Collisions at the Corner of Art and Commerce

Velocult - or Bikes and Music?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

So I've blathered on about DVDs, movies, Ultimate Frisbee -  a host of topics where one might wonder - "how does this connect to making music  or the music business?"  But then *most* of them eventually did, didn't they?

Well here's another left field topic -  a Bike Shop.... Not bike shops in general, I'm thinking more about a very specific (and very cool) bike shop here in Portland called  Velocult... and yes this *will* come back around to making music, honest, and not just 'cause this shop has a stage and presents music too.

Velo Cult was a well known shop in San Diego CA until earlier this year.  You can get a bit of history on them and their move here  and here

It's got all the stuff you'd find in any bike shop, like new bikes, parts, accessories, apparel, helmets, mechanics etc.  But the reason I'm writing about it is what it also has, like a stage for music, a bar, the mechanic's stations up front and center of the store, with only a low counter separating them from the rest of the shop, showings of bike races on the big screen, art exhibits/showings, beer tastings, you name it.  They even have way cool, web connected photo booth

They moved the whole shop, including most of the employees from San Diego to Portland.  But the story isn't just the move - though that's important - they  wanted to be in a different environment, one that they felt would make them happier.  The owner and all the employees I've encountered seem like great folks.  Sky, the owner,  said that their goal in building the place is to create an environment that they wanted to be in - they like bikes and beer and music and bike racing etc, so they built a place that fits for them - yet welcomes all others.  There are certainly exceptions, but a great number of musicians who have succeeded over the long haul have done the above with their music - they have created art and a career that fits and is true to them and yet is also welcoming others, thus building an audience.

What are you creating? Is it true to you, or is it an approximation of truth, or worse yet, not true to you at all, but simply a thing that you think might work?  This idea holds true not only for the music you create, but the shows you do - what happens if you do some extra work and create the show/event *you* and your friends would want to go to?  *That's* something worth talking about  way beyond your 9th gig at Tipsy McSwagger's with 3 other bands you've never heard of....

Imagine what you want *your* playground to look and work like and then set about building it.  And by playground, I'm not only referring to the physical world of shows and places to perform, but also the rules that govern the art you create... Build your world, and if it's really really good, original, honest, and has some point of welcoming others to come inside, then you've got a chance.  But if the world you build is your idea of what someone else is looking for and not one that *you* want to live and work in, it's probably not going to fly, or if it does, it will probably be short lived and not sustainable.

Ride on...

updated: 4 years ago

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