New Music Circle Offers “Struggling Music Lover” Prices for Upcoming Concerts

Okkyung Lee and Lotte Anker performing at a New Music Circle event in February 2015 / photo by Jarred Gastreich
Okkyung Lee and Lotte Anker performing at a New Music Circle event in February 2015 / photo by Jarred Gastreich

St. Louis’ premier presenter of high-end musical weirdness, New Music Circle, is offering some pretty great deals on its upcoming shows at the Stage at KDHX.

New Music Circle is an organization that is “dedicated to the creation and performance of improvisational and experimental music” and it’s been supplying St. Louis with cool, artistic, adventurous, creative, innovative, weird, touching, intellectual, off-the-map and joyfully WTF events since 1959.

Via NMC:
The mission of The New Music Circle is to contribute to the cultural life of Metropolitan St. Louis by sponsoring presentations of concerts, multimedia and other cultural events, with emphasis on contemporary music; to provide by means of these presentations, additional professional opportunities for musical and associated talent; to enhance thereby the attractiveness of Metropolitan St. Louis as a place of residence and livelihood for the members of these professions; and to stimulate interest in new musical and associated activities.

All of the upcoming NMC events at KDHX are available at three price points:
– Regular
– Student
– Struggling Music Lover

New Music Circle board member Rad Widmer offers a little history on this system of ticket pricing:

“For many years, NMC had a discount for ‘students and artists.’ A few years ago the NMC board felt that the artists category was too exclusive and didn’t really reflect the board’s intent,” he says. “So we eventually came up with the phrase ‘struggling music lover.’ Or sometimes ‘struggling music supporter.’ Anyway, the board’s intent is to make the shows as affordable as possible, and having a sliding ticket price based on the honor system seems to work well for us. We hate to have someone miss a show because they can’t afford it.”

“While the $20 admission is a significant help to us keeping this operation going, it’s our goal to keep these shows as affordable and accessible as possible, and we just want to have options available for the wide range of audiences we get,” explains NMC program coordinator Jeremy Kannapell. “We have diverse turnouts in age and backgrounds: both younger and older people, students and artists, as well as people who have not heard the presented artists before and are just curious to check it out and see what they are about.”
So go check out these upcoming events. But don’t be a jerkburger– pay the full price if you can at all afford it. That money goes back into bringing you more cool events. But if you are struggling and you still just must attend, enjoy the show for half price courtesy of your friends at New Music Circle. Keep them in mind as a great organization to donate to the next time you’re flush.

Upcoming events and links to purchase from Brown Paper Tickets below:

Matthew Shipp / Michael Bisio Duo
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28 @ the Stage at KDHX

On Fillmore (Glen Kotche, Darin Gray)
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 3 @ the Stage at KDHX

Gerald Cleaver’s Black Host
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25 @ the Stage at KDHX

Tim Berne’s Snake Oil
7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8 @ the Stage at KDHX

To stay updated on New Music Circle events, “like” the Facebook page here.

link: Riverfront Times

KDHX Begins Broadcasting from New Location: Photos

KDHX Begins Broadcasting from New Location: Photos
by Jaime Lees
Mon., Dec. 16, 2013

We headed over to the KDHX (88.1 FM) studio yesterday morning to document the last couple of hours of broadcasting at good ol’ 3504 Magnolia Avenue.

At noon the beloved station began broadcasting from its new location at the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media. Primarily funded by grants and donations, this brand new multi-million dollar broadcasting hub in Grand Center will offer the proper space and amenities to host the ever-growing station.

This is a well-deserved and monumental step up for the entire KDHX community, but we’re feeling kind of sentimental. The building on Magnolia wasn’t just the base of operations for our award-winning independent station, it also served as the unofficial headquarters of St. Louis music culture.

It was a temporary stop for countless touring bands that stopped in to record a broadcast session. It was a late-night hang out spot for those of us with KDHX disk jockeys as friends. It was a welcoming, coffee-fueled place where many of us involved in local music have spent a decent amount of time. It not only broadcasted music, but also inspired it. It was cramped and dusty. It had squeaky floors and a leaking roof. It was bursting with shelves of albums and mountains of crap and — most importantly — it always felt like home.

The photos here capture some of sights during the last few bittersweet broadcasting moments at Magnolia and a bit of the post-noon hustle going down at Weir. Many thanks to the always friendly and accommodating crew at KDHX for letting us get in your way all afternoon. Check back here for more coverage of the big KDHX move in the Riverfront Times soon.

KDHX at Magnolia Avenue:

KDHX at Grand Center:

link: Riverfront Times

Midwest Mayhem – Critic’s Pick

KDHX logo
Midwest Mayhem
by Jaime Lees

Aside from knowing that you’ve contributed to the greatest radio station on Earth, one of the other perks of donating to KDHX is access to this – consistently one of the best parties of the year. The station hosts the Midwest Mayhem as a thank-you to listeners, who will pack every of the City Museum for this celebration of independent radio. At this event, music is quite literally around every corner, with bands and performers jammed into every delightful little nook in the building. Expect performances from musicians that are as diverse as the programming on KDHX, ranging from blues to pop to rap.

