I first met Laura Storch years and years ago when I was living in New York City. I believe we first met through some sort of online musicians forum, both helplessly looking to start a music project. She had a vision of forming a band to play some songs she had been writing. We got together a few times and jammed a bit, but due to an issue with distance and transport, the project would never fully come to fruition.
Fast forward to about a year or two ago, when I noticed that project did actually manifest itself – her band The Missing Suns has been hard at work writing and recording original music. To date, the band has released 2 EPs and consistently plays shows in and all around New York. But Laura’s latest project – The Missing Link Collective – is her most ambitious attempt to take the band, DIY ethics, and their following to another level.
Laura was nice enough to answer a few questions about what the Missing Link Collective is, what they aim to do, and how others can get involved; and for any musicians, visual artists, poets, and other creative types out there, you can find out how you can become a part of this growing community:
DEAD LANGUAGE: So what exactly is the Missing Link Collective? What influenced you to start taking on booking and promotion?
LAURA STORCH: Missing Link Collective was started to try and bring a tighter sense of community to the local art and music scene. After playing a ton of shows with my band, the Missing Suns, I saw the need for it. There are too many bookers who are just filling time slots and not thinking about what makes sense together. Then the bands are only really playing to the few people they brought. It doesn’t feel like anything special for anyone involved. With Missing Link Collective, a lot of thought and consideration is put into each event. Not just for the music, but everything else we feature too, such as performance art, visual art, fashion and more. The idea is to build a tangible, in real life engaged audience for artists by putting on an enjoyable party focused on highlighting local creativity. The focus will always be to help artists.
DL: Has it been difficult so far- Balancing the hard work it takes to play in a band, and the work to promote and host shows?
LS: It’s definitely challenging, I’m not going to lie. My band will always be my baby and my highest priority. But after doing a few of these, I know it’s worth it in the long run and will only help my music reach more people. I’m making sure to give myself a few weeks in between each now to give me adequate time to work out everything with the performers and the venue and have time to promote. The hardest part is day of the show for sure. I never realized how much it can fuck things up for bands to want to change their set time at the last minute after having confirmed or if someone is late. It’s a lot of thinking on the fly. I’ve only put on 3 shows so far, and have 2 more booked for this summer. It’s a lot of learning as I go.
DL: As a singer for a band, has it helped you facilitate shows for you guys and build a stronger fan base?
LS: Yeah there definitely has been personal benefits for my music from putting on the shows. More people know my band and me because of Missing Link Collective I’m sure. It’s also helped me step out into the spotlight a little bit and come out of my shell. I’m not just performing, I’m also hosting, so I can’t hide and that’s a good sense of discipline for me.
DL: I know you guys have an emphasis on wanting to build a community – how has that been so far? Has it been difficult getting people out to the shows?
LS: The most rewarding thing is when I see people I’ve met through our shows liking each other’s posts on social media and listening to each other’s work. That what it’s all about really. That’s a tangible fan, not just someone who happens to follow a hashtag you included in your post. So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the turn out for the most part and I have everyone who has participated so far to thank. The intent of the shows I talked about before resonates with basically every artist I speak to, so it’s an easy sell in that way. It’s so much more fun to play to an engaged audience and that’s what we try to offer. By having a lot of different performers, there are a lot more people who feel involved and invite their friends and that’s what has made the turn out so far.
DL: Would you recommend other musicians and artists to take on a project like yours? And if so, what tips would you give someone looking to create something similar?
LS: Honestly, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it unless you are prepared to really take on the work load. I have a background in hospitality, so events aren’t new to me, and I have a partner who used to help throw a lot bigger events much more frequently, so I have our experience to draw from. It can be a lot to take on if you are seriously working on music/art of your own. But if you think you are up for that work, I’d definitely recommend it. I think it’s important to remember social media is a great way to connect and organize, but we have to show up in real life too. When you think back on music history, we often categorize by time frame and location, like 90’s grunge from the Pacific Northwest for example. Community is important. More people pay attention if they see other people paying attention. It’s rewarding as hell if you do it right. It just can’t be half assed, that’s not fair to anyone.
DL: If there are musicians and artists reading this that are interested in playing a Missing Link show, what are you looking for and what’s the best way to get in touch?
LS: I would absolutely recommend reaching out to us on social media or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s no one sound or style I look for when I book. I just look for artists who have something interesting to say or express. Whether it’s intense catharsis or fun party music. Our shows have been naturally diverse and I plan to keep it that way. I’d love to hear from anyone interested.
The next MLC show will be Saturday, June 16th at Bushwick Public House in Brooklyn, NY. They are always looking for musicians (solo or bands), visual artists, vendors, poets (and other spoken word), and all other creative people that are looking to get their art seen and heard. Be sure to follow MLC on Facebook and Instagram for more info. And if you are interested in playing this, or any future events, be sure to email Laura here: