By Eli Schoop, Copy Editor
Station 116 has been an Athens staple ever since it was founded last year for primarily artistic purposes. But now, it has built its status as a house of reaction, resistance, and revolution against the caustic norms we take for granted. I talked to the principal owners and showrunners for their takes on Athens DIY, the musical culture we have here, inclusion and general rowdiness abounding throughout the local campus.
Alright, we have the homies here, Carter and Jack for ACRN, talking about their illustrious venue, and they just hosted a major band, Show Me The Body. Talk to me about what it was like getting them to our little podunk town.
Carter: It was awesome. But actually, it started cause we talked to them in Berlin where Jack and I were located in the summer, and we talked to them after a show. How many times did you message them? Cause I messaged them once.
Jack: Once, and I emailed them once.
Carter: Okay, cause I Facebook messaged them and emailed them.
Jack: So this goes to show how much cooler I am than Carter, but I gave their lead singer, Julian, my email in Berlin and I didn’t do anything yet and waited until he shot me an email.
And it just happened where they were playing Columbus with Denzel Curry after that, and you somehow fit in the show on their off-day?
Jack: Yeah, they had come here at the RBG (defunct Athens venue) last year and just wanted to come again and it worked out perfectly.
You guys, to my knowledge, booked a lot of diverse acts, not just traditional indie and punk stuff that has been stagnated, in terms of DIY, so I just want to know how you choose what you book.
Jack: So throughout the summer we had a lot of noise, a lot of electronic stuff happening. Partly due to friends that live here, but also Sal came here and just killed it every time, they’re one of my favorite people to see.
Carter: And that was all we did during the summer. But now, (our roommate) Evan is really into electronic stuff so he had the idea of having all those DJs come. Then, Show Me The Body came, which we both like more than traditional indie, which I like, but Jack doesn’t. (laughs) But it is overdone, a lot of house shows are just indie rock. It gets kind of boring, it’s cool when people dance. I like having different stuff, stuff where people can dance.
Jack: It’s more fun for us, and I think more fun for everyone.
Carter: Yeah, and it’d be lame if we had the same kind of bands every weekend. A lot of house shows in other towns are like that.
Not to be all negative, why do you want Athens to separate itself from all these other DIY locales?
Carter: We want to be diverse as far as identity goes as well, as far the artists go so that everyone feels represented. That’s something that our friends at The New Happiness (current Athens venue) do as well. We’ve all just talked about making sure that’s a priority.
Jack: We try to take it into consideration more and more, and with that being said we’re not perfect. Things arise, we in the community always do better, and we hold little meetings to make sure that we’re inclusive.
I appreciate that the community is less a scene-building exercise and more of a group of people that you like, which is nice. I know it’s weird for y’all, because not only do you have neighbors upstairs, but the previous entrance for 116 is now blocked off. How do y’all navigate these structural concerns?
Jack: We had the plan to come in the space for the past year since my brother and a few others had run the gallery downstairs. We definitely didn’t expect to encounter the issues with our neighbors, it sort of arose out of nowhere.
I know Stephen (Jack’s brother) originally intended for 116 to be a gallery and exhibition space. Now you’ve moved to music, how important are you trying to make art now?
Jack: The gallery’s holding on with primarily two of the upstairs residents, and they’re very involved in the Undergraduate Art League and the School of the Fine Arts.
Carter: If they weren’t doing it then we’d definitely step in.
Jack: I do want to bring in some performance artists, not just from Athens–
Carter: We really want Banksy. (laughs)
Yeah, art has a lot of extraneous factors and doesn’t usually move, so I get where you’re coming from. Have there been any problems with the City of Athens?
Carter: We got a ticket this summer. Just from littering, the day after the show, and they came to Show Me The Body show. So they kinda shut that down.
I saw online y’all were still wildin’ out though.
Jack: I never wanna deal with the police, so I was very against that.
Carter: (laughs) I’m sorry.
Jack: I don’t want any police in our spaces. Police in this city and government are very detrimental to art. In my opinion, trying to fight that systemically is something we want to do. Whether it’s handing out fliers for an upcoming protest or hanging up banners in our house. We don’t deal with them hands-on necessarily, but in a lot of ways, we’re still fighting back.
So politically, you guys are trying to combine the artistry and the cultural aspect of what’s going on in the city. How are you trying to implement that?
Carter: We just kinda intermix politics with doing shows and have meetings about it. We have shows to raise money for causes and other things like that.
Jack: Yeah, we did a show for the Wayne National Forest that was sold off to private fracking companies. When the queer activist at Georgia Tech was shot and killed by police, and we raised funds for protestors’ bail money, as they’re also trying hard to silence dissent at that university.
How has being in the thick of running shows and in the center of the culture and scene impacted you guys personally?
Carter: It’s created a lot of good friendships and a lot of community, we meet a lot of people at shows and do stuff outside of that. I’ve learned a lot from them.
Jack: Before we started operating the space, we had a lot of discussions, at least Carter and I, about straying away from being those cool folks who have a DIY space and are hip and intimidating. That was something we felt when we first started coming out. I’m not saying we did a perfect job of that, but that’s what we aspire to do and our house is organized in an anti-hierarchal manner, so anyone’s input matters.
Any final thoughts or shoutouts?
Jack: Shoutout to the Babe Cave and the New Happiness, putting shows on that are killer and the people at those houses are–
Jack: Yeah, savage, and they’re really working hard to make an inclusive scene.
Carter: And they’re doing a great job.
Jack: And they’re beasts.
Carter: And they’re beasts!