5/16/17 - Special Guest: Stone Driver

Thanks to Stone Driver members Tim, Chad, Dan, and John for joining us this week!

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Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice

FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Aberdeen by Swampcandy (Folk/Americana)
  2. Send Me by Stone Driver (Hard Rock/Rock)
  3. Over you by Classified Frequency (Rock/Fusion Rock)
  4. Loud Boyz in Love by Loud Boyz (Punk)
  5. Black Cat by Lionize (Rock)
  6. Know the Score by Borracho (Hard Rock/Stoner Rock)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Artists who are DC Residents! the DC Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program is accepting applications.  You can receive up to $10,000.  It’s not hard to apply and you don’t need to show a final product at the end.  Go check it out!  
    https://dcarts.dc.gov/node/1237331

NEW RELEASES

THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE

Fri May 19
Pleasure Train & Surprise Attack @ Mason Inn in DC
L.A.T.O. @ The Hamilton - Loft in DC

Sat May 20
Black Masala @ Celebrate Takoma Festival in Takoma, MD
Soundproof Genie  @ Hard Rock Cafe in DC
Throwing Plates @ Barnhouse Brewery in Leesburg, VA

Sun May 21
The North Country @ Dew Drop Inn in DC

Mon May 22
Ken Wenzel @ Open Road in Fairfax, VA

Tues May 23
Sol Roots @ The BullPen Nationals Park in DC

Wed May 24
The Duskwhales @ Gypsy Sally’s in DC

Thu May 25
Classified Frequency, Derek Evry & Stone Driver, Charity Event for Joe Strummer Foundation (@strummerville) @ Black Cat in DC

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



STONE DRIVER

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Stone Driver

Bio:

Stone Driver is a critically acclaimed rock band based in Washington, DC with Chad Lesch, Tim Boyer, John Gossart, and Dan Epley.  Stone Driver pulls from a wide diversity of musical influences, from Pink Floyd to Alice in Chains, blues rock to progressive, to create meaningful, relevant, and real music.

Stone Driver completed their second album "Rocks" with London, UK based producer Sefi Carmel, who has produced music for other notable artists David Bowie, Phil Collins, Bruno Mars, and BB King.

Stone Driver has been featured on both national & international media outlets, and has generated a diverse fan base of modern rock, blues, grunge, and classic rock aficionados.  Stone Driver and its members have shared venue billings with Living Colour, the B-52s, Radiohead, The Whirlees, Bush, Everclear, Hole, and Soundgarden.

Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/StoneDriverBand

Instagram: www.instagram.com/stone_driver

Twitter: www.twitter.com/StoneDriverBand

Official: www.StoneDriver.com

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INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     Stone Driver is a critically acclaimed rock band based in Washington, DC. We got Chad, Tim, John, and Dan. Together the pull from a wide diversity of musical influences to create meaningful, relevant, and real music. Stone Driver's been featured on both national and international media outlets, and it has generated diverse fan base of modern rock, blues, grunge, and classic aficionados.

     I first came across these guys when I was checking out the scene, and since I'm in a rock band, I totally loved the rock, and I heard these guys and I was just hooked. And ever since then we've kept in touch. It's with great pleasure that I get to formally introduce Stone Driver. Thanks for being here guys.

Chad:     Thanks for having us.

Brian:     This is amazing. Now, right off the bat I want you to tell us about ... So the name Stone Driver; where did that come from?

Chad:     Oh boy ... That was ...

Tim:     That's a good story, right?

Chad:     It involved, I think a dictionary ... It involved a little bit of bourbon. It involved a little bit of pointing at different names ... And we kind of liked it. I mean, the silly stuff aside ... You know, we think about a lot of the modern rock bands and classic rock bands ... We like Stone Temple Pilots, Rolling Stones, et cetera. So kind of that Stone Theme in Rock music.

Tim:     And then the driving music, the driving beat. That goes along with it to.

John:         It wasn't taken.

Chad:     Yeah, that too.

Tim:     After a Google search ...

Chad:     After multiple Google searches worldwide we found one band name that was still available, so we embraced it.

Brian:     You found it, you found the one. And I love it. Tell me the story about how you guys came together. How did Stone Driver come to be?

Chad:     So it ... Really, in this form it was a mix of all of us kind of reaching out, being independent musicians and using some of the different tools that are out there to find other players. Everybody who's been in a band has been down the deep scary pit that is Craigslist. You can get some unique matches there that ... some are appropriate for radio, some are not. And there's other websites like BandMix where you can find profiles of individuals that kinda list what they're looking for, music influences et cetera. So, we were really kind of lucky to form all together using those tools and just jelling.

Tim:     When I hooked up ... Chad and I were ... We've been in the band the longest at this point, but when I joined up I heard these guys, what they were doing, and thought it was just a great sound and I wanted to be a part of that. I thought it had a lot of potential. So, that's what attracted me to it.

Brian:     While I have you here, I realize that they're listening to you and they don't know your voices. So, introduce yourselves real quick.

Tim:     I'm Tim.

Chad:     I'm Chad.

Dan:     I'm Dan

John:         And I'm John.

Brian:     And tell them the instruments too. What do you play?

Tim:     I play bass.

Chad:     I play guitar, which has also been called the bass piccolo by other people.

Dan:     Dan: I'm the drummer.

John:         And I sing.

Brian:     Got it. And together that's the crew. Cool. All right, so now ... Now talk about where music came from for both of you. How did you end up playing music? How did that start?

John:         I think we've all been in bands for a long time. I mean, unlike some of the guys that we see around DC we're a little bit older. Not much, but a little bit older.

     When I playing music in Boston at Boston College, and was part of that scene in the '90s ... And everybody to my left's got more impressive stories than that.

Dan:     So I'm a recent transplant to DC area ... About three years. I'm originally from the Pacific Northwest, so I kind of grew up in that '90s grunge movement that started happening there. So I played a lot of bands around the West Coast. And over here I got to hook up with these guys.

John:         He's doing the like, "Aww, shucks," thing. This guy has shared the stage with the biggest grunge names of that era: Nirvana and Soundgarden ... And he was in a band called The Whirlies that was like setting the stage for what happened in the '90s. So Dan, as usual is being more humble than necessary.

Dan:     Aww shucks ...

Chad:     It's humble drummers ...

Brian:     Thank you for pointing that out, and I want to know those details. So, please call the other guys out to if they do that as well. We want to know these details. Share them with us.

Chad:     This is Chad, and any interesting details I have are completely fabricated. I grew up in a household that was a really big fan of classic rock and blues. At the same time I was growing up ... You know, similar story ... Grunge was coming out and getting really into Nirvana and Soundgarden, and some of the other heavier acts, like Tool ... So those two kind of influences really weighed heavy on me, but definitely a strong blues-rock base . And, you know, some of the classic influences there.

John:         Again, he's playing it down. So this guy's got connections to rock royalty. The Lush name I think most people know out there. And I think there's an Iron Butterfly connection that he might want to talk about.

Chad:     I am declining any 13 minute drum solos. Although I'm sure with the two drummers we have in this studio, they could do it.

Dan:     We need that.

Chad:     No. My uncle got offered the job to play bass for Iron Butterfly back in the day, and respectfully declined to be a teacher. So, you know, he figured,  "Those long bass solos ... that was just to much man. Let's deal with some kindergartners."

     But also a really big influence on me, musically and wanting to play music.

Tim:     Well, as a bass player, a lot of people will sympathize with my origins. My brother was in a band, he was a guitarist, and there was an upcoming battle of the bands, and the bass player in the band left. So I got drafted to be the bass player. This is quite a long time ago. We won the battle of the bands so I stuck with it. I moved out to Colorado. I played in Boulder for several years out there with several bands. About 15-20 years ago I moved back east and have been playing with a variety of different bands here in the DC area. It's been my dream just to play out, get a really tight band and play good original music. I think I found it with these guys. Just a great connection between all of us, musically.

Brian:     Now that's amazing. Now, what's ... One of my favorite questions to ask, and I'd love to ask you guys ... I want to hear from each of your actually. If you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Chad:     Geez ... Just keep at it. I think that's what I'd throw out there. We were talking a little bit before the show and we were talking about how it can be hard to be a local band, although the internet is exploding, sometimes it seems it's that much harder to pull in a draw or let people know it's local. So I would encourage people, and this isn't a shameless plug, to go to websites like DC Music Rocks and get invested in the community. It's out there, and the more that you network with other groups and other people who appreciate the local music ... The sooner you do that, the sooner you're gonna get some more opportunities. But other than that, you gotta keep plugging, keep plugging, keep plugging, and keep trying to be original with how you can get it out there.

Dan:     I think some of it to, at least for me, you have to have fun doing it. I mean ... There's times where we get done practicing and are playing and we kind of look at each other and are like, "That was fun." I think that's a big part of it too. You have to enjoy it.

John:         You gotta get used to playing for the bartender ... I mean, you're gonna have some of those shows. We've outnumbered the people that we're looking at early on, and you gotta do it. I think Dan's absolutely right. You gotta love it; you gotta have fun. You gotta be able to play that show as hard as you would play the Black Cat. And we've had those shows, and we have fun. We've had some tough nights where it's us up there, but we're doing it 'cuz we love doing it and we have fun. We've had some great shows. I would just wish somebody was around to hear it.

Tim:     I'd say my advice would be, as a musician, is just to keep an open mind and listen to all kinds of different music, because you never know what sort of influence you might get from it. And it's always been my goal to try and draw from all kinds of different music. So that would be my musical advice.

Brian:     And you know, that is a perfect segway into my next question, which is; now what do you guys have in your music collection that might surprise us? You're this hard driving rock band, but what do you have in there that might surprise us?

Chad:     I have the greatest Menudo hits in my car right now, and it's great. It spans the entire 17 to 18 year collection with a full cast of rotating members. I probably should try and recover from that one . Miles Davis; been really into that as of late. So, been trying to get a lot smarter on the jazz front and try to expand a bit, musically. So, trying to push myself there.

John:         I'm wearing a special shirt ... I was ... I could never play it. I started out on the bass; never got as good as Tim, anywhere near Tim. But I started out on the bass and I was hooked on the Ska scene. In Boston Bim Skala Bim was breaking out back then, and I aspired to that, and I still listen to that stuff; Chucklehead and Bim everyday.

Dan:     I gotta pretty surprising one, probably. I have the sound track to the Phantom of the Opera.

Tim:     Really?

Dan:     It's good.

John:         He wears the mask a lot of times at shows, and it's kinda creepy.[crosstalk 00:10:49]

Chad:     I get asked to wear the mask a lot, but that's for other reasons.

Tim:     What kind of drum kit do they use on that?

Dan:     A very special drum kit.

Tim:     Mine is no surprise with being a bass player; old school funk. Anything with a hard driving funk beat ... I'm into that.

Brian:     That's awesome. There's Silkman; that hard driving funk beat is a key to a lot people's hearts too. So that makes a lot of sense.

     Now, just to wrap here. Make sure if those who are listening want to find out more about you guys, where do they go to find out?

Chad:     So Facebook is usually the most up to date. We're @StoneDriverBand on Facebook so you can find us pretty easily there. We've also recently taken to Instagram, which is Stone_Driver on Instagram. And finally, after some years of counseling the band has convinced me to delete our MySpace page, so any aficionados out there ... I apologize. It's no longer an option

Brian:     Excellent.

John:         And Stone Driver.com

5/9/17 - Conrad Osipowicz, Founder and Owner of Blue Room Recording Studio

Big thanks to Conrad for joining us on the show this week!

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Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice

FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Brighter Day by Caroline Ferrante (Indie/Americana)
  2. Danger Close by His Dream of Lions (Pop/Rock)
  3. Down by Jen Miller (Indie/Indie Pop)
  4. Carolina by Hello Dharma (Pop/R&B)
  5. Back Where I Started by Pressing Strings (Folk/Rock)
  6. I'm Okay by Nelly's Echo (Pop/Soul)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

NEW RELEASES

THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE

SEE THE FULL CALENDAR - You can even filter to shows nearby!  We hope you'll go to one!

Fri May 12

Lesson Zero @ Rhodeside Grill in Arlington, VA
Olivia Mancini & Run Come See @ Rock & Roll Hotel in DC

Sat May 13

Kingman Island Bluegrass Fest
The Split Seconds, Derek Evry, 9 to 5, and Fellowcraft @ VFW Post 9274 in Falls Church, VA

Sun May 14

Veronneau @ Villain & Saint in Bethesda, MD

Mon May 15

Thievery Corporation w/ Orchestra @ Kennedy Center in DC

Tues May 16

Lanternfish, Technicians @ Black Cat in DC

Wed May 17

Ken Wenzel @ Ireland’s 4 Courts in Arlington, VA

Thurs May 18

Backbeat Underground @ Villain & Saint in Bethesda, MD

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



CONRAD OSIPOWICZ

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

The Blue Room Live Video Link Brian and Conrad discussed: https://www.facebook.com/blueroommusicstudio/videos/1453223031355708/

Bio:

Conrad founded Blue Room Productions in 2009 after graduating Magna cum Laude from Emerson College in Boston, MA with achievements in audio/radio production and entrepreneurial studies. While living in Boston, Conrad acted as the Live Mix Director for WERS 88.9 FM, one of the largest stations broadcasting to the New England area and online around the world.

As a producer and engineer, Conrad has continued to push his boundaries by attending workshops, master classes and industry conferences which have taken him as far as Avignon, France, attending the Mix With the Masters seminar with legendary grammy-award winning engineer Chris Lord-Alge. As an experienced producer with over 13 years of experience and a veteran drummer, Conrad is one of the most versatile and respected producers in the DC area, as well as being a voting member for the Grammy’s. He’s also a member of the Audio Engineering Society, a society comprised of leading audio engineers and scientists as well as the Washington D.C. chapter of the Grammy Foundation.

 

Conrad playing drums for his Tool Tribute Band which he discussed on this episode.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spotlight on the great songs and incredible people behind the DC region's music scene. Now, let's get to know one of those incredible people. We have Conrad, who founded Blue Room Productions in 2009 after graduating from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, in audio and radio production and entrepreneurial studies. While living in Boston, Conrad acted as the live mix director for WERS 88.9, which is what you mentioned earlier with Thievery Corporation, that's where you came across them, so the Boston connection. It's one of the largest stations broadcasting to the New England area, and online around the world, so as an experienced producer with over 13 years of experience, and a veteran drummer, Conrad is one of the most versatile and respected producers in the DC area as well as being a voting member of the Grammys. That's what everyone wants to know, right? Are you a voting member of the Grammys? This man is one of those people. He is also a member of the Audio Engineering Society and overall great guy.

      I first came across Conrad when my band, we had entered into the competition for a Whammy, for the Washington Area Music Awards, and my album got picked up as a possibility for that. Conrad heard the album, and he reached out, and wanted to do ... He has something awesome called Blue Room Live, which we'll talk about here in the interview, but I got to participate in it. I'll be sure to share that video with you, because that was a cool experiece. It's awesome he's sharing those videos. It turns out, by the way, he's an awesome guy, so afterwards it was like, "All right, Conrad, I want you to come on the show man, let's talk to you." Listeners it's with great pleasure that I get to formally introduce Conrad.

Conrad:     Thanks very much, thanks for having me and thanks for your kind words.

Brian:     Thanks for being here. Now, one of the things I want to know, first, I want to know why is it called Blue Room?

Conrad:     The first studio, I have one location in Maryland and one in Virginia, the original Blue Room Studio, the walls were blue before I arrived. It was a empty room with a carpet and these funky red lips couches, no recording equipment, no vocal booth, and the walls were blue, so the name kind of stuck for the last seven, eight years.

Brian:     Became the Blue Room.

Conrad:     It sure did.

Brian:     There you go. That's really funny. At what point did you ... It wasn't when you first moved in you called it the Blue Room, then it became, ultimately, a business name.

Conrad:     Yeah.

Brian:     When did it go from the nickname to the real name?

Conrad:     I never knew even the name would last or stick around and it would be as notable as it is now, but even the second studio in Virginia, all the walls are painted blue in all of the rooms, the isolation room, control room, everything is blue. It fit.

Brian:     It became for real then. That's amazing, all right. Now talk about, for those listeners who don't know, I was talking about Blue Room Live. Tell them what that is and where that came from.

Conrad:     Absolutely.

Brian:     Talk about that.

Conrad:     Well were trying to follow similar to your footsteps, we want to support local music, and be a hub for local DC musicians to meet at our studio, to connect with each other, to perform their original songs, and to get out there into the environment. It's difficult now, in 2017, it's a completely different landscape as far as promoting your live music, so we're trying to give local talent an opportunity to perform and stream live in our studio to Facebook, or YouTube, to have a great avenue to get out to their fans and friends.

Brian:     That is really cool. Where did the idea come from for that? Was that ...

Conrad:     I'm very much into technology, I'm a nerd, and a geek at heart. Hybrid musician and nerd, so recording engineer worked out.

Brian:     I appreciate your honesty sir.

Conrad:     [inaudible 00:03:29]

Brian:     It's that nerd thing.

Conrad:     I'm very much into emerging technology, things which are right over the horizon. I'm just now getting heavy into 3D and VR, being able to broadcast a live concert from our studio in VR and to the goggles people wear around the country, around the world.

Brian:     Wow.

Conrad:     Maybe six, nine months ago, I knew that Facebook and YouTube, they're investing into infrastructure for live streaming, but up until a certain point you could only stream with your phone. Trying to find a way to do it with multiple camera angles, a very high quality audio mix from ProTools, everything done live on the fly like a radio show, like today. There's a lot of added pressure, it's a much different mentality verses just booking the studio for a session and recording, recording as many takes as you want. There's really a lot more added pressure when you're trying to hit that live broadcast, as you know.

Brian:     Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we do it live on here and then we also share the recording, but same thing with Blue Room Live too. If you got to the Blue Room ... The Facebook tag is ...

Conrad:     BlueRoomLive.com will take you right to our Facebook site where those streams occur, BlueRoomMusicStudio.com tells you all about our studio, and Blue Room Live takes you right to the archive of all of our previous live streams.

Brian:     Awesome, so definitely, they've had some amazing groups that have been on there. By all means check out fellow crafter, Black Alley was the one right after us, I thought that was amazing. They do incredible sound because it's a recording studio.

Conrad:     You got it.

Brian:     You guys really do justice to how awesome the sound is of these bands.

Conrad:     We care about that too, I'm not satisfied with someone streaming off the internal mic on their iPhone, I want to have a high quality stream to listen to. Band like Black Alley, last month, we had 6,500 simultaneous viewers tuning in from our tiny study in Herdon, Virginia. It was a blessing and we're hoping to do that all summer long.

Brian:     Now the musicians, I've had a couple musicians ask me, because they thought it was incredible, which it did, if they were interested in signing up for that ...

Conrad:     Sure.

Brian:     ... or getting to know. What's the best way for them to reach you for that?

Conrad:     I encourage any local groups to contact us to do a live stream, or just to chat, and to talk about a potential project, or any way we can collaborate, and support, and be a hub for musicians in the area. The best thing is just give us a call or send us an email, it's info@BlueRoomMusicStudio.com. Feel free to send samples of your work, any information you can share about the group, your experience recording and performing in the DC area, and we'd be happy to host you.

Brian:     Yeah that's awesome, very cool. Kind of right now, what about ... Now I know you're also a musician too, so talk about that. What are you into with music around here?

Conrad:     I've been a drummer for about 17 years so far.

Brian:     [inaudible 00:06:11] high five on the drummer thing.

Conrad:     High five on drums.

Brian:     That's it, all right.

