Some of you may be aware that, for several years at greatly irregular intervals, my friend Mark and I did a music/interview podcast called The Habañero Hour. We focused on the often muddy question: “What is or isn’t “Christian” music?” We played music by and interviewed artists who are very open about their Christianity yet who don’t market themselves in the “Christian music” world.
We had a great time doing the podcast and I got to talk to a lot of really thoughtful people. But let’s be honest: we haven’t done a podcast episode since February and there doesn’t seem to be one in the near future. Mark and I are both very busy, but more than that, we think that the podcast has probably run its course. We got to hear challenging thoughts from some great musicians and we also got to introduce people to a lot of great music.
Somewhere along the line, the podcast turned into us hosting house shows. Yes, we have concerts in houses (if you’re not familiar with house shows, read this piece from NPR). The heart behind the podcast was not only to explore the relationship of Christianity to music, but to help keep great art alive.
Mark and I both live in the NW Valley of the Phoenix area. I love Arizona, but I live in the heart of suburban hell. It really is the type of subdivision where all the houses look the same and you can live for years in your box, behind your 6ft. high privacy fence, surrounded by people in other boxes behind other fences and yet feel isolated. Our “culture” primarily consists of a variety of shades of vanilla strip-malls. Over by WalMart, we have TGIF’s, over by Target we have Olive Garden and over by Ross we have Chili’s.
Needless to say, there isn’t a lot of art happening where we live. There is no quality small/mid-sized music venue on our side of town. So, instead of just complaining or moving, Mark and I started having concerts in our homes as a way, not only to help great artists be heard, but foster a sense of community, even in the suburbs.
As the house shows began to progress, emphasis on the podcast lessened and Mark and I were left with the question of what to do with the idea of the Habañero Hour. After all, that was primarily the podcast, which is (most likely) no more. The heart to foster great art and community has only increased.
So, we are moving our activities under the umbrella of the Habañero Collective. This will not only be the banner for the house shows, but we are hoping to expand the idea of the “collective” including all sorts of artists who want to come together and create the culture some long for in the NW Valley of Phoenix. To be honest, we don’t really know yet what this will look like other than (hopefully) uniting artists across platforms with a common vision.
If you’re in the Phoenix area and interested in seeing art of all kinds flourish in the NW Valley, please contact us.