Interview: The Museum Collective

“We believe that by taking away any of those ‘preconceived’ ideas that people may have before walking in to a show, the currency becomes more relevant to the audience as a human exchange…” – Museum Collective

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On any given day you could hear any number of bits of information. Some might be true, some might be false, some may interest you, some may bore you, but every once in a while, every now and then, you hear something that makes you stand up, something that makes you move.

It is for this reason that I packed a duffle bag with the essentials, ended a comfortable life by the beach in Byron Bay and headed for Brisbane in pursuit of the Museum Collective (MC).

With their unofficial launch, officially planned for this coming Sunday, I sat down with MC to nut out the truths of a few bits and pieces that I had heard around town.

J: Let’s start warming in to it…

MC: What is the first question?

J: So, it’s been said that there is going to be a show here at the Old Museum this weekend?

MC: Yes.

J: Well let’s open up this interview with a really broad question, please tell us about the show?

MC: The show is about starting something unique, the main idea being that you attend a concert or go somewhere without any preconceptions inherent in a cover charge. It’s a strange approach in itself, but it is a chain of thought that we’ve been looking forward to bringing to Brisbane. Being the unofficial launch of the Museum Collective, we liked the idea of our introduction being an evening of free music spent with all who would like to enjoy it with us.

We believe that by not placing any expectations on the show allows each musician and performing artist to be completely raw and open hearted in creating their works. This symbolises the most natural presentation of music to us and it’s our hope that this will serve as a catalyst for providing alternative avenues for the music scene.

It’s funny, while having coffee just this morning, we concluded that the show is about honesty, while at the same time we haven’t put any names on the show or any names at all on the poster; it’s all really mysterious.

J: So it’s about equitability and freedom? Is that why the tickets are free?

We believe that by taking away any of those ‘preconceived’ ideas that people may have before walking in to a show, the currency becomes more relevant to the audience as a human exchange rather than them being participants, as the art is being created right before them. This allows them to connect with the artist naturally and just sit, watch and enjoy something that is different, canceling out those external barriers.

J: Why has there been such little promotion surrounding the show? Where can readers book their tickets?

MC: We employed a discrete marketing campaign, following more of a word of mouth approach, just putting the news out through various ways so anyone who is intrigued could dig a little deeper and find out more.

Due to the nature of the show, and the structure of the Museum Collective, we’re fortunate enough to be able take the risk of putting a show on at minimal cost, and still rely on the substance and the quality of the production to attract the right crowd.

The Old Museum bares much significance for the residents of Brisbane, and now we look forward to giving them an excuse to revisit, and appreciate the space with us.

You can book your spot on the Old Museum website by visiting the Museum Collective information page. Seats are limited so please be sure to make a booking.

J: What’s on the cards for the evening?

MC: It’s been advertised that the show is under the musical direction of Rohin Jones, with production by Will Davy. We’re leaving the line up of artists performing as part of the mystery of the evening.

However, as much as the artists are all doing a couple of things on their own, it is the cross pollination of artists that we have encouraged for the evening. While we want to scream out who is playing and all the exciting news about what we’re working on and who with, until Sunday evening the music is still in the process of completion and it’s good to allow that art the time for fruition.

J: And the experience that you’re creating, how is it different or unique from any other musical experience?

MC: There are many ways that shows transpire, but we think that in most cases the line of communication between those involved in making any given show happen is broken.

To help reinforce that communication we’ve been working together as a collection of artists, musicians, producers and technicians, putting everyone on the same page leading up to the evening, with all the artist needs being met.

By taking down that barrier, any musical piece is afforded the best opportunity it can have to connect with listeners, to create an experience and hold emotion; as well as giving that opportunity to smaller artists, which might inspire new material that could, for every argument, affect the world.

J: To dig a little deeper, what sparked the idea of the Museum Collective within yourselves? Did you see a need for something?

MC: There is an abundance of readily available content today, so much so that most of the time it’s hard to find music you would personally listen to.

Current music industry establishments are responsible for their work force, so understandably everyone would like to get paid first, but this means there’s minimal risks being taken.

This reservation in the industry has led to many filters being involved in music production. To create a degree of comparison, the way that music is made these days is similar to the digitisation, or the inadequate preservation of analogue components.

A piece of music is broken down and moved through these filters before being approved for market, and in the addition of those filters, we believe that a song loses the intention in which the song writer wrote it. Regardless of right or wrong approaches, we feel that the less filters that are created between the artist and the listener, the better the song will be heard and felt.

