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Though they emit some geometrical tendencies, The End of the Ocean does not play math-rock. But in order to introduce them, a little arithmetic is necessary. According to the popular streaming music service Spotify, for an upstart band such as End of the Ocean, “the average ‘per-stream’ payout” is anywhere between “$0.006 and $0.0084.” Seems [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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Though they emit some geometrical tendencies, The End of the Ocean does not play math-rock. But in order to introduce them, a little arithmetic is necessary. According to the popular streaming music service Spotify, for an upstart band such as End of the Ocean, “the average ‘per-stream’ payout” is anywhere between “$0.006 and $0.0084.” Seems like a worthless endeavor, right? That is until something catches fire. As of writing this, their single “Worth Anything Ever Wished For” had nearly 2.9 million plays. If Spotify’s promise holds, and of course my math’s correct, that’s around $20,000. Quite a chunk of change in an age when “getting paid” is a luxury for independent musicians. That’s likely less than most Columbus groups rack up in a lifetime.

Make no mistake. This isn’t the story of a band selling-out. Far from it.

The End of the Ocean were more than humble about their good fortune when I spoke to three of them via a Google Hangout. Before we even talk about their music, the process, and their eventual success, they immediately address the difficulty of expressing exactly what they do and how they do it.

“This will probably be the most awkward interview you’ll ever [be given],” says guitarist Kevin Shannon, “cause we are awkward people.”

They understand the uphill battle for recognition when you’re an instrumental post-rock band. In Columbus it’s never been the norm—save the now lamented echoes of Brainbow—and besides Explosions in the Sky (whom are best known for the incidental score on Friday Night Lights), there are few household names nationally. For The End of the Ocean, the anonymity of a vocal-less expanse is freeing.

“The goal has always been to not have lyrics,” says Shannon. “It’s a cool challenge, for me at least, to try and convey emotion by purely playing music. With our last album [2011’s Pacific/Atlantic] we definitely tried to make it a concept. It follows a storyline, but it might be hard for someone outside of the band to understand. We also go out of our way to leave songs open-ended. We try to let the listener to decide where they want to take it.”

Ambiguity is what drives their latest release, the In Excelsis EP. Though a narrative seems present in IMG_1683the linear path of the guitar lines, the mammoth ebb and flow of distortion, ethereal keyboards, and ambient noise that surrounds them paints a vivid otherworld—be it a country road at twilight or a space walk in the stars. It’s wholly interpretative music, a choose-your-own-adventure sound that’s bigger than words.

Since they’ve been scattered around the country—bassist Bryan Yost lives in Seattle with wife and keyboardist Tara, guitarists Trish Chisholm in Detroit, Josh Qualls in Kentucky, while Shannon and drummer Wes Jackson make their home here—for the last couple of years, technology is what keeps them connected. “Crappy cell phone recordings” tossed back and forth have them flush with new ideas and songs. The money is simply making things easier. It has allowed for lengthy tours, increased studio time, and later this summer, a trip to Belgium to play Dunk! Festival, a global celebration of all things post-rock. It’s allowed them all to return to The End of the Ocean’s base in Columbus.

In that homecoming, the band is now set on living up to the streaming hype of the past year, recording their new album and concentrating on a summer of shows—as the stage is where most of their energy generates.

“There’s a lot more pressure for this album,” says Shannon. “We now have to live up to the Spotify thing. I’m nervous that the last album is going to be our best work and anything we do next is not going to match up. I don’t want it to be too polished or to lose our heart. But I doubt that will happen.”

For more information on The End of the Ocean visit www.theendoftheocean.com.

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Curbside Concerts brings live music, hope to those in need

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Can’tStopColumbus took a quick pause when the pandemic shut down the world and asked two questions:

  1. Are we sure we're solving the needs of everyone in our community during this time? 
  2. Are we not just coming up with ideas based on our own experiences?

Our elder community was one of the major demographics to have stricter socially distancing guidelines suggested to them. Holidays and birthdays went by without hugs from grandpa or grandma’s cookies.

Out of the need to fill that missing love in the life of American seniors, the idea of Curbside Concerts was born. Anyone is able to jump on the Curbside Concerts signup page and request a concert for an elder, sick people not able to leave the house, or a simple celebration.

Sending a concert telegram is free, and you can also leave a message for a loved one and suggest what type of tunes the organization-selected Columbus-area musician.

So far, the feedback has been inspiring. 

“People cried. I cried. We cried. It was beautiful,” said Zach Friedman, one of the service’s founders and creators. “We had a powerful idea on our hands, and the amazing power of the #Can'tStopColumbus community to scale it and bring it to life.”