Conrad:     Team drummer here.

Brian:     Yeah.

Conrad:     That's really my primary instrument, I can hang on guitar and bass as well, but I'd say at least more recently over the last few years, my primary passion, my primary instrument seems to be the mixer in the recording studio. That's where I live most of the time.

Brian:     that's a very powerful instrument. It should not be overlooked, that's for sure.

Conrad:     Agreed.

Brian:     Now, so you play around town now. How did the Tool tribute band, how did that start?

Conrad:     I play in a band called Wild Eyes, we're a Tool tribute group. We've been performing for over four years already in New York, Virginia, Baltimore area. I'm into not just loud, aggressive, screaming metal, but something that's a bit more powerful, something with something interesting to listen to, especially in the rhythm department as you can imagine. I'm into music with a lot of polyrhythms, a lot of double bass, a lot of kind of unique blue notes, and odd type signatures, and strange maybe non-typical western music you might hear on the radio. Tool is right up my alley. We play these epic songs from maybe seven to maybe 15 minutes long. There are these long twisted epic songs that we idolize these guys, I'm actually going to see them perform three times in 10 days in DC, New York, and Boston, in two weeks.

Brian:     Wow.

Conrad:     It will be really cool. I will be loaded on Tool.

Brian:     That's cool. All right, so you go see some shows. Now what else with what you're doing ... Talk about outside of music now, and outside of the studio, who is Conrad outside of that? Hobbies, what do you do outside of that?

Conrad:     Not much. I'm so heavy, I'm so passionate into audio engineering, into high fidelity, high quality, high resolution audio and video, that's a really a passion of mine. All my friends are musicians, whenever I have free time I'm always going to shows at any venue in the DC area. I've been to the Fillmore twice already this month. I've there all the time, seeing shows downtown, Velvet Lounge, Black Cat, DC 9, trying to not only meet other musicians, but trying to support my friends, and their shows, and they support me and my endeavor, and my studio, so I try to pay it back, as you're doing also.

Brian:     Now I can't let you get away with just saying more music, so tell us something else man. What else is outside? Is there a certain TV show you like, are you a hardcore workout guy, is there any ... Do you have pets at home, or any kind ... What's outside of it.

Conrad:     I have a beautiful German Shepherd, Silver, that I adore. I try to get to the gym when I can every now and then. I don't have cable TV, so I don't even watch that much TV, just a little Apple TV now and then. The majority of my time and love, which gets me out of bed every day is running my business, running the studios, mixing, mastering, meeting new clients, traveling when I can. I'm very involved and very active in the DC chapter of the Grammys, and go to all of their events, and panel discussions. I'm quite active in the AES, Audio Engineering Society, a group of professional engineers and producers. I travel to all of their affairs and expos in LA and New York. I've been to the Grammys five times already, so I travel to LA every year and vote on the ballot and try to stay very active in my community.

Brian:     I think you succeed in that, so it's not just trying, I definitely think you succeed. Now talk about what's something in your music collection that might surprise us?

Conrad:     I try to be extremely open when people, you ask people, "What kind of music do you listen to?" They say, "I listen to everything." I really try to listen to everything. I try to be well versed and try to listen to top charting songs on Spotify, even styles I may not typically reach for, it doesn't have to be rock, it doesn't have to be metal, I listen to pop songs, jazz, folk, country, gospel, blues, reggae, because I have to be familiar with those genres. My clients expect that kind of contemporary sound, or maybe they're looking for a older vintage sound, who knows?

Brian:     Got it.

Conrad:     I try to be extremely well versed, like a chef who might cook all different types of cuisine around the world. I want to be the same capacity as a recording engineer, very well versed.

Brian:     You're well versed, is there one that surprises you that's in your music collection?

Conrad:     You know, I'd say while I enjoy working with pop singers, and individual singer song writers who maybe play guitar and sing, or play piano and sing, I always gravitate towards working with bands, and recording live instruments. I much always ... I prefer to set up a live drum set, and mic it up, and track live drums instead of resorting to drum loops, or sequencing, or using some midi synthesizer or something like that to ... As far as strange genres, I really don't have any. I'm extremely neutral. Even country music, and hip hop, and jazz, and every perspective, I try to do it all. A bunch of my friends invited me to see deadmau5 at Merriweather Post in Columbia. I don't go to too many EDM shows, or electronic shows, so that was something different for me.

Brian:     You were there?

Conrad:     I was there.

Brian:     Awesome.

Conrad:     I was there seeing with the animations, and the subs, and the lasers, and fog, and everything, and it was pretty wild. I was the guy in the back with the custom earplugs in my ear, protecting my ears. I'm usually that guy.

Brian:     Yep, absolutely. Hey listen, custom earplugs, if you like live music, or you work with live music, custom earplugs, or at least hi-fi earplugs are definitely a great investment.

Conrad:     Agreed.

Brian:     I'm glad you're doing that.

Conrad:     Critical.

Brian:     Now, earliest memory with music.

Conrad:     Well I started playing drums at age 12, I certainly remember growing listening to whatever my parents, my family, was playing, driving in my dad's blue Nissan ZX300, listening to Deep Purple. Of course he's a big fan of the Beatles too, so those were heavy influences in me too. I started playing piano for about a year or two, and took a lot of lessons, but at age 10 or 11 it's difficult to really stick with it. As soon as I tried drums, and even sitting at the kitchen table, and my dad was trying to demo, and grill me, and see if I can play simple rhythms on the table. I did, and I passed, so he said, "All right, let's sign you up for drum lessons." From age 12 on I've been very deep into percussion and drums. That really carries over even into my career as an audio engineer, because I'm a stickler for timing, and making sure the groove feels correct, and feels proper. Things have to be in tune, and in time, and if the drums aren't feeling right, I sit and analyze, and nudge, the drums around, and force them to get into time. Because nothing bothers me more than a strange, a funky feeling groove. I don't mean funky in a good way, in the bad way.

Brian:     It's funky in the kind of smells way, right? I get you.

Conrad:     There you go.

Brian:     All right now, one of my favorite questions to ask is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Conrad:     Networking and connections, especially in smaller markets, not in Nashville, or New York, or LA for example, but in a city like DC, being friendly, being outgoing, and collaborating with other musicians is everything. My business and my career as an engineer, as a musician, as a band mate, wouldn't survive without other people, and without connections and assistance from them too. Going and being active in your community, going to events, whether it's Grammys, or AES, or something else you're interested and passionate about, you got to get up, you got to get out of bed, you got to get dressed and go to these events. A lot of them are Saturday, Sundays, some of them are in different cities, but to go and smile, and pass out business cards, and meet people, you never know who calls you six months, or six years later, and says, "I met you a while ago. You had this metal business card. I need an album to be mixed," or, "I have a song to master," or something like that. You never know who is going to knock on your door.

Brian:     You sound like you have experience with that, is there a story that comes to mind with that one that [inaudible 00:14:29]

Conrad:     I recall the first time I went to the Grammys, which was about five or six years ago, I sat one row in front at the Staples Center in LA with ... There was a reggae artist behind me who we just started talking, and had some time to kill. I gave him my card, and months later he called me and booked me to mix his entire album. That alone, that project alone paid for my whole trip to LA, and all my meetings, and travel, et cetera.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Conrad:     I never knew, I never guessed he would call. I even forgot about him, and he call and said, "I remember, I was sitting behind you at the Grammys at the Staple Center. Let's do some work together." You never know who's going to give you a call.

Brian:     That's amazing. That networking thing, I love it. Now, if folks want to find out more about you and the cool things happening at Blue Room, where do they go?

Conrad:     I encourage you to check out BlueRoomMusicStudio.com, that's the domain for my two studios. One is in Bethesda, Maryland, one in Herndon, Virginia, we're about half an hour from the White House, from downtown Washington. I'd love anyone and everyone to reach out, and if you'd ever like to come by for a studio tour, or need a consultation for your project, I engineer, and I have a few other very talented engineers I'd be happy to introduce you.

May 02, 2017 - Special Guest: Vintage#18

Big thank you to Bill and Robbin of Vintage#18 for stopping by!

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Fuss by Monday Mistress (Hard Rock/Alternative Rock)
  2. Love Hangover by Vintage#18 (Blues/Soul)
  3. Spirit Down by Sol Roots (Rock/Funk)
  4. Be Your Baby by Katie Hargrove (Pop/R&B)
  5. Better Not Get Me Started by Randy Thompson Band (Country)
  6. Open A Window, Let In The Sun by Patty Reese (Blues/Indie)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

NEW RELEASES

THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE

SEE THE FULL CALENDAR

Fri May 5

Near Northeast @ St Stephen & the Incarnation in DC
Katie Hargrove @ Ellipse Rooftop Bar in DC
Edjacated Phools @ Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD

Sat May 6

FUNK PARADE on U St in DC, from 12noon to 10pm, SO MANY GOOD SHOWS!  GO!

Sun May 7

Surprise Attack @ Courthaus Social in Arlington, VA

Mon May 8

Heather Mae @ Mansion on O St in DC

Tues May 9

Wylder @ Rock and Roll Hotel in DC

Wed May 10

AZTEC SUN @ Villain & Saint in Bethesda, MD

Thurs May 11

Jason Masi @ Sonoma Cellar in Alexandria, VA

 

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



VINTAGE#18

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Bio:

D.C.-based Soul-Blues band Vintage#18 debuts with their album titled GRIT

The album reflects the band’s love of classic 60’s Soul and Blues, featuring a mix of originals as well as two covers (ZZ Top and Bob Dylan) and a whole lot of elbow grease. Grit, you might say. 

Vintage#18 chose to self-produce GRIT, and a framework was in place before most of the album was written. One of the goals when they first started rehearsing was to make sure that the sound didn’t fit solely into a single genre. Blues, Soul and other familiar elements appear but should mix in a way that brings unexpected experiences for listeners and dancers too. This idea worked well in live settings, so the album was approached the same way. If you do it, stay true to it—but you can always do “it” in new ways.

