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DIY Birmingham, the Grassroots Collective

Photo: DIY Birmingham logo, taken from website

DIY Birmingham is a collective run by unpaid volunteers that aims to promote alternative music and venues in the city of Birmingham. Nick Chance, the singer from Distinguisher, said that he has been going to local, underground, and DIY shows in Birmingham since he was 14 years old. He is a Birmingham native who currently still resides here.

Distinguisher is a heavy metal/punk rock band outside of Las Vegas, Nevada that released a record called, “Hell From Here” that they’ve been adding to over the last year. Chance said the band is not planning to do any shows so he is going to take some time to focus on his personal artistic work and is extremely passionate about it.

Photo: Show flyer for a show featuring Slow Fire Pistol earlier this year, taken from DIY website

“I’ve come to the conclusion that, ultimately, I love what I’m making. I love just doing what I want, without putting needless expectations on myself of whether or not other people will like or dislike it, or anything, and it’s been a very freeing and uplifting feeling. I’ve come to love the music, photos, and videos that I’ve been making over the course of this quarantine,” Chance said.

The online platform has a unique way of allowing artists in all forms of nature to come together and promote their work. If it wasn’t for DIY, many artists might not have as many people hear about them when they are playing at a venue right down the street. The platform itself has almost 2,000 followers on Instagram and is just continuing to grow.

Since the pandemic broke out, DIY has been holding off on promotion due to public social events being strongly discouraged. However, the artists involved have still been pushing their music through social platforms.

The DIY has a couple of local bands featured on their home page and a style that promotes creative expression through music, steering away from societal norms. After getting in touch with a couple of the artists, we are able to hear how they have been staying active in the scene during these socially distanced times.

Posture & The Grizzly is another alternative band featured in the collective. They have been taking this time to work on music but took a hard hit with the pandemic. They had booked a three week tour that they were practicing for right before quarantine. They released a single in June called “Fixing What Past?” but don’t plan to play a live show until it is in the clear.

Jordan Chmielowski, leader of the band, said they are working on their third record and plan to release it in early 2021, followed by their fourth demo in the spring.

“I don’t think I’ll ever stop releasing music in some sort of capacity. So no, I’m not worried about being relevant.” Chmielowski said.

Due to the impact the pandemic has had on artists, many of them have had to come up with new and creative ways to still get their art out to the public. Blake Hall, a drummer for punk band Slow Fire Pistol, said the band will be releasing music and possibly performing livestreams during the time that they can’t perform in person.

“We are from Atlanta and have a good group of peers that are all doing very cool and positive things as far as DIY music and art goes. We have been using this time to focus on personal life goals,” Hall said. He ended the interview by giving a shoutout to Birmingham and said the band has been playing here for years.

As most of the band members had similar things to say, Nick Chance summed it up. “Until the number of cases within the US and abroad starts a steady decline and the touring circuit resumes in full, we will not be playing shows for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Edited by Alivia Moore & Ryan Michaels

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham