Artists: Consider the Cost of Living

The best type of city for artists and creatives is the cheap kind. Not cultured, not artsy, not filled with book stores devoted solely to poetry. Just a cheap city with cheap rent, reasonably-priced real estate, and an affordable cost of living.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always thought it would be amazing to live in New York City—in 1984. Back then, rent was cheap and there was still affordable housing for artists and musicians in old warehouse buildings, etc.—a la Basquiat. However, this world doesn’t exist anymore. Now you get a large walk-in closet (i.e. studio) in Brooklyn for a little less than 1K a month—if you’re lucky.
However, if you’re searching for a low cost of living, you can’t get any better than Detroit, Michigan. The median price of a house there—13K—costs just a little more than a year’s worth of closet living in New York City. Wow! That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me. As with many cities, however, you’ll need to consider areas other than the more ‘happening’ areas like mid-town, Cork Town, or downtown in order to find the most inexpensive properties for sale or rent.
There are, of course, a few caveats to living in Michigan, and one large one is the winter. However, as long as your house is well-insulated, all the more reason to stay home and write! Another factor to consider is the relatively high property tax rates and the high rates of property insurance. Keep in mind, though, that property taxes are higher for business owners than home owners. Of course, this only applies to property owners—not renters—so renters need not consider this factor. Also, property taxes are higher for more expensive properties, so if you’re looking to invest in a ‘fixer-upper,’ your property taxes aren’t going to be as high as if you were buying a house worth $300,000.
If a $13,000 price tag doesn’t inspire you to buy a house in Detroit, perhaps a program devoted to providing houses for writers will. Write-A-House is an organization based in Detroit that “seeks to teach and support trade crafts and literary creativity.” They do this by not only renovating Detroit city homes, but by also teaching carpentry and building skills to the underemployed, then awarding the renovated homes to writers.
I don’t know about you, but—as both a writer and an innovator—I am inspired by that kind of community-minded organization. If you are too, and you’re interested in making a change in the place you live, you could always get a degree in community development to help out the burgeoning reconstruction process in Detroit. From my experience living in smaller towns and cities, nothing compares to the feeling that you matter and that you live in a small enough pond to be able to make a difference to your peers. The Dalai Lama’s famous words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” come to mind.
In order to embody change, you should have a plan for growth. If you move to a place like Detroit with a lot of potential for growth in the arts, it’s relatively easy to contribute to the burgeoning writers’ community. Approach your networking with other writers in the same way that you would approach growing a startup or a business community. You want to focus on relationships with people: who do you know, who do you want to know, and who might your current contacts know who you’d like to meet?

Photo source: Flickr/Will Marlow

The sad truth about writing and the arts in general, these days, is that it has become necessary to market yourself. Tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are fast becoming necessary evils—if only because one of the first rules of marketing is exposure. The best thing about these sites, as well as blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr, is that they don’t cost anything to use. Therefore, as soon as you learn the ins and outs of the above sites, you can afford to be a poor writer with a lot of free press.
So if you want to thrive as a creative person without having to stress about paying the rent, consider an affordable place to live like Detroit. Who knows? You might even start a revolution in your own neighborhood—or simply in your career in the arts.

MUSIC VIDEO-Mexican Knives “Killer Snake”

Last Thursday Mexican Knives released their new music video via Noisey for their track “Killer Snake,” from the 2013 EP “Other Tramps.”

Want more Mexican Knives? Check them out here:


Filmed, Directed and Edited by Wesley Levise
Additional footage shot by Esme McClear
Song by Mexican Knives

Atoms & Ease “Let It Go” (Live from Lager House)

Artist: Atoms & Ease
Track: Let it Go (Live from Lager House)

After photographing an energetic set at this past weekends Dally in the Alley, this group caught my ear. They had the crowd dancing, drinks were being poured off the stage, it definitely had every proper element for a funk party.  It caught our ears enough to track them down on the internet and find our track of the week.

Enjoy an intimate cassette tape sounding track entitled “Let It Go.” Recorded live from PJ’s Lager House.  Let Cyepies (Lead Vocals) take you on a lo-fi vocal journey guided by crisp drumming and a dark-upbeat bass line.

Forward, Deep + Sleaze: An Introduction to Disco in Detroit Part 1

When Detroit Sounds Like This sat down with DJ Jerry Downey Jr. (Sexual Tension Detroit & Bathroom Culture) we asked him to describe his parties and the music he spins in three words. His response:

Forward, Deep & Sleaze

Ever since my favorite monthly DJ party has come to a halt (Funk Night) I have been looking and keeping my ears open to any scene or party to fill my monthly party void. This is when I stumbled upon the parties that have been happening on a monthly basis at Temple Bar. Are they playing more funk? Is it a hip hop scene? Is a Detroit DJ playing free parties that no one knows about?

