I’ve been covering some more high-level DIY Ditty stuff in the last few weeks, so it’s time to get grounded again. Since I live in the Triangle of North Carolina, I jumped at the chance to e-mail interview Jesse Edison and Jeremy Blair, who are starting a showcase for new bands in the area. If you’re in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, you can read below and then apply for New Faces Showcases via their Facebook. If you’re not, you can check out how a couple of people are making space for new bands in their scene. [Editor’s note: New Faces Showcases is inactive as of 5/2019.]
IC: How did you come up with the idea for New Faces Showcases?
Jesse Edison: Jeremy contacted me, asking if I knew any new bands. He was putting together a showcase which included his new band. I used to live in Nashville where two venues would have a showcase night for either new or touring bands. One of the showcases was called New Faces Night, and Jeremy spun it into New Faces Showcases. It occurred to me that to my knowledge there was nothing like a New Faces Night in the Triangle. So we decided to make it more than a one time event. We thought the Triangle could use this kind of infrastructure for new bands.
IC: What are the details so far of New Faces Showcases? How often/when/where will they occur?
Jesse: We’re partially in conceptual mode right now. We haven’t decided on all of the rules yet. But we are tailoring the showcase series to the needs of the Triangle. We want it to be a Triangle event, not necessarily a Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill event. So we’re not currently planning on the event always taking place at the same venue, although we would love to build relationships with venues. We’d like it revolve. We’ll choose the location according to the home town of the majority of bands most likely. Jeremy is booking the first show, and I’m running the media and conceptualization.
We had an idea to make the showcase actually special, and that is to create a compilation CD for each show. We’re not seeking studio quality for these compilations. Flaws are fine and might add to the time capsule aspect of the CD. We’ll put the compilations up on our Bandcamp page as well, but the CD’s will only be available at the show. The frequency of shows at this point depends on how many booking requests we get. But we think a quarterly or bi-annual show is feasible. We’re just not sure what the new band production rate is!
IC: When going to an NFS, what can a band expect? What can a listener expect?
Jesse: Bands will play relatively short sets, about 20 minutes. This means bands don’t even have to have that much original material to play (bands can use it as a thermometer to see if what they’ve produced so far is good)! It also means that listeners will get to hear another band soon if they don’t like the one that’s up! But on a serious note the short sets encourage bands to play only their best material. And the short sets heighten the attention span of listeners. In my experience people pay more attention at these showcases, and there’s plenty of time for conversation between bands too.
Jeremy Blair: listeners can expect an energy filled night charged with the excitement and expectations of new bands playing their first performances. bands can expect an opportunity to present their sound to a wide audience built by not only their friends and followers, but those of the bands they share the stage with as well. everyone can expect to make a lot of friends and have a great time.
4. What are the goals of New Faces Showcases?
Jeremy: a lot of the hardcore local music followers are on a bit of a rock and roll hangover from how awesome the scene was for new bands five years ago, and finding the same energy to seek out and love newly emerging bands is a challenge. The goals of New Faces Showcases is to remind everyone that this local music culture is still producing inspired original acts, and to showcase as many of them in this series as we can.
Jesse: What he said – we want to create a reliable place where people can go to hear bands that are hot off the press.
5. Who can apply to be in the showcase, and how can they do that? What genres are accepted?
Jeremy: fresh faces who have never been in a band before, side projects of existing bands, and everything in between…any band that is newly formed and has less than a few shows to their credit is the target. bands should play original material, but genres won’t be overly considered. good is good, it doesn’t matter if its hip hop or psycho billy.
Jesse: Genres won’t be a main consideration, but the genre might need to fit the venue’s stipulations. We’d like to shows to have multiple genres. Bands can apply by messaging our Facebook page (and liking and sharing it). Some bands will be turned down, but we encourage anyone interested to apply. We’re not going to judge a band on the polish of a demo, but more on whether or not it would be played on college radio (which is pretty diverse).
6. What’s upcoming for NFS? Anything else you want to say about the showcase?
Jesse: The first show is likely to be in May or June. We hope to take booking requests and build our social media presence in the mean time.
I want to stress that “new” doesn’t mean the shows will feature inexperienced musicians. There will be a mix of experience levels, and many of the new bands or solo projects that come up consist of veteran musicians exploring a new voice. —Stephen Carradini