It's been three years of music bloggin', zine making, podcasting, interviewing, and nerding out! To commemorate the third anniversary of Trial and Error Collective, T&E's creator reflects on the blogs and writers that have made up the heart and soul of the collective. Below are her highlights and favorite pieces from our regular contributors.
I found my family at KAMP Student Radio. That was about eight years ago now. I was a freshman in college trying to find people who weren’t just listening to that “I Love College” song by Asher Roth (i’m not kidding, that was a very real problem at the time). I was introduced to the UA’s college radio station and there discovered my true passion for music, broadcasting, and journalism. Over everything, though, the most significant moments of my college experience were the many sleepless nights hanging out on the crusty KAMP station couch and sharing music with my radio friends.
After graduating, I felt a huge void leaving KAMP radio and all my friends at the station. Trial and Error Collective started as a way to keep us all connected, but it’s grown to be so much more than that. T&E has expanded to so many other collaborators across the country, many of which I have yet to meet in person. It’s become a place for us to nerd out on all types of niche musical topics and creatively express ourselves through writing, interviewing, podcasting, and zine-crafting. I owe every single contributor my whole heart of gratitude, whether they’ve been around since day one or just dropped a few words once for a collab blog, for creating this space of community and music fandom. I’m extremely humbled and appreciative of everyone who also took the time to check out our work and keep our site going. It's been an honor to host this website and have a space to showcase just how creative and knowledgeable each of the collective's contributors are. I hope your musical discoveries have been enriched from these writers as much as mine have.
Below are some of highlights and personal favorites from T&E’s regular contributors (in no particular order):
Contributor: Adam Iddings (writer and editor)
Blog: The Neil Young saga. A True Story About a Man and his Neils
There will really never be a writer quite like Adam Iddings. I remember even back in the KAMP days admiring how his CD reviews were more like stream of consciousness musings on his personal connection to the music than standard reviews. Every time I read one of his pieces, I feel like I’m sitting with an old friend and gaining an introspective look into someone’s love for music. They’re all great, but the Neil Young saga (part I, II, and III) is really his magnum opus.
Contributor: Ronny Kerr (writer, photographer and social media manager)
Blog: “I’ll Fly Away”: A Brief History of the Quintessential Gospel Song (And Ten Great Renditions)
Ronny has consistently been writing incredible think pieces, and this run-down of the gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” he wrote in the early days of T&E still remains my favorite of his. This article really inspired me to think more about the lineage of the music I listen to, and it means a lot when a blog can make you see your own music taste in a new perspective. This also holds the record for our most-read article on the website, with plenty of nit-picky comments arguing who-sang-it-better pouring in every few months! And side note, Ronny has also been a tremendous help with running the social media and helping organize the flow of the website, and we’re all super grateful for his extra efforts.
Contributor: Alex Lopez (writer and artist)
Blog: A Decade On The Fence: Ten Years of Coheed and Cambria
I was never a fan of Coheed and Cambria until I read this blog from Alex. I felt like I was taken through that whole journey of fandom throughout their whole career in just this one short blog, and it’s that kind of writing that reminds me why I made this site in the first place. On top of all that, I’ve been so amazed at watching his artistry evolve throughout our zine editions. He has contributed so many great drawings to give our zines a more artistic dynamic, and always puts so much thought into each piece he submits. Can't wait to see what he whips up next!
Contributor: Andre Pettman (writer)
Blog: Valentine’s Day Mixtapes [collab blog]
There’s been so many great contributions from Andre and it was so hard to pick just one thing, but one of the playlists I always go back to is this Valentine’s Day mixtape collab blog from 2016. Andre compiled a list of songs that leave you learning for someone to love, and I’ve used this playlist and reread his write-ups many times when I’ve been bummin’ out. Andre has consistently been a source for me to learn about new music to suit any of my moods since I met him six or so years ago, and I’m so glad that this website can be a permanent host for musical knowledge and big heart.