Vintage

Performing together since 2013, the band started in the clubs near their home in Northern Virginia. Residencies in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are the backbone of a circuit that extends across the Eastern Seaboard. In 2016, they represented the Central Virginia Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee and continue to appear in the city. They have been fortunate to share stages with several great performers, among them The Nighthawks, Billy Price, Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials and Albert Cummings.

They’ve always shared the same thoughts about music and in particular their live shows, “we’re here to move you, one way or another.” The sound reflects their love of traditional blues and soul but also the desire to bring it current for new audiences. Vintage #18 brings a high-energy show with hard-driving blues rhythms and soul grooves that will move you. Built on a framework of uniquely talented and dedicated musicians, the album features the unique sound of Bill Holter on guitar (a.k.a. #18), while the groove is laid down by Alex Kuldell on drums and Mark Chandler on bass. Soulful vocals are delivered by newcomer and bandleader Robbin Kapsalis, and the collective Good-Mojo-Getdown is provided by all.

There’s a lot to say about making music in general but sometimes words don’t cover it. When you write, rehearse, play and record music then you’ve said a lot already. So really the only thing left to do is hear it. Vintage #18 hopes that you do, but you might want to move some furniture first. No sense getting hurt when you’re movin’ and groovin’, y’all.

Links: 

Official Website URL: https://www.vintage18.net/

Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/VintageEighteen/

iTunes Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/vintage-18/id1216379233

Spotify Link: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5Msq0clt6RlQd8umRkW2Ys

Other Links: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/vintage18

URL for one Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQeUfTGv0hv70FmDp1TiJdQ?feature=watch

BandsInTown Link: http://www.bandsintown.com/Vintage#18

Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/vintageeighteen

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     On DC Music Rocks we're shining a spotlight on the great songs and incredible people behind the DC regions music scene. Let's get to know some of those incredible people here. Performing together since 2013, Vintage#18 started in the clubs near their home in Northern Virginia. Residencies at clubs in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia are the back bone of a circuit that the band continues to build. There sounds reflect their love of traditional blues and soul, but also the desire to bring a current for new audiences. Vintage#18 brings a high energy show with hard driving blues, rhythms, and soul grooves that will move you as you've heard from that right there. They hope when you listen, you move some furniture aside first because there's no sense in getting hurt while you're moving and grooving to their tracks. I first stumbled across these guys a couple weeks ago when their release came out and it sounded awesome, so listeners it's with great pleasure that I introduce formally Bill and Robbin from Vintage#18.

Robbin:     Well hey there, thanks for having us.

Bill:     Indeed.

Brian:     Now, can we start out ... Can you tell us the story behind the name? Where does vintage number 18 come from?

Robbin:     I'm going to let ... That's Bill's story.

Bill:     I'm a vintage guitar dealer and I got a chance to demo a pedal from a company from Nashville and they sent me number 18.

Brian:     Excellent.

Bill:     Whenever I communicated with the company I just said, "Tell them it's number 18."

Brian:     When was this? How long ago was this?

Bill:     This was 2012 probably.

Robbin:     Yeah.

Brian:     Got it.

Robbin:     Well he shared that story with me and when we first started we were the Robbin Kapsalis band. I wanted something different. I wanted something to stand out. Our base player, Mark Chandler, he's extremely picky about band names and so-

Bill:     He doesn't like any band name.

Robbin:     No.

Brian:     Mark, that's okay, we love you anyway man. That's great.

Robbin:     I came to rehearsal one evening and after thinking about it awhile and I said, "Hey guys, what do you think of Vintage number 18?" Everybody looked at Mark and we all looked at one another and we said, okay. The guys said they liked it and I was so shocked. I said okay wow. It stuck, so we-

Brian:     When was that? This is 2013?

Robbin:     Yes. Yes.

Brian:     Awesome.

Robbin:     Later in 2013.

Brian:     How did you guys come together? How do you know each other?

Bill:     Well it all started when, for me at least, when I went up to the Sully's jam after another band fell apart and I said, let's see who's hanging out, out here. What kind of trouble can I get into? I walked in and Robbin was singing Million Miles which is on our debut CD. It's a Bob Dylan song.

Brian:     Oh cool.

Bill:     I went, wait a minute. I should be playing guitar for her.

Brian:     The band started out of jealousy?

Bill:     No.

Robbin:     No.

Brian:     I'm just teasing.

Bill:     [inaudible 00:03:28] a typical guitar player thing.

Brian:     Right.

Robbin:     That's what that was.

Bill:     [inaudible 00:03:33].

Robbin:     It was really interesting. I mean Bill and I sit in on multiple sets throughout the blues jams, I would say for several months and we got to know one another and we just started talking about a band, putting a band together. I know it's something that I wanted to do. I'd been on the scene basically bouncing from one open mic, one blues jam to another, two or three a week for over a year, just shining it up, getting ready to do what ... This is what I wanted to do. I know sometimes I would meet up with Bill on a Sunday and we would be at Sully's blues jam and it was so loud we'd have to duck into the supply closet to get our thoughts out. Let's do this.

Bill:     It was the only place where you could talk.

Robbin:     We're not getting any younger, so let's do this. This is what Bill said.

Brian:     Yes, okay. I love it. Now, where did the ... Oh man I just had it. It's one of those lost my frame of thought moments. You guys, the band formed and then you came together and when did it become a, okay we're going to record and album and we're going to put this out now.

Robbin:     This wasn't until, I would say two years after we had gotten together and started making our rounds, you know our rounds within the DMV. We had already traveled out to Nashville for an ... We performed at an amp show which was very exciting.

Bill:     We did that twice.

Robbin:     Yes and we ... I've been writing for years, however I was really shy to share my lyrics and I don't play an instrument but I know music I know what I like and what I wanted for the songs and so I took that leap of faith and brought in some lyrics. The first lyrics I brought in were for circles and love hangover. Between the guys, they came up, they basically built on what I had, that the lyrics, and the little melody that I brought it. Let's do this oh no no no. I'm just counting it out.

Brian:     Yeah, I gotcha.

Robbin:     That's the way I write my songs. It worked, it worked.

Brian:     Where did music come in to ... How did music enter your lives? Where did it start for you guys?

Bill:     Probably the ventures in the early surf stuff growing up and then the British invasion, of course Jimmy Hendrix, Crane, bands that I saw. My first concert was-

Brian:     Got it. When did you start playing?

Bill:     I started playing probably ‘63.

Brian:     Got it. You've been at this for a lot of years then?

Bill:     Yeah, but I'm still a young man.

Brian:     This is your first album that's been released though?

Bill:     I've been on a lot of other peoples' projects, but this is the first time I've put an album out. It's something that had a long time coming.

Brian:     That's right high five right there.  Yeah.

Bill:     I kept looking for the right group of people and by golly I think I've found them.

Brian:     You found them!  Now Robbin what is your story with music? How did that start for you?

Robbin:     Oh goodness. I've been listening to music since I was a child. My family, we love music. We are yeah. My Aunt Annabelle, she used to play all the old soul and blues, the Muddy Waters, the Ada James, the soul music, Clean Up Woman with Betty Wright. I'm dancing around in my socks in the living room with her. I've always wanted to perform, I just didn't have opportunity growing up and I was also very shy believe it or not.

Brian:     Were you singing growing up in out places?

Robbin:     Church choir.

Brian:     Church okay.

Robbin:     Church choir.

Brian:     Okay I got it, it's a church thing right, gotcha.

Robbin:     Fast forward, young adult, still wanting to perform not able to, life happens, you get married you have children, those become the priority. I did not make music a priority. Now I'm an empty nester. My kids are grown.

Brian:     Oh man.

Robbin:     Yes.

Brian:     All right you're a free woman now. You got a little bit of time to do some stuff like this.

Robbin:     I relocated from Atlanta about six years ago with the company I'm currently working with and I found all this extra time I had on my hands and I said, okay I need to get out and get some music under my belt. That's what I started doing.

Brian:     That's cool. Now what about-

Robbin:     From one thing to another.

Brian:     What about outside, now outside of the music then, in your personal time, do you have any hobbies? What do you guys do outside of the music?

Bill:     Well I have the constant task of looking around for old guitars and musical instruments because that's what I've been doing-

Brian:     Collector.

Bill:     -since 1989, professionally.

Brian:     Oh. Say more about that, what do you mean?

Bill:     Well, I started out with just amplifiers, would refurbish them and I did my first guitar show in 1990 in Dallas, Texas. These guys came around and looked at me booth full of amps and went, this is a guitar show what are you doing with all these amps? I said, look you guys are going to need to have amplifiers for those guitars that you're selling, so here I am.

Brian:     That's cool.

Bill:     I look for old guitars and musical instruments of all stripes.

Brian:     Do you sell them?

Bill:     Yes.

Brian:     Or coll ... I got it. What's the name of ... Is it a business?

Bill:     Yes it's called vintage sound.

Brian:     Vintage sound, so if they google vintage sound they will find what you're doing.

Bill:     Yes.

Brian:     Got it, that's cool and Robbin what about you? Outside of the music thing.

Robbin:     More music.

Brian:     What does that mean? Listening to music?

Robbin:     Listening.

Brian:     Or go to live shows? say more.

Robbin:     Yes, I attend live shows. I listen. One of my favorite groups are the Gypsy Kings. One of my favorite groups outside of the soul blue genres I enjoy other genres as well, to include the likes of Bette Middler, Barbara Streisand. I listen to it all, jazz and that's what I enjoy. I enjoy spending time with family and friends but believe it or not this past year I've been all consumed with the album, with the band, with, yeah.

Brian:     I feel you. All right now last question I love to ask in these interviews is, if you could offer one piece of advice what would it be?

Robbin:     As a band?

Brian:     However you want to answer that, that one's open ended.

Robbin:     I would say because we are a newly formed band together now, for a little over four years, I think that even though it's captain obvious to say communication is key, I can't stress that enough and I think it's easy to say oh no we're good, we're buds, we communicate. No. You need to have a point person within the band to make things run smoothly and I think that's, as far as having a band, that's what I would offer, and please don't give up. I am-

Brian:     Don't give up, I love it.

Robbin:     Don't give up because it's ... Here I am. I'm a grandmother. I'm a new grandmother.

Brian:     Congratulations.

Robbin:     Thank you.

Brian:     [inaudible 00:11:37]

Robbin:     I wanted to do this. My son, he told me, he says, "It's like you just woke up one day and decided oh I think I'll have a band."

Brian:     Fantastic.

Robbin:     I said, "No, sweetie it wasn't like that."

Brian:     It's been a lot of years in the running, you just didn't know. For those listeners, now for listeners who want to find out more about you guys, where do they go to find out more about Vintage number 18?

Robbin:     Vintage18.net.

Brian:     Vintage18.net, so that's the website. Now you guys, is there a certain social media that you love more than the others?

Robbin:     Facebook, yes.

Brian:     Facebook.

Robbin:     Instagram, yes. Hit us up. Twitter absolutely.

Brian:     Reach out.

April 25, 2017 - Special Guest: Dior Ashley Brown

Thanks to the incredible, Ms. Dior Ashley Brown for swinging by this week!

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Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice

FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. War Paint by JDVBBS  (Pop/R&B)
  2. W Street Clean by Dior Ashley Brown (Hip-Hop/ Funk)
  3. Natural by Colie Aziza (Jazz/Soul)
  4. Djinnie by SoundProof Genie (R&B/Neo Soul)
  5. Keeping my eyes on you by Nia Simmons, Aaron AB Abernathy, Dior Ashley Brown (R&B/ Soul)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

**During this episode, Dior couldn't remember the name of the boy band from way back that was on her sleeping bag as a kid, she remembered after the show, it was New Kids On The Block!**

DC Music Summit - Saturday 4/29  -  http://www.dcmusicsummit.org/

Music Venue Acre 121 is closing - Last Day, Saturday 4/29 - I’m gonna miss that stage, that staff, and those Barbecue Wings!  What will you miss?  Last night will feature rockin cover band, The Perfectionists

Funk Parade
Day fair, parade, and music festival // U St. // 12noon-10pm // Sat May 6th
70,000+ attended last year
They have an App this year for smartphones
https://www.funkparade.com

NEW RELEASES

The Duskwhales - Sorrowful Mysteries

Den-Mate - Entropii

Lookout Gang - Shadow Chasers

THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE

Go to DCMusicRocks.com and check out the local music calendar to see the full list we have of all the great upcoming local shows.  There’s so many good ones all over the region, here’s my highlights from the calendar for the week.

Fri 4/28
Turtle Recall   @ O’Sullivan’s   IN Arlington, VA

Sat 4/29
JDVBBS   @ Dr Clock’s Nowhere Bar   IN DC
Black Masala   @ Caddies On Cordell   IN Bethesda, MD
Sub-Radio   @ Sauf Haus   IN DC

Wed 5/3
JDVBBS   @ Iota Club & Cafe   in Arlington, VA

Thurs 5/4
Lookout Gang & District Skypunch   @ RNR Hotel   in DC
Tempercrush   @ Evening Star Cafe   in DelRay, VA

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



DIOR ASHLEY BROWN

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Bio:

DCMusicRocks-Dior-Ashley-Brown

Dior Ashley Brown is a Performing Artist, Entrepreneur, and Co-Founder of REformance Art. Her disciplines include Hip-Hop Emcee, Actor, Poet, and Host. She is a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts and University of Maryland College, Park Theatre Arts Programs. Destined for Greatness Performance Arts Coach to formerly incarcerated Youth at the "Level Up" Program. Co-Founder and Organizer of the "First Annual DC Music Summit." She is a Proud of St. Augustine Young Adult Association, at St. Augustine Church. Celebrity Interviewer for the Legendary and Historic Howard Theatre to Include: De La Soul, Marsha Ambrosius, Curren$y, Charlie Murphy, Eric Roberson, Gregory Porter, Raheem DeVaughn and others. A recent Co-Host to the "BoxCutters Podcast," broadcasting at One Love Massive Studios, alongside Nicky Chinito and DJ Chalant. And performs live all over the DMV and beyond as "Dior Ashley Brown & The dAb Band," She is a lover of life, community curator, and a driven humanitarian.

Dior is a passionate in creating ways to inform and involve her community. Her most recent accomplishments include: Paneling the "Diggin' DC" Hip Hop Theatre Festival at The Arc Theatre, Subversive Artists Hip Hop Panel and first two years of "The Annual Black Theatre Symposium" At University of Maryland, College Park; debuting in the theatre production "It's What We Do," directed by Pamela Nice a play based on IDF soldiers testimonies in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as part of the 2015 Capital Fringe Festival, Hosting the 2015 & 2016 Annual Ward 7 Business and Community Festivals; Co-Organizing, Co-Hosting, Co-Creating and Co-Curating "The Accelerate with Google First Annual DC Music Summit 2016," traveling to SXSW 2016 in Austin, Texas to one of the largest music conferences in the country in which she raised money to be an Ambassador for the arts collective Mousai House and DC creative community, Panelist at the Building the Music Capital Conference, and has most recently invited to panel the 2017 “Sounds of the City” D.C. Music Arts and Interactive Festival.

 

Links: 

www.diorashleybrown.com

https://www.facebook.com/DiorAshleyBrownMusic/

https://soundcloud.com/diorashleybrown

https://www.youtube.com/user/MizzDABisBAD

https://twitter.com/Diorashleybrown

https://www.instagram.com/diorashleybrown/

 

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:    Dior Ashley Brown is a performing artist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of REformance Art.

Dior A. B.:       Yes.

Brian:    She is a hiphop emcee, an actor, a poet, and a host in the DC area. She is a graduate or Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts.

Dior A. B.:       Whoop whoop.

Brian:    And the University of Maryland's Theater Arts Program.

Dior A. B.:       Go Terps.

Brian:    So aside from performing live all over the DMV and beyond as Dior Ashley Brown and the dAb Band, some of her inspiring work with the DC art scene includes working with formerly incarcerated youth at the Level Up Program and rubbing elbows with the stars as a celebrity interviewer for the legendary and historic Howard Theater.

    She is a lover of life, community curator, a driven humanitarian and a passionate. She is passionate about creating ways to inform and involve her community.

Dior A. B.:       Indeed, indeed.

Brian:    I first came across this amazing woman when I was at the Building the Music Capital Summit last year. She just had some really cool things to say. That presence, every time I've seen her, she's got that presence on stage that is just kind of magnetic. It's an honor and it's with great pleasure that I get to formally introduce Dior Ashley Brown.

Dior A. B.:       Thank you so much for having me, that was beautiful.

Brian:    Thank you for being here. Talk about, where did the dAb Band come from? Did it start as just you and then it was a band? How did that happen?

Dior A. B.:       It did start as just me, Dior Ashley Brown, and then the whole dAB band came out. I was like, those are my initials; my boy was like, "You've been dabbing Dior." A shout out to Primary Element for that one. The band, we were jamming for about a year or two at the MOUSAi House and at the 411 Arts Collective. Some of my classmates came and started vibing, I'd been out and doing their respective things. We kind of came together and starting doing this funky thing, and started collaborating.

Brian:    Yeah, okay and it came together as the band. Now for those who don't know, you mentioned those places; the 411 Arts Collective. What were those things in case they don't know what that is?

Dior A. B.:       Yeah. 411 New York Avenue Northeast, we were inside of an artist loft, a huge building that had about 50 or more artists actually in the space. Then we would have about 200-300 more artists coming inside and out of that space. Unfortunately we were pushed out by a $15 million contract for another boutique hotel, which is right next to a hotel. That's what happened, that's the story behind 411.

Brian:    These are the glory days, back in the day. Now I brought up a lot of things when I was introducing you. When you think about the main things that you're involved in, when you're describing yourself, because I brought up a lot; what comes to mind when you're saying that? Who is Dior Ashley Brown to you when you're thinking about it?

Dior A. B.:       That's a great question. I feel like I'm this creative community curator, this historian in a sense that's trying to hold on to the pieces of DC and making sure that the community that I'm from is acknowledged and still represented or still being told. My granddaddy had a bike shop on 14th Street, on the corner right there and my church is St. Augustine. We were right there on 14 and V, we grew up over there riding our bikes all the time, going to The Carryout, getting mumbo sauce and wings and french fries.

     It's just crazy how DC has changed, but we want to make sure to cultivate a lot of the businesses and community that existed before. I feel like that's what I'm trying to do.

Brian:    Got it, community curator. That's that one, I dig it. Now I brought up, how did you get involved in, there was the underprivileged youth I talked about and also the Howard Theater. How did those two things come about?

Dior A. B.:       Honestly, everything that I'm in has really been organic. I've been the type of artist that wants to submerge in my creativity and my talents, and I had to in a way to pay the bills. I had to really attach myself to other things and I was like, "Wow." I ended up having a good time in it and just fully being in those moments. It would strengthen a lot of those tools. Friends would be like, "Dior, you would be an awesome teacher. Why don't you try working out in this program?"

      At the time, those were the jobs that we could get during the recession. There were a lot of opportunities to work with kids and I ended up really loving it. I've been doing it for maybe five or six years with these formerly incarcerated youth doing one on ones, taking them outside of their peripheral that they knew and taking them to the museums, and having them work on my shows as being part of my event staff. They got that one on one opportunity.

Brian:    Got it, that's cool. The Howard Theater?

Dior A. B.:       My friends were like, "Yo, will you come and host?", and I said yeah. I've never interviewed and I was super nervous about interviewing. I think my first one was Lyfe Jennings and that was a tough interview.

Brian:    For those who don't know Lyfe Jennings, who's Lyfe Jennings?

