1,000 Couches brings Atlanta to Tech’s campus

Tech students and non-Tech students across 10 different bands had the opportunity to perform at this year’s concert. The bands played various genres of music from noise rock to classical. // Photo by Tyler Parker Student Publications

The third annual 1,000 Couches Music Festival, hosted by the Musician’s Network at Tech took place Friday, April 7 on Tech Green. The line up this year consisted of 10 bands made up of both Tech and non-Tech students. The festival was free for anyone to attend, but there were multiple vendors selling snacks and other crafts for people to shop while listening to the performances. Simon Peters, second-year ME and equipment manager for the Musicians Network, explained what the club is about.

“We’re a club that just wants to create a greater sense of involvement with musicians at Georgia Tech. We run practice rooms and festivals, we run shows and we have meetings every Monday for people to get together and meet other musicians,” Peters said.

The Musicians Network is open to all Tech students. The genres and instruments currently played include a wide range from noise rock and alternative to classical and even folk music. 

In addition to making music, the organization also has a “listening club” where students listen to and share music with each other. Peters described the group as “a book club for music.” 

Keely West, second-year EAS and vice president of the Musicians Network explained how the 1,000 Couches music festival came to be. West emphasized the importance and the significance of the name 1,000 Couches, which is an ode to the reputable Under the Couch music venue that used to exist in the basement  of the Couch music building before it was taken down. 

“The old venue was a real venue space, a lot of people from outside of Atlanta would come and sing and play shows at our space. The Musician Network was really connected with the Atlanta music scene and getting people from outside Atlanta as well as people who were local to play at Georgia Tech,” West said.

At this year’s festival, notable performances included a set from the Tech band 15000 Guns. The group began during the first 1,000 Couches Festival and has grown in popularity and expanded their portfolio for the past three years. During their set, the bassist played a game of blackjack with the audience while performing music in which he would ask the crowd “hit or stay” after he held up a card. 

Kian Kermani, fourth-year NEUR and 2022-2023 Musicians Network president spoke in more detail on the history of the Under the Couch venue and what it meant for the Musicians Network throughout its history.

“Historically we’ve [the Musician’s Network] been around since 1994 with the venue Under the Couch, underneath the Couch Building on West Campus and then moved to the Student Center. That was sort of a hub for burgeoning music in the southeast throughout the late ‘90s and early 2000s and even in the 2010s. I went to high school 45 minutes north of here and even being in high school I knew of Under the Couch and what it was as a venue on a college campus,” Kermani said.

The Musicians Network may not have a venue currently, but that has not stopped their activities aimed at promoting the arts and music. The Network holds weekly open mic events as well as concerts from local and touring artists in addition to hosting two festivals each year. The Network fosters what Kermani called a “do it yourself culture.” He explained that he hopes that people will gain the confidence to make their own music and meet others to make that music with. Beyond this year’s bands, Kermani explained that he was excited to see 15000 Guns play since he was present for the band’s formation. Kermani described the band’s origin story and first show.

“It was a socially distanced 1,000 Couches on Peters Parking deck and the four people in the band at the time, Micheal, Josh, Andreas and Sawyer came together and were like ‘let’s play this set for this festival.’ It  launched them into writing more music together and releasing two albums and  playing all across Atlanta. They’ve really made a name for themselves, at least in Atlanta and the Southeast in terms of the music they make, but it’s really crazy to see that three years later they’re playing on this stage again,” Kermani said.

Some other notable performances were the headliners memory card which traveled from Alabama as well as the local group Team Deathmatch. Many of the musicians have membership in more than one band, and collaboration is common. 

“I feel like the line up represents how the current state of the Atlanta community music scene really is. One of the key parts of the community here is how connected everyone is,” Kermani said on the Atlanta music scene.

Renny Hyde, third-year CMPE was in attendance for the first 1,000 Couches on Peters Parking Deck and reminisced on that day. They expressed that they were glad that the festival had grown in scale so that more people were able to enjoy the performances. 

“The community of 1,000 Couches when it was at Peters Parking Deck was really nice because it was just a bunch of people who love music hanging out all day and just listening to music. I really like that it is on Tech Green now because it gives a lot more visibility and helps a lot more people see cool music and get involved,” Hyde said.

Jack Pace is a current member of the band Buice which played a set at this year’s festival. Pace described Buice’s sound as a blend of noise rock, progressive rock and art punk. 

“The stuff we’re playing, it’s pretty aggressive at times and has a lot of noises like guitar feedback and we have guitar players play effects like pedals. It also kind of has moments of visceral tension building but it also has a lot of melodic moments in it and some spoken word and powerful vocal performances from our vocalist, Hayden,” Pace said. 

Even though Buice is not an all-Tech student band, the band’s creation and beginning have close ties to the Institute. Pace and another Buice member attended a performance by Josh Rubin, current Buice guitarist and vocalist, at the Rocky Mountain Pizza off of West campus. Pace described his time at Tech with the Musicians Network explaining that he made many connections and friends over music. 

“The people are really nice and I am friends with them even now just being some guy in bands who doesn’t even go to this school anymore. A lot of them I hope to be lifelong friends,” Pace said.

For students wanting to learn more about the Musicians Network, their Instagram is @gtmusiciansnetwork.