Shuffle: Akron Artists Build A Vibrant Do-It-Yourself Music Community

Oct 19, 2017

CityCop with Max Adams, performing a house show in Akron
Credit CityCop

If you really want to experience Akron’s local music scene, you'll have to go to some unexpected places. For this week’s Shuffle, WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz talked about Akron’s vibrant do-it-yourself community with The Devil Strip’s music editor Brittany Nader and Max Adams of the emo hardcore band CityCop.

Akron's DIY scene has been growing over the last few years. 

"We have some house show venues in the area and other spaces that are the hubs for this whole community of musicians and other artists," Brittany Nader says. 

Bands and artists perform on stages inside homes and vacant buildings that are converted into makeshift venues. The shows are usually free and underground. 

Max Adams, 24, of the band CityCop has grown Akron's DIY scene through social media. He moved to Akron from Ashtabula just to be close to one of Ohio's most popular DIY venues - It's A Kling Thing! house. 

"It's not that common for such a small city to have so many bands."

“We were really good friends with the founders of Kling after playing a show there when we were 17. They helped us start learning how to book house shows at our house," Adams says. 

Then, Adams and his band mate, Eddie Gancos, wanted to follow the lead of other cities like Chicago that had established DIY scenes.

"People go on the [Facebook] page to promote shows; bands will ask for shows and try to find help or places to stay. Slowly we got more people involved, like Hive Mind and later on, The Overlook."

Adams says the Akron DIY shows Facebook page has grown to around 1,900 members. “It’s not that common for such a small city to have so many bands. I can’t even keep up," he says. 

CityCop with Max Adams (right)
Credit CityCop

Being in a DIY band
Over the summer, CityCop released it's second full-length album, The Same Stories That Never Get Old. And, in true DIY spirit, they took more than two years to finish.

"We wrote these songs in our tiny little basement, just hunched up against our washer and dryer. We could barely fit the four of us."

Then, they hit a snag when a deal with their record label fell through.

“We looked to one of our friends, Nick Muffet, who started a local label called Small Mammal Records. He took on the financial responsibly, paid for the vinyls and promoted it."

Adams says that's a struggle most local bands face, and shows why DIY spaces provide a space to celebrate independent music. 

"The music is just a way for us to play the shows. That’s what it’s all about it. It’s just performing and having a good time.”