There’s something cooking In the Kitchen.

In the Kitchen Collective started as a group of creative minds joining forces to find their place in Madison’s local music scene. When they first met, they recognized a shared difficulty handling a local music scene dominated by a handful of homogenized genres.

Connie Jordan, the musician behind Coney Island, admitted, “You look around, and you either hear reggae or something like Sarah McLachlan, and not much beyond that. It’s hard to find others if you want something else.”

They began to collaborate and feed off of each other creatively, without any concrete plans.

“When we started hanging out, we realized we all shared musical tastes, which is pretty rare, so we took advantage of it,” said In the Kitchen member Nathan Schaefer.

Eventually, they channeled their other creative talents, from web design to arts and crafts, to branch out and create a collective of music, art and even food.

The group hosted a kickoff event at the Project Lodge last Sunday, a culmination of their work to make In the Kitchen more tangible and legitimate. Running the entire Sunday afternoon, it featured numerous bands, artwork ranging from lithographs to quilts, poetry readings and a potluck dinner where guests brought their own meals.

It was not any conventional sort of event, however. Jason Lambeth, the mind behind the band El-Tin Fun, sold merchandise and worked to collect the five dollar door charge, and then went on stage to finish the day with his performance. Krista Rasmussen, one of the main members, went on stage to bang out the drum beats for the rock band Meteorade after mingling during the dinner and accepting praise for the food she contributed to the potluck.

The dinner demonstrated ITK’s promotion of both discussion and friendships. Even those not performing in some way were still partaking in the creative, collaborative process. ITK wants more than to just amass loosely connected groups of artists, rather, to produce a familiar community where spectators are as welcome as creators.

The Project Lodge was well suited for the event. The small space promoted, even gently forced, conversation, and the crowd was small enough that interactions were meaningful and worthwhile. Though many people knew one another long before the event, strangers and the occasional passerby were just as welcome. Artists performed and everyone watched, and when they finished, they simply stepped down and conversation would start anew, re-stimulated.

The purpose of the event was twofold. It partially came out of ITK’s desire to come together and display their abilities. In this way, they hope to establish themselves as more than just a website, but as a solid group capable not only of creating but also doing. Yet, like any artists, they also hope their performances will draw in more people who enjoy their work and can support the movement. ITK’s success depends on a dedicated base of fans, but also heavily relies on input from others.

In the Kitchen Collective stands at an interesting crossroad between the do-it-yourself movement and the local music scene. Wesley Doyle, head of the band Slow Loris, said, “Everything we do is held together by the fact that it’s all completely DIY.”

Their creative independence is maintained by their coming together as a group, and their collective resources avoid the need to record through a major studio or to release music through any sort of label.

ITK member Tom Teslik said, “We recorded a lot of music in basements, sometimes with one microphone, but you can’t tell.”

Though its inception may have been unplanned, ITK’s work toward becoming a noticed voice in Madison’s local music scene has produced some promising and interesting results. The group claims to have no concrete future goals, but the origin of the collective’s name suggests one.

As member Krista Rasmussen simply explained, “We realized that everything you could possibly need is in the kitchen.”