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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Local Music Spotlight on the Palimpsest Group: ‘We’re a community of musicians with a studio’

UPDATED: Wed., June 30, 2021

By Julien A. Luebbers For The Spokesman-Review

The Palimpsest Group is a local entertainment group organized and operated by Luis Mota and Norman Robbins. Throughout the pandemic, the group has been hosting livestreamed concerts, variety shows and, more recently, in-person events.

But the highlight of the group’s work over the past few months has been the opening of TPG Studio, an audio/visual project studio oriented toward local talent big and small.

“What we’re doing differently is bringing musicians together and forming memberships and collaborations with local, regional and national musicians and having a studio for them so they can come in and track, record, do video,” Mota said.

The studio is a tight, intimate space, a distinct upgrade from a basement or garage, but one which won’t feel overwhelming to an artist emerging from a cave.

“On top of that, we’re actually giving them a steppingstone to better their music. We help them with marketing, management, publicity, just kind of giving them the push through the front door,” Mota said.

For a local musician with a couple of songs and a dream, it can be very difficult to get off the ground, not to mention expensive. TPG Studio provides social and technical infrastructure at the bare minimum cost.

Worried that you don’t have a full band together? Mota and Robbins have that covered, too. Artists can contact other members to seek assistance on a record. It’s these kinds of small touches that make TPG Studio so accessible to a local artist.

“We know a lot of frustrated artists who don’t have the knowledge to take their music to the next level, whether it be creatively or financially,” Mota went on. That is why Mota and Robbins operate the studio on fundraisers as much as they can.

The more money they make from events, the more they can supplement the costs of the studio. “Before the studio, we were working from our own personal houses. Norman had a studio in his basement,” Mota said.

“We couldn’t really invite artists and actually be able to record a full band comfortably. This studio actually made it so that we can have a gathering spot and have our home base to do all this stuff.”

By “all this stuff,” Mota refers to the Palimpsest Group’s broader work cultivating an artistic community in Spokane. TPG is more than just a recording studio. It also organizes events and shows.

TPG even did a pop-up vaccine clinic downtown at Neato Burrito this week in collaboration with the Hispanic Business/Professional Association. The way Mota sees it, a vaccine clinic is one step toward live music returning in full.

Most of the events, though, are focused on the creative community. “There’s a lot of local artists who can do album art and do poster art and do all that kind of stuff.”

But it’s not always easy to put these artists in touch with the sometimes-reclusive musicians who might need them. “One way that we can do that is to put together a market. We’re trying to do it monthly.”

The first TPG Market was on Sunday, and from Mota’s perspective, it was a huge success. “A lot of people showed up, which was amazing.”

But all of these events revolve around the studio, which embodies TPG’s central goals. “We want to get the word out to people that, if you’re a musician and you want to get to the next level, we can help you.”

With the business expertise of Mota and the musical/technical work of Robbins, the door is wide open and waiting.

“You don’t have to be a professional musician to come to our studio. You don’t have to have written 1,000 songs to make an album to come to our studio. You just have to be motivated to make your own music and to be creative.”

To join the studio, visit TPG online at thepalimpsestgroup.com and follow them on Instagram @thepalimpsestgroup.

TPG is also supported by Patreon, where you can access recorded events and the Bread and Butter videocast in which Mota and Robbins interview local creatives and cook their favorite recipes. “We’re a community of musicians with a studio,” Mota said.

Julien A. Luebbers can be reached at julien.luebbers@gmail.com.

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