Three Temple alumni operate DIY music publication

RatPie Friends is a DIY music publication organized by three Temple alumni.

Three Temple alumni organize RatPie Friends, a DIY music publication. | COURTESY / REECE HERBERG

When Temple’s Main Campus reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic, Brittany Deitch, Reece Herberg and Logan Bennett noticed a shift in the DIY scene: shows were suddenly packed and venues were appearing left and right. The trio, none of them musicians themselves, decided to use their talents as visual artists to showcase this budding culture.

“There were all these really cool things happening and no one was documenting this,” said Herberg, a 2023 political science alumna. “So at first we started as a means to just do exactly that, just document the rise of the DIY scene.” 

In December 2021, the three founded RatPie Friends, an independent music publication dedicated to covering Philadelphia’s DIY music scene. The group photographs and interviews scene participants, looking to showcase the abundance of talent in the scene.

RatPie was founded with the goal of simple documentation, as the three wanted to be involved in the scene without making music but didn’t have a space to host their own events. As the group expanded, they began to host shows in collaboration with venues near campus.

Before RatPie’s founders graduated from Temple, they frequently hosted shows in collaboration with The Mansion, a venue on Carlisle Street, who they met through the scene.

In August 2022, RatPie and The Mansion hosted a show in support of the SOL Collective, a Philadelphia harm reduction organization aiming to end the drug overdose crisis. The show raised more than $800. 

RatPie’s support for these groups extends to the programming  they plan. They strive to include queer people of color when organizing setlists or artist spotlights to elevate the voices they feel need to be heard.

“When we say we want to support queer artists, actually putting our money where our mouth is and supporting the artists is really important,” Herberg said. “And past that point, on our artists showcases, the people that we include in playlists and so on and so forth, that is something that goes into mind is ‘What voices are we elevating and what stories are they telling?’”

They also hope to cultivate a safe space for artists and onlookers, even if that means removing people from the events.

“It can be awkward kicking someone out of a show, it can be really weird and uncomfortable and it’s really easy to just pretend like nothing’s happening, but you really can’t do that,” said Bennett, a 2023 computer science alumnus. “You gotta make it awkward, you gotta make it weird and kick the weirdos out.”

The Mansion stopped hosting shows at the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester after the venue’s organizers graduated. RatPie, no longer having a space to host large events, shifted to primarily covering artists. They delved deeper into profiling artists and covering shows from high-profile artists like The Front Bottoms.

“Once RatPie got going it was kind of harnessing a community where you’d go somewhere and everyone was like your friend,” said Deitch, a 2023 information science and technology alumna. “We were like, ‘Well, what else can we do with this?’ And I started realizing I could reach out to bigger bands now and cover their shows at Union Transfer and the Fillmore in places like that.”

Their programming has shifted to more casual events since Herberg, Deitch and Logan graduated, like acoustic and open mic nights hosted out of Deitch’s house in Fairmount. 

The group opened submissions for local artists to be showcased on their website in December 2023 in an effort to give a platform to those who may be struggling to get eyes on their work. 

They hope to continue using their platform to give voices to up and coming artists through open mic community events.

“I think that there’s going to be more incorporation of open mics and poetry reading and involving the community more instead of having like a certain setlist,” Herberg said. “I would love to have people like fucking bring a guitar or bring, like, a tambourine or whatever the fuck they’re talented at and just show us what they’ve got.”

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