Dior A. B.:       Lyfe Jennings is an R&B hip hop artist. He's definitely dope, he's been out for years. I actually also interviewed the late and great Charlie Murphy.

Brian:    Wow, Charlie Murphy.

Dior A. B.:       Yeah, Charlie Murphy is something else.

Brian:    Good gracious. Now talk about you outside of these things. You're involved in a lot of these things, so on the personal side; you got any hobbies? What do you do outside of work per se?

Dior A. B.:       You know, that's a really good question. One of my things, I do binge watch. I'm in love with-

Brian:    Binge watch? Share with us.

Dior A. B.:       Oh my God, Netflix.

Brian:    What does that mean? What's the latest?

Dior A. B.:       I'm all over Netflix Marvel comics. Oh my gosh, I started off with Luke Cage but then I got into Jessica Jones. I was calling people like, "Did you know that this was connected?" People were like, "That's been there for years." I'm like, "Oh, wow." I'm super into it, Jessica Jones, Daredevil. I love it.

Brian:    That's amazing.

Dior A. B.:       Yeah, I'm a binge watcher.

Brian:    Okay, so binge watcher. Check it out, if you want to know what's happening on Netflix, talk to Dior when it's not busy. When it's busy, that's why it's binge watching because there isn't always time.

Dior A. B.:       Yeah. House of Cards.

Brian:    When there is time; oh yeah, let's do it.

Dior A. B.:       Absolutely.

Brian:    I dig it. This kind of cool career that's evolved doing all kinds of things in the community, what comes to mind as the biggest success moment so far when you think back?

Dior A. B.:       Oh wow, that's a great question. I'll be moving through a lot of things, I have to take more time to celebrate those things and celebrate with my peers, those movements. When you're in a high impact city that's changing like DC, you're just moving, moving, moving.

     Right now I would say to even do the DC Music Summit again. The first time I did it, it was just that I wanted to bring resources to my community. Then 500 people registered and about 300 showed up. I was like, "Oh my God."

     To just do it a second year and get even more support just from the community, and 8th Street Corridor, and the CD government; I'm like "Wow." It is a lot of energy, oh my gosh. I'm doing it 24 hours, 7 days a week just organizing this thing. I will tell you that it's so fulfilling, it's so fulfilling.

Brian:    That's wild. The music summit is the success story that comes to mind?

Dior A. B.:       Yeah, absolutely.

Brian:    That's really cool. I hope folks are able to join you for that one because I'm looking forward to being there, that's for sure. It's all my favorite people in one room

Dior A. B.:       That's what I'm saying.

Brian:    Everybody's getting together, it's like a big party.

Dior A. B.:       Bringing the community together.

Brian:    If you don't know, local music is a great way to meet people. Some people talk about DC as being unfriendly or it's hard to meet people. One of the things that is amazing is if you go check out these local music scenes or you go the DC Music Summit, you start to see these same faces. Then everybody becomes familiar and you make new friends. It's an awesome thing.

Dior A. B.:       We gotta blow up DC, we got to have the music scene on fire. People need to know that DC is where it's at.

Brian:    That's what I'm working on with the show too. I don't think people understand just how incredible this local music scene is, it's unreal.

Dior A. B.:       It's something else.

Brian:    Unreal. What do you have in your music collection that might surprise us?

Dior A. B.:       Oh my goodness, that is a good question. That would surprise you? I've been currently listening to Keke Palmer. She's got a song, what is that song called? I've been playing it on repeat, I should know. I've been listening to Keke Palmer. I listen to a lot of alternative. There's a song, the song is called "Frozen Creek".

Brian:    Frozen Creek?

Dior A. B.:       What is their name?

Brian:    I can't place it.

Dior A. B.:       I listen to absolutely everything so I don't know what's really going to surprise ... Oh, Jason Aldean, I've been listening-

Brian:    I was going to say, country and all that stuff too? Aldean?

Dior A. B.:       I listen to country.

Brian:    Get out of here, that's awesome.

Dior A. B.:       I've been listening to a little bit of everything. I'm like, "Yo, people are going to think I'm crazy." If you listen to my iPod, you're bound to hear anything come out of that. Don't judge me.

Brian:    If they pull up next to you at a stop light in your car, they just might get the most random stuff and see you rocking out to it.

Dior A. B.:       Absolutely.

Brian:    I love it.

Dior A. B.:       I love music, man.

Brian:    What are your earliest memories with music? You say you're loving it, where did it start? Go back to that for us.

Dior A. B.:       My father. My father, he sings. I was singing when I was really, really young. My earliest memory, I remember doing a school play at St. Augustine. This was when my parents were overseas, both of them served in Desert Storm. I remember having to sing the song "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". I remember singing it and then everybody coming to me later like, "You have such a grownup voice. It's powerful and that was beautiful."

Brian:    How old were you at that time?

Dior A. B.:       I was in second or third grade.

Brian:    Wow.

Dior A. B.:       My teacher was Sister Stevens and she did not play.

Brian:    Sister Stevens, huh?

Dior A. B.:       Sister Stevens did not play. I remember that, I remember second or third grade. I also remember listening to Whitney Houston and then my parents just having to listen to "I will always" over and over. I used to love singing, through the house and in my room just on full belt.

Brian:    Nice. What were those artists when you came up? You've got Whitney Houston, any that stick out in your mind that were?

Dior A. B.:       Oh yeah. Tevin Campbell, telling my age. I loved Tevin Campbell, "Brown Eyed Girl". What else was I listening to? SWV, Xscape, oh my God. I loved SWV, "Get Weak". When I got that CD, I screamed. My mother had it sitting in the kitchen, I was like "Ahh". She thought something was wrong with me, I flipped out.

   Oh my God, I used to listen to ... Who were the boys? The Backstreet, not Backstreet?

Brian:    Boys II Men?

Dior A. B.:       No. Yeah, Boys II Men of course, definitely. Before NSYNC though, there was another group, I had their sleeping bag. Oh my God, I just told that on the radio. I used to listen to all of that stuff. Color Me Badd.

Brian:    You've got to think about it, what's the one you had the sleeping bag of? That's what I want to know, what was it?

Dior A. B.:       I know. It was a boy band and I'm trying to remember what they were called. It was before Backstreet.

Brian:    Before Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees? Then it was, I'm going back. I can't believe we're talking about this on DC Music Rocks. We'll cut that off. Email Dior later and she can look up, because I want to know what the sleeping bag was. We'll follow up with that, I'll see if I can add that in the notes for the show later. You can find out what that sleeping bag was.

Dior A. B.:       Early memories of music.

Brian:    That's it, earliest memories of music. Now, talk about when you started performing then. Where did that begin?

Dior A. B.:       Like I was telling you, a little bit in elementary school. I remember singing with my father too, we did a song, it was an Aladdin song. I remember that for an event that the military base was having.

     It was elementary school and then middle school, I had a really tough teacher who was just very serious about my acting skills and wanted me to speak on my voice. When I think about the direction he was giving me when I was in fourth or fifth grade, I started doing one woman plays when I was a kid because I had a serious teacher. I started really young, like grade school.

Brian:    It was acting, or singing, or was it everything?

Dior A. B.:       Acting. It's crazy but acting and singing have always been parallel in my, since I was a kid. In Germany they had little rec centers on base, so these rec centers would have an acting coach. Nobody would be in there, so I was like the only kid that took the class. Then I would have that class.

Brian:    It's always been that? Was there a time where you went and thought you were going to have a different career path or it's really always been acting, and singing, and community organizing?

Dior A. B.:       Yeah. I think the only other job that I ever wanted was to be a lawyer. I was watching movies and the lawyers were just so convincing.

Brian:    It looked so great in the movies, doesn't it?

Dior A. B.:       Yeah. I just knew I was going to win the case. That was the only other job that I saw. Everything else was always arts, always arts driven. When we lived in Germany, I had the nickname Schauspieler, which is a show player. My godparents named me that when I was a kid. I was going to be an artist, I felt it, I always felt it.

Brian:    You've talked about a lot of places; you said you lived on base, you mentioned Germany. Where all did you live? It was all over the place?

Dior A. B.:       Back and forth overseas to Germany, like two different times. In the Midwest, I lived in Colorado, Texas, and back and forth to DC.

Brian:    Got it, that's cool. One of my favorite questions that I always love to ask is; if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Dior A. B.:       I know it's cliché, but go as hard as possible at what really hits your soul. Not in someone else's dream, not something that you know was confused through media. Just something, whatever speaks to your spirit, just trust it and go hard. You're going to have plenty of opposition because it's so outside the norm. Go super, super passionate at your dreams, at all costs.

Brian:    You said "Speaks to your spirit", how's it that one? How do you know that's it?

Dior A. B.:       When it brings you joy, when you can't wait to get up in the morning. When it can keep you at a desk or on a phone for hours. You're passionately going and making sure that you add it into your life every day, that is to me is what you need to do.

Brian:    That is the one.

Dior A. B.:       Yeah.

Brian:    Go after it and don't quit.

Dior A. B.:       Yeah. You know, you might like to skateboard and you should skateboard. You know what I'm saying? Go hard.

Brian:    They definitely do.

Dior A. B.:       Yes.

Brian:    One last thing, for those folks listening who want to find out more about you and all the cool things that you're doing, where do they go?

Dior A. B.:       Diorashleybrown.com. That website, that's my website. I try my best out here, go to diorashleybrown.com. I try to put as much as possible on there. My handles are @DiorAshleyBrown, Snapchat is BAshleyD, that's my little secret Snapchat.

Brian:    Got it, secret Snapchat. Which one are you on the most, Instagram?

Dior A. B.:       Yeah, Instagram. I love Instagram.

Brian:    Instagram's the one. All right, that's where it's at. Check her out. You had mentioned that there's something exciting, the Box Cutters Podcast. Talk about that real quick?