Wrong! It’s DISCO! Yes Detroit, we may have our roots in Motown, we have punk-rock, and our hip hop and electronic music are at the forefront of their scenes, but what about Disco? You can now put a check mark next to that genre too.  From its early rumblings in dimly-lit cretin-filled warehouses, Detroit Disco Collectives and their parties have been forming and moving from warehouses to residencies at local venues.


The Beginnings of Sexual Tension Detroit

(CP – Carlos Padilla, J – Jerry)

CP: Where did the idea of “Sexual Tension Detroit” come from?

J: STD came to life when I had the opportunity to have a party at a warehouse (Warehouse 1018) in the Islandview neighborhood that I would shortly after help manage.  My idea was to provide the party crowd an atmosphere unrivaled to that which clubs/bars can contain, give the community an opportunity to release all the tension they’ve built up all week by cutting loose in a laid back; anything goes type of environment.

CP: What was your inspiration to even throw warehouse parties?  As most Detroiters have experienced, our police seem to care a bit to much for no reason.

J: My inspiration came heavily from the way Funk Night parties were thrown. They were in warehouses, BYOB and thousands of people would show up and you just danced. I wanted everything about that experience to be part of Sexual Tension Detroit.

CP: It seems easy to most, but I know myself that warehouse parties take a lot of planning and strategy, what was your draw to even get people to come downtown for Sexual Tension?

J:  These parties were late night free-for-all’s with myself and friends DJing. Ladies would also be free with a minimal cover for the fellas to cover whatever sound system we had rented.  For the most part I was organizing these events without a steady team, but I really loved the idea of always working with a rotating cast of people which really helped me understand the logistics of how things work with events.

CP: Warehouse parties dont last forever? What was your next step?

J: Around the time the warehouse space fizzled out I was offered a monthly residency at the Temple Bar in Cass Corridor and Sexual Tension Detroit eventually found its new home here. About 4 months ago I started playing back to back with Dustin Alexander (Dayda) and took him on board as a resident DJ.  A lot of things are about to change with Sexual Tension Detroit as we grow; the next move is going to be my 2 year anniversary party this November – keep your ear to the ground.


Moving the party out of the bathroom: The beginnings of Bathroom Culture



(Photographs from Facebook Page of Bathroom Culture)

CP: The name alone draws a lot of responses, Bathroom Culture?

J: Bathroom Culture itself is a nod to what goes down in the bathroom (wink) at parties and even though the bathroom of a club makes people feel secure, people need to spend less time in it and more time on the dance floor. So the idea of the name was to get people out of the bathroom and to the dance floor.

CP: Who are the DJ’s that make Bathroom Culture?

J: My main crew consisted of John Ryan (Dr. Disko Dust) and Griffin Scillian (Carlo Rambaldi). John was the first person to actually book me to play a club and we all eventually got together and established ourselves as Bathroom Culture along with Griffin’s roommate James Droze who would be paramount in helping expose our aesthetics visually.

CP: Besides warehouses where else can someone in Detroit catch Bathroom Culture?

J: Our parties are at some pretty random locations, we’ve played huge packed nightclubs/warehouses and even tiny restaurants like Small Plates on Broadway.  Every part of our aesthetic is rebellious and provocative; we don’t fit in with the other party crews and use some really over the top imagery.  Look out soon for our forthcoming series of web videos.


At the end of our interview I asked Jerry to play some vinyl to give us at Detroit Sounds Like This a taste of what he plays during his sets.   Jerry concluded the interview by telling us about an upcoming Sexual Tension Detroit party at Temple Bar…THIS FRIDAY!

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Thats right Detroit, Friday night, September 6, 2013 come on down to Temple Bar for “BAD PARTY NAME: LUV BOXX,” which should be a great party to start off the weekend.


Well Detroit, because we have so much to offer I will have to end here.  But dont worry there will be a part 2 in the coming weeks!  Yes, we actually have another group of disco aficionados who go by Gary Springs Hunting Club, but they are an article all in their own, and you will see why very soon.   Until then, find out where the GSHC party is this weekend.  I heard their is free coffee at midnight.

Below article is a soundcloud set by Jerry Downey Jr.  Enjoy.


Zoos of Berlin “Above the Air”

Hello Detroit!

Hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day Weekend! Its Monday so that means here is your track of the week!
This track was recently a Rolling Stone download of the day!

Check out “Above the Air” by Zoos of Berlin

For More Zoos of Berlin:
Zoos of Berlin Facebook
Zoos of Berlin Bandcamp