lot about the post-rock “community” and I think that is a very interesting word, because growing up in the 80s and 90s when we talked about community we always associated it with a very narrow regional concept of community. But the way you talk about the post-rock community, and the way it has been used for several years now, community is something that shares less topographical features and distinctions. So – what is this community to you then?
Ronnie: (WherePostRockDwells): The topographical definition of community still exists but with the advent of social media, the post-rock community has been one of the strongest and forthcoming groups that I’ve been a part of. I am from India and even though the post-rock community here is considerably smaller compared to most of the countries, there is a strong sense of companionship amongst most listeners and artists as well.
Andrew: (Dome A Records): I think there is still a topographical sense of community, but with all of the online resources available to people nowadays, community seems to become less of a regional concept, and more of a resourceful non-physical entity. I mean just think about how you’d want your music released, wouldn’t you consider all of your PR targets to be genre specific “communities”? From an actual “physical” location sense though, I will say, being from Boston, where it seems like the music community is literally a physical family, I guess I can also associate the word “community” as just that; a family. Here we’ve had agencies and labels put together the first Post Fest New England, we have bands like Caspian that are always willing to support local bands, studios like The Bridge Sound and Stage always ready to lend a helping hand, relief funds like The Record Co. that are accepting applications for grants for artists affected by tour cancellations, the list goes on.
Community definitely goes both ways.
David (Young Epoch): I understand and agree with your divided sense of the term. I’ll be 39 this year, so I came up at a time when music communities were literally that – the area you lived in and whatever bands came together within that space. I have a lot of love for that idea, and I think that those kinds of communities still exist, but we also live in an age where the whole world is available to you if you’re interested in seeking it out. The post-rock genre is obviously a niche realm, it’s something that will never achieve mainstream popularity, and as such it’s a form that absolutely needs to support itself from within. It also happens to be a genre that, for whatever reason, seems to attract an inordinate amount of good people. You’ll regularly find incredibly welcoming, kind, supportive individuals, and very, very rarely do you run across people who run against that grain. These two ideas work incredibly well in tandem when it comes to building a community around the genre; artists support each other, because supporting each other is supporting yourself. This extends to fans as well. There is a great deal of connectivity between creators and consumers; there’s just a general approachability that so many of the members of this community bring to the table, and because the genre is largely built around wordless compositions, it has the ability to break through language barriers, making it much easier to extend into a global entity. I’ve found that most people are on the same page and want what’s best for each other, and there’s an understanding that good deeds and good faith always come back around.
Would you also say that the instrumental character of so many real post-rock bands makes it easier to form a global community?
Ronnie: I believe that the atmospheric and cinematic vibes are one of the most defining characters of post-rock as a genre which attracts a niche yet strong following. It is easier to imagine and form stories in your head with an instrumental post-rock album and is highly relatable. Vocals in post-rock are mostly used as an instrument that adds another layer to storytelling.
Andrew: The instrumental character definitely keeps it niche, and when you’re niche, I feel like you kind of stumble into related channels easier, especially with online radio algorithms nowadays, or however you discover your favorite bands. Unique characteristics are what draw your targeted audiences to your music, and with that, they eliminate others who aren’t so drawn to it, thus creating your community.
Do you agree that the post-rock community benefits largely from globalization? Especially when it comes to communication technology?
Ronnie: Absolutely. The YouTube channel wouldn’t exist without it. Connecting the community with music and the artists themselves has been one of the best aspects of advancements in communication technology. I am just glad that I have been able to support the artists showcase their music to the world and being a part of the amazing community.
Andrew: For sure. This series wouldn’t have been a thing without it. I will say though, no matter how far globalization and communication technology can take any genre, or artist, post-rock, for the most part, seems to remain confident, comfortable, and humble no matter it’s size.
