Ben Craig, Duk Groves and Stone Irr all started writing their own songs in junior high, but it wasn’t until each moved to Bloomington that they became part of a larger music community.
Local musicians Craig, Groves and Irr are performing this Wednesday as solo acts alongside Son Step, an experimental pop act from Philadelphia, at Uel Zing Coffee.
Craig, who performs under the name Ol’ Buddy, said writing songs in sixth grade helped him develop early as a songwriter.
“I wrote really terrible music in sixth grade, but that was the first time I figured out that I could also make up my own stuff,” he said. “Then it just snowballed from there.”
Irr, who performs under his own name, released his acoustic folk album “This Month” in November 2015.
At the beginning of April, Irr toured the East Coast with Grammaw Kayla, a fellow singer-songwriter based out of Indianapolis.
Irr’s songwriting has recently become more experimental and sporadic, he said.
“A lot of times, I just sit down and tell myself I’m going to write a song,” he said. “I just see what comes out from that. Usually the lyrics are self-referential, and I’ve tried to be more open with how I detail my feelings in songwriting.”
Groves, who performs under the name Duck Trash, writes songs using multiple guitar loops through lo-fi recordings.
Groves also played guitar and sang in surf-punk band Local Surfing before they broke up earlier this year.
Being busy with schoolwork, Groves has been unable to frequently write and perform, they said.
“I have a decent amount of shows coming up,” they said. “I work well on deadlines, I guess. Having to practice for a show makes me actually do it. Pretty much I’ve just been jamming with housemates and not recording much.”
Craig, who also sings and plays guitar in math-rock band Birdbath, said he has been focusing on writing and recording new songs for both Birdbath and Ol’ Buddy.
By becoming more involved with Bloomington’s music scene, he said, networking with other musicians has helped his music career grow.
He said anybody could become involved in the town’s music community by doing this.
“Play every day and establish positive relationships with people who put together shows,” he said.
Uel Zing Coffee, which was opened by Samuel Sveen in May 2013, recently became involved in the music community by having concerts.
The coffee shop has gained a reputation in town for its weekly open mic standup comedy program “Uel Laugh,” Craig said.
“I didn’t even know they had shows until Son Step asked me to play this one,” Groves said.
Because of the large number of people who frequently go to house shows and other concerts, Groves said the Bloomington music scene has been thriving as long as they have lived in town.
The influx of freshmen students every year keeps the music scene exciting, Irr said.
“I think momentum means a lot in the music community here,” he said. “Even with a lot of people leaving because of college, I think the reintroduction of brand new people in the music community keeps a constant initial engagement at an all-time high.