Written by Imani Wj Wright
Photo by Lukey Lenz
Have you ever procrastinated? The answer is probably yes. We don’t have to get too specific, but it’s easy to procrastinate right? You’ll find a million things to do in order to avoid what you need to do. Why is that? Is it fear? Fatigue? Laziness? The reasons can vary, but the results stay the same– stagnation.
Now, take a minute and imagine opening up a music venue. A full operating venue with a stage, bar, lights, and PA system. There are so many different aspects of the process that would/have turned people away. You have to scout for a location, get a liquor license, and after all of the necessities are complete, you have to bring people through those doors. Bill Carl Boomer, an artist and venue owner in Baltimore, Maryland is doing the aforementioned, and better yet- succeeding at it. The name of his spot is Pump No.9. I’d give you the address, but Bill keeps that discrete, with intent. SwanoDown had a chance to speak with Bill after his soft-opening which had an attendance of 400+ with nothing but word of mouth marketing.
Boomer told SwanoDown:
“Pump No.9 is the only underground venue run by artists, run by a young black man, and run by black people in general. Again, I always have to reiterate this- this is for the artists, this is by the artists, this is to the artists, this is from the artists.”
This may be a music venue, but Boomer is creating opportunities for visual artists as well. From the walls on the main floor, to the bathrooms, a bevy of visual artists’ work can be seen boldly displayed.
“This isn’t about trying to scam people off of their money. This is about giving the most genuine and impactful platform in the city. Because you know, we’ve only got so many resources. And, the places that do give us these resources, seem to take advantage of those resources, and take advantage of us. So again, we’re just trying to give everyone a fair chance. Just a chance to be themselves and have fun,” said Boomer.
“This isn’t for everyone, but a lot of non-artist based venues are only focused on the money. They’re not really focused on the artist’s career. They just want to know if ‘this person can bring in x amount of people… Can they do this and that? What can the artist do for me?’ This isn’t about what the artist can do for me, this is about what we can do for each other. And mainly, just what we can do for you. You know? I’m able to provide artists shows that have 400-500 people in there. Really giving them a chance to get exposure, really give them a chance to get acknowledged by their peers, and by people who are looking for new music… We want to make moments in this city,” Boomer exclaimed.
Bill told SwanoDown that when people think of Pump No.9, he wants them to think “home.”
“I want them to think: ‘This is where I belong. This is who I am.’
Pump No.9 had its official opening on Saturday, May 29, 2021. The joint had over 500 people, and a rocking crowd. Lucas “Lukey Lenz” Ballard, President of Visual Affairs at SwanoDown described the atmosphere in one sentence: “Bill had that bit booming.”
We look forward to seeing the growth and impact of Pump No.9.
Follow Bill Carl Boomer on Instagram @billcarlboomer