The Next Decade Of Sound: A Handful Of Local Music Anticipate The Near Future Of Music

Jessica Cassyle Carr
5 min read
The Next Decade of Sound
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As the aughts are filed away in the annals of time, we look to the future and consider what’s to come in the next decade. What will it sound like?

Over the helladays, I sent an e-mail to a handful of local music types asking the question:
What would you like to see happen in music over the next decade?

Below are some thoughts from our sonic comrades.

“Quick ‘n’ Deranged predictions from a Psychick Asshole: I’d like to see music take its rightful place as a serious social force. Nevermind the ballots, and nevermind Rage Against the Machine and their posturing ilk, either. I’d like to see musicians take the reality-bending, psychic potential of music as seriously as the military takes its directed energy beam weapons. I’d really like to see an end to Christmas music as it’s practiced in the West. From what I gather, the calendar ends three years from now, so no more holy days. On that same note, nothing to measure our lives with but rhythm. Musicians can be the new priesthood—‘The Time-Keeprrs.’ ”

—Derek Caterwaul,
KUNM 89.9 FM DJ, Webmaster of Subterrranean ABQ (

“I’d like to see some good, usable venues open and flourish.
Low Spirits is a great idea. I think Joe Anderson has done a great job. Rule of thumb: A city’s music scene depends on medium (300 to 500) capacity venues—clubs big enough for touring acts to frequent and for local acts to open for them. When I lived in Chicago, the best venue in town was Lounge Ax. Everybody played there. It wasn’t huge, but it had such a powerful reputation that all the touring bands stopped there. And Sue Miller (now married to Jeff Tweedy), generously booked local acts to open for bands like Uncle Tupelo, Palace, Stereolab, Jayhawks, Jesus Lizard, etc. This was where we cut our teeth, where we met a large portion of the people we now know in the music business, where we found our record label, met our heroes, etc. There’s no inherent reason why Albuquerque can’t have places like that. Geographically, it’s in a crucial crossroads on the touring circuit. You have to pass through. Sadly, that’s exactly what many bands do. If there was a place (like the Hotel Congress in Tucson) with a great reputation for good music and respect for artists it would be unstoppable. But bands have to get paid for it to work—no-cover bars are a very bad idea. Covers serve a dual purpose: They pay the band and keep the yahoos (brawlers, chronic drunks, talkers, etc.) out.

“I hate to say it but perhaps the major problem in Albuquerque is the overly zealous clampdown by the DUI army. A knee-jerk zero tolerance policy skewed toward the urban environment that essentially overcompensates for what is a rural problem (driving on the wrong side of the highway, rolling vehicles at high speed … ). That policy coupled with the pathetic lack of public transportation are a lethal combination. People are afraid to go out.”

—Brett Sparks,
The Handsome Family

“Q. ‘What would you like to see happen in music in the next decade?’ A. Freedom."

—Jeremy Barnes,
A Hawk & A Hacksaw

“What I’d like to see in the biz is exactly what we’re all gonna see: the rise of the independents. Major labels right now’re HEMORRHAGING money, giving labels like
Dirtbag (who signed us last summer) a huge opportunity to go out, be more than a clothing line, and actually back hardworking bands with some capital and a platform to release and distribute their music. Now the fact that Warner Bros. just bought Dirtbag heralds another point. We will see a certain class of regional, hardworking bands on this side of the U.S.A. finally get their due. Warner Drive, Mike Got Spiked, KrashKarma, The Ground Beneath, Floorbound and SCARLESS are bands that come to mind that have been catching tons of road lately. All it takes is WOWing the right independent label and who knows who might buy up who and BAM! you have major label backing.”

—Steve Beneath,
The Ground Beneath

“My main hope is that somehow over the next decade people start valuing music again—valuing it enough where people are willing to pay for it again. I’m not talking about going back to the days when major label arrogance and $18 CDs were the rule. But the attitude among so many that all music should be free has hurt small labels and independent artists as much as anyone. (And I’m writing this as a music writer who gets a lot of stuff for free, so yes there is an element of hypocrisy here.)

“That and I hope there’s a jug-band revival.”

Steve Terrell, KSFR 101.1 FM DJ, political reporter and music columnist for the Santa Fe New Mexican

“I would hope that the world does not get bigger, but rather, smaller. At this moment there is enough music being made within a 400-mile radius to last me 10 years. When more music fans listen to only the music around them, they influence and contribute to the musical identity of their home region. Be it a futuristic rocka-Matachine-billy-noise-drum-group; but when that happens, it becomes easier for everyone to become a musician, even at the smallest level.”

Raven Chacon, composer

So what would you like to see happen in music in the coming years? Post your comments to this article on

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