Worth it: You can also buy tickets at the door for $20, which is a small price to pay for so many local favorites including Tef Poe, the Union Electric, So Many Dynamos, Funky Butt Brass Band and Middle Class Fashion.

Underground sound: An Interview with Jason Hutto

Jason Hutto is a details man. He notices, and appreciates, the tiniest things. Whether it’s an ornate button on a shirt, the quiet plinking of a music box, or just a friend’s new haircut, Hutto always notices.

It’s because of this personality trait that he’s one of the most coveted underground recording engineers in St. Louis. And I mean “underground” quite literally; Hutto records a range of bands in an analog studio he has built in his low-ceilinged South City basement. He is notoriously bad at self-promotion; this small business thrives on reputation and word of mouth only. Still, he seems to have no problem getting gigs, with scores of bands lined up to do business in his home studio.

Part of this reputation has been earned from his years as a singer, guitarist and songwriter. From Sexicolor to the Phonocaptors to Walkie Talkie USA, Hutto has fronted some of the best rock bands in town. In addition to his current band, Warm Jets USA, Hutto also lends his talents to local acts like Bunnygrunt, the Incurables and I’d’ven’t with Eric Hall.

Despite these many projects, Hutto always finds time to devote to the studio. His analog style of tracking hasn’t translated into a lack of clients or a compromise in quality. In fact, just the opposite seems to be true. It’s almost weird how he can capture such clean sounds in that dusty little basement of his, and many musicians seek him out for this special feature alone.

He recently wrapped a session with Sleepy Kitty, a local art and pop music duo. With Hutto’s help, drummer Evan Sult and guitarist/keyboardist Paige Brubeck’s layered Spector-esque tracks sound nothing short of magical.

I asked Brubeck to describe their time with him and she gave this glowing review:

“We really wanted to work with someone who could bring out a wide range of sounds, and who was interested in working with analog instruments. After talking with Jason about what we were going for, hearing his bands, and long conversations about other recordings we all liked, it seemed like a good match for us to work together. I feel like the limitation of not having a screen quickly became a freedom, in that it let Jason and us take a lot more chances and get more creative. Because of working in the linear format, a lot of the added sounds had to be done in real time, and we had to find ways to pull it off. Sleepy Kitty’s other gig is screenprinting, so there was a lot of talk about how similar recording sound analog and screenprinting layers of colors are. Jason is so open-minded and easy to work with in the recording process. He doesn’t have any of that ‘over it’ vibe that happens to a lot of people who have recorded music for a while.”

I met with Hutto a while back in his studio, where he played some recent recordings and we talked for hours about his process, views and assets. He was relaxed and quick to smile or laugh; it was immediately clear how he puts his clients at ease. Here is part of our conversation:

Jaime Lees: Will you tell me about your studio and recording methods?

Jason Hutto: It’s literally wires, string and duct tape. And I just keep piecing it back together. It’s really bizarre. Sometimes I’ll look at it and think, “Wow. This is ridiculous. Most people do this on a laptop.” What I do– it’s funny– but all the things that you need are still here. When Paige and Evan first came down here, Paige said, “It’s so nice to go into a studio and not see a computer screen.” And that was nice to hear. Because I’m not against all of that, I just don’t have it. But I still know how to make sounds.

And what’s been interesting– especially about working with them– is because everything is linear, we had to focus on things in a different way. We couldn’t just snip and cut things out and paste and edit things in, so we listened to stuff and by literally listening through and getting into that song so much that you create other solutions for solving problems that you wouldn’t have made it to if you hadn’t focused so hard. A lot of times they go in to studios these days and you’ll have a chorus and it’s like, “OK, you couldn’t hit that second chorus as well as the first one. We’ll just cut it in.” But this is something where everybody has to, like, do their work. We have to do it again and I have to work harder to solve things. If people can’t necessarily sing a part that well or if they can’t play it what well, you notice it in the studio. Whereas live you don’t have to worry about that part because it passes by in 2 to 3 seconds, and here you have to remember those 2 or 3 seconds every time you listen through. So it’s just a different way of approaching how music is made. And it’s by no means organic. A lot of people are like, “That’s so cool. There are no computers, it’s so organic.” But it’s not because it’s still a bunch of trickery, it’s just a different approach to doing it.

But it’s a lot more work, isn’t it?

