After our conversation, I was led by Halikas past the Open Mic session to see the band that was practicing downstairs. Creative Corner’s basement has been known as a jack-of-all-trades for independent musicians. As the hub of much creative output, various artists have utilized the space for practice, recording, and showcasing their latest covers and creations.
Unknown guitarist, left. Matt drumming, right.
I’m greeted by Matt Maloney and a few of his band mates, a group comprising the funk jam-band currently renting out the basement for themselves and other artists to utilize. Maloney mainly plays with his band Arnold On Mars (a name-pun on the movie “Total Recall”) and on his off-time helps front another band Fearless. He’s been a regular at Creative Corner for two-and-a-half-years, where he and his band mates have been recording, writing, rehearsing, and helping Baldino and his family run the mom-and-pop function. Kevin Maryles, a 22-year-old guitar repairman with a love for Radiohead, joined us downstairs. Along the way, he mentioned to me how an old baseball coach had showed the place to him a couple years back…
Why do you think DIY venues are important?
Do It Yourself Venues? Because a lot of people that are running big venues and stuff, it’s more to pack out a place. These days the venues aren’t bringing anybody [for you], you have to do it yourself, so why have them make all the money? We’re here, and we’re charging, and we’re doing the same thing without all the bullshit — like, “Oh, you guys have to bring 50 people down, and if you don’t you can’t play here, and if you do we get all the money, and after 50 people you’ll start making money.” It doesn’t make any sense to me. Tons of people come down [here], they see the bands we’re providing for them … and everyone knows each other, so it’s a really good environment. Instead of “Come out to this bumblefuck bar and pay 10 dollars at the door, and still have to buy drinks, and good luck to ya!” It doesn’t make any sense to me.
Kevin Maryles: If we were huge…
M: If we were huge, I’d love to play the garden. (K: Yeah.) Like where they put on all the bells and whistles, like
Umphrey’s Mcgee — none of the local bands are gonna get that. DIY is more intimate, the intimacy of it all… you’re not gonna get a better experience.
Kevin, covering a Radiohead song during Mic
K: If you’re playing one of those places you feel like you’re working for somebody.
M: You are. You’re literally paying them to keep those doors open. For me not to make any money…
K: If you’re doing it DIY, it’s all on you. You have more of an incentive.
M: And I can go to 7–11 and buy a 12 pack of f-cking Pabst for 8 bucks. *laughter* After this great night and 8 beers, after seeing all these great bands … if you’re in the city, you [worry] about the cab, the train and the booze. It’s too much money.
K: And then all the security, all the stuff the venue forces you to pay for…
The only thing you have to worry about is noise complaints. My friends just got their place shut down because of noise complaints.
K: Around here it’s mostly just storefronts so we don’t have to worry about the noise; everything’s closed after 9 or so. The heavy stuff is in the basement. There’s a sushi place and they close around the corner.
M: Oma Sushi. *laughter* Grandma sushi.
K: Yeah. *laughter*
Front-woman of three person band, crouched during Mic performance. 2017
Creative Corner is a space for art located on Hempstead Ave, West Hempstead, NY. It has 2 fully equipped rehearsal spaces with a full backline, house drum set, mic stands, guitar stands, and a comfortable lounge area. Hourly rates are $25 per hour with discounts for monthly commitments. Art and instrumental classes, Open Mic Nights, art shows/features, and various events are available year-round. Call (516) 385–8782 for more information.