Once upon a time, not very long ago, Miami's cultural community relied very heavily upon mixing the visual arts and music to generate an actual audience. Nowadays, though, groups have separated like drops of oil in water. You don't often see bands playing at art openings anymore, and 305 folks have finally eased up on the "live art" at concerts. But just because there’s more going on doesn’t mean there's not a scene of tastemakers who actively care about quality culture, bringing it all together in one place, and putting out there for the knowing masses.
When you ask Rob Goyanes about the new pop-up space he’s co-running, Miami Music Club, he says he doesn't want to emphasize that it has everything going on there. And it has everything — at MMC, there's a "consignment store" with art books, zines, and vinyl, a dance floor for restless feet. It's a place they're planning to execute arts and literary programming. The talented can record, perform, create, and spin experimental electronic music within its walls.
Goyanes, though, would rather focus on community than on the amount of interests in which they're indulging. He says he and his cohorts are "working hard to create solid, profound art that opens up communication" and, of course, dance parties.
"We're not just popping up and merely hawking our stuff. The original and core idea is that it's a space for electronic music on the fringe—cheap or free entry to see and dance to the waves of new music being made here in Miami and elsewhere," he says.
Maybe it’s so multilayered because the guys of MMC have varied interests. Goyanes' current musical project is called Bobby Flan. He’s the programs manager for the Miami Rail, writer-in-residence for the de la Cruz Collection, and for the past 9 months, he’s been working on "a book about a paper airplane and the occult origins of Soviet aviation." He curated Art+Illness=Illness at former Miami art space General Practice, and, with friend Ryan Halstead, he co-curated a show titled (co)noodle: contemporary approaches to macaroni art. Halstead works on MMC with him, so does his former Slashpine bandmate Brad Lovett, who makes electronic music as Dim Past. Then there’s artist and archivist Dave Rodriguez and videographer Ricky Vazquez. “We just wanna make a space that's independent, inclusive, and artistically excellent," he explains.
Goyanes, Lovett and their friend, former New Times scribe and Roofless Records’ mastermind Matt Priera started the Miami Music Club at Little Haiti art gallery Space Mountain last June, but they got busy and it was put on the back burner. Then artist-friendly developers Dacra donated them a space in the Design District and their friend and adviser Dana Bassett's Aunt Ernestine Ede (“a woman whose kindness is only surpassed by her steez and wit") gave them a gift they couldn’t refuse. She donated a nearly brand-new PA system. "She said, ‘Put it to good use,’ so, we are," he says.
But in the vein of congregation, these guys have known each other and worked together for many years. Goyanes remembers, “We grew up in the DIY-punk-whatever scenes, got jaded, entered other creative pursuits, got jaded... No matter what though, there were parts at all of those intervals that were great, true moments of community around culture and each other.
"Like when Matt (Preira) brought touring bands to my mom's house when we were 16. The countless shows and various art things at proper venues as we got older, playing on tours and in houses and in alley ways and next to bodies of water and on top of mountains and in museums... Now we're individually and collectively on some other tip." And that tip is coalescing too. With this project, they're able to rope in more gifted artists into their group and introduce the world to their valuable perspectives.
At MMC, independent minds reign. The casual consignment store is in the front of the space and includes some of Miami’s finest literary and sonic endeavors. This includes books by publishers who appreciate the crossover of Miami’s visual art and music scenes like NAME Publications and vinyl by Schematic Records and Other Electricities. The middle area has a dance floor and art by such local visionaries as Kathryn Marks, Laz Rodriguez, and Asif Farooq. "The artists showing work for the opening are people we've long admired for their creative other-ness—some established artists, others relatively unknown,” Goyanes elaborates. And like a mullet, the party's in the back. Not to be forgotten is a barbecue space in the alley.
“The goal has always been to just do the stuff you want to do while maintaining a deep appreciation for keeping it real, and remembering the deeper reasons why anyone chooses to do anything,” he says.
Treasure Teeth session recorded live at MMC.
The space properly opens on May 1 with live performances by Treasure Teeth and Phantasman. “They're both electronic acts that operate in separate socio-musical spheres here in Miami, so we wanted to bring the crews together," Goyanes discloses. “Phantasman is part of the XYZA collective, they perform out in Wynwood and Midtown, have a diverse sound drawing mostly on genres like hip-hop, ambient, dubstep. Treasure Teeth draws a bit more from the context that we're involved in (punk, rhythmic noise, etc.), though TT really has an incredible range over many styles.” DJs Romulo Del Castillo, cool cup, Yung Riff, and a special farewell set by Antoine LeVay will keep the vibe weird between acts.
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“You can't pop-up sincerity, friendship, and creativity," he stresses, "The best parties are not at a club you pay an obscene cover for—they're the ones in your living room, or that spot on the beach where the cops don't show up too regularly. MMC is trying to keep it real, and we wanna push things and experiences that are aesthetically legit and heartfelt.” So get ready to feel, listen, dance, and even read at Miami Music Club. Because many things that matter to people who are thinking about what actually matters have been placed under one roof with great care and thought to create a genuine scene.
Miami Music Club’s Opening Night. With art and consignment goods, as well as music by Treasure Teeth and Phantasman, plus DJs Romulo Del Castillo, cool cup, Yung Riff, and a special farewell set by Antoine LeVay. 9 p.m. Friday, May 1, at Miami Music Club, 91 NE 40th St., Miami. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. All ages. Visit facebook.com/miamimusicclub.