The antisocial concert

Electronic music series celebrates one year

BYOH organiser Simon Thibaudeau at the GoodWil

Photos by Keeley Braustein-Black

Doreen Girard, BYOH musician at the GoodWill

Photos by Keeley Braustein-Black

One year ago, Simon Thibaudeau gathered people to listen to a concert through headphones and he’s done it almost every month since.

“It’s been fun,” Thibaudeau says.

The eighth edition of the Bring Your Own Headphones (BYOH) show is coming up Feb. 14. He says it’s been a fun project and he’s excited to celebrate the anniversary.

At each BYOH show, several electronic musicians perform to an audience who are listening through headphones. Generally, the musicians are experimenting with new work that might not be appropriate for another venue.

“You bring a book and listen to some weird music and go home,” Thibaudeau says.

Listeners bring their own regular headphones and can turn up the volume to get lost in the tunes, or keep it down as background music while they study.

“I’m doing this so that there’s a small community of like-minded people who have space to experiment,” Thibaudeau says.

He doesn’t expect 100 people to ever show up to the shows, he says.

The concerts are currently held at The Good Will Social Club where the group of 10 to 15 people takes over a long table. “It was kind of nice to have a spot where you could buy beer and buy coffee and just kind of sit down and do this thing,” Thibaudeau says.

He also keeps a laid back approach to organizing. The venue is a short walk from his home and the show required minimum equipment and resources.

“If two people showed up, I’d still do it,” Thibaudeau says. “As long as there’s people that’s willing to play, I think I’d do it.”

And there certainly are still musicians interested in getting involved, such as Doreen Girard.

“Most of the time, I’m experimenting with electro-acoustic stuff or playing bass in bands,” Girard says about her current music career. She performs as both a solo musician and as a member of Sphagnum.

Girard is slated to perform at the upcoming BYOH show alongside BP and Cameron Johnson.

“I’ve been ruminating on different things to try, musically, on my own for a while and I signed up to force my hand a bit,” Girard says.

This is her first time performing at a BYOH show, although she’s been to the concert series as a listener before. 

“I like the feeling of being alone with the music. It makes it feel personal to me, and focuses the way I listen in a different way to being in a live venue,” Girard says.

She thinks it’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. “Every time, I’ve seen new work from people I know well, or new projects I haven’t even heard of. I think it encourages people to try things to suit a different live music format,” Girard says.

Thibaudeau says he’s had some returning musicians, but it’s generally been new people every show.

The series has been growing organically and he expects it to continue that way.

“It was never in the cards to stop,” Thibaudeau says.

Published in Volume 70, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 11, 2016)

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