Q: What is the Big House Music Collective? How did it come about?
A: The Big House Music Collective is an organization that was created to distribute and aid artists we feel deserve to be heard by a bigger audience. It came about through conversations amongst friends and local musicians about developing a promotional platform that was able to provide the exposure and material support usually sought in a label without having to sacrifice our ethics, or force the bands to relinquish control of their art.
Q: Tell us about your goals and intentions.
A: We want to see the artists we work with go on to greater success, to help strengthen our communities, and draw more people into them. We want to be able to provide the diverse skills of our collective members to people without forcing them to pay. Some of us have booked shows and tours, some of us have written for entertainment magazines, some of us have recording equipment, and all of us believe that music holds real value. Not monetarily, not in a commodified form, but as something authentic in a culture full of illusion. As such, we’ve arranged our organization to be explicitly non-profit. Any money that is earned off of the sale of the music we distribute, or donations from members and supporters, goes to the artists themselves or back into new projects to give other people the same opportunity.
Q: So far, what are the bands you are involved with? How are you looking to expand these interactions?
A: The first three releases we are responsible for are a series of E.P.’s from Edmonton punk/ hardcore bands: Cold Lungs, Disabler, & Fail-giver. We are looking to expand our involvement by including other genres of music; for example I recently recorded a young singer/song writer who will have a release coming from us. Our name represents our approach to music. It’s a reference to the land we stand on and its meaning. In Blackfoot it is “Omukoyis”, “Titunga” in Stoney, and “Nasagachoo” in T’suu T’ina; all of which translate to Big House, a place where people come together, where everyone is welcome.
Q: Are you looking to only be locally involved? Or are you looking to expand outside Edmonton?
A: We are eager to expand beyond our city and province. The selection of the first handful of artists was a matter of convenience, not principal. We were involved with these bands, or in these bands already, so when we started talking about putting out records we went with people who we knew had material ready and recorded.
Q: What are your thoughts on Edmonton’s music scene?
A: There are a lot of exciting things happening in the Edmonton music scene right now. The quality and originality of a lot of the bands that have been developing recently impresses me. I think the boundaries of what genres should mix and what is acceptable within those styles of music are a little more blurry in Edmonton than in some other places. I love that. We live in a city that is geographically isolated, a province where the already disastrous mentality of shallow consumerism is coked out and overdriven by a glut of easy money, and within a Conservative stronghold that not only doesn’t support art and creative culture but derides it. This, oddly enough, develops artists with a strong resolution, as well as independent communities that support them. Some composer, I can’t remember who, was given the “If a tree falls...” question and replied, “it makes whatever sound it wants because nobody is around to hear it.” With that in mind, the sounds coming out from our woods are like nowhere else’s.
Q: Why do you think people should show interest in our local music scene?
A: Your local music scene is one of the most available and direct ways for you to step away from simply being a consumer of mass culture to an actively participating in the creation of culture. When you go to a local show, you are part of a community rather than just a potential customer. Your presence makes a real difference, it encourages new voices, and enables cool venues to keep hosting new bands and giving them the space to experiment and grow. Within that space you help create you are in turn given the freedom to make your own art, start your own band, make your own magazine, or start your own record label. Doesn’t that sound like more fun than spending $8 on a beer and sitting in a seat at Rexall?
I believe Brett explained very eloquently the ideas and goals of the Collective. You can find them on Facebook, Band-camp, YouTube, etc. I will make links available online for people to look at their content, merchandise, and events coming up!