Set #17: Crowd Control

The formation of Crowd Control seems to me, in hindsight, to be a true moment of synchronicity; a moment when all of the variables in the surrounding environment are ringing at exactly the same frequency allowing for a reaction to occur.

The seed for Crowd Control was sown sometime in early May of 2017 while Jim and I were sitting in the corner at Mudsmith. Our friend Macon, whom neither of us had seen in a while, stopped by our table to catch up. Macon had been a barista at Mudsmith for many months and was also the host of the former open mic, Filtered. At the time he approached us, Macon had since moved on to pursue music and spend some time traveling and he was looking for someone to take over the open mic in his place. He suggested that Jim and I team up to run the show in his absence. While we were both excited at the prospect, we knew it would be a lot of work and we were reticent to dive in head first. However, things changed two days later when I received a call from another friend Joshua Ray Walker. As chance would have it, he had also been in contact with Mudsmith about taking over the open mic under the auspices of his production company, Balero Productions.

Enter: Will Latham

Will and Josh had been friends for a long time and played together in Ottoman Turks, and though I hadn’t officially met Will, when Josh asked if Jim and I would be interested in teaming up with him to run the open mic at Mudsmith, I was sold. After the first few initial meetings with Will, it was apparent that our vision was in sync – developing an open mic focused on writing original content. We wanted to encourage people to write and to provide an outlet for experimentation. As Will succinctly put it, “if you don’t go to school for writing, specifically poetry or lyrics… you don’t know and no one tells you what to do which is kind of cool everyone has their own method.” The idea became to create a platform to exchange ideas and different writing techniques, to build a forum for people to try out new methods and to improve upon the skills they already had; in essence, to become better writers. One of the most common struggles in creating new content is writer’s bloc and combating that issue has become one of the primary goals of Crowd Control. “The problem arises when people see famous artists who are like – ‘well, when it comes it comes man’ and then everyone ascribes to this methodology of well when it’s good it will come and that’s just not a good way to look at it. You just got to write a lot of bad stuff… you might not write any good stuff for a long period of time, but it’s important to keep churning it out.” Will makes a critical point: diligence and effort play a major role in writing. All writers must find a way to overcome the fear of writing something terrible. The creative process can be stimulated by any number of things, for instance, the community with which you surround yourself. Which is why building a community of writers and musicians has been the primary focus of Crowd Control from the start. The ability to communicate with the people around you, to share ideas, brainstorm, and bounce material off one another, factors largely into individual growth. “Language has to expand and grow otherwise it’s stagnant, you have to be able to express and to transmit to other human beings a message...” Everyone needs a sounding board whether for affirmation or constructive confrontation; to exist within a bubble can have a very stifling effect. Hopefully over time, as people begin to frequent Crowd Control more often, the level of everyone's comfortability on stage will increase and the creative process will begin to flow effortlessly.

Crowd Control takes place at Mudsmith on Lower Greenville, from 7-10pm on the last Thursday of every month.

- Brittany Griffiths

The Crowd Control poster was designed by Macy Burr