23rd Mar 2012
Well, as per usual, I’ve been rather poor at keeping a regular update on my site here but, I’m happy to say, it’s because there has been an incredible whirlwind of activity going on here in NYC over the last couple of months!
Not too long after my last update, I left my internship at Yessian to properly start getting stuck into the music scene here in NYC. Don’t get me wrong: I was terrified to be leaving such a great group of people. And the parting of ways was certainly friendly! It was an amazing place to be, first moving down to NYC from Boston, and my learning experience there was invaluable. The advertising world, even where music is concerned, is a hard-hitting and competitive one. Every day you had to be on the edge of seat, ready to put your all into the task at hand, because getting a hold of that client and a job, is the name of the game. I’m someone who is versatile in a range of situations but, in honesty, there was an element where I didn’t quite feel ready to settle into that world, so that was a part of the reason why I decided to really throw myself into the deep end and become a full-time (freelance) musician and writer.
Was I fearful that everything would come tumbling down, that my NYC experience would end quickly because I would, ultimately, be struggling? Yes. A lot. For the first couple of weeks of being “free”, I was stressing and gearing myself up for a few months of nothing before I would give up and leave.
The thing is, the situation actually woke me up: I was FREE, damn it! This was a good thing, not a bad thing! No more institution (of any kind), no more worrying about schedules set by other people… It was time to go out and have fun, see people, not network but just re-kindle the love and appreciation of friendships and, ultimately, have fun making music.
Since then, the past 2 months have been the best times I’ve had so far here in NYC, because the music has been much more and I can count a number of people who I respect musically and as friends. Here they are, this is what I’ve been up:
Emily Wolf has been making more strides on the NYC scene, with a gig at least once a month at Caffe Vivaldi in the West Village, LIC Bar in Long Island City and we also have an up-coming gig next month at Triad in the Upper West Side. The musicians in this band are all great people, incredible musicians (many from NEC) and just wonderful to hang with!
The Rodrigo Bonelli Group has had a spate of gigs this month (almost one every week), at the Sugar Bar in the Upper West Side, Shrine in Harlem and Somethin’ Jazz Club in Midtown East. Every gig just gets better and better, the high-octane Brazilian Jazz is true work-out to play and exciting to listen to.
I’m keeping the ball rolling as much as possible with Human Equivalent NYC, booking the group for a gig at least once a month at various venues, from LIC Bar, Shrine and venues in the Lower East Side (where the indie and rock bands settle themselves). We’ve been picking up some great press from local listeners (check out Eric Hathaway’s blog for a recent review). The band has gone through various re-arrangements musician-wise, but I’m digging the current line-up, looking to nurture the sound more!
I’ve also had the pleasure of re-connecting with my friend and musical collaborator Noah MacNeil. He moved down to NYC at the beginning of the year and, through some turn-of-events, we have had a couple of gigs performing as the Leah Gough-Cooper:Noah MacNeil Duo, at a truly wonderful restaurant in Queens, La Flor Bakery & Cafe, where we perform three sets of straight-ahead jazz and originals! They’ve invited us back for another Monday night session, so it’s looking to become a regular weekly slot for us: a free meal and small fee are a great deal, as well as the fact that the owners of this Mexican Fusion restaurant are amazingly generous and appreciative!
As well as all the regular bands I perform with, I continue to perform with pop vocalist Meagan Hickman when she rolls into NYC from Chicago and also recently performed with another, Hannah Sumner, at Brooklyn’s Resort World Casino (which was both at once the most amazingly cool and odd experience I’ve had since moving here!). I also head up to Boston twice a month to play in-house with guitarist and singer George Woods, at 6B Lounge, Sunday nights from 8pm, which is a great excuse to see old friends often as well as having a great music-making time!
And last, but certainly not least, during most days I’ve had the most amazing pleasure to work with a great friend and musician, Rich Chwastiak (aka. DJ The WIG), who has been my travel companion into the world of Electronic and Dance music. In all, I’ve garnered a writing and production role alongside him (under the moniker of PANOOC) and we’ve been accumulating a range of dance tracks for both of us to use in performance, separately and together, and also to share with the community out there. We recently remixed a song by Boston-based group Bad Rabbits (‘Can’t Back Down’), which has been getting a healthy amount of hype from social media sites such as Secret Boston, as well as NYC’s music promoters Scotch & Murder Music and Tennessee’s 128 and Up. We’ve produced another three tracks thus far, hoping to have two more completed in time for April. It’s a great experience working with Rich, and one that I hope will continue for many more months to come!
Diverse or what? I’ve been having a blast working with all these great people and have been lucky enough to get a healthy amount of gigs recently (i.e. almost one every night!) and, although you will walk away from one gig or another with little more than tips, it’s always a good feeling to be creating music, having fun and doing exactly what you love!
So, ’til next time, enjoy the Spring!