David: One very good for instance is actually my story of becoming an active contributor to the genre. There is no doubt that I would not be participating in this interview if it weren’t for social media, especially Facebook. Four-plus years ago I was a guy writing sporadic mini-essays on music that I’d post on Facebook just to get some creative energy and thought out there. I started to receive some encouraging words from people, which prompted me to drop a line to Arctic Drones. I ended up as a writer for the site for two years, during which time I reviewed Ranges record “The Gods Of The Copybook Headings”, which put me in touch with CJ Blessum, who also runs A Thousand Arms. Together we started working on a compilation album idea that would eventually become our bi-annual releases, “Open Language and Hemispheres”. I do most of the outreach for those comps, seeking out bands to take part, and I would venture that at the absolute least, 80% of that is conducted via Facebook, and the other 20% involves me emailing using address I found on bands’ Facebook pages. Suddenly I had gone from a fan, to a writer, to a collaborator, to someone who was on friendly, productive terms with bands all over the world. That led to collaborating with dunk!, Post. Festival, several labels, and more. The acceleration of that process has everything to do with communication technology. The extent to which it has happened has a lot to do with my sense of commitment and diligence, but it wouldn’t have been possible in the first place without social media.
Now, Post-Poned live series – a great idea. Who came up with it?
David: It was a pretty fluid, collaborative process. Andy hatched the idea originally, then Ronnie came on board with the platform through which we’re presenting it.
Ronnie: The COVID 19 pandemic brought forth a lot of tour cancellations worldwide which was utterly heartbreaking for me as well as so many fans of the bands worldwide. One of the most disheartening was the last minute cancellation of the release show of .hubris. which they had been planning for over six months. They decided to play the entire set anyway and stream the session on our YouTube channel. The audience really loved it and it gave me a lot of motivation to do something similar for all the bands who missed out on their tours/shows.
David: told me that Andy was planning to do a live-streaming series. Andy had laid out a nice plan for the whole series and we just spoke on the phone to sort out the details. Andy and David’s creative insights and resourcefulness really helped us kick off the series.
Andrew: Just to give an overall background, this series is non-profit. Any monetary contributions go directly to the bands. We ask everyone, if able, please show your support by either donating, purchasing music/merch, or by just spreading the word.
Right around when the massive amounts of tour cancellations seemed to start when COVID19 was first declared a pandemic, I was just kind of searching through all these cancellation announcements and as corny as it sounds, I kind of thought to myself “something can definitely be done right?” I texted my brother something like “any idea of what we can do for bands?” and we just started throwing ideas back and forth, until we said “what about a livestream series?”. I spent that whole day trying to build this idea and started reaching out to people that I knew would have good input. David was among the first, and he immediately started sourcing his connections, which obviously lead us to Ronnie, who is a staple in the post-rock community. I think me and Ronnie spoke on the phone the next day and worked out some details and logistics and it kind of just built from there.
David: I came in as someone who could connect a lot of dots, put a lot of people in the same room (so to speak), and also write promotional materials. The name “Post-poned” came from me, although my understanding after the fact is that a couple others in the scene had also been bandying around the name. I was pretty pleased with myself, not gonna lie, but I guess I’m not as original as I had thought. Oh well, it’s still a solid name. Once I came on board I reached out to A Thousand Arms, dunk!, Post.Festival, and also Heavy Blog Is Heavy, all of whom were excited to get on board.
Coincidentally, Andy secured the services of Flesh and Bone Design head Brian Morgante for our logo design. Brian was actually the first artists we worked with on the Open Language comp as well, providing us our cover design. For the next comp we used Xavi Forne, who runs Error! Design and has been handling the poster design for dunk!festival since 2017, and since then we’ve been utilizing the work of Wilson Raska, the man behind L U X I N V I C T U S Design, who also creates the art for Post. Festival, and happens to be one of the main creative forces behind A Thousand Arms, as well as a former guitarist of Ranges. The post-rock world is a small world indeed.
Andrew: In the future, I hope that this will become a long term outlet that continues to benefit artists all over, and I look forward to the possibility (as this has proved to be difficult) of this becoming a unified event between artists and indie labels of all social status and following.
How can one access these streams? Maybe you can point that out to the readers?
Ronnie: The livestreams will be available on WherePostRockDwells’ YouTube channel and all announcements and updates will be made on the Post-Poned Facebook and Instagram pages as well as on the socials of Dome A Records, Young Epoch and WherePostRockDwells. Please do follow all the pages to stay tuned.