Unfortunately, in today’s industry, artists can only get to a certain level in their career, which does not satisfy their aspirations. This is due to a lack of patience and investment in the human element during exchanges between a record label and an artist. The investment is monetary and facilitative, and it’s connecting, but the way the connections are made is synthetic; the pace and style prohibit the artist from being able to continually absorb the moments in which they produce their art in culture.

Art is more so viewed today as a product, rather than something that requires patience and personal investment. When the pace is slowed down, the exchange goes up, and you’re able to dig beneath the surface level interactions.

J: Please tell me about the Museum Collective and where it stemmed from?

MC: The Museum Collective is a group of facilitators, curators and specialists, that share a common love for genuine music. There are various career paths that we could pursue, but hearing good music gives us this urge to foster it and keep it going, shaping a naturally creative environment for it to transpire.

At the moment, the Museum Collective features individual talents from different specialties including: musicians, sound engineers, production managers, visual artists and writers. We bring all these different disciplines of art together with a project in mind, using them in harmony to create something of quality and social importance.

If you were to pull back and watch what everyone is producing, there would have be a common sensibility about everything, and I guess that is, in a sense, why we feel that the Museum Collective represents Brisbane, that we almost have an obligation to do something here, given the calibre of talent and passion.

This herein denotes the end of the first part of this interview. To book your tickets, go to the Museum Collective info page on the Old Museum Website. 

For extended excerpts, and to find out more about the Museum Collective, keep on reading!

J: So, why the Old Museum?

MC: There is so much national and international talent that passes through the Old Museum doors. At the end of the day they walk away feeling like they have experienced something special.

After moving in to the building, it didn’t take long to for the critical mass effect to kick in. In other words, when a person is working on an interesting project, someone walks by, notices, wants to be a part of it and then soon enough, you’ve got 12-20 people working on that project.

By conjoining our experiences, we can use each of our expertise in a minimalistic, but effective sense, to make something happen on a large scale.

Museums are meant to be a cultural hub; a vibrant demonstration of the power of art and culture, reminding people that there is more to the value of an artwork than the monetary figure we place on it.

J: ‘Value’ in the sense that it connects people?

MC: ‘Value’ in the sense that it matters. What you leave behind after your time is what will perpetually create new things.

By being a collective everyone is automatically on a level playing field. We’re transforming what would usually be considered a job or task allocation, to instead be an art form or an artistic expression, which defines each of our roles in a bigger picture that we’re equally working to attain.

One of the primary principles from the beginning has been a lack of ego in our work and the way we conduct ourselves. We may have people around us that are famous or well respected, but you can’t use that as a way of decision making; ultimately we’re all in this together to create positive change.

J: One thing that I’m interested in hearing more about is the interaction between the music and, maybe not necessarily the artist, but the music and the audience. Earlier you made a brief distinction between people being able to choose the music they listen to, rather than having what they hear dictated to them?

MC: Hearing a song directly from an artist and not from a radio station, or something along those lines, is inherently special. Over the years amplification and duplication of artwork has increased, which is not necessarily bad, but amplification could be looked at as a mixing pot, and in creating a song you’re adding ingredients to that pot. It is when the mix becomes too complex that the exchange between the artist and the listener becomes over-complicated, and may lose personal significance.

We think that there needs to be a balance. So, on Sunday we don’t mind if ten people pitch up to this show, because those ten people will be wondering, how did anybody miss this? The question will be out there.

Events like these are happening and we’re missing them because we’ve been following misleading avenues of communications. We want to be able to stand in front of a stage and see if the music pulls us in, if there is something in that music that resonates with us.

J: Let’s open the topic of resonance up…

MC: Funnily enough, resonance is a huge undertone and topic to this whole project. Resonance, in respect to what it is, is the power of one thing to transfer a state of energy to something else; everything emits a different resonance. We employ pseudo-physics in our approach because we enjoy the parallels between thoughts and imagination.

The show on this Sunday is going to be in the back of the Old Museum Building, and straight away the building will already resonating something. What that is, is up to who ever examines that thought. The show is going to sound different to say, a festival, it’s going to be more intimate, there are going to be distinctions that people will notice. Even what the artists are playing and how they are playing it.

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Keep an eye on the Museum Collective at www.museumcollective.com.au.

© Jonathan Boonzaaier 2016

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