Unforseen Scene in a Normal Place

-Words by Keba

Teaadora Nikolova

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase music scene? You probably jump to imagining the dry golden air of L.A, the compact black box called New York, the rainy terraces of Portland, Oregon, or maybe Austin, Texas or Seattle, Washington.  All of these cities are known as being home to overflowing, busting at the seams, torrential amounts of artistic talent, culture, skinny jeans and vans and bearded men. They are hearths of modern day independent music, art and the mounds of culture that surround it - with no shortages of venues, galleries and the like. Everyone stops at them on tours, and, often, when one finds themselves of the artistic persuasion and does not happen to live in any of the aforementioned “hot spots”, they head there like a flock of sheep.
But there is always something creeping up from the other side of the spectrum. Interesting things are happening. One such thing, is the work of 24 year old experimental musician and artist, Teaadora Nikolova.  In an effort to bash the idea that an artist must leave their hometown in order to “make-it” in an already developed cultural area, Nikolova is helping to push foreword an experiment; The Hypothesis: If I don’t go to the city then I’ll make my own. Only two short hours out of Chicago, Nikolova is creating a scene in and unlikely place –Bloomington - Normal, Illinois. Also known as the twin cities, Bloomington-Normal wasn’t completely dry of music in the first place. There did exist a faint mark of artistic vibrancy.  But according to Teaadora, it faded over time.  So now, the goal is to refurbish what was lost in the fire.
Teaadora was inspired by the multitude of other cities that he has traveled to through touring as a musician- all the places where he has loosely said “I want to move here”. But he has taken the most incentive from his eight months spent in the wicked awesome streets of Boston.

“I have to admit a lot of influence has to do with my time spent in the Boston music scene where I lived for eight months, since they had a similar idea as the New Day Here events. The collective ideal in Jamaica Plain (a part of Boston), was to allow everyone to bring their instruments and play one or two songs. They called them "hoots". They had a central core of people who were a part of the collective called "The Whitehaus Family" (WHF). WHF established the initial creative energy to get things moving, and the thriving city of art and music embraced it by hosting other varying events.”
The foundation of the blossoming music scene in Bloomington-Normal are the “New Day Here/\New Music To Hear” events. The name pretty much says it all. During these events, musicians get together and everyone plays one or two songs. But it’s not quite your average open mic.

“We differ from an open mic by organization and an emphasis on experimental works. We have themes such as "everyone must play new songs" or "you must play with musicians you have never played with before." We do not have the same performers playing every week and we do not have the sterility of a coffeehouse, bar, or any sort of dedicated spot since we always have the shows at a different place to mix everyone up. We are all about making things new - bringing energy and mixing up that energy a little bit.” 
Los Angelean rock duo, No Age (Randy Randall & Dean Spurt, Sub Pop), gave this endeavor a thumbs up when they came to town to play for WESN 88.1 (college radio station). Dean said that he was really into what Bloomington-Normal’s artistic community is trying to do and that he “had to do the same thing in [his] community."
It is, however, important to note that the origins of this unforeseen scene was not one of detest or hatred of conforming. Instead, Teaadora has a fascinating perspective on why artists should cultivate their own community
We all need to recognize the local movement in food culture as no different from the need to embrace a local movement in music culture. Everyone has heard “act locally, think globally””

While many have turned their backs in favor of the more obvious location of Chicago, Bloomington-Normal has cultivated a creative circle of almost 50 dedicated musicians and artists. As Nikolova would put it “I am part of an expansive and open culture. We are working very hard with what we have in Bloomington- Normal, I assure you, this will not be the last you hear of us.”

When asked about Bloomington-Normal’s future, Teaadora says:

“I want this place to be a place where people go to play and for excited show goers. Eventually maybe like an Omaha or utopia city of that kind, where people move from a
place like Bloomington-Normal to the future ideal version of Bloomington-Normal.
Although, what I really want to say is that the point now is to be where I am; to see that moving somewhere isn't always the answer, to do what I can where I am and for others to learn from example. What I am saying is abstract. I want it to be like if everyone wherever they are did what they could in their environment to make it best, in a way turning into an Omaha, it would be because them doing their best in their present environment was their way of moving to Omaha (their improved environment).”