Photo by Dana Smith
A backyard is as good a place as any to start a movement. That's where, in two separate neighborhoods over roughly nine months, 22 bands outlined the edges of a music collective, filled them in over beer and launched Tower Groove Records. They collected votes and took turns. They staged a carnival at a bar. And this Friday, the collective-slash-label will release its first annual compilation, 21 songs over two LPS that seem to represent 21 different genres. Before the group's weekend of shows to celebrate the release, we talked to all of the bands about the launch, the label and what they hope will be its legacy.
The Feed: "All That I Want" Jordan Heimburger: This album is a nice snapshot of where every band is right now. I knew about a third of the groups, maybe half, before the album, but I got to listen to them all really closely as this went on. If nothing else came out of this, it would be enough just to have met and gotten to know these other bands.
Accelerando: "Fireflies" Mark Stephens: I think we accidentally did a pretty good job, because everyone who signed up was really into it. It started as a handful of people and then two handfuls of people and grew from there. Maybe it was just the tight time. When we wrote the charter, it was pieced together by every person in attendance. We avoided petty little squabbles and different directions, and it functions pretty smoothly given how many people are involved. What would I like to see from Tower Groove in the future? Well, we have a record to sell.
The Hot Liquors: "Not For You" Erik Roy: When you have this many people sitting in one room, there's going to be something original that pops out. We've all seen these ideas throughout our careers, but that's all it amounted to: ideas. I think that this time, it's finally being taken seriously and professionally enough to change the map of St. Louis rock 'n' roll.
Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra: featured on several songs Matthew Frederick: There had been a certain amount of maturation in the music scene that required a next step. If we as a town or a city or a scene or whatever the hell we are is going to flourish, we had to progress. There were probably as many as 40 people there at times, and it was, to someone who's used to meetings, some of the most egalitarian, free-form input ever. Everyone had a stake in it and was contributing important, vital, substantive ideas and plans to what we were doing. It really felt - and still feels -- like a true, bottom-up movement.