This cartographic study of musical incest started out as a personal (and let me add, super nerdy) project of mine. I was trying to map out how the bands I’m in (Disclaimer: I’m in a few bands around town, including Partman Parthorse and Butts), and my friends bands, were interconnected. Kind of a 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon thing… only with the Seattle Music Scene and not Kevin Bacon (although if anyone can figure out how to connect any Seattle Bands to Kevin Bacon you’ll be my hero).
The map started out looking like this:
There was just 20 or so bands on the first draft, all connected via shared band members.
Then… well… it became an obsession. I quickly realized that just about every band I knew was connected to dozens of other bands via shared band members. I started talking to friends about it. Other KEXP DJs, music nerds, etc.
You should have seen my apartment. There were literally scraps of paper strewn about everywhere. Maps taped to the wall. Piles of CDs everywhere.
Fast forward a few weeks: the first version of the map is finished. Suddenly, there was almost 300 bands on the map, connecting everyone from Fleet Foxes to Botch to Nirvana to The Intelligence to the Fastbacks.
It looked like this:
I showed my friend, a local poster designer, the map, and he offered to re-draw it.
It’s now 8 FEET TALL. Here’s a small corner of it:
At this point, in an unrelated twist of fate, KEXP asked if I could put together a podcast and I thought, I’m already working on this crazy project, might as well turn it into a podcast. So that’s what happened. I created a podcast with 30 local bands, each band connected to the band before via shared band members.
The podcast starts off with The Shackles. The Shackles (who are playing KEXP’s Audioasis live Broadcast December 6th at the Sunset) share a bass player with the now defunct band, The Charming Snakes, which is the next band on the podacst. The Charming Snakes went on to form the Coconut Coolouts. A member of the Coconut Coolouts is in the Lamborginiz. And so forth.
You can download the podcast today and take a listen here:
There’s hundreds of other bands I would have loved to include on this podcast (And believe me, the original podcast was twice as long, but due to technological restrictions, I had to pair it down to it’s current length).
It’s my hope that in listening to this podcast, and looking at the map, you’ll get a sense not only of Seattle’s vibrant music scene, but how even when folks don’t realize it, we’re a lot closer to each other than we may think.
The map in its entirety (all 60 sq ft of it) will be on display at Cairo Art gallery on November 20th at 8pm as part of their Expo 87 music festival.
I’m excited to hear your feedback (yes, I know there’s mistakes, and bands that have been left out. Email me about them! firstname.lastname@example.org).
Also, if you’re in a different city, I’d love to challenge you to do the same… see if you can connect the scene you’re a part of, and let me know how it works out.