When Ames Progressive editor Nate Logsdon and I first started seriously discussing the possibility of founding a record label based in Ames, we immediately put in place three pillars that would be cornerstones of the project: 1) It’s gotta be Iowan; 2) It’s gotta have a voice, be progressive, surprise people; 3) It’s gotta be for our community.
The musicians and projects Maximum Ames Records supports all have these three things in common, and they always put positivity and support for fellow artists and potential collaborators before their own aspirations (and, not entirely coincidentally, this often ends up bringing them closer to achieving their own dreams — an extremely great side effect, if you ask me). This has become a characteristic of at least the few Iowa communities I am deeply familiar with, Ames and Fairfield being the two that shine the brightest, with Des Moines (my home, by the way), working very hard at it and succeeding in many ways and falling short in others. (Des Moines is amazing, I love that it is my home, and I believe it is an essential centerpiece to the Iowa music scene, serving as a crossroads for Ames, Fairfield, Iowa City, and other, shall we say, more tightly knit communities…maybe I should write a separate blog on that topic!) Anyway…a change is coming. We’re on our way.
Our dream and ultimate vision is to inspire every community in Iowa to become a place where creative self-expression is not merely acceptable, but embraced. We hope to see our peers all over the state pushing to have a hand in the formation of the community in which they live, and to eventually show the country and the world that great and meaningful creations come from within, and that if we can do it in Iowa, anyone can do it anywhere.
So we’re starting small. We’re starting by reaching out to the people who we see are working in their own communities toward this same goal. This week, we’re really excited to be collaborating with the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition to bring an event they’ve been hosting for a couple years now in Des Moines to Ames. It’s called Music University, and it’s a series of open discussions about different aspects of the world of creating and sharing music!
This Maximum Ames-style event is going to be centered around a discussion on building and surviving touring as an artist. We’re going to all talk about why any of us would want to and do take our act on the road to share with others outside of our community. People with lots of experience touring, as well as booking those tours, will be present, but we want to hear from everyone! This is not a panel where people tell you what you need to do, or what the right perspective is. This is an opportunity for us to talk about an aspect of music, hopefully coming away with enlightened perspectives and a better understanding of how each of us personally as artists would like to approach touring.
Everyone is invited, and to make sure we have fun, we’re making this event a free potluck (please bring some food if you are able!), and of course there will be a little music (the esteemed Luke Belknap will be playing a few songs, and I’m sure we’ll hear from some other folks, as well).
I and Jill Haverkamp (the director of Music University, as well as co-founder of On Pitch Media and a volunteer for the DMMC) will be moderating this discussion, and we plan to make it as valuable as possible! I’m hoping we can have a good discussion and meet some new people! Please come be a part of the discussion.
Music University: On the Road: Building a Tour and Surviving It
Friday, May 18, 7 pm
Performance by Luke Belknap, plus others TBA
Orange Gentleman, 702 Clark Ave., Ames
Organized by the DMMC and Maximum Ames Records
Chris Ford is an Iowan musician who performs with many different groups, most notably heading his own project, Christopher the Conquered. He is also co-founder and CEO of Maximum Ames Records. He’d always like you to give him a piece of your mind.