Words by Matthew Spence:
We’ve all heard the phrase, it’s even in the Bible….don’t check though, trust me. We’ve seen it on T-shirts, posters, and stickers on Redbubble. “Support Local Artists”. We’ve seen the guy who shouts it at events when he grabs the mic. Now, when you break past the immediate instinct to say: “Shut the Fuck Up”, you have a moment to think and realize “Damn, he’s right…. but still shut the hell up”. Local artists/musicians get a rep worse than Polio and Michael Bay films. They get aside-eyed and dismissed faster than an ex-con applying for a babysitting job. Sure, these are all exaggerated jokes, however, there is a lingering misconception people may have, that I’ve seen: if it’s local then it’s not good nor deserves less serious attention. A stigma that shouldn’t even exist. Especially now, since we’re in an era where people can blow up off of a couple of songs from the comfort of their bedroom and become household names before they even perform their first show ever. Not even like a talent show or birthday party, it can all happen before they even passively showcase what they can do in front of their friends and family. People can get blinded by the new way of life. Everyone’s gotta somewhere, no one comes out the gate selling out Madison Square Garden on some Arctic Monkeys, Drake, Billie Eilish shit. Hell, Billy Joel basically pays the mortgage there, he plays so often. There’s always a catalyst, a source. Lay the floor ground. It starts with the community, the people yo! The PEOPLE. If we’re not supporting one another, what do we get? I don’t know, but, it’s probably not good.
With me being out and about over the past couple of years, I’ve been to a bunch of shows and have grown to appreciate the vast talent around this environment called Not New York…also known as Connecticut.
From Hip-Hop to Punk to R&B to Shoegaze to Dreampop to motherfuckers that probably make bebop. Genres building upon genres, Scenes, Music, and Talent. ACTION, EXPLOSIONS, WORDS SPELLED IN CAPS FOR EMPHASIS. It’s inspiring to be around energy that sparks growth rather than repression. To be a part of a generation and community where everyone wants to take things into their own hands and whatever outcome they want or hope for: they’re putting 100% soul into their craft and effort. Whether, an international Fame/Grammy Lifestyle or just respect from friends/peers through the city and state. Be able to play shows around the way or tour with Beyoncé. No matter what, it results in them being able to tell their future kids: “Hey, I was doing dope shit back in the day”. Whatever the route they’re going on, it comes from genuine love and fun. In fact, when you drive into the state, the sign should read: “Welcome to Connecticut: Where the music kicks ass and you’re less likely to get your ass kicked” So, I decided to ask a few noise-making, wave-causing, bubbling artists who over the past few years have been making names for themselves throughout CT. Questions about what? the CT scene, community, and stuff. Hindsight tells me, I should’ve asked stuff like Pop-Tart vs. Toaster Strudels. Oh well, Continue on!
Note: Artists will be listed in Alphabetical Order, not genre because convenience is tight!
Q1. The people fs. I feel like I’ve made some of my closest friends through the music scene in CT. Everyone’s so appreciative and supportive of each other’s art and I feel like I could be honest with myself and others in this environment.
Q2. So manyyy. Pondview, Nehway, Ammar, and Death Valley Sun Troopers to name a few!!
Q3. I think CT as a whole can hold its own with the community its’ built to this day. NYC and Boston are dope because I notice a lot of my favorite artists go on tour there, but I think there’s something special about places like New Haven and UConn gaining traction. It could be the first time in a while that CT has a spotlight on them.
Fave venue to play in the area?
Q4. Space Ballroom >:)
If you could give the CT scene a name, what would you call it?
Q5. The Clam lol
Fav place to discover artists and bands around?
Q6. I like Gather East a lot. They’re located on State Street in New Haven and the venue is really cozy + open late. There’s a show almost every weekend with new bands and you can order coffee and drinks =^◡^= + Sultan is da man
Any Words to those who discredit local artists of any sort?
Q7. If you try to discredit an artist, it’s gotta be for a valid reason. Apart from that, I would take the time to think before you say something, as your words can harm your integrity as much as it can to the artist.
