Three years ago, New York City-based musician and promoter Aleksi Glick got the idea to merge upcoming bands with a unique, untapped venue — a hostel. Partnering with Hostelling International on the Upper West Side, Glick strove to give his fellow music-makers a home uptown, a section of Manhattan that had sorely been lacking in places to play. After pulling together a group of his friends to help with booking, promotion, and graphic design, Glick formed Newer Sounds, and developed both a concert series and guitar series, which has drawn in performers from all over the world.
Now, Glick has partnered with longtime music business consultant and founder and curator of Numinous Music, Craig S. Hyman, to expand this burgeoning enterprise to the Left Coast — more specifically, Hostelling International in Santa Monica, CA. Why Santa Monica? As Glick explains it, he recognized a similar problem in the beach town as was present on the UWS. “There are also countless musicians in Los Angeles and not enough good and fair venues,” he explains. “Santa Monica is one of the nicer hostels with a great space for music.”
The premiere showcase at the Santa Monica venue takes place on Saturday, May 2 in the “Rapp Saloon,” the city’s oldest building, which is also attached to the hostel. The hostel’s other venue, the tropical “Courtyard” complete with barbecue, will also play host to shows in the series down the line.
One tradition that will carry over from New York is incorporating a diverse array of music; the first show will feature world music virtuoso Hani Naser and his band, Rockabilly darlings the Kingbees, and Indian classical-inflected singer-songwriter Tamarind Free Jones. The importance of diversity in the series’ lineups is key, says Hyman, who books and produces all of the Santa Monica concerts. “The goal of the performances is bringing unlimited, multi-genre music to a beautiful property and pre-existing venue,” he says, “and have it meet the diverse demographics of the city that the hostel is in, as well as the diverse demographic of the hostel guests from all around the world.”
For those curious as to what might creep up on the Santa Monica calendar, expect anything, including world music, rock, jazz, Americana, blues, singer-songwriter, reggae, indie, surf, soul, EDM, experimental, and maybe even big band and classical. “We want everyone to have an opportunity to experience the best live music of all genres,” says Hyman, “and have artists locally, nationally, and from abroad play all of these musical genres to the hostel audiences, and Los Angeles and Santa Monica communities.” The June 6 show at the venue, the series’ second, promises to be a barnstormer; it’s the hostel’s annual “Summer Kick-Off” event, a traditional celebration of the new season that’s been extremely popular in the past.
Make no mistake; although these shows are held at hostels, they’re not just for the weary travelers occupying the beds. In fact, one of the goals of Newer Sounds is to help build community among like-minded music fans, no matter where they’re from. “I loved the idea of having an environment where people from all around the world could connect with one another through an appreciation of music,” says Glick. And it seems like the venues couldn’t be more pleased with Newer Sounds. “The Hostelling International folks in NYC and Santa Monica could not be more supportive nor easier to work with,” says Hyman. “They ‘get’ this vision and how it contributes to and builds their community even more, and are all behind us and working side by side with us to make it all as best as it can be. After all, music is the universal language!”
Though the future is, as of now, unplanned, Newer Sounds and Numinous Music are hoping to expand the series to other locations throughout the US — maybe even the world. The focus, as ever, is on quality of the series, not quantity of venues. But with the success seen in NY and the promising outlook for its expansion to California, success doesn’t seem that far off.
“We are so happy that we are starting out with the two most important and creative communities and cities in the US so as to bookend the country by building and starting a solid foundation,” says Hyman. “And with NYC and LA having such a close relationship in every way….[this is like] starting and completing the marriage of this creative and musical union.”
For more information on either the New York City or Santa Monica concert series, or to learn more about Newer Sounds, please visit NewerSounds.com. Details of the May 2 premiere concert event can be found on Facebook.