The finalists in New Times' eighth-annual MasterMind Awards are a diverse bunch, representing the best locally created culture in South Florida. A group of editors and critics chose these nine talents from a pool of more than 80 applicants. The three winners, who will each receive a $750 grant, will be announced live onstage at Artopia, presented by Miracle Mile Downtown Coral Gables this Thursday night at the Coral Gables Museum. The finalists will show off their work at the event. Here's what you'll see.
"We try to fly in people who we think are doing interesting things with music but don't have the opportunity to come down."
In its nearly two years of existence, Miami Music Club has created an outlet for experimental music in the Magic City — first as a pop-up venue in the Design District and now as a roving organization.
"Miami Music Club is a nomadic space for music and sound and art," explains Rob Goyanes, one of the cofounders of the collective. "We move from different places such as galleries and outdoor venues. We represent music for the public."
And the public has welcomed Miami Music Club (MMC) with open arms. Since its inception, MMC has collaborated with the Coral Gables Art Cinema, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), and International Noise Conference. The project was also recognized as the best underground club by New Times in 2015 and awarded a Knight Foundation grant last year.
The rest of the MMC crew includes Brad Lovett, Ricky Vazquez, and Dave Rodriguez. "We've all been musicians since we were teenagers," Goyanes explains. "We've all been involved in the DIY/live scene in Florida. The inspiration for Miami Music Club is that we saw there wasn't really a space for music we all felt was representative of our core interests in the DIY scene."
But the experimental music scene is in the midst of a paradigm shift, not just among Goyanes and his friends but also in Miami as a whole. For one of the collective's most recent endeavors, MMC collaborated with ICA to bring three national underground acts to the 305.
"I think there's definitely a void when it comes to touring musicians," Goyanes laments. "The only people who come down are bigger-name acts. We operate in this middle space. We try to fly in people who we think are doing interesting things with music but don't have the opportunity to come down."
Which brings him to his next point: money.
"When it comes to music, money is sort of this unspoken thing," he explains. "I think it's because promoters and venues take advantage of artists. That's something we really try to combat and confront. We charge a cheap rate [for audiences] and are able to bring in people who are in the sweet spot of being affordable but also superrelevant and doing really cool, thought-provoking stuff."