In the new music paradigm artists are turning to diﬀerent remote outlets to continue their creative expression. Within live streaming, the social distance ensemble has become very popular, one of the most creative approaches to this format is Will Metz’s “Quarantine Blind Jam” series. The series pairs musicians together in a digital jam session, with the added element that no one in the group has any knowledge of the other collaborators until the project is complete.
Curated by Will Metz, guitarist and music educator from France, this series is producing some great content and is facilitating unique opportunities to cultivate community. I talked to Will on Thursday, May 21st and we talked about his project, connecting people online, and the future of online music. Will moved to the United States to pursue music 3 years ago and almost immediately connected with Jesse Ogle and joined J-Calvin. Since then he has focused on performing and working on his music theory book, which is scheduled to release in the fall of 2020.
From the left - Jesse Ogle (Bass), Cassidy Bacon (Vocals), and Will Metz (Guitar)
In the wake of Covid-19, Will has been managing digital jam sessions that include an expanding list of performers based in CO and from around the world. The idea was inﬂuenced by friends making similar projects with the initial goal being to facilitate collaboration and create a “Virtual Jam Session”. The added edge that separates this project is the surprise element of the other musicians not knowing who else is involved. Each contributing musician records their part isolated from the other members with only a guitar track to guide them. Upon completion Will mixes and edits the project before sharing the collaboration online.
The ﬁrst projects included work from Jesse Ogle and Chris Pena. It has since grown and caused Will to expand his network of players, often requiring him to call on referrals from friends and colleagues. Collaborators from the US and France have been involved, including members of such Colorado groups as J-Calvin, The Jauntee, Stillhouse Junkies, The Whimsy of Things, and Sarah Mount & the Rushmores. The selection process of who is included started with friends and now focuses on ﬁlling the needs of each individual project. The content has been able to standout by being short and sweet, generally a minute in length, which allows the participants to not be overwhelmed by the creation process.
From the Left - Jesse Ogle (Bass) , Will Metz (Guitar), and Tyler Adams (Keys)
Working as the facilitator of all these moving pieces has placed Will in a project management role, which he takes to with great humility and perspective. He remarked on how much of an opportunity the project has been to increase his editing and mixing skills. This attitude has placed Will as a center piece to a platform oﬀering networking and collaboration opportunities. This welcoming environment has been supported by a warm community response.
The future looks bright for these collaborations as Will continually looks to expand his network. He is open to artists submitting via email, and is currently on the hunt for some upright bass players. There are also considerations for establishing the platform on a larger scale to connect musicians in diﬀerent regions of the world, with the goal to help artists break into new markets. Always looking to expand, Will’s videos can be found on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, and remember t every like and share counts!
Bringing people together is a central goal of this project and Will’s work in general. In the new music paradigm, it is becoming increasingly necessary to facilitate community through diversity and inclusion. The Quarantine Blind Jams is a creative take on a familiar socially distant format. One of the many standouts from the 9-edition series is #9 featuring Cassidy Bacon from The Whimsy of Things, Tyler Adams from The Jauntee and Jesse Ogle (Bass). This track features soulful passages and whimsical yet relatable lyrics.
Will commented on the importance of supporting artists on social media, and encourages people to get engaged with content that makes them feel good long after the experience is over. Moving forward I foresee lots of growth and opportunities for this series and I highly recommend listeners and musicians alike to follow Will Metz.
If you are a musician that would like to get involved with the Quarantine Jams contact Will Metz at firstname.lastname@example.org
These are strange times for Musicians.. for everyone..
Music brings us together .. and we need it now more than ever!
written by Ross Sandlin
Connect with Ross Here