It is! [Laughs] It’s a lot more work. That’s why I do it this way. And again, it’s not because I have a certain allegiance to it, it’s just that for the bands that I work with, what happens is something kind of cooler than if we were to just go in and chop and edit everything together. And I’m not against that. I mean, it’s all tools to me. But instead of being a computer user, I’m more focused on being an engineer and a producer– if they want it. So I’m kind of content. And when I do convert to that other side, you don’t ever want to lose focus of what is is to go though this process of thinking in, like, a linear way.

Because you play music, too, do you think it’s easier for you as an engineer because you know what they are going through and can suggest solutions?

Yeah, I think because of that familiarity I get it when people are hung up on a certain thing that they’re maybe not able to perform all the time, or a part that they want to do right. I get that so much. You know, I’ve been sitting in these holes for the last 15 to 20 years… Wow! [sarcastically] “I started when I was six years old.” No, I’ve done it so many times, you know, and I’ve struggled with those same moments of trying to nail that part and having to do it over and over. Like, I get the frustration and the fact that you know you can do it, because you’ve done it, you do it all the time. But maybe that one day you can’t do it.

But, like, everyone’s job — including mine — is to get to that place and figure out how to approach it. There’s all sorts of things you have to do to get people to calm it down and get back to their original idea. A lot of people [producers] choose to be really driving, but I don’t find that effective. I don’t necessarily respect that approach because I just feel like there’s too many variables that the musicians are already dealing with that you can’t go in and impose “This is how we do it here” because you don’t know if they’re having a bad day, tired form loading shit around, or if they’re frustrated because their guitar sucks or they’re a crappy drummer or any of those things. So every time a new group comes in– it’s like any relationship– you can’t just go judging them right out of the gate – you won’t have any friends or family! [Laughs] I approach it like that. I wouldn’t go judging anybody or how they act. Sometimes it’s hard for people in the beginning- they have to warm up. And it’s not because they are being rude, it’s just their nature. And then the next thing you know, they’re like, “This is the best time I’ve ever had! It’s so great!” You hear those things from people and you realize, however I’m doing these things, I’m doing it right.

How does it work when you’re recording your own music? And do you have to hit a button out here [near the mixing console] and then run into the recording room?

Well, that’s when I’m a dick. [Laughs] “Do it again. You suck. How long does it take you to play a part? The song is only three minutes, you idiot.” But yeah, I do that. I run back and forth a lot. But it all depends. Sometimes I’ll track in here and then get everybody else in there and have them do their parts. And once they get their part done if I can keep my tracks, I’ll keep them. It all depends.

I know there’s a lot of psychology involved in these situations. How do you keep everything flowing?

With the bands I record… It’s funny because when you’re in studios, you forget what the true… It’s still just music and I try to get that point across to people. It’s still music. That’s all it is, in its most basic form. There are too many people that have made it out to be this magical, mystical thing that doesn’t really exist. Anyone can do it. Anyone can do this. [Gestures around room] What you’ve got do is just continue to practice and do whatever it is that makes you feel confident in what you have created. And you can create some really fun moments out of it because it’s just music. And I love production, I love embellishment, I love making something that represents what you perceive when you’re watching a band and you kind of perceive this thing that’s larger than life on a stage. I love that idea of taking it down here and doing something that is larger than what the band thinks they can do.

By the same token, it’s just music. There’s nothing to me that’s, I guess, incredible about it. It always cracks me up when people are like, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Yeah. Yeah you can. I do it every night. The thing is: anyone can do it. Granted, you might not make any money at it [Laughs] and I think, hopefully we’re all over that idea of making money at this thing because it’s not going to happen. You don’t do it for that, you do it because of what it is. And to me, it’s, even when I go see a band, is your folks playing music to to folks like you. And I love that. You know, I’m absolutely nothing in a basement. And I love that when I play, I’m this person that these people have allowed me to be on stage, and none of us exist without each other. And hopefully you create– as a performer– a really fun moment for those people who are watching. But you know, at the end of it, it’s just music.

I think, fortunately, people that are down here actually kind of invite me into their world, which is cool. Because to throw in an extra variable– meaning me– you know, sometimes they clam up or they get all nervous. You know, just basic insecurities about what they’re doing. Studios are already unnerving already for people that the less I can be in their way, yet be totally in their band, I’m kind of like their extra member for that time. And as long as they can have that trust with me– it seems like most people do– they realize that I’m not here to make them into anything that they don’t want to be. And again, that’s why I go back to that idea: why it’s not organic, it’s all a bunch of trickery and, you know, bullshit at the end of it. Because you’re just trying to make something really cool come out of two speakers, as opposed to when you see that band live. That cool thing that happens when you see a band live? It’s made with all kinds of variables: the crowd, their performance, the room, all the stuff swirling around the room, the things that come out because of the room, or don’t come out because of the room and that… that… thing

The booze?

Booze! The Booze! [Laughs] Yeah! Not every CD comes with a 12 pack…

You can catch Jason Hutto and his band Warm Jets USA, along with the Livers and the Breaks, at the Firebird on January 22, 2011.