Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pulp Culture's Masquerade

We Do It Because We Care

This Saturday at St. Andrew's Hall, Pulp Culture invites you to The Motor City Masquerade - a concert donating portions of its proceeds to The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention.

The vociferous Beast In The Field will be headlining the event, with a lead in from Pulp Culture, the local prog/post-hardcore quartet that initially dreamt up this event. The Motor City Masquerade also features performances from pop/rock outfit The Midfield and a quirked-out glam/psyche performance art outfit from NY called Not Blood Paint. Attendees receive a gift bag at the door that includes a hand-painted mask.

Pulp Culture released their debut album at the start of this year and have, in their first couple years, demonstrated an enthusiasm towards philanthropic ventures with their lives performances. This group is keen on utilizing their concerts as a means for sending a message, promoting a cause or raising awareness. 

Bassist/singer Alex Brown spoke with us about the event. (Tickets here)

DC: You guys have played charity shows before - can you talk about why that is important to you/this band
AB: There are a lot of reasons our benefit concerts have been so important to us. We are working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention because it hits home; (guitarist/vocalist) Jake’s father submitted to his depression last year. This is a very crucial cause to us because we are all affected deeply by it. Charities are a great way to inform people about things that affect us all. We wanted to help and to involve people, so tying our music to not-for-profits that we think are doing awesome work in Michigan and the greater world seems to have invoked a positive response from those with whom we have worked at the very least. Plus, it feels just as good if not better than doing some stupid publicity stunt to get media attention.

DC: What are some of the other causes you've supported through concert/performance? AB: We started doing charity work back in March for the Greening of Detroit, which is an urban and suburban ecological development group. We did three benefits for them and planted trees on two occasions. Then we had a huge two-day event we called Vetfest; we sourced and roasted a pig and put on concerts at the Old Miami and the Blind Pig. The proceeds to both of those concerts went to Help for Our Disabled Troops, a retrofitting project that helped our drummer, Mike, move into his house after he was med-evacuated from the frontlines of the Iraq War. After that we did a benefit concert for Pesticide Action Network, raising awareness for honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder. 

DC: What are your hopes for the show; what kinds of conversations do you hope to stoke between sets/performances?
AB: I think the most important facet of this show is the element of awareness raised for those suffering from mental illnesses of any kind. The whole effect of a masquerade can reinforce identity and implement the anonymity of a group, spurring a ton of different emotions. In promoting the event we’ve run into all sorts of people with their own stories regarding suicide and mental illness. 
DC: What's the overall message of the Motor City Masquerade? AB: This is about communication and tolerance in dealing with indwelling stigmatism. The music we have lined up is seriously amazing. I am not worried about performance in the least. Turn out is the biggest issue. Ideally we would have had three whole months to promote the show, but we had one. That’s the breaks. No matter how I look at it this is going to be a helluva night, and we are so happy to be able to do it at one of the coolest venues in town.
DC: And, what's new with Pulp Culture, this year?

AB: What Do You Want? was a rock opera dedicated to a close friend of my family who passed away of an overdose in 2012. Since the release, Pulp Culture has transformed rapidly. We lost our first drummer to the American Dream. Then we hired in Mike, taught him all the music, got some new gear, and started hitting the Detroit scene as hard as possible. 

DC: The FB page for the band talks a lot about the DIY ethos. AB: Yeah, we sort of redesigned our mission as a real grass roots group, trying to emphasize the importance of DIY ethics in Detroit. We’ve probably spent hundreds of times the amount we raised so far from the album on demos and posters to get people involved in our benefits, but that doesn’t matter; we do it because we care. We do it because we love music. There is such a positive, collective effort of artists in Detroit, but it’s something you don’t hear much about in the news. It can’t be helped because of huge infrastructural road blocks like the bankruptcy, but it’s pretty obvious that the main issues with the local music and art scene are the same on a national level: major labels, giant entertainment monopolies, and even some indie labels work together to inhibit public awareness by manipulating the media, leaving local rock musicians in the shadows of the typical dogmatism of venues where they'd rather have laptop DJ’s get people to dance until they’re forced to buy a $4 bottle of water. 

DC: So that DIY tilt of yours is an acknowledgement towards bettering the situation or the opportunities of the local musician...? What's the key issue to address, here?
AB: Local musicians of all walks are left at the whim of smalltime agents who, in a similar situation as far as the politics of regional business, throw them into an endless loop of opening slots. And that forces musicians to pay up to thousands of dollars just to throw an event at esteemed clubs if they want to attempt something bigger, just like we are doing with Live Nation at St. Andrew’s. The same thing happens to visual artists downtown; they will only be commissioned if they will advertise and submit to the investor, changing the essence of their own hard work.

DC: It's a cycle...corrupted by money... Inevitable, sometimes. Changeable, though? AB: We’re trying to change this sort of thing, but look now, who wouldn’t want to play at a larger venue? Who wouldn’t want to play for more people? It’s a house of cards, and the big agents won’t protest about it out of profit alone. I wish they cared more about the music. The Fillmore Group should put local support on every show. It’s so simple, but it would help the local economy and potentially bring more people to concerts. People like new things, and Detroit's (music scene) has a lot to offer. Musically our scene is on the up, and it’s a privilege to be writing at this time.  

For more information on the Motor City Masquerade follow this link or check up on Pulp Culture's Facebook.

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