Blue Tape Collective and “Disparate Thoughts” unite a multi-state indie scene, and released its first volume.
No longer do artists need to be in the same vicinity to be part of the same scene.
The Blue Tape Collective and “Disparate Thoughts: A Zine” prove this notion, uniting musicians, poets and photographers from across the country. Started by members of the band Featherweight–Ben Gardner of Pittsburgh, and Zach Weeks of Boston, Mass.–the Blue Tape Collective is a music project that releases compilations of independent music, primarily of bands that Gardner and Weeks meet on tour.
“We were in the process of planning our East Coast summer tour, and getting really excited about all of the bands we were playing with, so we had the idea to put together a compilation featuring a bunch of them,” Gardner said.
Although Gardner and Weeks couldn’t complete the compilation before they left for their tour, they befriended many bands featured on Volume 1, which was released on Sept. 6.
“It was our first touring experience, and we were so stoked on everyone’s general friendliness that we wanted to try to give something back and promote that sort of attitude, and now here we are,” Gardner said.
On his travels, Gardner connected with sophomore secondary education major Jason Lear and his band, Mallard. Combining complex guitar parts with vocals that range from soft to screaming, Mallard has been self-labeled by Lear as “emo.”
“It’s just like emotion–there are different levels,” Lear said. “It’s like the four seasons, it’s a very dynamic band.”
Mallard’s most recent song, “Kelsey Q. vs. The Holland Tunnel,” is featured on Volume 1 of the Blue Tape Collective.
“Mallard’s track on Volume 1 is easily my favorite track on the whole compilation,” Gardner said.
Mallard, along with members from Temple, University of the Arts and Immaculata University, is quickly gaining momentum in the Bethlehem, Pa. music scene and beyond.
“[The Blue Tape Collective] was a great way to promote ourselves,” Lear said.
Volume 1 features bands from seven states, from Massachusetts to Illinois to Kansas. The download is available for free or an optional donation through bandcamp.com, with proceeds funding the production of physical copies to be distributed to the featured bands. The download of Volume 1 is accompanied by Issues 1 and 2 of “Disparate Thoughts,” a Boston zine led by Gardner’s friend, Franko Kosic.
“The inspiration for ‘Disparate Thoughts’ came from a really visible lack of culture within the music scene in Boston,” Kosic said. “The scene here is really different from other places in that it’s not a solid community and shows are often used as just another place to party, often totally distracting from the hard work bands put into their music, and the meaning behind it. By starting a zine, I thought that I could bring back some meaning to the scene and get people to share their art with each other.”
Although partnered primarily by friendship, the bands featured in the first volume are showcased in articles in “Disparate Thoughts,” providing the listener and reader with a multimedia understanding of the artists.
“Both projects sort of compliment each other because they both support a community we’re trying to develop,” Kosic said.
“[Kosic] promotes art in its most sincere form, and that’s exactly what Blue Tape is all about,” Gardner added.
The contributors of “Disparate Thoughts’” poetry, photography and articles were discovered by Kosic through word of mouth. However, Kosic is eager to open “Disparate Thoughts” pages to artists from other parts of the country.
Gardner, Lear and Kosic connect with one another via the Internet regarding projects, eliminating the isolation that used to limit individual music scenes. The final product evokes a sense of unity among separate musical communities.
“Now you can connect different local scenes together,” Lear said. “It makes us all one scene.”
Jenelle Janci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.