With another chapter of Noise vs Doom set for this weekend, some of Denver’s most experimental musicians, as well as national acts cut from the same cloth, will converge upon Seventh Circle Music Collective for music and visual performances unlike anything else happening around town.
Ranging from sludgy doom-metal sets to electro-pop to noise to dark ambient sounds, the two-day festival encourages artists to get weird with their sound and to build music they’ve never played before in twenty- to thirty-minute sets.
Organized by Denver music promoter Don White, the DIY festival will bring together over twenty music acts and DJs, including Church Fire as well as veterans like Mirror Fears, Page 27 and Deer Creek.
The festival encourages artists to stretch and flex different creative muscles and to explore the weirder, darker, less accessible corners of their musical universe without the risk of alienating listeners the same way radical experimentation during a traditional live performance might.
“The thing that’s really cool about all these artists is even if they might be in the category of noise, or whatever it may be, every set that they’re going to play over the weekend is going to be different,” says Church Fire’s Shannon Webber. “You can pretty much guarantee that they’re all coming up with something outlandish for each set — something that they don’t typically do at another show.
“It’s a real awesome opportunity for all of us to push our limits, to try things, and take things in a new direction, which is what we’re going to do.”
Artists will also take full responsibility for their stage time and setup — a skill that must be perfected in DIY settings and essential for something of this size and amount of artistic freedom if it's not to turn into a logistical nightmare.
“Sometimes we’ll try to backline as much stuff as can fit on stage with three or four people at a time,” says Kate Warner of Mirror Fears. “We’ve all been playing DIY shows for so long, we know it’s our responsibility to get ourselves set up and not eat up other people’s time.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie and personal accountability in that way, where you’re not waiting around for someone to tell you what to do — you just go ahead and do it," she continues. "If you feel the need to set up your shit hours beforehand in a corner, just do that. It’s Seventh Circle; nobody’s telling you what to do.”
The creative possibilities are endless: A puppet show might accompany music; perhaps there will be downloadable apps or backing visuals operated by audience members.
“It's a challenge at some point while practicing for something like this to decide which direction you want to go,” says Warner. “You can keep going into a rabbit hole for hours and hours, like, ‘Oh, that sounds cool, that sounds cool, that sounds cool.’
“That’s great. You should always do that. But when you only have twenty minutes to play, you have to narrow down what you want to do and make it a coherent set. It’s very different from playing a song, a song and then another song.”
“I guess I'd also just like to add that we’re doing this for ourselves, too, in that we all have some demons and rage right now,” concludes Warner. “Playing music, especially stuff like this that’s potentially heavy and dark and harsh, is our way to deal with how messed up everything is right now.”
Noise vs. Doom III, Saturday, October 6, and Sunday, October 7, Seventh Circle Music Collective, 2935 West 7th Avenue.
Correction, October 5, 2018: The band Page 27 was originally misidentified in an earlier version of this story. We regret the error.