In the spirit of collaboration and best practice sharing, I thought it would be interesting to share perspectives from our fellow creatives to see how folks are getting along as we all craft new ways to practice our craft. For more on my LIVING ONLINE series, click here. For this installment, I met up with the folks at Super Dark Collective to discuss the current state of the underground music scene and was happy to hear, it’s alive and well! Super Dark Collective is: Sarah Darby | Bobby Carlton | Shane Sanchez | Christopher Brown | Gary Ziroli
Stoked to get to chat with you folks as I have been following you for some time and have seen some amazing shows that you have produced. Can you tell our audience a little bit more about who and what Super Dark Collective is?
Super Dark Collective started in 2014 as a public access TV show on ChannelAlbany & LookTV called Super Dark Home Video. Then in 2017 we began hosting a local music show called Super Dark Radio. That was on WSPN 91.1 FM at Skidmore College. In that same year we started putting together shows in Saratoga Springs at first at One Caroline and when they closed, we moved everything over to Desperate Annie’s.
Over time we have evolved into a creative organization that really focuses on empowering artists of all genres to have the freedom to explore their vision of creativity in a way that has no boundaries or judgment. Our goal is to always present an experience that challenges our audience through the exploration of audio, video, dance, and performance that may not be considered the norm by the majority. During this time, we’ve also produced zines, podcasts, music compilations, a web series and have hosted hundreds of concerts in the Capital Region and New York City.
It’s been strange times indeed for live music but we are now all of a sudden full bore go. How did you manage over the course of the pandemic? Were you in touch with your artists or did you drop into a deep hole like some of us?
Just before the pandemic we had just finished putting together a series of showcases for SXSW in Austin, TX. This was going to be huge for us. We had partnered with Queen of the Scene to produce 14 showcase shows featuring over 120 artists. Once SXSW and other events around the world started being cancelled due to COVID, we were all pretty devastated because we put so much work into SXSW. But we also understood that in the scheme of things, keeping people safe was way more important than a bunch of shows.
The thing is, we still had a lot of momentum going. So we just focused on being productive and positive. We stayed connected with our SXSW artists and played their music and videos on the Super Dark Radio podcast and our web series Super Dark Home Video. We also stayed busy working on our own individual projects, releasing albums and music videos.
What financial impact has this had on the collective and on the musicians you work with?
The biggest impact was definitely losing a handful of important music venues in the area. Luckily Desperate Annie’s survived and we are thrilled to be able to continue our Super Dark Monday concert series there.
Zoom / Twitch / IG LIVE…general thoughts on the state of streaming music during the pandemic and going forward?
Some of us individually participated in others live streams like Basilica 24 Hour Drone (at Home.) However, none of us really had the patience to work out the kinks that went along with hosting live streams on a larger scale (the buffering, learning new interfaces, etc). Instead we focused on resurrecting our public access show Super Dark Home Video and reformatting it into an old school MTV style music video show.
Now that things are loosening up, do you think the way you produce live shows will change?
We are excited that we are returning to Desperate Annie’s in Saratoga Springs with our Super Dark Monday Series. As for change, right before COVID completely shut things down, we were booking three bands for each Monday and Thursday show. For the time being, we are only booking Monday nights with only two bands on the bill. But we definitely plan on having three bands per show, and we are planning on bringing back Super Dark Thursdays as soon as we can. At the moment we are fully booked through November with our Super Dark Monday series, which just goes to show what an amazing scene we have!
What’s the best way for folks to stay in touch about upcoming shows? Anything you want to plug here right now?
We are all over the web! Check us out at the links below. We have a full upcoming Super Dark Monday show listings for July and August on our website. Also, tune in every Thursday Noon – 2PM to Super Dark Radio on WSPN 91.1 FM.
Photo Credit: Brian Lasky