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Why We Do JUMP: A Mission Beyond Music.

February 5, 2013

Illvibe121812Last night, I hung out with the guys from Illvibe Collective, a DJ crew that launched in 2000 and has thrown great parties steadily ever since.

It was fascinating to hear them talk about building the energy in the crowd throughout a night. They watch everything that happens – from the flirtations on the dance floor to the folks bobbing their heads while waiting for drinks – and react to that. When they are spinning, they are part psychologist, part musicologist and part puppeteer. The best DJs, the guys said, know how to control a party – they know when to play the popular radio bangers and when to blend in those tracks with subtle connections.

It’s easy to take for granted the skill it takes to get a party going. Everybody probably thinks they could DJ. But to be good, you have to know music, and I mean really know it.

This is my job. I talk to people about their craft and I learn so much more about them than what you see in the DJ booth, on stage or from the Internet. 

JoeHardcoreJeffFuscoSmallThe day before, I learned about why Joe McKay, aka Joe Hardcore, is so enamored with Medieval Europe. You’ll read Kevin Stairiker’s story about it in the next print issue of JUMP, which drops in March. But there is an amazing logic to Joe’s rationale and it explains why he regularly dons armor, participates in battles and pledges allegiance to his leader, a knight. There’s so much more to the guy who throws some of the biggest hardcore shows in the country.

Because of this magazine project, I’ve experienced so much fun stuff. I went to a basement show in West Philly and ran into the quiet guy who was previously an office assistant in my department at Temple. Minutes later, he grabbed the mic and became the lead singer of a punk band. I’ve been the only white guy (even though I’m only half-white guy) at an all-day rap party. I’ve hung out in Questlove’s record library and been on stage during The Roots Picnic.

010811GstoryWorking on this magazine is the most ridiculous excuse to have a good time. But there is so much more to this project. We aren’t just here to have fun. And the reality is that our mission goes way beyond music. After two years of printing the magazine, I wanted to take a few minutes to explain why we do what we do.

First of all, there is a massive, burgeoning music ecosystem that is exploding here. That is at the core of why we created the magazine. There are artists and producers, studios, record shops, venues of all sizes and an audience for nearly everything – from symphonies to bluegrass jams, and from hip-hop to hardcore. There are groups of people who collaborate on projects, like Chill Moody and his diverse crew of performers and the Weathervane Music folks, who foster a really strong sense of community.

The second reason we do the magazine is that we want everyone to know about that burgeoning ecosystem and we want them to think about that when they think about Philadelphia. The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think about Philly now is usually crime. That is what we are known for around the world. That and cheesesteaks. I haven’t had a cheesesteak sandwich in years. But I listen to awesome, live Philly music two, three, maybe four times per week.

We want to change the way people think about Philadelphia. Philly is more than the homicides you see at the top of every newscast on TV and we are more than the re-enactors you see walking around Old City in colonial garb. Rather than rely upon nostalgia – Philadelphia as a piece of history, we want people to think of this town as a hub of creativity. We are a living, breathing city full of energy, talent and ambition.

We want to acknowledge that talent so that the talented folks stay in Philly. We’ve seen too many of our friends do great stuff here without much love, and then dash off to Brooklyn or wherever because they think that is where they’ll reach their dreams.

Not only do we want our talent to stay but we also want new talent to come here. The way the music industry is these days, you can be anywhere in the world. Why not here?

The final reason we do the magazine project is because of the state of journalism. There used to be journalists entrenched in the music scene, documenting everything going on and reporting on that stuff in the alt weeklies, in Rockpile or magazines, and even on television. There are fewer and fewer journalists in Philly, so less and less gets covered. We’re trying to remedy that.

We are trying to promote the Philly music community. We are not here to define cool and we’re not snarky assholes like you’ll find on the Internet and elsewhere. We are storytellers.

Spring2012CheersElephantIn the print editions, we only cover Philadelphia and we mean the city proper. We just don’t have the manpower to cover the entire region. And there is so much happening in the city. You should all be here.

Online, we cover anyone who comes through the city proper. So, we’ll cover shows and stuff. We still try to concentrate on lineups that feature Philly acts but we’ll point out any good party.

We are a community project. We’ve partnered with everyone from The Key to Phrequency, from Philly Beer Scene magazine to the School of Rock. Our staffers are bartenders, musicians, students, professional journalists and other random folks who all volunteer their valuable time to make this happen. We aren’t financially-backed by corporations or universities or anything. Ad dollars cover our printing costs (and we always need advertisers).

This is a labor of love – love of music and love of Philly.

That’s why we do this project. That’s our mission.

And if you want to get involved, hit us up.

G.W. Miller III

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