Contributor: Andrej Simeunovic (writer)
Piece: “Ask Andrej” column [zine only]
We don’t call him T&E’s metal expert for nothin’! Andrej is without a doubt the knowledgeable people I know when it comes to anything metal. While you may read that and imagine a pretentious music snob, if you take a look at his writings you’d immediately see that he’s actually the goofiest dude on the face on the Earth. Check out any of his collab blog write-ups for some killer heavy music recommendations, and I strongly urge you to check out one of our previous zines for our “Ask Andrej” columns where he gives metal advice to readers. One of my favorite responses was this one below:
Q: If metal had a smell, what would it smell like?
A: A decomposing human body double-fisting Vieux Boulogne cheese and hydrogen sulphide.
I can always count on Andrej to make me laugh, and I’m super grateful for his sense of humor being so integrated into T&E’s work.
Contributor: Brittne MacCleary (writer and artist)
Podcast: A Commentary and Critique of the "Transformational Music Festival"
Brittne was my radio show co-host and partner in crime throughout the KAMP years, and she was a big inspiration in the creation of T&E. She has shared so many great musings on the site and my favorite ramblings came from our podcast on festival culture. I think the conversation had some really great insight on the ups and downs of this counterculture, while still feeling like you’re just listening to two old pals chatting it up and talking shit on hippies. Also a big shout out to her music artist watercolor portraits (which you can see if you click the "Music Blogs" tab). They’re just so goddamn good.
Contributor: Daniel Witter (writer)
Blog: Dreams, Insomnia and Nightmares [collab blog]
Despite being the jazziest jazz man that I’ve ever known, Daniel Witter is also so well versed in extreme music. I always turn to his recommendations for insomniatic music, because if I remember correctly, he never once slept in college...so I think he’s pretty knowledgeable on the subject. He’s consistently been writing so many great recommendations for our collab blogs, and remains one of the most quotable writers on this site. I actually keep a sticky note on my desktop with my favorite D-Witt quotes to keep me inspired.
Contributor: Greg Gonzalez (writer and editor)
Blog: They Called It THC: A Glimpse Into Tucson’s Punk History
First off, I don’t know where we’d all be without Greg’s editing assistance. Since day one, he’s put in so many hours editing to strengthen our skills (mind you, none of us are paid for this - this all is just a passion project). But one of my favorite writing experiences on T&E thus far was collaborating with Greg on this Tucson punk article. The way he utilized my interviews to create a fully fleshed-out article was so astounding, and his work and inspiration took this article to a whole ‘nother level that I couldn't have reached on my own.
Contributor: Jasper Avery (writer)
Blog: Folk Songs You’ve Always Wanted to Hear but Have Been Too Afraid to Ask For
I’ll never understand how Jasper finds out about half of the super niche and obscure artists that she does, but we’ve all learned so much from her deep web music discoveries. She’s the #1 source for anything folk, drone, minimalist or noise, in addition to being an incredibly poetic writer. She has helped T&E be a home to music discoveries that you probably wouldn’t find on any other blog, and that rules so hard.
Contributor: Jeremy Mirchandani
Photo Gallery: Japanese Breakfast, Mannequin Pussy, and The Spirit of the Beehive live at The Crocodile
One of the biggest gifts of managing T&E is that I get to live in Seattle vicariously through Jeremy’s photography. I’m always in awe of the way he captures the mood and emotions of each show he attends (especially in his b&w photos). He has an incredible eye for composition, which really makes each shot a work of art. He’s been one of my favorite concert photographers since I met him at KAMP and continues to impress me each and every show.
Contributor: Joanna Swaap
Piece: zine artwork
Joanna has been such a strong contributor to our collab blogs by offering so many great picks to our playlists. But I’ll never forget that she when she reached out to me to get involved with T&E, and without hesitating immediately afterwards started working on some artwork for the zine. Our fall 2016 zine was filled with her art in the background and created such a beautiful person touch to the pages. Her enthusiasm was just the burst of inspiration I needed to get me to finish up that zine, and I’m always grateful for her art and words.
Contributor: John Noggle
Blog: Life is Pretty Much That One Time I Went to See a Fishbone Concert Four Years Ago
John has the most eclectic music taste and is so knowledgeable about music’s deep cut history, and I was so stoked to reconnect with him years after he graduated through T&E. I go back and think about this Fishbone review a lot and how it exemplifies exactly what I’ve always wanted to read in a show review. It’s just like listening to your friend talk about how stoked they were and all their show-going epiphanies, but with some of the best wording and phrasing, i.e. “...saying gates of a pearly constitution are unlikely to exist outside of a Hype Williams production is presumptuous.” We’ll also be collaborating on a podcast series starting real soon - so stay peeled for that!
Contributor: Kit Hermanson
Podcast: Letting Go of Your Nu-Metal Shame: How to Appreciate the Music of your Adolescence
This is a subject that is so near and dear to my heart, and because of Kit’s reciprocal passion, recording this conversation was the most natural and effortless interview I’ve ever done. This podcast is both a silly nostalgic reflection of nu-metal and our favorite artists of yesteryear, and also a thought-provoking piece on experiencing shame in music. Kit is an unapologetic music lover with a critical eye, and I’ve learned so much about music culture because of their contributions.
Contributor: Michael Kopke
Artwork: website banners
Where would T&E be without our little robot dude?! I remember giving Michael the basic idea for our banners before the website first launched, but I never would have dreamed of how creative and lively they would become. They really tell a little story about music discovery and community which exactly pins down the heart of T&E. I’ve loved seeing our little robot mascot go on so many adventures through the zine cover drawings, and it’s incredible how much detail and care (and countless hours) Michael has put in to make this happen. We can’t imagine the zines without him!
Contributor: Noé Loyola
Interview: Pyrrhon’s Doug Moore on Singing for an Orchestra, Gallows Humour and Thematic Mysteries
Noé is one of our newest contributors, but has already put in so much work and love into T&E that it feels like he’s been around since the start. As soon as he got in touch with us, he’s been contributing photo galleries and blogs on a weekly basis, and his passion has really been just the inspiration I needed to avoid a three year anniversary slump! My favorite contribution of his is this Pyrrhon interview. I remember asking him to submit his questions to me in advance to take a look over, and I was so impressed by how professional and thoughtful his questions were, especially for his very first interview. I didn't even end up changing or suggesting anything, he already nailed it. I now know so much about Pyrrhon and have such a deeper appreciation for their music because of this interview.
Contributor: Raymond Sanchez
Blog: SandCave Sessions: Upstate Rubdown and Amandala Live from a Seattle Basement
Raymond came into T&E and truly brought the spirit of collaboration we were looking for. He heard about us through our photographer, Jeremy, and pitched an idea to work with him on a show review. Jeremy supplied the photo gallery, while Ray provided a show review and an interview with the bands. The resulting piece brings together so many different perspectives for an inside look on Seattle’s DIY music scene, and wouldn’t have been possible without Ray’s eagerness for collaboration.
Contributor: Sieya Sims
Blog: Fan Forgiveness in Hip Hop
This was one of the first blogs ever written for T&E, and it’s still one of my all-time favorites. This piece is a bold take on the gendered perceptions of who deserves to be forgiven in hip-hop (bonus: this article also turned me into a huge Azealia Banks fan). Sieya has always brought really strongly opinionated articles and think-pieces that have provided such a strong backbone for our website, and I'm super grateful for how many new artists she's turned me onto.
Additional thanks to Melanie Trecha and Lolo for all their continued support, to Hannah for giving this website a framework to work off of, to Nic Wolf and Kaylee Orem for their guest columns, to Brandon Biallas to recently joining our team and already kicking ass, to all the artists who have shared their work for our zines, to every single person who's taken the time to check out our work and showed their support, and to the PR agencies that have given us access to shows or artists for coverage and believed that despite the fact we’re not yet a major publication, we can still write some cool shit.
Thanks, nerds...and here’s to many, many more years!
Culture & Random Beat