Kent indie darlings Bethesda are no strangers to pulling out all the stops for their shows. For their album release of The Reunion at Akron’s Musica they brought in Irish stepdancers to perform on their single, “Go.” So it comes as no surprise that the outfit would be putting together a show for their newest EP, Dissolve, that was just as magical.
“We wanted to do something truly unique for this release,” said guitarist and vocalist Eric Ling. “We had the idea to have a local artist design a poster that we could connect to a download of our two new tracks. As we brainstormed the idea, we decided to open up the event with a full-blown art opening that showcased the best Cleveland artists. With that in mind, we wanted to choose a venue that represented our dedication to that aspect of the show. The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland is known for supporting local artists and musicians alike, and we thought it would be the perfect fit! We reached out to them, and they were excited about the project. We have worked closely with MOCA on every aspect of the show – they have been GREAT to partner with.”
This release, which takes place this Thursday and will feature artists across many different mediums who have created a piece that ties to a song on the album. We chatted with Eric about the collaboration with Cellar Door CLE, how they selected artists, and some advice he had for acts that had hiccups with lineup changes. Read the interview and be sure to head out on Thursday for this show.
How did the partnership with Cellar Door occur?
We know and have come to love Cellar Door through our participation in the Cleveland music scene. We made a post online about the idea for the show and got a message from them a few minutes later. They were very interested in partnering with us for the show. We met up and talked shop and thought that it would be a great fit/partnership. They are doing great things in the Cleveland area, and having them as partners is huge for the event from every angle.
Why did you offer a call to local artists to participate?
We wanted this to be an art collective that involved a group of like-minded artists that work together to create an unforgettable night of art. Because of the nature of the event, we wanted artists that were excited about being a part of the night and we wanted the possibilities to be wide-open, rather than only pulling only from artists we already knew. An artist call seemed like a great way to get the word out and attract artists that fit the bill and were excited about the collaboration. With the help of MOCA and Cellar Door, we were able to reach much deeper into artistic community and we are very excited about the results.
How was the response?
We had 25 serious submissions to the event. Of those 25, 10 incredible artists have been selected and have designed pieces inspired by the lyrics of our two newest songs. We can’t wait for you all to see them!
Who are some of the artists that will be collaborating?
We have a wide range of artistic mediums, including paintings, typography, poetic objects, design, modern dance, and video.
How important do you think it is to foster collaborative efforts that cross mediums?
It is incredibly important. We want to use our music and our passions to help be a part of something greater in Cleveland. We want to promote artistic expression across mediums from great local creatives, because the truth of the matter is that Cleveland is a city of dreamers that refuse to be beaten by the mundanity of life and insist upon making their mark on this planet. If we can help out in a small way through being intentional about collaboration, then we are going to do it. And we are not the only ones doing it. It is the collaborative efforts of artists that can really change a city for the better! We have been witnessing that in the last 10 years here in Cleveland.
What was the difference in the writing process for these newer songs?
These songs are about the struggle of getting older and wondering why the promises of this world seem to lack much as far as fulfillment goes. So, we didn’t have to dig far, as we are all in our late 20’s, to connect this to our own experiences. Other than that, not much changed. We always focus on writing whatever is best for the song and for the story. Sometimes that comes rather spontaneously, and other times it is a long struggle. Both are just as satisfying – and we love the songs that came out of it.
What is some advice you could offer to other musicians when faced with difficulties, such as shifting lineups or scheduling conflicts? How do you stay positive when faced with things like that?
Focus on WHY you do music. At some point, something inspired you to start creating music. Then when you are facing conflicts – which you inevitably will if you are serious about your craft – simply ask yourself what action you can take to continue to do the music you love without compromising what you are about. Simply making music to make music won’t have much staying power. But, making music to share in this great cosmic story in some important way will continually inspire you to persevere. It will also preserve your relationships and your integrity which transcends music. At the end of the day, I guess I would say – do what you love with excellence and integrity. The road is winding, but it is SO worth it!
The show will take place Thursday, June 19th at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland at 7:30pm. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased here.