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 Mother Leaf
 Sontag Shogun live in Grenoble
 Sontag Shogun

Share - Start Your Own

A number of people have asked us how they can start their own "share" party, what equipment and how much effort is involved.

Although we have a fair amount of equipment, and invest a fair amount of effort into running "share", you can start your own with only a time, a place, and some form of audio amplification. Don't be afraid to start small, and let the event grow as more people become involved.

Find a place which will be available on a regular basis. A club may offer a good soundsystem, but require that your event generates income. Ask if they have free time on an off-night, when monetary expectations are low. Choosing an off-night also means fewer local musicians will be have other commitments. Any space in which you can play audio and video will do, a college club room, practice space, warehouse or garage.

If the amp has only one audio input, audio artists will have to take turns playing. Taking turns turns can be a good way to learn new sounds and techniques, but being able to jam is even better.

For people to jam together, you'll need multiple inputs into the amp. A four- or eight-input hardware mixer works well. An alternative is to use a computer with a multi-channel soundcard, with its output going to the amplifier and inputs available for jammers. Many laptops and hardware have a line-in which can be used to daisy-chain many people together, with the last person plugged into the amplifier. In computers, check if the driver for your soundcard supports hardware-through. If not, you will have to use a piece of software which can read from the input and write to the output. Software-through adds latency. For other audio gear, try to avoid passing the input through any eq or effects. One other way to get lots of people in on the jam, is to run software which lets people collaborate to one audio output.

If possible, place the mixer or audio inputs in the center of the space where people can easily access it. Long cables or a snake can extend the reach of audio inputs.

You should announce in advance what form the audio inputs will be, so that people know what cables to bring. If possible, provide a few loaner cables: from minipin (headphone out on laptops) to your audio inputs, and also minipin-to-minipin for chaining computers together.

For a video jam, it helps to have one or more monitors or projectors. Although laptop video artists can play directly on their screens, it is not always convenient for other people to see. If one projector or monitor is available, find out if any of the video artists can bring a video mixer. Another way to get many people in on the jam is to run software which allows people to collaborate on a single display.

To enable collaborative software, a data network is required. This means an ethernet hub and cables. Many newer laptops have wireless cards, a wireless base station will be appreciated. Ethernet loopback cables allow two computers to form a two-person network.

For a successful "share" you'll want people to learn about it, and come back. Return participants sharpen their jamming skill, new participants add news sounds and dynamics. Try to run "share" on a regulare basis, every month, weekly or biweekly, etc. If your "share" has a long time slot, you might consider scheduling featured audio and video artists.

Announce to lists, local music groups, computing groups, and friends. Make sure the announcement includes all relevant information, such as what cables people need to bring to participate, time and place, and the regular schedule.

One person doesn't have to provide all the gear or work. Participants can volunteer for task and to bring equipment with them. The announcement can include a list of equipment which would be useful if anyone could bring.

Good luck! Once your "share" is underway, drop us a line with the info so we can list it on