The Best Open Mic You’re Not Going To

todayAugust 3, 2023 31

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By Deacon Wolfe

Music Journalist

Every Tuesday at Studio San Martian is an incredible open mic night that you probably haven’t heard of. With an expansive roster of consistent musical guests that strikes every flavor of the musical palette, from extremely politically charged Aphex Twin style IDM, to simple, yet emotionally honest singer-songwriters, and even avant-garde black metal solo projects (that last one’s me!) you’ll get anything you’d like.

But it’s not just a place of extreme musical expression and experimentation, it’s also an opportunity to connect with the community around you. After you give your fist bumps to the performers for a quality set, you’ll be able to have a jam with them! Completely improvisatory music that allows you to speak directly with the soul of the people you’re riffing with. Personally, I’ve been going there for the past two months, and have made a plethora of friends with a few collaborators in the mix.

A group of musicians set up a jam at the Studio.
One of the jams from last Tuesday, starring Magnus on Drums. | Deacon Wolfe

If that hasn’t sold you, here I have an interview with the person who puts on the event, Magnus Timbre! I first met Magnus because I played a show with them as Grace the Empress, where they told me about the event… and here they’ll tell you as well.

Deacon: I am here with Magnus Timbre, your local non binary icon. Hell yeah, right outside the Studio San Martian at the weekly Martian Jam on Tuesdays and Magnus I just want to ask you… How long has the jam been going?

Magnus: How long has it been going?

Deacon: Yeah. Like dating back to the talent show.

Magnus: I’m pretty sure it was around March or April if I’m not mistaken, I’d have to actually go back to the Instagram to figure that out.

Deacon: Yeah, so it’s been a while, every Tuesday forever! So how does the event normally go?

Magnus: Yes. So, there’s actually kind of an interesting story about how we even got to our like weird hybrid format. So I said the jam has existed since like April, I say April. But in actuality, what predates the Martian Jam was the Martian talent show that Maddie Ava started, and it used to be just your regular open mic format. But then comedians would come and they didn’t really participate in the community we were building, they would make off-color jokes, they would not really woo the crowd at all, and they would leave right after their set. And at the same time, there’re so many musicians that go to open mics, a lot of them just wanted to jam. So we made two new rules. The first rule is no comedians, obviously. But if the hosts are funny, they’ll be funny. And then the other side of it is that we’ll have an open mic portion that goes from the beginning eight to 11. Then after 11 it is nothing but jams.

Deacon:  Yeah, and they’re always sick jams. One thing I really like about this open mic is the types of musicians you get. I feel like when you’re at an open mic, there’s a certain expectation that it’s just a guy and their acoustic guitar. But what type of musicians have we had here?

Magnus: There’ve been a lot of interesting musicians that have come through. First off is just the kind of instruments they bring, there’s a lot of hand percussion, which means that people who aren’t musicians per se, or are musicians that just don’t have, you know, an instrument in the mix at the moment get to include themselves in the mix. It’s just quiet enough that they can hear themselves and not overpower anything else going on. People bring brass instruments. Sometimes we’ve had trombones, we’ve had saxophone. We’ve had a tuba before! Oh, my goodness, Vance Loggins was hosting one of the first Martian jams we had, and we did his song “Mud” with a Tuba instead of a bass. It sounded perfect. And then just today, someone brought a hand pan actually, which was unexpected, but it added some interesting flavor to the mix. Everyone had to be quiet for us to be able to hear that. It was cool.

Deacon: Also, we had the electric cello. We get so much weird.

Magnus: How did I just forget the electric cello? Oh Yeah. Literally the first jam I did with that electric cello in the mix was ethereal. Like I’ve never played music in a jam that just flowed that way. I hope someone has a video of it somewhere. We’ll find out for sure. It was indescribable for me.

Deacon: The basic takeaway here is that cello is a good instrument.

Magnus: Yeah. Bring more electric cellos up, right?

Deacon: But yeah, so you can come here, you can play pretty much any music. The opening act today was kind of an industrial dance music kind of guy. It was just so welcoming to all sorts of musicians and the jams are always really good, and provide an opportunity to connect with your community in a really interesting way.

Now this event isn’t going to stay in the same place for long. Studio San Martian’s days are unfortunately numbered, and the place will either be moving or simply shutting down come August. But that doesn’t spell doom for the event. Speaking with Magnus, they told me that “Every Tuesday Forever” (the tagline for the event) MEANS every Tuesday forever. No matter what happens, this event will keep going. So come down to the studio some Tuesday, say hi, and have some sweet jams with your fellow Martians.

Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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