Matt Toledo, creator of the Athens Musician Network, admits that he designed the burgeoning website almost five years ago for iselfishi reasons. He needed a bass player for his band.
Apparently thereis something to be said for selfish motives. Today, the Athens Musician Network, located at www.athensmusician.net, is the premier gathering pool for not only area musicians looking for musicians, but for anyone looking into the local music scene. It is the consummate site for a city devoted to music, live or not.
iI like the fact that [Athens music] has been diverse for a very, very long time,i says Toledo, 28. iThereis everything here o blues, thereis jam bands, thereis punk rock.i
That diversely favorable musical climate served as inspiration for Toledo, who dropped out of Ohio University in 1992 after transplanting himself here from 800 miles away and attending school for a few years. iAfter three years and three majors I said hell with it and havenit been back to college since,i he says.
In that time, Toledo combined two interests o music and website design o into what is now the areais most comprehensive guide to song. He maintains AMN from his desk at Frognet where he handles management and helps people get their dot.coms online.
Despite the success of AMN, Toledois work is far from complete. After previously footing the bill for a compilation disc of Athens bands, heis preparing to do it again. This time around, heill have another CD, as well as an MP3, for this yearis local musical offerings. He also will draw on the support of local businesses when the discs come out in the middle of spring quarter.
iMaybe in the last comp[ilation] I did, I had to pick and choose because there was only 74 minutes, but Iim trying to do two discs this time, one MP3 disc and itis got 10 hours,i says Toledo. iSo, Iim telling bands eTape a live show.ii
While his work serves the important function of collecting the music of local bands and performers, Toledo notes that the power of live music shouldnit be overlooked by area listeners.
Toledo laments the conversion of live music dens into dance clubs since his arrival in Athens. iI mean, sure you had i80s dance night at OiHooleyis and that was the thing you did, but people primarily wanted to see bands,i says Toledo. iYou can dance to live music. You dance for a band thatis live and they give you something back, too, and thatis something a record canit do.i
As for the compilation, Toledo says, iThe recordis more like an archive to preserve whatis going on.i
When putting together the discs, Toledo says he likes to see the mixture of the music mix smoothly. iMy main concern with this is to make it have some sort of flow,i he says. iThereis not J.D. Hutchison next to some sort of rap-metal band.i
The far-flung variety of Athens music and the abundance of people to create it could be used to nice effect. Toledo says he feels local musicians are considerate to one another but could use this range more to their advantage.
iI like the balance [here] pretty much,i says Toledo. iI like the fact that a lot of the bands in their particular genres tend to hang out with each other in their groups. It would be nicer if they would loosen up and become friendly with other genres.i
Looking ahead, Toledo wants to do fundraising for scholarships for area kids interested in music, form a co-op studio where musicians can bring their own recording equipment, and even starting a low-power radio station to serve uptown Athens with local music.
Another project includes buying a house where OU students and Athens high schoolers alike can get together and play informally. iThere needs to be a place where they can practice unpersecuted,i Toledo says wryly.
In the meantime, Toledo and some others are trying to turn AMN into a non-profit organization. This endeavor could cost anywhere from $50 to $500, Toledo estimates. iMoney raised from the CD release party will go towards the filing fee we have to do with the federal government,i he says.
If granted non-profit status, AMN would become tax-deductible as would all money received for the production of the discs.
Businesses can still sponsor the project and musicians interested in contributing to the disc have until March 11 to submit songs. Any questions for Toledo can be sent to email@example.com.