In the LIVING ONLINE Series, ACE Collaborator Corey Aldrich interviews artists on the the loss of the in person LIVE performance. First up is performer extraordinaire Ryder Cooley. For more on LIVING ONLINE, click here.
What musical style are you?
My style is very whimsical and doesn’t fit into a box, but I call it dark carnival dream music, which is a cousin of dark cabaret.
How long have you been playing live music in front of an audience?
Over 20 years.
How are you coping?
Currently my main gig is a virtual variety show at Club Helsinki in Hudson NY called ‘Wish You Were Hear.‘ This has given me something creative to focus on every month. Also, going outdoors, running in the woods, sleeping, cats, film noir movies, playing music with Jon B. Woodin and collaborating with Lisa M. Thomas (Thin Edge Film Productions) on videos, like the Dust Bowl Faeries’ Candy Store video, which we released last November.
How has the pandemic affected your artistic practice?
Live, embodied exchange between audience and performer is integral to my work. The virtual shows have been a big adjustment, like a dream that you’re trying to wake up from; empty chairs, no chatter at the bar, no hugs after the show, no audience, did it ever even happen? On the bright side, I’m really so grateful to be able to perform, especially at Club Helsinki Hudson, a place that, as a performer, I call home. I don’t create art for money, or for how many likes I get on a social media post. The shallowness of virtual exchange has been challenging.
Yet, the pandemic has forced me to slow down and reflect upon what is really important in life. I see more clearly the things I’m grateful for, the simple things, like my health, body, family, friends, community, having a roof over my head. Also, more than ever I recognize what a gift (and a privilege) it is to be an artist, and I don’t want to waste that. So, I’m trying my hardest to adapt and create during this time. And if/when we return to live music and performance, I will certainly never take it for granted, knowing as I do now that it can vanish at any moment.
How is this affecting you financially?
I never made much money, so I am already an expert at being broke! But I have also been very lucky, I’ve had enough part-time work to slide by on and generous patrons to keep me afloat, thank you universe!
What’s your plan for 2021?
My plan for 2021 is to expat to a tropical faerie land, far far away, where equality and ecology and species diversity are the most important things, and my 80 year old parents can come, and my friends, collaborators and cats too – where I can burn all my masks and flush my iphone down the toilet and delete all of my social media accounts. But if none of that happens, my backup plan is to get out of dodge, do some travelling, and hopefully start playing live shows again.
What advice would you give to other musicians struggling with the same challenge right now?
Go outside, play music, write songs, cast spells…
COREY ALDRICH, a longtime ACE Contributor, works out of Troy, New York where he runs a freelance consultancy that entails all aspects of brand development and business process management / development. Current projects include cash flow analysis, strategic market planning, 3rd party project oversight, public relations, event planning and front end visual brand design / design-build projects. He has a focus in not-for-profit arts and mission oriented organizations. In his free time he works on honing his craft as a photographer and guitarist. (firstname.lastname@example.org)