To date, Curbside Concerts has had over 50 volunteers. Their job is to drive around a Columbus musician and their equipment with trucks provided by Ricart Automotive. It’s a road trip around the Columbus area, delivering concerts to those who may just need their spirits lifted. It’s like a non-depressing version of Inside Llewyn Davis.

Support has come from all ends of the Columbus creative community, including The Columbus Foundation, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Streetlight Guild, and What? Productions. Through these organizations, musicians are able to be paid for a route that usually lasts five to six hours. 100 percent of the donations they receive on their route also goes to the musicians.

Friedman is asking people to keep requests to older audiences.

“Working with local musicians to perform curbside at people's homes is the vehicle or medium, but the real thing we are doing here is connecting those to older people they love, with an authentic and emotional experience to send love over,” Friedman said.

We found out pretty quickly how much as a collective that we take live music for granted. Live streams have been a temporary, dulled-down replacement. You realize how long people have been robbed of the experience when you see a musician pull up in a pickup truck, set up in five minutes, and serenade neighborhoods with songs like “Lean on Me” and “What A Wonderful World.” It starts off with a message to one house and then resonates down the street, like the citizens of Gas Town rushing to The People Eater for even a drop of water.

Photos by Zak Kolesar

For most people, it was their first taste of live music since mid-March. While we may want concerts to return as soon as possible, its productions like Curbside Concerts that display the emotional power of music.

To request to send someone a concert, follow the link here: https://sendaconcert.herokuapp.com/request

To volunteer for Curbside Concerts, follow the link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040b45abaa22a4fb6-curbside

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Arts & Culture

Live music allowed again in restaurants and bars: how will these establishments respond?

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A major step forward in the return of live music in Ohio took place over the weekend. The Ohio coronavirus guidelines were updated to reflect the new COVID-19 Dine Safe Ohio Order.

The order outlining the guidelines on live music in restaurant and bars is as follows:

Musicians and bands may perform in restaurants and bars as long as the individuals who are performing maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people including, but not limited to, fellow performers and restaurant and bar patrons and staff.

DJ's are included along with musicians and bands in the order.

Something that was on the mind of a lot of musicians with the reopening of restaurants and the indefinite closing of large venues was how restaurants and bars were going to respond to the immediate venue demand. Places like Woodlands Tavern that already have an infrastructure for live music will have no problem complying with the updated order, but will restaurants and bars that depended on jukeboxes before pivot to a live music model?

With a lot more space available in restaurants due to capacity cuts, does this leave more room for a live music set up? Or will restaurants have to get rid of even more tables if they want to make room for a performer?

The thought of live music in a venue setting is alone enough to get excited about. How these places that now have the ability to host live music execute freeing up space for a band to set up or a DJ to bring his rig in while practicing social distancing is what makes this situation a tricky one.

Not being able to get down in a MojoFlo Soul Train line will be pretty tough, but it’s a tradeoff we’ll have to accept for the return of live music.

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Arts & Culture

(614) Music Club: Sarob

Julian Foglietti

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Every week (614) Music Club teams up with your favorite local artists to build a playlist of what they’re listening to, and what’s inspiring them. This week’s playlist is brought to you by the R&B artist Sarob.


Photo by: Wyze

Tell me about some of the songs you’ve selected.

"The first one is Sobeautiful by Musiq Soulchild. So every week with my vocal coach, I have to learn a song. And I've been trying to figure out how to do vocal gliding. Which is not a strong point for me, and I remember hearing that song and being like, OK, this is it. The song is just beautifully written and composed, so when you add the technique to it, it’s just great. The other song was Workin On It by Dwele, who is one of my favorite artists of all time. Workin On It uses this J Dilla beat that just feels really timeless."

Have the past few months changed the direction or mood of the music you're creating. 

"So I have been making stuff here and there, and then I'll go into something creative for like two days. I'll just be making like a bunch of songs and then I'll stop for two weeks, not even want to look at a microphone or anything. I mean, it's a lot more inward, so I’m learning how to better communicate the things I'm experiencing, and set the scenes for people and talk about what is going on. Also not having my band has been a challenge. I’m more of a thinker, I play the keyboard, and I can build a song, but I’m not the most gifted musician so having to build a lot of it on my own is tricky."

Do you have any plans or releases coming up? 

"Yeah, so I had a song Pleasures U Like that was made for my last album, but it didn’t quite fit the story of the album. So I just forgot about it until recently and I finished the vocals just before the lockdown, and now I’m releasing it on Bandcamp as part of a fundraiser for The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. All of the proceeds from the song are going to go to support their Pandemic Emergency Fund, and it just felt like a good way to do something that would impact everything going on."

Sarob's Playlist

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