Local jazz fans have long been flocking to the Biko House, located at 6612 Sueno Rd., for its monthly Experimental Music Night. With a devoted cult following, this experimental experience has been a well-kept secret amongst the local culture vultures since it started. But, with this year’s Experimental Music Night premiering at 8 p.m. this Thursday, Artsweek decided to let the cat out of the bag. We talked to local musician Colter Frazier, who organizes Experimental Music Night and plays in the Colter Frazier/Rob Wallace Duo. For more information about the night, and about Colter’s music, check out www.myspace.com/colterfrazier.
Artsweek: What do you hope people get out of Experimental Music Night at the Biko House?
Colter Frazier: Just the connection they get with the other people there, musicians included. I hope they get the act of getting something. Doesn’t matter what, something personal for them.
How do you describe the music played at Experimental Music Night to someone who hasn’t heard experimental jazz before?
It sounds like as basically it’s best described by what’s it’s not. It’s different every time. The unifying factor is that it’s called ‘fringe’ or ‘outside music.’ What it’s not is anything derived from pop culture. It’s not easy listening. It demands attention. It can be passive or aggressive. It is what is created when all of the different aesthetics from the audience and musicians and vibe and emotions in that same moment.
What musical aspirations for the Biko House do you have?
I just hope the night keeps connecting people and that more people realize it’s a safe space for music. I want to get more L.A. groups up here to play this year. I think, uh, it’s gonna be a good year.
What do you want the audience to feel throughout the show?
Since it’s all created in the moment, it’s to take something different from it. If they come with open ears and mind then they can really be moved because it’s a unique moment created by the ascetics of the place and the people there. It’s very personal, not as much as a show, as an experience shared by performers and audience. Our band loves to play at places like Experimental Music Night.
How did you start Experimental Music Night at the Biko House?
Just as me and a few other musicians realizing that there is no venues for experimental music so we talked to the house and got it set up. Anyone who has been there knows what the scene is like.
What do you try to achieve with your music as a duo?
At times, we do try to create an effect every show, which is different based on shows. We show that this type of music is no different from any other type of music. We don’t play [this kind of music] because it’s odd; we play it because its how we want to express ourselves. For the audience it’s almost like watching two people think. We achieve that by playing in the moment, creating a moment with the audience and that’s what makes [the show] so powerful. The idea is kind of like, because we let the aesthetics affect our playing each show reflects a different side of us. Music puts you in the moment that is created by the interplay between the audience and musicians, it feels like it’s a drug sometimes because it puts you… it has such an effect on you: It can change your mood, or enhance the mood you are already in. Live music is more important than ever because culture is heading towards home entertainment with home theaters, DVD players and a million channels on TV and all that bullshit and live music is so very important because it gets people out and connecting with people. For me music is the best art form. Definitely. It seems less and less live music is happening because people are almost confined to their house because there is so much home entertainment and less personal interaction. It’s an important time for fringe or outside music to be played and be heard because American culture is becoming more homogenized. All the media in this country is owned by a few people. They own everything. It is so important for them to have everything homogenized, because it helps them make more money, because most music types are so easily defined and categorized, so it can be more commercialized. So outside music is very artistically rewarding and stimulating. That’s what it is about: people stimulating people.