Published: 13 May 2018
When you start making music, it is quite important to reach out to the local community. If your local community strives, the road to improvements and finding people that like your music will not be that hard.
When you are new, established music venues will want to see some credentials. They will try to figure out if you are capable of attracting a crowd to their venue.
It is a bit like all job offers requires a minimum experience. How do you get this if you are just out of school? Well via internship or here open mic events.
What do you gain from open mic events:
- Less stage fright
- Better control of your equipment and others, like the sound system, and how to react when something happens.
- Meet some other artists
- See patches and techniques in action
- Get constructive feedback on your music
There are several monthly open mic like events around San Francisco:
- Resident in San Francisco at the Laundry
- Resonant Frequencies in Oakland at Soundwave Studios
- The Church of Thee Super Serge in San Francisco at Robotspeak
- Synthesthesia in Oakland
- Odd Refresh in Oakland
- Foreign Drama In San Francisco at the Problem Library
- inWooble in San Francisco at Linkedin
These events are focused on music produced with electronic instruments. Many performances are using modular synthesizers, but I have also seen people singing on a play track. The descriptions and video of each event will help you figure it out.
Many events in this list are not really open mic, there is an organizer and he/she invites people to perform. However, as they invite many performers, there is a good chance to be invited, once you register your interest.
When I go to these events, I try to record in high quality video (4k) about 2 mn of each artist. I use my iPhone with a high quality stereo microphone. I put all these videos together in a memento of the event, and upload to my YouTube channel.
While there are often videos after the event, to promote it and the artists, these artists need your support in person. They need a public. They need encouragements.
Attend the events. If there are popular open mics, it means there will be artists in popular bars, clubs, etc.. You need to feed the artist scene in your town from the bottom.
Alternatively, like and comments on the posts and videos about these events. The more engagements we get the better the information reach people, the more we get known, the more you get an artist scene in your city.
Resident in San Francisco at the Laundry
This is an Open Mic event, that Jeremy created. It is is usually the second Tuesday of the month, starting at 8pm and finishes around 11pm. You need to contact the organizer via the Facebook event, to confirm you will be performing. This week was the last Resident that Jeremy organized, as he is moving to Berlin, but we have pledged to continue it, just because it is awesome what Jeremy started.
Resonant Frequencies in Oakland at Soundwave Studios
This is another open mic, on the first Sunday of the month, organized by Kevin. You can get more information on Facebook. It starts at 5pm and finishes around 10pm, and you can sign up on site. They tend to release videos of each performance a few days after the event.
The Church of Thee Super Serge in San Francisco at Robotspeak
This may be the longest running open mic like for electronic music in San Francisco. You need to contact, in advance, Steve, the owner of Robotspeak, if you want to perform there. Artists performing is at his discretion. The event is on the third Sunday of the month from 3pm to 6pm.
Synthesthesia in Oakland
This event is run by April, once a month on Saturday evening at a popular club in Oakland. You need to contact April via the Synthesthesia Facebook page. Artists performing there is at her discretion.
Odd Refresh in Oakland
This event, just started for the first time this month. It was held at the Octopus literary salon in Oakland from 5pm to 7pm. It is organized by Yate. I’m not sure when the next one will occur, but check Facebook for events.
Foreign Drama In San Francisco at the Problem Library
Foreign Drama is an event series of female electronic musicians from strong influence of cultures outside of America. It is organized by Migle. It is not yet on a regular schedule, but you can find the event on Facebook when they have a line up.
inWooble in San Francisco at Linkedin
This event, I co-organize with colleagues at work (Juan and Bryan). It is a modular only event, and on invitation. It happens at LinkedIn in San Francisco once a month on Friday afternoon. We cannot have a public, so we stream it live to compensate. We invite guest artists to play with us. This event is a bit different, as there are no sets. We all play together for several hours, sharing a clock (so we are all in the beat). It is a great way to share experience and tips. We post when the event occurs on Facebook.
No Facebook, how do I find more?
There is a good calendar for events in the Bay Area. If you create an account you will receive a weekly summary of all the “New Music” events happening: https://www.bayimproviser.com/
I also tend to post them on the calendar on this site.
Once you attend one event, you will get the information for other events. There is quite a lot to do.