Dior A. B.:       Two guys, Nicky Shinito and DJ Chalant and I'm dabbing to love. We have a podcast that we do on Sundays. We try to go outside the box, so it's called The Box Cutters Podcast. We're broadcasting right now at One Love Massive Studios. We're having a launch on Sunday, it's going to be free, super laid back and chill. I'm going to perform.

Brian:    You say a launch, does that mean like it's a live show but then it gets put out as a podcast?

Dior A. B.:       It is a recorded podcast and we put it out on iTunes. When you come to the launch, you'll find out how to get a hold of it.

Brian:    Nice.

April 18, 2017 - Special Guest: Sub-Radio

Big thank you to the incredible guys from Sub-Radio for coming by!

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Feint of Heart by Pop Co-op (Pop/Power Pop)
  2. Caroline by Sub-Radio (Indie/Indie Rock)
  3. Insanity by Black Alley (Rock/Hip-Hop)
  4. Hear me out by Underdog Champs (Punk/Pop Punk)
  5. Fireworks in Autumn by Andrew Tufano (Folk/Acoustic)
  6. New Romantics by His Dream of Lions (Pop/Rock)
  7. Emerald Skates by The Duskwhales (Indie/Indie Pop Gypsy Rock)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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SUB-RADIO

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Bio:

DC Music Rocks Sub-Radio

Washington DC's Sub-Radio makes smart, danceable pop rock that's always expanding its boundaries, with elements of funk, folk, and EDM present on their 2016 release Same Train // Different Station. The sextet's high-energy live performances and variety of outstanding vocalists have put them on the map up and down the East Coast. Sub-Radio is composed of Adam Bradley (vocals), Matt Prodanovich (guitar), Mike Chinen (guitar/keyboards), John Fengya (guitar/keyboards), Michael Pereira (drums), and Barry Siford (bass).  The band has garnered comparisons to established pop-rock acts like Maroon 5. Multiple songs have been recognized in national songwriting competitions as Sub-Radio played festivals from New York to North Carolina. Notable festivals include the Cherry Blossom Festival, Celebrate Fairfax, and LAUNCH Music Festival and Conference. The new album, Same Train // Different Station, is available on iTunes, Spotify and all other music outlets. The band is currently playing shows in support of the album up and down the East Coast. 

Links:

https://www.sub-radio.com
http://www.facebook.com/subradioband
http://instagram.com/subradioband
http://twitter.com/subradioband
IMG_8578copy.jpg

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:   Sub-Radio makes smart, danceable, pop rock that's always expanding it's boundaries. Their 2016 release entitled Smart Train Different Station incorporated elements of funk, folk, and EDM. Members include, we got Adam on vocals, Matt on guitar, Mike on guitar and keyboards, John on guitar and keyboards, Michael on drums, and Barry on base. These six guys produce high energy live shows which have become well known and have garnered comparisons to established pop acts, like the big ones like Maroon 5 and such. Great shows from these guys. I first came across them a few months ago. I caught a video for Caroline which is one of their big, it's one of my favorite music videos. They're all in the van. If you check out their profile on dcmusicrocks.com, that's the video I've got for them. Just cool things from these guys. Listeners, it's with great pleasure I get to formally introduce Sub-Radio. Hey guys. Welcome. Now, they can only hear your voices, so tell them who you are. Introduce yourself and what you play. I've got three of them here in the studio. Talk to us.

Michael:   Hey. I am Michael. I'm the drummer.

Adam:   My name is Adam. All I do is sing.

Matt:   My name is Matt and I play guitar.

Brian:   The other three guys who aren't here. Those guys are?

Adam:   Yeah. We are missing, we are a six piece band like you said. We are missing John who plays just about everything for us and probably could play instruments he's never heard of.

Brian:   Okay.

Adam:   We got Mike who plays guitar and keyboards and then Barry is our alterative base player.

Brian:   Got it. Those are the guys. Together you make this magic that is Sub-Radio. Now, tell us how did the band get together. Talk about that story?

Michael:   That's an old one. Matt, you should probably take this one.

Matt:   We go together in high school, actually, so it's been you know, what like 15 years now? It's been a while.

Adam:   It literally has been a decade since we were in high school.

Matt:   We all kind of met up early on and just kind of started jamming out together. Then we realized we should be in a band together in high school, because it was fun.

Brian:   Awesome.

Matt:   We kept playing music together, and here we are 10 years later almost and now we're going to be doing really cool stuff this summer.

Brian:   I applaud you guys for still being together because staying together for that long is an achievement. Congrats on that one guys. Now, the name, Sub-Radio. Where did that come from?

Adam:   The name evolved from an older band name that I won't mention for SEO purposes on the air.

Brian:   You're so politically correct. Thank you sir. I really appreciate it.

Adam:   We had a band name in high school that we weren't really happy with so we reworked it, but essentially where this name came from is the early members of the band choosing random words out of a Best Buy catalog.

Brian:   For real?

Matt:   Oh yeah.

Brian:   A Best Buy catalog?

Matt:   It's real.

Adam:   That's going to be a historic anecdote in like five years when there are no Best Buys left. We'll explain during the story.

Matt:   It could have been Circuit City man.

Brian:   Yeah. Oh man, well all right. Well Best Buy catalog. That's amazing. All right. Now, I was asking you earlier during the break for the listeners, what's the song writing process for you guys? How does it go? Does one person bring a riff? Does somebody write the whole thing? How does that work for you guys?

Michael:   Kind of bounces around from song to song, but generally we'll start with a riff. Matt is often times the riff generator. He's got such a knack for it. Yeah, he's got such good head for it. He'll come to the band with a riff and we'll jam on it. We'll just all improv stuff and Adam will sing a melody. No lyrics yet, but he'll kind of hobble something together and then we'll develop the lyrics later. That's how we've been doing things lately. Or, alternatively Bradley will come to us with chords and lyrics already written and then we'll write the music to it. It's the same kind of process where we jam out, so everyone writes their own parts, which is pretty neat.

Brian:   That's cool. Now, when you're away from the music, talk about you three personally. What do you do outside of music and the band?

Matt:   Personally, I do a lot of other music. It's just kind of all music for me right now. I'm about to graduate college and I'm studying music in college at James Madison University.

Brian:   Shout out to JMU.

Matt:   Yeah.

Brian:   All right cool.

Matt:   Yeah. Outside of the band, I'm just kind of always focused on music stuff. I really like soccer too so I'm a big DC United fan and in the EPL, [inaudible 00:04:48] is my other team. Other than that, yeah it's just all about music.

Brian:   Nice. How about you Adam?

Adam:   Oh the important stuff. Got to get the soccer team shout outs.

Brian:   DC United, yes. You're allowed to shout out to them on this show. Absolutely.

Adam:   I am a distance runner outside of the band. Between the band and between the running, that's about 90% of my waking hours. I've done the Marine Corp Marathon in DC a couple times.

Brian:   Good gracious man. Serious distance running.

Adam:   Distance, emphasis on the distance. Yeah.

Brian:   Got it.

Adam:   I live up in Silver Spring. I'm in an acapella group in DC. I try to, not to be too on the nose, with your show, but I try to get to as many local shows as I can during the week when I'm not playing my own.

Brian:   Awesome. You are allowed those [inaudible 00:05:37], sir. Those are awesome brownie points to have. Yes, local shows. I love it. What about you Michael? What's your thing?

Michael:   By day I am a mechanical engineer so I do design and manufacturing work for a telecommunications company. I do a lot of CNC machining, a lot of laser cutting, water jack kind of stuff. Yeah. That's me during the day.

Brian:   Got it.

Adam:   Peels it off so casually.

Brian:   Then he comes to be a rockstar afterwords.

Michael:   Yeah. I studied physics in school so that's my background.

Brian:   Got it.

Adam:   We're missing the other three STEM majors in the band. They're all out at the office but it's a science heavy group.

Brian:   Yet I love the combination with art. Sometimes scientists and artists, they become both. The people bridge that gap. There's a lot of really smart folks that do music on the side in DC and as a result you get things like Sub-Radio and so many other cool groups that I've got profiles for, just amazing. The technical smarts that also translate into amazing musical, artistic skills.

Adam:   Michael brings all kinds of that stuff into the band. I mean, between rhythmic things and like literally making stuff for the band.

Michael:   Yeah. I've built a few things for the band and I'm going to be building a few like custom things for the band to come. Yeah, I feel like if you're sciency or mathy for some reason that pattern practice from science and math will help you in music, especially as a drummer. A rhythm heavy, I like to focus on rhythms a lot and so it's kind of mathematical.

Brian:   Talk about the biggest success moment that comes to mind for Sub-Radio thus far. What comes to mind on that?

Adam:   Wow. That's got to be pretty recent. I mean, we had a chance back in December at JMU to play with a band called Small Pools.

Brian:   Small Pools?

Adam:   It's a band from California but they are sort of a model that we look to right now. They're playing our genre. They're getting a good deal of success with it. We got to open a show for them on campus, and played to a crowd with, to our surprise, to my surprise anyway, I don't know about you guys, that knew some of our lyrics and was there to see. We played the show with like our idols, this pop rock band that's like making it and touring with cool bands and everything and after the show, the JMU school newspaper writes an article about the show, about the student union board that organized this show. They wrote an article about it. The article is like about how nobody expected the opener to be so good.

Brian:   It's the little things in life, the surprise that the successful moment is when they write how good the opener was.

Adam:   The picture accompanying the Small Pool article is a picture of us playing. It was a cool moment. That was a win-win.

Brian:   That's amazing. I love it. Now, what about your earliest memories with music. Where does music come from for you guys?

Michael:   Oh, that's a very, very good question. I come from a family that with no background in music whatsoever. I'm the only musician of even including all of my extended family. I have a pretty large family and I'm the only dedicated musician. One of the few that plays any instrument at all. I would sit by the radio and listen when I was young. I never had any training but I would listen constantly. I would just sit there and listen. That's kind of my first experience with music.

Brian:   Wow. You guys? What do you got for first experience with music? What comes to mind?

