Project Red Thread: Noisywaters discuss upcoming project

by Claire Meyer

The theory that we are all connected has been hanging around and popping up in one age-old proverb or another since we essentially first discovered we had neighbors. We have, however, strayed just a little bit from the core ethos of this notion. In our current derisive world of unrest and aptness for finding differences, wouldn’t a little effort in the direction of celebrating our commonalities and shared humanity be… nice? The brains, instruments, voices, lenses and creative vessels behind Project Red Thread in Bellingham seem to think so, and are in the midst of accomplishing it. A collaborative effort between local Bellingham musicians, filmmakers and artists, Project Red Thread will be hitting the streets to celebrate the city’s ever-expansive talent pool by presenting a showcase and kicking off the school year for Western.

Community and creativity is at the forefront of Bellingham’s music scene, and Project Red Thread aims to represent the interconnectedness of its varied artists by bringing them together for unique collaborations. You could very well say that Benza Maman and Will Barrett of Noisywaters are excited.

“It’s happening!” Will said. “We’ve done a pretty good job of staying true to what we were trying to do from the start with this thing. There’s always room to improve it and grow it.”

As the idea of bringing different corners of the music scene together evolved, both Western and Boundary Bay got onboard with the idea. Will added, “I think that’s what Boundary and Western saw in it, and that’s why they’re so keen to support it. They see that this thing has potential to grow and become a fixture in the community every year.”

The lads of Noisywaters – the energetic Bellingham electronic duo who were recently featured in this mag and gave us a taste of what was to come – are the masterminds behind the event. Bringing together six pairs of musical crossovers (WMD with Polecat as an example), visual art and video, Project Red Thread is the first of its kind in Bellingham to unite such a wide variety of artists.

“We’ve all collaborated with a group or a person, but there’s so many facets to this collaboration,” Will said. “One thing that was a struggle was defining the relationships between these connections, which came directly from Benza and me and people that we’ve met through the music and art community over the course of living in Bellingham.”

With an album coming out Sept. 17, anticipatory followers of Project Red Thread can enjoy the musical stylings of Bellingham’s notable artists stirring it up with unlikely counterparts. A savant of Bellingham music may recognize some artists in the lineup: Noisywaters x the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, arbour x Mōtus, WMD x Members of Polecat, fantompower x The Dawn Bombs, Metsä x Maddie Pritchard and Fluencie x Willdabeast. Several of these artists will be performing at the kickoff event, happening Wednesday, Sept. 26 at both Western’s “Paint B’Ham Blue for WWU, with further follow-up performances at Boundary Bay.

For artists working to gain footing in the music scene in Bellingham, Project Red Thread has provided a platform for exposure. “We’ve tried to reiterate to [the artists] how we’ve created a community out of this. We’re here to promote them and everyone on our team is doing it out of love and a place of wanting to support creatives,” mentions Lauren Drake, Communications Director for the Project.

Participating visual artists featured alongside the musical groups will include works from Jake Stumbos (Stoombz), Eliza Lee Julian Tennyson Gretchen Leggitt, James Mey (Meysa) and Bobby Bruce (BxPacific). Scooting down to Boundary in the evening, around 5 p.m. to be specific, will land you in the heat of more performances from the PRT artists. Arrive early: while the event is free, it is expected to hit capacity early on. Exact dates and times can be found at or on their Facebook page.

As the date to unveil the collaborations nears, Benza and Will are taking a moment to reflect on their efforts. “The 26th is the beginning of the culmination of almost a year’s efforts. The sky is the limit! We want to keep this community going and Project Red Thread going to hopefully grow and be able to involve more people.”

Keeping in the sense of community and Bellingham’s renown creative altruism, they added, “We’re really excited the first launch is doing so well so far. We are also planning on doing some workshops intended to take folks who are established in the musical and creative communities to offer to people in the fall.” More to come on this future endeavor.

Come one, come all to this collaborative community event of creatives! Keeping in line with Bellingham’s delivery for titillating entertainment, this mini-festival should only exceed expectations. Can’t make the date? “We are gladly accepting sponsors!” And there you have your bumper sticker wisdom: support local musicians while drinking some local beer after visiting your fave local university.

Check out what’s happening with the artists on the Project’s Instagram @projectredthread.