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Peripheral value

March 1, 2010

Things have been quiet the past few days re: meeting up with E6ers, but I’m making a lot of headway talking to people on the outside (or at least making plans to talk to them).

While the majority of this narrative is going to come from talking to the musicians intimately involved with the Elephant 6, a significant portion will be spent highlighting the impact these guys have had and trying to place it all into a broader context. For this element, I have been talking to:

  • Artists who would list E6 bands as influences, from obvious indie bands to acts that lean more toward hip-hop, electronic or some other kind of music. These tend to be the hardest to pull down, not because they’re hard to find (as I’ve said many times, the E6’s influence is tremendous), but because folks like these (or more accurately, their publicists) are hesitant to schedule interviews when they’re not promoting a record or a tour.
  • Prominent music critics/journalists/writers/reporters, the sort who can talk about the Elephant 6 in terms of other bands and larger trends. For example, as an AV Club writer mentioned to me the other day, in the early ’90s, the music landscape was dominated by overly macho, post-Nirvana grungy stuff. While sunny, psychedelic stuff is pretty common today, channeling Brian Wilson and Syd Barrett and Ray Davies (like the Elephant 6 guys were doing back then) was decidedly uncool a decade and a half ago
  • Athens folks who aren’t really involved with the Elephant 6 but are still qualified to talk about them in some way. This is a predictably eclectic group of people, including show promoters, booking agents, musicians, and people who have just been fans, to name a few.

The Elephant 6 phenomenon did not occur in a vacuum. While the main component of the book I want to write is going to come from the perspective of its insiders, those on the outside are invaluable both for cross-checking what the insiders say and for providing context for all of it. The Elephant 6 is noteworthy for not only what these folks have done but for how they’ve affected people as well.

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