LOVE POWER Interviews – Jon Davis & The Somethin’ Else

In our quest to learn more about this big show going down at Love Power this Friday, we talked with Jon Davis of Ghostband (among others) and organizer of The Somethin’ Else. We talked to him about the community, music and somethin’ else… The Somethin’ Else.

MPLS.TV: Your event, The Somethin’ Else, is holding its 8th installment prior to the Love Power event this week. Can you give us a little summary of what the The Somethin’ Else is?

Jon: The Somethin’ Else is an electronic music potluck held monthly at a different all ages venue in the Twin Cities. Each event features a new lineup of artists exploring an area of, or related to, electronic music. Sometimes the event is very specific and I know exactly which artists I wish to have perform. Other times, I cast a wider net in hopes of gathering as motley an association as possible. The overall goal is to stimulate community amongst electronic artists, their friends and fans. Culture produces us that we produce it. However, I think we have a choice to make it what we want it to be in order to make ourselves who we want to be. Thus, the philosophy behind the event is proactive rather than passive. I started The Somethin’ Else mainly because I wanted there to be more events like the Spark Festival where the full spectrum of electronic music was represented, rather than just being limited to what is commercially viable, easily accessible or “popular.” I may be a product of commercial culture, but I find it’s aesthetic hegemony, at times, laughable. The potluck is really about valuing creativity and community above capital and competition, celebrating the great artistic wealth we enjoy as Minnesotans and letting the world to know about it. The blog, where I document these events and related matters, has become an extension of the potluck philosophically, as it addresses the media aspect of commercial hegemony we see in various publications bent on “making” a minority of artists while breaking a majority of their equally or more talented peers. In a thriving community, it’s better to promote the scene than the scenesters, I think. At the same time, commercial or uncommercial, we live in a world where the squeaky wheels ought get the grease, so I don’t go out of my way to fetishize the obscure. I do, however, try to recognize the variety of expressions that are out there. Of course, there’s the food too, which I included by way of fostering the community vibe. I still wish people would bring more, but I’m also experimenting with finding ways to make so they don’t have to. I’ve been blessed to have a number of amazing artists perform at the potluck, and you can look back through the blog to see who those people are. The venues have been more than helpful as well. It’s nice to know that there are are some many places where artists can gather and express themselves without being hampered by the need to sell drinks. There are also people like Charlie Garetz, Matt Bardins, Derek Haglund, Danny Sigelman and Ian Knodel without whose efforts the event would not be as awesome as it has been.

MPLS.TV: Why did you decide to hold The Somethin’ Else prior to and close to the Love Power event? What are the connections between the two?

Jon: Traditionally, the event falls on the second Friday of every month. Garrison had approached me earlier about about hosting the event at Love Power. I shot this date by him and he told me there was this huge event in the works on the same night. I brainstormed a bit and, in the interest of making things work out for both parties, I decided to hold the event nearby and beforehand, so that people weren’t forced to choose one event or the other. This way the 14th is like a giant party with The Somethin’ Else as the appetizer and the later event as the main course. With Jewel of India right next door, it just makes sense to have a buffet. I had the 3 hour drone, itself a tradition in the local experimental scene, in mind for a while, mainly as an event where I could involve the greatest number of participants. Last month’s potluck was a virtual affair (tracks were submitted online) for much the same reason. I wanted people from anywhere to be able to attend. :)

MPLS.TV: will you just be hosting The Somethin’ Else, or are you involved in the Love Power event as well?

Jon: Ghostband will perform there, which will be my first big show since Spark and a warm-up for my Moon Glyph cassette release show at 7th Street Entry on January 26th. I was asked to play by Ryan Olson, because he knows what’s up.

MPLS.TV: Why do you think an event like these two are important to the MPLS music community? How do you think they are different than your average shows? What should people expect?

Jon: Our cultural attention span is so short that I think you have to keep putting on events and try to make them as worthwhile as possible, just so people know that there is a scene here. It’s exceedingly difficult to make money as artist these days, but it far less difficult to make community and, when all is said and done, I think community is far more valuable for artists than money. Plus, the one could lead to the other. Right now, it’s good to know that there are enough artists around that these events can happen. Really, I never know what to expect. I can guarantee some awesome music. That’s for sure. Whatever the artistic trajectory, I expect to have fun. Always.

All week MPLS.TV will be featuring interviews with participants in the Love Power event. Check back tomorrow for more info and insight!