Friday, February 22, 2013
For the love of music: Michael Briggs pushes Denton scene with label, studio, and venue
Ever heard of Macaroni Island? That's his house.
DENTON Ask Michael Briggs why he stopped studying computer science at UNT and he’ll smile coyly and say it just wasn’t for him. Bring up his day job as a web designer and he’ll dance around the question.
“It’s not interesting,” Briggs said. “It’s not something I really talk about much.”
What does intrigue Briggs is the Denton music scene. A musician himself, he founded Gutterth Records with Brent Frishman in 2006, created the Violitionist Sessions in 2011 and started Macaroni Island, a house show venue based in his home, last year.
“There’s a lot of bands around here that are really good, that I would like to try and expose to more people,” Briggs said.
Gutterth Records is a Denton-based record label that releases albums from local bands like New Science Projects and Bad Design, Briggs said. Gutterth started out as a live series where he and Frishman organized shows with local bands at local venues.
“We wanted to try to put together the shows we wanted to see,” Briggs said. “From that came the need to release records that we thought needed to be heard, but wouldn’t be heard otherwise.”
The Violitionist Sessions are recorded in a room in Briggs’ home. He said he gets both local and non-local bands to record three songs and he asks three questions.
“Part of the goal there is to help expose the local bands to the national audience who comes to see the more national bands,” Briggs said.
Macaroni Island is held in his garage.
“The goal is to have a steady secure spot for touring bands,” Briggs said. “It’s not necessarily economical for them to play a club, to cover house fees and things like that, where they wouldn’t draw enough people.”
Briggs said that generally there is one touring band and a couple of local bands at each Macaroni Island show.
Briggs’ friend and business junior Max Creed is responsible for naming Macaroni Island.
“I sometimes do album art for my friends’ bands, and my friends’ bands almost always record with Michael,” Creed said. “Instead of writing ‘Recorded by Michael Briggs’ in the credits, I started making up fake names for his in-home recording studio. Macaroni Island was our favorite, and I guess it stuck.”
Daniel Rush Fulmer, who has had records released through Gutterth and has done Violitionist Sessions, is inspired by Briggs’ musicianship.
“I enjoy the music he does,” Fulmer said. “It’s rewarding to be in a mutually receptive relationship.”
Briggs said that he plays music in two avant-garde experimental projects called Vexed UK and Prepuce. He said it isn’t his focus and he does it rarely.
“He’s always been very private,” Fulmer said.
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