Jon Davis is a machine. No, scratch that; he is more like a rapidly mutating musical organism. The hardest working musician in the Twin Cities. His countless projects include his electronic guises, the enigmatic Ghostband and Speakerthrone, as well as his guest spots in different jazz and folk ensembles with his limitless woodwind abilities most notably as a member of neo-soul folkies Black Audience and Poop Stained Mirror.
[jump] For the past year Jon has been playing the part of curator and host for his Somethin' Else series of electronic music events. Designed to fuse art, visuals, and music, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what to expect from the monthly event. But that's sort of the point. If there's any one purpose for the series it's to take the standard practice of playing in bars in specific genres and bending the idea and the all too often clique-like environment of a music scene to create hybrids of something new or unsuspected.
Past events have incorporated musical experimental film, electronic improvisation, performance art, hip hop, free jazz, and noise for a varied evening and unsuspecting experience outside of the commercial confines and predictability of your standard four-band club bill.
Utlizing different venues that have included old theaters, art galleries and even the basement of a book store, Jon has been molding an openness with musicians and scenesters and has long-term plans for the Somethin' Else, while at the same time letting it grow and become something greater than himself.
I had the chance to grill Jon on some of what make him tick and what's in store for this weekend's the Somethin' Else, the future and beyond.
What was your inspiration for starting the Somethin' Else series? How have they been going? any specific highlights you remember that felt in sync with your original inspiration or things that surprised you?
Each year, I go to the Spark Festival and experience all this wonderful and eclectic music and visual art, meet awesome people and have a great time. When it's over, I'm left waiting another year for something I want to experience every day. So, I decided to be proactive and create an event where I can experience this at least on a monthly basis and invite other people to do the same. Additionally, I want the event to be open to all ages, take place at various local venues and be organized around themes which unify artists from seemingly disparate genres. Because most people like food, I also decided to make The Somethin' Else a potluck.
Philosophically, it's about electronic artists, a somewhat introverted bunch by nature of their art, hanging out together. It's also about the greater community engaging with these artists and their work in an environment where everyone can be at ease. For various reasons, music has wandered from the hearth. The Somethin' Else attempts to guide it back in that direction, even if the hearth is now a drum machine and a bowl of guacamole.
So far, so good. Each event has been it's own entity. The performances have been stellar and a lot of nice people have attended. As far as I'm concerned, everything has been standout. The last event at Franklin Art Works was definitely close to what I envision, a rewarding and well-attended community gathering. I just wish people would bring more food!
Being a multi-instrumentalist and being involved with so many musicians and states of mind of genre and ways of performing how do you see your role and future with events like this and playing with other people?
As an artist and a person, it's important to try new things, meet new people and learn. I'm always looking to branch outward in the interest of nourishing myself inwardly. Obviously, the more terrain you cover and the more you are able to synthesize, the more valuable you are as a resource for others. I like to help people connect with people or situations they can learn from, the same as others have done for me. I simply hope I get more opportunities to grow, learn and express.
If someone gave you a million dollars to put together an event, musical or art performance of some type what would you do?
Build a geodesic dome and have the Somethin' Else all the time!!!!!
What is the future of the Somethin' Else?
It's hard to say. I've been dedicating my energy to bringing more artists and interest from outside our community. The Somethin' Else is intended to be a worldwide event. That's what the blog is about and why I document everything. The world should know what a great artistic community we have here in the Twin Cities and come participate. It is ultimately about organizing, branching out and connecting. I'd eventually like to hold the event in other cities throughout the world or see chapters of The Somethin' Else spring up elsewhere. In the immediate future, it's just about keeping it going.
Who are your favorite musicians or people who have inspired you to do what you do?
Yeasayers and nayslayers.
What personal goals do you have for your own music with Ghostband, Speakerthrone or whatever else you are doing?
Generally, I just want to experience, grow and enjoy my life. Specifically, I'd like to find a label, put out an album and get out and see the world.
The Somethin' Else #6 (In The Loop), An Electronic Music Potluck happens Friday, November 12 at the Cult Status Gallery in Minneapolis
The Dark Lord of Rhodes
Carnage the Executioner
Aby Wolf & Josh Granowski
Visuals by Visionquest
Aural Ambiance by Slow Derek
Cult Status Gallery
2913 Harriet Avenue South
$5 (free with potcluck contibution)
Sponsored by the Electric Fetus and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Some highlights from past the Somethin' Else events:
The Somethin' Else #4 9/10/10 with Mikey "Eyedea" Larsen, Julian Fairbanks, Mike Mictlan, Yakub, Big Dylan & Canin Apple
The Somethin' Else #5 10/8/10 with Dreamland Faces