Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Daytrotter Taking Innovative Steps in its Tenth Year

Ten minutes from Augustana College lies Daytrotter, a live music venue and recording studio for up-and-coming artists from the Quad Cities and throughout the nation. Daytrotter has no singular focus on genre, as it hosts artists of country music to indie rock. While it is known outside of the Quad Cities rather well, inside the QC Area it is overlooked in the mass of artists and venues.

Founded in March 2006, the first Daytrotter recording studio was located above the original Huckleberry’s Great Pizza in downtown Rock Island. While it was founded as a recording studio, Daytrotter hosted live performances in the Huckleberry’s downstairs, as well as at various performance venues around town.

As of January 2016, however, Daytrotter now has its own live music venue, located in Davenport. Andrew Barkau, Daytrotter’s Live Sound Engineer, considers the venue a huge step in making Daytrotter more of a “cultural force for the Quad Cities” as a centralized location to display the large variety of music that can be found in the Quad Cities.

Paige Underwood, the new Director of Social Media and Marketing, compared the new venue to Daytrotter’s original studio, saying that the original studio had “no air, no heat. It was very small and intimate. Now it’s a huge difference being over here with this beautiful venue.”

Underwood has seen Daytrotter grow as a listener rather than a staff member.

“I’ve been listening for eight years now,” says Underwood, but she has voluntarily assisted Daytrotter on its social media for most of this year before she was officially hired a few weeks ago.

Since its founding, Daytrotter has gained credibility in the music world as “the best place to find your new and old favorite bands,” having featured artists such as Vampire Weekend, Mumford and Sons, Macklemore, The Lumineers, and Barenaked Ladies. Barkau put the most emphasis of Daytrotter’s goal on exposing new artists while they are still trying to get exposure. As a prime example, Vampire Weekend performed early in the studio’s career for around 10 people in Huckleberry’s Pizza.

While its live performances have been impressive, Daytrotter has an even more substantial recording history. It has maintained its original promise of “true, unedited” music in its recordings, even as the amount of bands coming through has increased drastically since the studio’s founding. On average, 25 bands come through Daytrotter in a week, recording sessions exclusively for Daytrotter. In regard to the sound, Underwood describes Daytrotter as the originator of the unedited sound, where “there’s no overdubbing [where no extra sound is added onto a record] or extras.”

“There is always something happening or someone performing,” says Barkau.

To listen to these recordings and performances, you can go to Daytrotters site and browse thousands of sessions from a wide array of bands. On the site, you can stream the music for free, but Daytrotter also offers a monthly membership at $2.99. With the membership, audio is of a higher quality, you can view the live streams of performances, download your favorite songs, and create playlists. However, this paywall is up for debate within Daytrotter.

Due to finance scarcity at points, this paywall is very beneficial to the studio. That said, Daytrotter is willing to listen to the community and get feedback on how much is fair to pay and for what features. With any feedback or concerns, you can contact the studio through their website or Facebook page.

Coming up in the next few months, Daytrotter is hosting four major performances. On September 24, Foxing is headlining with opening acts by Mountain Swallower and Archeress. On October 8, The Dig, whom Barkau showed great enthusiasm for, will be performing. Barkau hopes for their performance to be a big one, as they have a new album coming soon as well.

“I want to champion that band. They’re super cool,” says Barkau.

Ticket prices average around $10 for pre-ordered tickets and $15 for at-the-door tickets. As for age restrictions, all ages are welcome until near curfew time, where the venue becomes more 18+.

Daytrotter will also be present at the Roundel Bash coming up on Augustana’s Campus on Sep. 24th. Daytrotter will be here to support the Bash and promote their studio.

The Roundel Bash will feature Jude Shuma after an opening act by the Quad Cities’ own Minus Six. To coincide with Shuma’s performance, Daytrotter will be releasing his recording session on the same day as the Bash.

Daytrotter is working on identification that, if someone attends the Roundel Bash, will allow for free entry to the Foxing show after the Bash. The two times overlap, but people are encouraged to fully enjoy Jude Shuma before making the trip to Daytrotter.

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Daytrotter Taking Innovative Steps in its Tenth Year