You read our cover story this week featuring Indy site Musical Family Tree and their efforts to create a sustainable music scene in Indianapolis. Biweekly, we'll have musicians from the city weigh in with the different ways they support their music career — as well as thoughts about how the city could help support them. First up - Humans and th'EMPIRES member Zachary Jetter, who will perform at the New Music Showcase this Saturday.
Where do you see the role of MFT in the music community?
The boom of the social networking age such as MySpace and Facebook in the early 2000s was the beginning of hell for DIY bands. Not only did it bring about a chaotic cluster of small to mainstream bands from around the world all competitively battling to market themselves, (either through shows, album releases, act) but it also became almost impossible to wade through the mess just to find local or even regional music. I could personally go on and on stripping down the layers of the many flaws these sites have that negatively effect bands in general, but I will reserve my thoughts/opinions for another day. The innovation of web design for music has been a predictable flow of catastrophe and progress over the last few years. Recently there has been a surge of specific sites that have grow due to being created/controlled by DIY musicians/artists. Those sites include Musical Family Tree, DO DIY and Bandcamp. Due to these sites being designed by musicians for musicians, they have designed a flawless/unique system of not only marketing music in a well-organized, easy to find way but also designed a simple way of communicating peer-to-peer. In such, it has created a simplicity through the means of booking tours and contacting bands directly, not to mention it has rebuilt the realm of "community" in the music scene.
What jobs have you had during your time making music?
To start with I have always had a support system back home in Warsaw Indiana; my parents have always encouraged me to play music. I lived a pretty standard life through middle school, high school and college — of always having a job. Combined with my day job and my parent's finances, I was able to pay bills and invest in being a musician. My jobs over the years have included working for a mowing company, working at a grocery store and working in social services. It's always been a struggle for me financially to pay bills on time and support myself in essentially five full-time bands — Laura K. Balke & Co., HUMANS, th'Empires, Buttonhoof, Hail Architeuthis! — and I have my parents to thank for helping me so much. (Love you Mom and Pops!)
What could Indianapolis do as a city to help make music a feasible day job?
Thats a tricky question because anymore it's almost impossible to make a living off of music. Musicians anymore are turning there backs on "corporate record labels" and focusing more on smaller DIY labels as well as even releasing everything themselves. Again, a subject I'm greatly passionate about. Anyways, the best way to continue supporting local and regional musicians is to continue offering all ages venues. 21+ clubs will always be necessary but allowing kids of all ages to come to a show will greatly increase the chances of attendance. The more people allowed to attend, the greater the chance you will make more money through door and merch sales. Another side of that is the continuation of music magazines and radio stations (such as NUVO and The Free Zone) to continue to help market bands and local shows.
What can listeners expect from your set at the MFT Showcase? What's "new" about your music?
Something I pride myself on about HUMANS is that we always challenge ourselves in many different ways. Not only do we compose music that normally throws people into confusion and disarray but we also strive to put on a performance to match the complicated compositions that we write. People can expect that to say the least....high energy, utter confusion and something "different" than most people are used to seeing. We will have two brand new releases for sale at the show that consists of Milk Pond — a GloryHole Records release — and Ryan Is Dead — a Let's Pretend Records release.