Hollie Huthman has an impressive resume: she’s the bassist for the band Dryland, and co-owner of The Shakedown in Bellingham, WA. As if that weren’t enough, she’s also a Bellingham City Council member.
We asked Hollie how small venues can make it through the pandemic, what it’s like to put an album out during a lockdown, and why more creatives should get involved in politics.
We also asked Hollie to curate a playlist for the creative community that will make you want to get up off the couch and dance. So grab your dancing slippers and check out her Spotify playlist!
As you know, the pandemic is hitting venues hard. What is your best advice right now to venue managers and owners across the state?
The best place to start is to reach out to other venue owners and managers and learn from each other. There are two venue associations that I've become a part of—the Washington Nightlife and Music Association and the National Independent Venue Association . They're both advocating for the unique challenges that venues face and are working on building some lobbying power.
But also, just being able to discuss how we're each personally navigating this situation has been so helpful. On the bright side, I think this was something that would have been wonderful before the crisis, too, and I hope this type of communication and collaboration doesn't end after we all open back up.
Your band just released a new album, Dances with Waves , this week! What’s your favorite song on the album and why? And how has the pandemic affected the way you are going to release and promote?
It sounds like such a cop-out, but I really do love all of the songs for different reasons. There's something that gets me excited in all of them, from a guitar riff, to a drum part, a catchy line of lyrics, or something I just have a good time playing.
As far as releasing the album, I think the biggest bummer is that we would be playing an album release show right now and probably even doing a small tour, and of course who knows when we can play to a crowd again. Otherwise, I think there's a benefit to having somewhat of a captive audience at the moment. There isn't a lot of new music being released so people are really excited about new stuff.
It’s not often that you see literal rock stars participating in politics. What motivated you to run for City Council? And why do you think it’s important for creative types to participate in politics?
Many things motivated me to run, but certainly a lack of people like me in politics was one of them. There's absolutely no reason a majority of our politicians should be old, rich, white men with backgrounds in law or the corporate world. Every kind of person should be represented. I wanted to see more young women who cared about people, the arts, and small business represented, and I thought I might have a shot at getting some votes.
I think it's important for creative types to be involved with politics because I think the creative world is something we say we highly value as a society, but we don't always back that value up with our decisions, particularly financial ones. All throughout history and in all societies throughout the world, art, music, theater, literature, and film are things we look back on with a sense of pride and accomplishment, yet we don't prioritize them in this country. And heck, a little bit of funding can go a long way in the creative economy! It's important to have political leaders that understand this if we want our arts culture to thrive.