Performance & Entertainment Venue


john hammerComment

Behind the Curtain is a program dedicated to the exploration of the artistic experience through in-depth interviews, documentaries, and photo-essays of Wichita's finest actors, musicians, performers and artists. 

Behind the Curtain is an ongoing series with new content monthly.

Watch for official launch and previewing party announcement soon.


john hammerComment

What are your earliest musical memories? Did you come from a musical family?

HB.  My earliest musical memory is my mom teaching me the C major scale on the piano. She played a little bit of piano and sang a bit and showed me a some basics and then I took off with it.

On what instrument did you start? When did jazz become important in your musical life?

HB.  I played a little bit of piano (very very basic) but the first instrument I actively worked on were the drums. A few years later I picked up the guitar and got into Jazz about a year after that.

Describe a significant influence that might surprise us to know?

HB.  I’m really into some heavier instrumental music like Animals as Leaders and CHON. Also very into Nick Drake.

Many performers also engage in a variety of other music activities- do you teach, produce or music direct? What other areas do you plan to explore?

I teach, freelance, and help arrange music for people in addition to running my own group. I definitely want to continue working on booking and setting up my own tours, but I wouldn’t mind getting more involved in pop music as well.

You also sing.  Do you plan to expand upon your singing career?

HB.  I would really like to get better at singing and have it be more involved in my music. I used to sing a lot more a couple years ago and the last year I haven’t been as much, but I’ve been working on it more often recently.

How do you as a musician, deal with self doubt and other negatives in the creative process?

HB.  It’s a constant battle, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned when I need to hold on tight to the process and when to let it go. My compositions usually come from specific emotions/feelings that I’m dealing with at the time so I tend to learn more about myself with each song I write. Some songs come out really easily, and some are more of a process but it has always been important to me to put those feelings into songs.

How does your music relate to other art forms? Do you collaborate with visual or literary artists?

HB.  I’ve done a few videos for a couple of my songs and most of them have a visual/contour to them in mind when I write them. I haven’t collaborated with any live visual artists or literary artists but I would love to in the future.

Can you describe a typical practice session?  Is there a place that proves best for the practical side of your creative process?

HB.  My typical practice session nowadays involves a lot of fundamentals and making sure my hands are able to do what I hear in my head. I also work on playing everything with good tone in mind. A few years ago I was putting in 5-7 hours every day but now I mainly focus on upkeep and get my inspiration throughout the day.

How do you balance your music with life's obligations? -family, mate, etc?

HB.  It’s definitely tough, and takes a lot of time management. I put everything in my calendar from when I go grocery shopping, to when I’m hanging out with friends, to my gigs, rehearsals, and lessons. During the week my schedule is pretty much booked by the hour with different obligations. It used to be stressful for me but I started reading about Taoism and that approach to viewing life (Going with the flow of the “river” of life) which has helped me function in a more relaxed way. So it still takes effort to get everything done that I need to, but it feels balanced and light.

What is next?

HB.  I really want to travel with my band all over the world and inspire people to write their own music and to not be afraid of starting their own projects. But in the immediate future I will be booking more national tours and trying to make more international connections. My goal is to be touring in Europe and/or Asia within the next 5 years.