You didn’t think I would come at you with an indictment of the local music scene [Music, Sept. 2: “Got the Blues?”] without giving some well-deserved credit to those who work their asses off to bolster and diversify it, did you? That would have been weird.
I recently sat down with Red Cell, the curator of The Process, a loosely formed collective of Santa Fe-based artists and musicians. Cell is a College of Santa Fe attendee working toward a self-designed degree in experimental curating.
The Process was born two years ago when French folk songstress Lippie wound up in Santa Fe with no place to play.
“Every venue in town seemed either too big or too small or too specialized [for her], so I said, ‘Fuck it, let’s do it in my living room,’” Cell says.
The Process is modeled on Gertrude Stein’s “salons”—held in her living room—at which Stein encouraged her close friends to perform music or show art. Indeed, the bulk of The Process’ shows have been held at home base (a small house at 367 Hillside Ave.), although there also have been events at the Santa Fe Complex, Corazón and various other spots around town.
In the two years since its first show, The Process has made a name for itself as a forerunner of Santa Fe’s experimental music scene, and Cell remains committed to the endeavor.
“I began The Process as something that would bring interesting and challenging music to the scene, and I will continue to do it because I love music and art, and I want to share it with everybody,” he says.
I get the feeling many people think artsy people—whether they are musical, visual or whatever—are pretentious bastards. This can be true, but The Process’ shows are accessible and open events—and they are vital to our scene because they break the established mold.
“For a town that touts itself as a cultural mecca, there is little groundbreaking culture happening here…Repeatedly exploiting two indigenous cultures is hardly what I would call culture,” Cell says.
Upcoming at The Process is France’s indie-folk act My Name Is Nobody. When giving the band a listen, comparisons to Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy) come readily, but listen closer and the influences of early Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen become apparent. My Name Is Nobody creeps into the subconscious through the power of pop and stays there long after. The band embraces its influences without emulation, expanding and building on timeless styles while bringing its own flavor.
The evening of music will be rounded out with Mark Trecka of Chicago’s psychedelic mantra band Pillars and Tongues, a band that ruled The Process last winter. A solo performance from Trecka is a rare thing indeed, and his trance-acoustic style commands attention.
We Santa Feans have a tendency to forget there is a great big world out there and we could all stand to branch out a little. The Process is working hard to remind us of that. Supporting touring acts is every bit as important as supporting the local ones and I, for one, can’t wait to see what Cell and crew cook up next.