Andrew: Just to give all the channels involved a shout out right away, we have - Dome A Records @domearecords, wherepostrockdwells @wherepostrockdwells, Post. Festival @the_post_festival, Heavy Blog Is Heavy @heavyblogisheavy, dunk! @dunkfestival, A Thousand Arms @athousandarms, Young Epoch @young_epoch and of course Post-poned: The Livestream Series @postponed.theseries.
All sessions will either be livestreamed, or bands will pre-record a live set. Announcements will be made via @postponed.theseries and @wherepostrockdwells, and shared throughout all the above-mentioned channels, so make sure you give everyone a follow for updates on bands, times, etc.
If anyone happens to miss a session, we will upload them to Post-Poned’s IG TV, and I believe they’ll still be streamable on Ronnie’s channel as well. Nevertheless, we’ll make sure everyone will be able to view these sessions.
Which bands are set for streaming as of right now?
Ronnie, The lockdown has posed a bigger challenge than we anticipated. It is difficult for bands to sort out logistics during the social distancing and subsequently fixing a date for their live sessions. There are no proper confirmations yet but all I can say is that we are in talks with around 6 - 8 bands currently and they seem extra motivated to be a part of the series.
Andrew; Wouldn’t you like to know! Well, we opened up with Circus Trees, which was such a great “first episode”. They played for ~30 minutes and stuck around for a Q&A session afterwards alongside Robert, Eoghan, and Aaron (Five By Two Records, reprieve., Pillbook PLBK)
At the moment, it seems as if it pretty US-centered – are you guys thinking about opening it up?
Andrew; The series was born in New England, so a lot of the first bands we talked to were from here, but we already have bands on the roster from all over the world that we are excited to announce.
With lockdown/stay-at-home situations getting in the way (for good reason), it can be hard to confirm definite dates and times with bands, but with that being said, for added suspense, I won’t confirm band names, but I will say we have around 8 other bands from all over the world set to play, and have no plans on stopping!
David; It seems that way largely because Dome A Records and Andy are based out of Boston, so local artists were obviously easier to begin a dialogue with. Which is not to say that other bands we’ve spoken to have been cagey whatsoever, everyone has brought a lot of excitement to the series. As more bands are announced you will quickly find that this is going to involve bands from all over the world though. We already have bands from Australia, Eastern Europe, the UK, and dunk! is on board as an exclusive EU partner, so I imagine that will eventually draw in even more European bands. But as we covered previously, this really is a global community, so creating a series with geographical diversity isn’t a major obstacle.
Did you choose the bands or did they come to you?
Andrew: So far it has been a mix. There were bands that I knew personally that were affected by tour cancellations, so I reached out to them. There were bands that David (Young Epoch) and Ronnie (wherepostrockdwells) knew that were affected by cancellations, so they reached out to them. After the series started getting some traction, bands started reaching out to us as well. I guess that brings us back to that sense of community!
Ronnie: We are keeping it very open ended as we want more bands to come forth and be a part of the series. Right now the priority is to do live sessions of the bands whose tours were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Are there any further features planned? Like, apart from the live-streaming, maybe like a recording of the concerts? Maybe a publishing?
Ronnie: We are constantly trying to come up with new ideas as we go and it would be great to incorporate some cool and fun ideas as we go.
Andrew: We are kind of taking everything as we go, but are absolutely open to all ideas. I would love to see some of these live sessions transform into some type of charitable compilation album in the form of vinyl/CD, etc.
David: This has been a really fluid process, and we’re kind of throwing around ideas as they come to us and seeing what sticks. I know that we are hoping to extend this beyond the COVID19 situation, maybe eventually having it be a continuous series. It has so much potential, and it fits wonderfully with the technology of the age and the community around the post-rock genre. We’ll have to see how everything goes.
Okay, that would be it, thank you guys for doing this and I am really very much looking forward to those sessions!
Ronnie: Thank you for helping us spread the word. Please do give a shoutout to our partners Dunk!Records, Post. Festival, A Thousand Arms and Heavy Blog is Heavy for their support. We really hope this series takes off well.