Tech is most notably home to engineers, programmers and other scientists, but within the halls known for mathematics and technology lies a historically significant and culturally rich system of independent music-makers.
The Musician’s Network has operated at the Institute for over three decades and continues to grow, despite challenges with COVID-19, declining notoriety through the years and an uncertain future for the home of the organization, known as Under the Couch.
However, leading members of Musician’s Network have risen to the occasion, planning a constant stream of successful music events to bring to the student body and other community members.
“We are no strangers to holding music festivals,” Kian Kermani, second-year NEUR, said. “Since 2014, we have hosted Couchella each Fall semester, which is a similar scale all-day music festival. 1000 Couches originated because we canceled Couchella in the Fall of 2020 due to COVID-19 and wanted to hold a festival later in the spring.”
The second annual 1000 Couches will take place on Saturday, April 2 from 2:00-11:00 p.m. at Peters Parking Deck. The music festival will feature 11 bands, including seven from within the Tech community.
“There’s going to be a lot of different types of music ranging from punk and metal to indie and pop and even some electronic acts,” Josh Rubin, fourth-year EE, said.
“Our goal was to get a wide variety of bands and musicians around Tech to showcase, and I think we managed to get a pretty diverse lineup of bands from Tech with a couple from around the Atlanta area.”
The intention of the event is to allow students a chance to enjoy on-campus performances during the stressful weeks leading up to final exams.
“We pride ourselves on being a student-run club that is able to provide live music to students on campus as well as Atlanta as a whole,” Kermani said.
“Having an all-day music festival at the end of the semester provides a unique opportunity for students to destress and enjoy free live music just a few minutes from their dorms.”
Kermani, who is currently serving as president of the organization, has a strong admiration for the unique, do-it-yourself spirit of Musician’s Network.
This appreciation began in high school when Kermani would travel an hour to Atlanta to see shows at Under the Couch, the former home of Musician’s Network that was most recently located in the now-demolished student center.
“During the day, people were at Under the Couch studying, chatting with friends and practicing music,” he said.
“There really wasn’t another place on campus with the same feeling. During the night,
Under the Couch became the music venue known throughout Atlanta as being a hub for DIY and up-and-coming music. Under the Couch wasn’t just an important part of campus culture, it was also an Atlanta musical landmark.”
Under the Couch will not be housed in the new student center, leaving an uncertain future for the organization.
Hanna Goldfarb, fourth-year ME, has served as president of the club from 2020 to 2022 and has witnessed first-hand the direct effects of the removal of the Musician’s Network space.
“The biggest issue we have faced is aside from lack of practice space, people don’t just ‘happen upon’ us anymore,” Goldfarb said.
“Without Under the Couch being right in the student center, people don’t realize that we have this amazing space and musical community on campus. So, we host festivals like 1000 Couches to try to spread our music and show people that there is a creative musical space on campus.”
Despite these circumstances, Musician’s Network has continued to host events through WREK 91.1 FM, Tech’s student-run radio station.
WREK has been sharing their space with Musician’s Network since the removal of Under the Couch, and even with limited space, the community has made the most out of the resources available, including successful weekly concerts and open mic nights.
“Our open mics this past year have gotten more traction than ever, and for many weeks, the whole room will be packed full of students,” Kermani said.
“I think it really speaks to the DIY spirit that is ingrained into the club, for even in an office building with no elevated platform, we have created our own stage, lights and sound, and people still care.”
With a homegrown essence and unwavering persistence, the group is determined to continue to bring live and local music to the Tech community.
“We have our widely-acclaimed open mics every week, general meetings, advertising meetings, sound meetings and our indoor shows almost every week,” Mir Jeffres, third-year MUST major, said.
“One of my favorite shows we put on every semester is our New Artists Showcase. It’s a combination competition, concert and party. We have bands and solo artists who have not yet played a big show sign up to perform, and winners get to headline a Musician’s Network show. Many historic Tech-based bands have started as a result of these shows, and many are actually playing at 1000 Couches.”
For more information on how to get involved with Musician’s Network or details regarding upcoming events, visit their Instagram at @gtmusiciansnetwork.