Temporary Autonomous School of DIY

Last September 7th, VIC hosted a talk with Michael Dixon —founder of People In A Position To Know Records (Flaming Lips, Money Mark, Dead Meadow…) and Science of Sound— about the American DIY music scene and the main concepts behind this four-decade old arts movement. This informal event constituted the pre-opening score for the Temporary Autonomous School of DIY project, a series of talks and workshops programmed by VIC’s artist in residency Trans Van Santos (USA) on the subject of DIY music theory and praxis.


Held at VIC between 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM of the 21st and 22nd of September, within the context of the Back on Track European program, Introduction to DIY Sound Recording constitutes the next chapter of the Temporary Autonomous School of DIY series, and will consist of a two-day theoretical and practical workshop for music lovers and sound enthusiasts. Mainly focused on subjects such as DIY recording techniques, low-budget home studio design or DIY album cover art production, it will also cover important contextual aspects such as the history and philosophy of several DIY music movements, and DIY culture in general.


Workshop Details

Date: 21 and 22 September 2019

Time: 2:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Place: VIC // Aveiro Arts House

Entrance: free upon registration by email

Limited to a maximum of 5 participants


Workshop Contents

PART I // A Brief History of DIY music
  • The recording industry: historical narrative // intentions, capitalism & exploitation // invention and the means of production;

  • Philosophy of DIY: Anarchism, Dada, & access to the means of production // Creative Sovereignty & Outsider art // DIY as part of the “Folk Music” tradition and the influence of Alan Lomax and early American field recordings;

  • Culture of DIY: Principles, Aesthetics and cultural infrastructure // DIY as political movement // DIY as a Counter Culture— from Punk Rock to Hip Hop;

  • A Brief tour of DIY movements, folk heroes & record labels: Harry Smith, John Fahey & Tacoma Records // Crass punks, SST Records & Fugazi // Olympia WA, K Records and the birth of “Anti-Folk”, Kill Rock Stars, PIAPTK // Pavement, Guided By Voices, Death Cab and the appropriation of “indie rock” // the DIY birth of Hip Hop from Jam Master Jay and NYC to Oakland’s Too Short and 75 Girls cassette label // bedroom folk from Daniel Johnston to Elliot Smith;

  • DIY Music & The Present: The music industry in the age of streaming and the value of DIY bands and musicians // democratisation of the means of production: from technocrats, experts and the early “Hollywood system” to collective knowledge, skill sharing and the musician as auteur.

Technology & DIY: the making of an album
  • Home Studios: from reel to real, the 4-track cassette, to the age of protools // limitations as sound aesthetic // the basics: signal chain, routing, gear & space // from gear to ear: creativity, limits and the search for your sound;

  • From cassettes to streaming and back to cassettes: physical sound mediums and the object as art // download codes and bbq sauce as album // Bandcamp and digital DIY // Boutique labels, vinyl and cassette come back from the dead;

  • The Art of the Album: Silk screening, stencils and xerox // recycling and up cycling // bending, stuffing and folding: putting together the final product.

DIY means DO IT! Handmade experiments & hands-on training
  • Creating a signal chain: from instrument to “tape”: the basics of routing // getting the “sound”: you can’t fix life in post-production // watching your levels and trusting your ears;

  • Experiments in sonics: “playing” with/in the studio environment // fearless decision making // when the world gets weird, the weird turn pro;

  • Overdubbing the apocalypse: an introduction to overdubbing techniques, philosophies, tricks of the trade, and concepts // Where do I put this mic? an introduction to mic placement // In the mix: an introduction to mixing philosophy and concepts (how to get a cool mix).

Join us for free!

To join us at this workshop, just send an email to [email protected] with your full name and phone number, and we’ll get in touch. Participation is limited to 5 vacancies.