Pink Hotel Music
Kirsten O'Brien/The AS Review
Photos by Joe Rudko/The AS Review
In a time when record labels are pushing artists to become the next big buzz band or release the next hit single, Bellingham-based Pink Hotel Music is offering a fresh perspective for an industry that often fosters competition instead of collaboration. After all, why do it yourself when you can do it together?
Pink Hotel Music isn’t a band, and it’s definitely not a record label. Instead it is a collection of 11 bands working together to promote shows, distribute each other’s music and connect with music fans from all over the Pacific Northwest.
“The main motivation behind PHM for me is that my friends make incredible music, and I want everyone to know,” said Teo Crider, the mastermind behind Pink Hotel Music, as well as vocalist and guitarist for Bellingham-based Candysound.
He said the idea for Pink Hotel had been tossed around for awhile, but only within the last two years has it grown significantly.
The project took off in February 2009, when Candysound played in Experience Music Project’s Sound Off! competition. Sound off! is the Seattle area’s largest all-ages battle of the bands event, and Crider used the opportunity to network with other local area bands. He approached fellow Sound Off! competitor Nikko Van Wyck of Camano Island-based A Cat From Hue, and invited the band to join his newly formed collective. They joined in April 2010, and became the first addition to the Pink Hotel roster.
One of the 11 bands that make up Pink Hotel Music, A Cat from Hue was the first to join the network of Northwest bands in April 2010.
From that point, Pink Hotel Music has grown from a wishful idea to a network of 11 unique Northwest bands with connections all over the state.
“We basically have a group of bands from southern Washington to northern Washington that we can play with whenever we want,” Van Wyck said. “It’s all about the pool of resources we’ve gathered.”
Before he was in Candysound, Crider was part of a punk band called The Cherubs. He said the ethics and attitude of punk music is what ultimately drives Pink Hotel’s mission. In true punk rock fashion, all of Pink Hotel’s efforts are made possible through a good old-fashioned do-it-yourself ethic. The collective does all of its networking through MySpace, Facebook, Gmail, word-of-mouth promotion and handmade flyers.
A Cat from Hue, based out of Camano Island, Wash., play at the Underground Coffeehouse on Sept. 29.
"This is our way of getting bands together to meet and record with each other,” Crider said. “It becomes sort of a community in a way.”
Pink Hotel Music does not pay any of the musicians to be part of the collective, but it does offer them a number of resources. Van Wyck, who lives with Crider in Bellingham, said they recently purchased a van that any band in the collective can use to get to shows. In addition, Crider and Van Wyck have invested in recording software and set up a makeshift studio in their Bellingham home. Most importantly, the collective offers bands the comfort of knowing that they have a family of musicians behind them to support their efforts.
As far as making connections in the Bellingham music scene, Crider said that some venues have been more receptive than others. He said that because Pink Hotel Music is still in its infancy, it’s been difficult to book shows at bars. House shows on the other hand, have warmly welcomed Pink Hotel bands.
“House shows are definitely some of our favorite venues: places like The Hoot House and The Hell House have been really, really receptive, not just to Candysound or Caulfield, but just a lot of music, art, ideas and people in general,” Crider said. “It’s really humbling to even be associated with them.”
As Pink Hotel grows, Crider said he plans to release a compilation album that will include a song from every band in the collective. The album will be given away for free at Pink Hotel shows.
“It’s all about trying to get our music out there,” Crider said. “I don’t expect to make money. We’re just putting music out for our friends, ourselves and each other.”
The Anacortes, Wash.-based band Caulfield and his Magical Violin during a Sept. 29 show in the Underground Coffeehouse.
Pink Hotel Music’s Candysound will be playing with Gig Harbor-based Us on Roofs in the Underground Coffeehouse on Friday, Oct. 22. The show is free and starts at 8 p.m.
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