Q8. I love you, thank you for being here
Your music in your own words:
Q9. Hmmmm. I describe my music as an ambient space with lyrics touching upon my own mental health and being. In that space, I like to experiment, whether it’s distorted drums, a jazzy guitar intro, or a bouncy synth. I love harmonies, so I’ll usually slap on a bunch on a track and see where it takes me. I grew up playing a bunch of instruments as a kid, but the guitar always stuck best. R&B is my favorite, but I’m influenced by jazz, indie rock, rap, and emo too
Q1: Yeah, the art scene (especially the music scene) is thriving at its best that I’ve ever seen. And I think part of that is because so many inclusive groups want to collectively showcase their artwork in a healthy and positive way and not gatekeep. What makes it special is that there are spaces that can really benefit artists all over Connecticut. We never really had that. So the fact there’s a constant ongoing of so many spaces that not only make artists feel comfortable but also express themselves at the most.
Q2: Man there are so many! There are bands like Angelloor, Colbert, Burning Hand, Moxie Pocket, Montclair and so many more. I also love Trey Moore, Nehway, Kolton Harris, DJ QT, Sonia Morant, Ammar, Indigaux…there’s so many. I would be writing an essay on who I love around our state.
Q3: I think it’s happening now. We have a lot of pride in what we do and what we create. It’s the DIY approach we’re taking and I think that’s why CT is getting recognized now. We don’t have to rely on the big cities to get our attention. We make our own hub and that’s how the scene really keeps growing.
Q4: The whole state! Haha whenever the spot is at as long there’s good vibes and the people are cool, I’m down.
Q5: The sleepers, because we get slept on how great we are.
Q6: Any events that be happening in New Haven, or small festivals that be happening. I try to make it out as much as it can. If not, usually social media.
Q7: Anyone who discredits local artists are very corny. To me it’s background noise. Those type of people just like to hate for no reason and they have to understand that takes artists to perfect their craft. It takes awhile to develop your sound so give these local artists a chance.
Q8: Thank you real. The supporters are the reason why we keep going. They’re the reason why we feel like we might have a shot and feel accepted. So without them, I wouldn’t believe in myself like y’all believe in me.
Q1. I think what makes it special is the time and dedication us artists put in behind the scenes. Like behind closed doors, we’re all living normal lives, most of us working full-time jobs unrelated to our music careers and we still create space and time for creation. And then we get to come together and share our creations with the community at amazing events like Seeing Sounds, and other local shows. There’s also such a variety of sounds emerging from the state, it’s beautiful.
Q2.Ooh as for artists I’ve been loving. cisco moon, snowsa, and Nehway! As for DJs/beat makers, moneyycatt, Kip Lita, and Ch’varda.
Q3. That’s very true lol, and I’ve noticed that many CT artists end up moving to the city and assimilating to that scene (which is cool and all) but like you said there’s been a renaissance of young/new talent coming out of the state and I think it’s only a matter of time until surrounding states and beyond start hearing us. It feels inevitable:)
Q4. I’ve only played like two lol but I love the Stella Blues stage, something cozy about it.
Q5. smor·gas·bord. Referring to the wide array of sounds lol
Q6. Going to local shows is how I personally discovered that there even was an uprising scene in the area. Instagram is the plug for CT shows, shouts out pages like @ct.sets, @greatmindspresents to name a few. The first event I went to where I discovered local artists was at the Crunch House (r.i.p)
Q7. Lmao who does thattt 😭
Q8. I am eternally grateful for anyone who’s given a listen and has shared my music despite the little I have out currently. I just started putting myself out there musically and the love has been overwhelming. It also inspires me to whip out that laptop and that mic! I’ve been the type of bitch to write a whole album and then just let it sit in my notes so knowing that there’s somewhat of a demand is motivation for sure 😭
Q9. A dreamy and very introspective nighttime walk on a yellow-lit street right after it rained (headphones in).