By Roy Kasten
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The average label would never bite on a release like Unstrumentals, but it seems almost normal in the FarFetched universe. Damon Davis has ambitions for films that accompany albums, Stan Chisholm is a visual artist by trade, and Ryan McNeely is developing an iPod app for the collective. "We try to focus on the full experience," Davis says. "Everything is so disposable now; we're trying to make our art something that you're not just going to forget in two weeks."
For McNeely, FarFetched is bigger than the music or the art it cultivates. "It's nice to be part of something where everyone is supporting each other when they can," he says. "Not exactly financially, but creatively and with our feet. We try to show up at each other's shows and promote each other's shows and albums and artwork. None of us has a huge amount of funding, so all we can do is use our voices. FarFetched is that; it's a voice for me."
"There are other collectives out there," he continues. "But they are usually just people teaming up to emulate what's already out there and make a ton of money. Nobody here is trying to do anything that's ever been done before, and being around musicians like that helps me further myself."
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Chisholm is similarly inspired. "Usually I'm pretty standoffish about collaborating," he says. "But it actually feels relevant to work with [other FarFetched artists]. It doesn't feel like this is what I have to do to make myself famous. All I really care about is always having opportunities to make things and push myself. If I want to make music, that's what it's going to be. If I want to switch to some weird art thing, that's what it's going to be, but I'm not going to do it because it's the hot thing. And this group supports that."
FarFetched is more than a collective or a label; it transcends the creative and financial limitations that often stunt artists' growth. The Brave New World festival is a perfect entry point into the FarFetched experience, an event hosted by a group of misfits working to erase the lines that often compartmentalize our city.
"Not being put into a box scares the shit out of people," Stan Chisholm says. "But categorizing music is like categorizing people. It usually comes with negative effects, with people discriminating against different kinds of people. I think with music and art it's the same, and we're doing the best we can to make that stop."