The 50 States 50 Bands Project
Who Are We?
We are a small group of music lovers - 1 project leader, 4 talent scouts, 2 sound engineers, and 1 visual artist. All of us bring experience from working in various parts of music scenes as critics, band leaders, venue owners, studio engineers, and radio hosts. Most of us live in or around Chicago.
What Did We Do?
Starting in New England in late 2015, and ending in Hawaii in early 2017, our team traveled the country in search of musicians to feature in our project. Our mission was simple:
• Attend live local music performances all across the nation
• Choose our favorite musical act from each state
• The act cannot be signed to a major label
• The act must have original music that piques our interest
• If the act is interested in joining our project, record a 4-song EP of the act's original music
Our scouts went to open mic nights, couch shows, local venues, coffee shops, grungy basement gigs, downtown busking hot spots, anywhere we could catch live local music. Collectively, we attended nearly 300 live shows, which introduced us to a whopping 732 different acts.
Once our team decided on our favorite act from a particular state, we reached out and offered free recording time. If the act agreed to participate, we sent one of our recording engineers (with a van full of audio equipment) to the act and spent a few days honing in on their vision. We put no creative limitations on the artists' music, other than the basic format of a 4-song EP.
The songs were recorded wherever we could set up our portable recording rig with minimal sound coming in from the outside world: some in living rooms, some in practice spaces, some in coffee shops after hours; on three occasions we even had local studios donate their soundproofed rooms to our efforts.
The hard work and talent of these 50 bands combined with the drive of our team have resulted in an excitingly vast collection of 200 songs.
On July 4, 2017, we will release all 50 EPs. They will be streaming at 50states50bands.bandcamp.com.
Why Did We Do It?
We are witnessing an era of unprecedented music creation and distribution thanks to the internet and better-than-ever access to recording equipment and software. We want to use these technologies to shine a light on the ever growing pool of talented musicians across this country. We are in it for the music and for the experience of traveling and listening and recording. We hope that these EPs will be helpful tools to advance the efforts of these very gifted musicians.
What Bands Did We Choose?
Our lips are sealed until release day! The artists have all agreed to keep quiet as well, in order to make the release as fun and exciting as possible.
We can say this: The range of music within this project is very wide. Our selected bands include country, ambient, indie rock, harsh electronic, blues, whispery singer songwriter; even a few people who consider themselves less musicians and more performance artists. The age range of our selected artists is quite wide too: 18 to 65!
On July 4, 2017 at 50States50Bands.Bandcamp.com, you will find each band's EP on its own page along with the band's bio. Streaming will be free and unlimited, and each EP will be downloadable for $2. The entire 200 song collection will be downloadable for $40. The bands will keep 100% of this money, excluding the small cut that Bandcamp takes from each sale.
We want to be clear that our choices are entirely subjective. There are countless talented, hardworking, brilliant musicians all over this country who deserve to be heard. We encourage you to take part in supporting your local music scene to witness for yourself just how much great music exists in your own backyard!