"Through a week-long series of educational and professional discussions, demonstrations, installations, screenings and performances at venues around the Boston/Cambridge area, Together Boston attracts thousands of people every year, and has increased its attendance every year as a primary New England area music festival."
Last night commemorated the beginning of the 7th Annual Together Music and Arts Festival in Boston. The Sinclair in Harvard Square, Cambridge hosted the opening party with Floating Points taking the crowd on a sonic journey with his live performance. This was the first segue into what is going to be a deliciously packed week for the entire electronic music community in Boston as Together Fest brings in names such as The Black Madonna, Bicep, Dekmantel, Ben UFO, J. Phlip and more, all through May 22nd.
Together Boston comes back bigger and stronger every year, showcasing talented artists both locally and globally every night and hosting various lectures and seminars on industry topics during the day, such as today's event: America & the Netherlands: A History of Dance Music with local Bob Diesel and guest speaker Mark Van Bergen of Dutch Dance. Also, hinting at their expanded schedule, Together now has its own app that can be used as a source for information on the on-going music and non-music events. A useful tool with so much going down.
As Together is a major highlight in Boston this year, we thought it wise to get the full story and share some music from a talented local. The founder of the festival, Alex Maniatis, took the time to talk to Magnetic about the origins of Together and what to look forward to in the future, and Lychee supplies us with a quality guest mix.
When did Together Festival start?
An email went out in September 2009 to about 100 members of our community outlining the vision for the festival and asking for people to get involved. In less than six months an initial team was assembled and the first Together festival was held in February 2010.
Who were the first acts to appear at the festival?
Oh boy, so many memories! Year one the focus was really the team trying to figure out how to do this damn thing! In the midst of our efforts, we brought some amazing acts in that first year, including Nicolas Jaar, Tim Hecker, Machinedrum, and some of the Dirtybird crew.
What hardships are you facing putting together a music festival in Boston?
Boston is a great city, but there are always challenges. Older laws around venues and curfews prohibit some basic things that could be done to really promote culture. It's unfortunate; being a coastal area and a city full of young people, there are a lot of things that are ignored and neglected here. And, please, lets actually support the arts and stop just talking about how we should. We need to extend club+bar hours, open new spaces for culture, and fix our transportation system. There are means to do so... we need certain people to step up. Together has had to make changes in our programming because of stuff like this. That said, we have still managed to make a place for ourselves on the international map and, for us, especially in the realm of electronic music & culture.
Would you have expected Together to be as big as it is today when you first started?
It's awesome to see so many people from Boston and beyond getting excited and recognized for their talents. Finally, the press is posting about something that's not for old dudes playing classic rock hits. Seriously though, for us it's not about size, it's about quality. We just want this to grow naturally; focusing on the experience is what matters. There's a lot of talent here and for Together week we get to collaborate with some of the world's best performers and create something special. This year especially the A/V components at Central Stage and Middlesex are really next level. Koren Bernardi and her team have really put something special together for everyone.
What are the most memorable events from past Together Festivals?
I can give u two: Daniel Avery performing at the Middlesex Lounge (in partnership with Make it New) in 2014. Four Tet performing at the Middle East in 2013.
What is your goal for Together? What do you want to accomplish every year with the Festival?
Most importantly, we want to connect and we want to keep learning. We are still figuring this thing out.
With a city such as New York not too far away, it's impressive to see how hard people work to generate an honest music community in Boston. Together Festival is not just stockpiled with great talent from outside of Boston, the festival also showcases a lot of locals who have serious skills to present. Today, local DJ, Lychee has contributed an exclusive mix for Magnetic Magazine, showing off her love of techno and gritty beats.
"Lychee is a member of the Virtuality crew and authors the Night Rumours column on EARMILK where she summarizes her pick of each month’s top techno releases. Her selection skills are top notch—ranging from deep, melodic house and techno, to heavy, dark, and raw Berghain-worthy bangers. Lychee’s goal is to use music as a tool to build a distinct atmosphere and to create connections amidst dancers over shared emotional experience. She loves to bring glimmers of sentimentality into a harsher musical narrative, blending hints of melody and vocals into raw techno assaults as moments of light and reprieve. Since starting to play out in 2012, she’s been featured in the Weekly Dig and the Boston Globe and played at Boston clubs like Middlesex Lounge, Good Life, and Zuzu, in addition to loft, basement, and house parties around the city."