If being forced to stay inside, away from almost everyone you know, unable to entertain non-live stream performances was supposed to crush music forever, someone forgot to tell the musicians. For Home Vol. 1, an all-Portland compilation, is being released April 28 on Bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want basis, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Portland Coronavirus Mutual Aid Fund by Symbiosis PDX.
Organized by Mario Correa (synth player in Twin Ultra, who contribute the track “Silver Cross” to the comp), For Home Vol. 1 brings together 37 wide-ranging artists from Portland’s diverse music scene, from the well-known (Soft Kill, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, Usnea, Help, Rasheed Jamal) to a little more underground (Graveyard Gossip, newphasemusic, Bootes Void, Moongriffin Quarantine Ensemble).
“As a large and diverse compilation, For Home's symbolic strength is that it showcases a wide variety of artists who have come together to support a cause, and to support one another,” Correa shares. “It's tangible strength is that all money raised will go to the Portland Coronavirus Mutual Aid Fund. Mutual aid in itself is an expression of community support and solidarity; there are no sponsors, trustees or government entities to dictate who receives financial support. Anyone can make a request for funds, and marginalized and vulnerable communities are given priority.”
Correa endeavored to bolster a theme of solidarity with the comp, calling on music as the common denominator to unite all involved.
“It’s heartbreaking to see so many of my friends in the industry struggle right now,” says Gil Assayas of GLASYS, who contributed the track “Léon’s Dream” to the project. “The only way we can get through this is if we stand together and support each other.”
That support goes beyond, as Correa explains, “genre, gender, race, age, whether you're deep underground or signed to a label.” Unity is the important, binding agent to effect the positive change that not only musicians need, but that the entire community deserves during the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Projects like For Home are what we need right now,” says Ursula, drummer for Portland punks Mr. Wrong, whose apropos track “Holding for Healthcare” is featured on the comp. “The power of using art to inspire and unite communities is truly a wonderful thing. Moving forward, we want to keep brainstorming ways we can serve the community, and stay connected.”
“The Latter Day Skanks are honored and #blessed to be a part of this comp,” reports Prophet Josephina Smith of art-punks The Latter Day Skanks. “We stand in solidarity with all those affected by the shutdowns. As we clench our painted nails into a balled fist and raise it towards the sky, we hope that the divine power of music can offer even the tiniest bit of respite from these wrathful times.”
Indie impresario Jared Mees has been busy trying to keep his record label, Tender Loving Empire, and small business of the same name from succumbing to the financial hardships of state-mandated closures during the pandemic. Mees, with his band The Grown Children, contributed a Beatles cover, the aptly focused “All Together Now,” to the For Home comp.
“The loss of touring income, physical record sales and, most of all, the visibility as to when this income will return have hit artists very hard,” Mees explains. “Small labels like mine are in a significant quandary as to how to progress regarding current and future releases. Venues are at the heart of the discussion regarding transmission of the disease and will have significant headwinds for a very long time as they figure out how to reopen and make their business models work given ongoing social distancing guidelines.
“The music community will take time to come back. But the disease hasn't taken our ability to make music. I know many TLE artists are, like so many in Portland, treating this downtime as a gift, to record, to connect with fans, to write new material. To jam on their lawn. The ways we share music may be changing but the music itself is alive and well.”