Local Wire

Andy Warpigs on Building a Local Music Community

Local folk punk artist Andy Warpigs.
Local folk punk artist Andy Warpigs. Benjamin Leatherman
For music lovers, it's the fellowship that makes the local community so attractive.

Andy Warpigs gets this. He also happens to be one of the Valley’s beloved underground songwriters and community organizers.

“I started getting involved in the arts locally as a kid, going out to downtown and getting a glimpse of weirdness at First Friday, or catching the odd show at Modified Arts,” Andy Warpigs tells Phoenix New Times. “I had been told music wasn't something I could do. I started out as a music fan and started making music and playing out later, just because I knew it was possible. I met new people and saw new worlds and new possibilities. I started to feel like my life was something I could make myself. I'd never been empowered like that before.”

He’s not alone in that sentiment. One can’t help but wonder how our music community can do better by our marginalized communities.

According to Warpigs, this starts with lifting each other up in DIY spaces.

“I think the best way to help people is to give them a platform to speak for themselves,” he says. “Each community is different, and each individual within those communities has their own unique perspective and their own story to tell.”

Several months ago, Andy Warpigs opened for Los Angeles queercore act The Groans and learned more about what the music community is like there.

“Los Angeles is pretty tight-knit, because that's a very established music market," he says. "The bigger Phoenix gets, the harder and more expensive it will be to set up shows. All the neat DIY stuff we are used to will be pushed even more underground. It will be more important to support the things we care about if we want to keep them.”

This includes hosting benefit and sober shows, promoting nonprofits, and providing literature. All of these elements play into DIY music, which will need special care as Phoenix expands.

“A lot of the venues out there are secret, reclaimed spaces. I played in a record store that broadcasts live onto drive-time radio, and in an abandoned church. Phoenix does much the same thing with weird buildings being repurposed for art. Necessity is the mother of invention. If you build it, they will come…”

Andy Warpigs is scheduled to perform at The Trunk Space on Tuesday, November 12. Tickets are $6 at the door.
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