Bill Streeter Unleashes Lo-Fi Cherokee: Fourteen Bands, Fourteen Videos, One Day

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Bill Streeter unveiled Lo-Fi Cherokee, which shows off artists from Tower Groove Records. Streeter and company shot fourteen bands in one day. - PHOTO BY SCOTT BEALE / LAUGHING SQUID
  • Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
  • Bill Streeter unveiled Lo-Fi Cherokee, which shows off artists from Tower Groove Records. Streeter and company shot fourteen bands in one day.

Bill Streeter's acclaimed Lo-Fi St. Louis unveiled an ambitious new project earlier this week: A collaboration with Tower Groove Records that showcases fourteen artists playing at Cherokee Street businesses.

Even more impressive? Streeter's crew managed to film fourteen different musical acts in one day without going completely bonkers.

The first video features Humdrum playing "I'll Find You" at STL-Style, the unique t-shirt shop that celebrates St. Louis' identity.

In an interview with RFT Music, Streeter says that initially Tower Groove Records wanted him to create a video expounding on the collective's purpose. But he adds the project grew into a more ambitious affair that featured bands playing at Cherokee Street establishments in a single day.

"At first I was like 'I don't know if we can do that. We could try a do a few in one day,'" Streeter says. "And then I thought about it and I was like 'with enough planning we could probably pull that off.'"

Bands that made it out for the April 7 shoot include Pretty Little Empire, Black James, Catholic Guilt, Demon Lover, Union Tree Review and Beth Bombara. [Click here to see the schedule that shows which bands played at specific locations.]

Streeter collaborated with more audio professionals than usual for the project, mainly because the sound process was so time-consuming.

"I have one guy I work with on a regular basis, but we needed at least two other audio engineers," he says. "Because the idea was that since that takes the longest, we should have three audio crews sort of leapfrogging each other across the street. So while we're shooting one video, there are two other audio crews at other places at various stages of setup."

Streeter says that the experience could have been different if - hypothetically - people didn't show up at a particular location. But some good planning and some more-than-cooperative business owners made the seven-hour shoot work.

"And that worked out really well," he adds. "Because the way it worked out was we would walk into each place and they would be ready to go as far as audio goes. And we'd just go in and shoot. And usually with the shooting, we'd do one or two takes of the song and it would be onto the next place. So it ended up working out really well."

"The trick was and the challenge for the filmmakers involved was to sort of trust that the band was going to set up in an interesting way," he adds. "Because even though we knew where they were going to be setting up, we didn't know what they would do with the space. By the time we got in, there really wouldn't be time to move anything around. So we had to trust that they were going to be ready when we walked in."

One notable episode occurred with Union Tree Review, a six-person band that decided to cram into the smallest office space possible at Nebula Coworking.

"We certainly made it work," he says. "We ended up shooting that one with just one camera, just because there wasn't enough room for anything more than that. That was probably the most challenging one of the whole day."

The plan going forward, Streeter says, is to release two videos a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next seven weeks. He says that the videos will be released in the order in which they were shot.

And beyond getting some exposure for the various bands involved with the project, Streeter says it also shines a light on the bourgeoning business district on Cherokee Street. While he tapped some memorable venues -- such as Apop Records and Foam -- for shoots, he also filmed in less traditional spots such as El Torito.

"I just like everything that's happening down there," he says. "And all the business owners down there have always been really accommodating, really friendly. And I like the sense of community they have together - just sort of promoting the street as a whole. And the whole vibe is just great. So it just seemed like a natural place to kind to do it."

For more information about the project, click here to go to a blog post on Lo-Fi St. Louis web page.

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