The violin is what led local musician Alex Blocker to Durango.
A Chicago native, from a part of the city he says, “you hear about in the news,” Blocker made his way west at the urging of a high school music teacher, who recognized his talent as well as his want to get out of Chicago. It was a good move.
A welcome addition to Durango’s music scene, Blocker graduated from Fort Lewis College with a music degree in 2016, now occupying his time with writing and playing, teaching at iAM MUSIC, and writing and directing videos for his songs. He’s an energetic musical package, a dude thrilled with teaching as much as he is playing live; he’s a teacher inspired by his students as much as his students are inspired by him; and a musician eager to get on stage with whomever extends an invite. A supporter of the arts of any medium, he’s forever on a quest to broaden his musical repertoire.
Blocker and his band will perform tonight at Animas City Theatre, opening for local band Elder Grown.
Blocker frowns on that saying of, “Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach.” As an active artist, the relaying of knowledge of your art to those eager to learn is a necessary part of the creative process, and an action that keeps art moving from generation to generation.
“It keeps my perspective fresh and keeps me out of a space where I think I know everything,” he said. “That terrible misconception about ‘those who teach’ is so dated. Because if you love art, and you love every aspect of it, one aspect is giving the knowledge to others.”
Earlier this year, Blocker released the record, “Moonlight Palace.” It’s an album that skirts any type of classification, an indie record that flirts with hip-hop, EDM, rock, soul and R&B, while also, thanks to his violin studies, hints at classical and orchestral elements.
“I’m always just looking for that fusion, that in-between point,” he said. “I like a lot of stuff that was only made on computers; I like a lot of stuff that’s full band. I don’t know, I’m always looking for that sweet spot. I never sit down to write with anything in mind, I’m just like, ‘What can we make?’”
It’s a mindset of creating borderless music without limitations. When you toss out the rule book, you don’t have anyone dictating what’s right or wrong. The result is an ability to experiment with sounds and genres with the intent of creating something truly original.
“That’s how it should be. I know at this exact moment right now I enjoy doing what I want on the record,” Blocker said. “I’m influenced by a lot of hip-hop, a lot of classical, a lot of jazz, lot of R&B, a lot of psychedelic music, a lot of beach rock and alternative indie stuff. But even at this point, I’m inspired by folk music and bluegrass music, which is something I never thought I would say.”
In addition to the teaching, writing and performing, Blocker has a weekly project titled “Blocker on Tuesdays,” a project that serves as an outlet for the many irons Blocker has in the fire. A self-assigned project he gives himself with a set deadline, it’s a motivational tool to keep the juices flowing.
“Some Tuesdays it’s a new song, other Tuesdays it’s a full album or a snippet of a video,” he said. “It’s a way to keep active and to keep the fans interested. I feel like, especially in 2019, we live in a society of abundance. A single doesn’t sustain the fan base like it used to. I’m one of those people that if someone drops music every week, I’m listening. And, it’s a way to keep myself in check.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.