Darkroom Records + Dismal Niche

DRR and Dismal Niche work in collaboration for this years concert


Jennifer Pereyra

Concert poster

Jennifer Pereyra, Reporter

Get ready for the next big show. Darkroom Records alongside Dismal Niche are prepping  for another free showcase within this year’s Columbia Experimental Music Festival on Nov. 6 from 4 to 7 pm at Boone County Courthouse Plaza 705 Walnut. 

 Dismal Niche Arts is a local nonprofit organization run by an all-volunteer board of directors made up of local artists, educators and advocates for the arts.

Founded in 2013 in Columbia, Missouri. Dismal Niche began as a DIY, artist-operated record label and community arts network committed to promoting and archiving the expression of the more independent and experimental accents of the local and regional music and arts community.

Dismal Niche welcomes artists from across the U.S. and from around the world to Columbia, offering local residents rare opportunities to experience world class presentations of innovative and non-conventional music, art and performances that would likely otherwise not occur in Columbia.

“Through our programming we aim to facilitate immersive, interactive experiences that are both cognitively and viscerally challenging while also restorative and conducive to the non-didactic freedom of subjective interpretation and enjoyment. We believe that community experiences with adventurous music and art can help stimulate critical and creative thought not only about the ways in which music and art can be seen, heard, felt or performed, but also the ways in which public spaces can be used, transformed or subverted and social relationships expanded and re-imagined.”  Board director and Government teacher, Matthew Crook mentioned. 

The Columbia Experimental Music Festival is an annual autumn music festival put on by Dismal Niche. It is curated and facilitated by the Dismal Niche board of directors with help from community partners like Missouri Arts Council, The Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs, Hitt Records, community radio station 89.5 KOPN, The Mizzou New Music Initiative and a number of local business like Barred Owl Butcher and Table and Pizza Tree among others. Each fest brings some of the world’s best experimental artists to Columbia, artists who would almost certainly otherwise not stop here.

This year’s festival includes a diverse lineup of artists from across the ‘experimental music’ spectrum. Headliners will be South-Asian-American composer Ami Dang, New York hip-hop duo Armand Hammer, director of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (and Taylor Swift’s cellist) Clarice Jensen, NYC black metal band Yellow Eyes, and uprising local high school bands, Self Hug, Drona, and the Tri-County Liquidators. 

Taking place almost entirely in chapel and church spaces around town including the Firestone Baars Chapel at Stephens college, the AP Green Chapel at The University of Missouri and the First Baptist Church of Columbia on Broadway.

The collaboration between Darkroom Records and the CEMF has been part of the festival since the first year where they had offered free tickets to interested high school students. Since then, they’ve worked with The Academy of Rock and Darkroom to offer interactive workshops with visiting artists including a ‘tape looping’ workshop as well as a ‘deep listening and field recording workshop’.

 “This year’s collaboration is the first time we’ve worked together to actually book a show with Darkroom. It seems like there is a vibrant crop of young musicians in our community right now and we at Dismal Niche just want to help put them in front of a crowd of people who will listen with open ears and minds while also hopefully exposing the kids to some new music and ideas about social organizing and community building as well.” said Crook. 

Darkroom Records is a free after school program where students can visit a professional recording studio and create, produce, and mix their own music with the help of intern Jennifer Pereyra and teacher Jordan Smith who has been Darkrooms sponsor since the studio opened back in 2015.

“I think it’s really exciting to connect with a local, tastefully curated festival designed to expose our community to music they may not regularly find on their own. It provides a space for both local musicians and traveling musicians alike, so I’m eager to have some of our student-aged groups share a stage with such talent” Smith said. 

For festival tickets and more information on concert dates and times, check out Dismal Niche on Instagram or DismalNiche.com. Follow up on updates with the schools recording studio on Instagram @Darkroomcps, messages via DM are always welcome. Personal questions on Darkroom can be directed to [email protected] or [email protected]