Adam:   In contrast, my dad was in a band in college. Didn't really go anywhere but he was in a band in college. He had like a recording studio in our living room when I was a baby and he was still putting a lot of tracks down and he hid them all from me on our iTunes, our shared iTunes account for years. He didn't want me to find them. There are pictures of me at three years old with the big headphones on in front of a mic. He wanted his son's voice on the track. That and my dad raised me on the standard white guy fare of dad music. Zeppelin and The Who and all that stuff, which was good intro.

Brian:   Yeah. Matt, what about you?

Matt:   Similar to Mike, no one ever in my family at all has ever touched a musical instrument. It was kind of up to me to figure that out by myself. I wasn't really interested at all in music to be honest, until I picked up a guitar around like I want to say middle school. Sixth grade I think I touched my first guitar. Then after that I was just like, I like this.

Brian:   It started with guitar.

Matt:   Then it just went on from there. I started writing songs pretty early and that's what got me into the whole wanting to be in a band thing. That's when I met these guys and just kind of snowballed from there.

Brian:   That's awesome. I got one more question that I always love to ask, and that's to any of you who wants to answer which is, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Adam:   Who are we advising?

Brian:   That part's up to you.

Adam:   Future musicians?

Brian:   If you want to, sure.

Adam:   Just one piece of advice, generally.

Michael:   At that Small Pool show, we got the privilege of actually hanging out with the Small Pools guys afterwards. I will pass on a piece of advice that was given to me from their drummer, and their singer, kind of both of them. I heard it from the drummer first. Don't be a jerk. Don't ever in life. You can extend that anywhere but be easy to work with. Don't be a jerk. Just be nice and everyone will have a good time for it.

Adam:   That's kind of the guiding principle of Sub-Radio to this point I think as well.

Brian:   Don't be a jerk.

Michael:   Yeah don't do it. There's no reason.

Brian:   It sounds like a really successful t-shirt campaign too. Don't be a jerk, hashtag. There you go.

Adam:   Oh man. You might have just given us something there.

Brian:   Possible band radio shirt. There you go. Make sure you get the hashtag in there so you can find all the people with the photos, right? Now for those listeners who we're going to jump into some music. For those listeners who are interested, who want to find out more about you guys, where do they go to find out more about Sub-Radio?

Adam:   We have a website. It's sub-radio.com. Obviously, we're on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram all those other apps.

Matt:   You can get our music on Spotify, Sound Cloud. It's up most places you would find music, even on the weird ones like Google Play.

Michael:   CD baby.

Brian:   All the places.

April 11, 2017 - Special Guest: Pablo Anton, Guitarist of Black Dog Prowl

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PABLO ANTON

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Bio

Pablo Anton is a Mexican rock guitarist based in DC, with over 15 years of experience playing live and recording with different musical projects. He was part of the rock music community in Mexico City for 10 years before relocating to DC in 2013, playing recurrently in different venues and rock bars across the city with different bands. After arriving in DC, he founded and released an EP with the short-lived band Hundredth Nomad, and is now currently the lead guitar player for Black Dog Prowl.   

 

Black Dog Prowl is a four-piece band that showcases original material ranging from the slow, down-tuned to a fast-paced kick in the teeth. If one insists on drawing a line to the familiar, BDP has drawn sonic comparisons to the likes of Soundgarden, Torche, and Nirvana. The band has built their reputation on a powerful live show, playing and headlining notable DC area venues like Black Cat, Rock&Roll Hotel, Velvet Lounge, and The Fillmore Silver Spring, sharing the stage with renowned acts such as Steel Panther, The Parlor Mob, The Answer, and A Thousand Horses. Aside from frequently playing shows around the DMV area, they have also toured internationally in Chile and Mexico, as well as different cities across the East Coast such as Hoboken, NYC, Philadelphia, Richmond and Baltimore.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     Pablo Anton is a Mexican rock guitarist based in DC with over 15 years of experience playing live and recording with different musical projects. He was part of the rock music community in Mexico City for 10 years before relocating to DC in 2013. He is now the lead guitar player for Black Dog Prowl, and Black Dog Prowl is a four-piece band that draws sonic comparisons to the likes of Soundgarden, Torch, Nirvana. It's just a powerful sound that you heard there. The band has built a reputation on powerful live shows. Aside from frequently playing shows around the DMV area, they also have toured internationally in Chile and Mexico, as well as cities throughout the East Coast. I've shared the stage with Pablo a couple of times, and this man is a prodigy on guitar. Listeners, it is [crosstalk 00:00:53] with great pleasure that I introduce Pablo Anton. Here he is.

Pablo:     Thank you.

Brian:     Now you were just going to talk about it. You were just touring in Mexico. Talk about that a little bit.

Pablo:     We were. Yes. We did a two-week tour in Mexico. We flew there on March 21st and then we played a show at Caradura, which is sort of like the Rock & Roll Hotel equivalent of Mexico City. We were there. We were supposed to tour with ... Well, we were there touring with two other bands, one from Costa Rica named Akasha and another one from Mexico City as well named Driven. This all happened the weekend after the Vive Latino Festival, which is like the Lollapalooza down there.

Brian:     Oh.

Pablo:     These two bands had just played there and then were going on a two-week tour of the country, and so we joined them. The show in Caradura in Mexico City was just amazing. We had the opportunity of having my very dear friend and one of the best musicians I've ever played with, Tonio Ruiz, join us on stage for a song. That was definitely [crosstalk 00:01:59].

Brian:     Wow. For those who don't know who Tonio Ruiz is, how would they recognize him?

Pablo:     Tonio Ruiz is the lead singer and guitar player from a nu-metal band in Mexico called Qbo. If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should.

Brian:     [crosstalk 00:02:14]. Powerful stuff. You were down in Mexico for a total of ... How long was the tour?

Pablo:     It was a total of two weeks. We had four shows, and in between ... We had two shows one weekend and then two the other, and in between we rented a hangar at an old airport field where we shot our new video for our latest single, Shame, which I am hoping will be ready soon.

Brian:     So there's a new music video coming.

Pablo:     There's a new music video coming soon.

Brian:     Actually, you can say it was filmed in Mexico too.

Pablo:     Yes, and it features me.

Brian:     And it features Pablo.

Pablo:     Yes.

Brian:     There it is. Yes. I love it. Now we touched on it earlier, but let's talk about being an immigrant, an immigrant musician, and being an immigrant in DC. Talk about that a little bit.

Pablo:     Yeah, for sure. As I was saying, I've been in this city for four years. I moved here for a job, for an office job, four years ago. I'm also an economist, and so I got an offer to work here for sort of like a multilateral and working in financial inclusion issues. When I moved here, I was actually kind of disappointed. I used to live in New York before moving here. I have to say, my perception of DC was very narrow and colorblind.

      I thought that everybody was just like ... With all due respect, just like a bunch of bureaucrats that worked either for the federal government or for public institutions or multilaterals, and there was no culture. There was no artist community or something that made the city interesting. At first, I was kind of hesitant of moving here, but then when I finally moved here, I discovered, out of chance really, out of a friend of a friend who told me about Flashband, my life changed completely and so did my perception of DC.

Brian:     Well, first, I got to say that, yes, I don't think you're way off in that people's perceptions about DC, that I don't think you're the only one who has that perception, because there is this, it's only a government town and all the people here are either working for the government in some way, shape, or form, and that maybe culture isn't a thing. That's one of the things that we talk about on this show is that actually that's so wrong, because the music community here is incredible.

Pablo:     I know.

Brian:     All these great minds do it, and so Flashband, you said? You heard about it through Flashband. For those who don't know what Flashband is, talk about that.

Pablo:     The founder of Flashband, Neal, hates when I call it this, but it's basically like speed dating for musicians. It's like [crosstalk 00:04:49].

Brian:     So it's speed dating for musicians. What's that like? Talk to me.

Pablo:     Well, they basically jam you in a rehearse space with five other musicians for 15 minutes, and then you have to switch to a different rehearse space. Then you just have to jam and meet as many musicians as you can. Then at the end of the event, they make you select your bandmates, like your temporary bandmates, out of all of those small jam sessions that you have. Then after that, you have to come up with a three-song set list with two covers and one original song. Then you have to go on stage and present it at a Flashband showcase. I did it only once, but it was-

Brian:     The whole process takes like ... It's a month, right? Or it's something like that? [crosstalk 00:05:32].

Pablo:     Yeah, I think it's like three weeks only, and then-

Brian:     Awesome. Speed dating for musicians. Okay. Being an immigrant then, you came from Mexico, from Mexico City?

Pablo:     Yes.

Brian:     You came up.

Pablo:     Well, I came to the US to study my master's degree at Columbia University in New York. Then from Columbia, that's when I got the job offer to move to DC and came down here. I didn't know what to expect, but I was really ... After I was introduced to the DC music community through Flashband and I found it, and I started my own band, and I started having shows, and I started meeting more musicians in the community, I was just blown away by just the massive support that this organic movement in the city has. It's sort of like a grassroots movement where all of the different bands that are involved are open to sharing and to promoting and to supporting one another to ... Yeah, for the benefit of everybody. That's just something that I found that's so amazing and so impressive compared to what the music community's like in Mexico City, which is where I come from.

Brian:     That's because Mexico City's community is different?

Pablo:     Yeah, well, the situation down there is pretty different, because basically the media in general is basically controlled by two large, massive media corporations that are down there. The type of music that they promote and the type of events that they promote is basically more attuned to like pop music in general, so there's not a lot of promotion of local artists that want to venture into different subgenres like rock or metal. That's definitely an issue when you're trying to be like up-and-coming artist in Mexico City.

      There are [crosstalk 00:07:20] some outlets that are sort of like similar to this radio station, for example. We also have like a state-owned radio station that has other shows, like alternative music shows where you can find an outlet for the type of music that you do and you want to promote, but those, because there's only a few of them, those also become basically controlled by just a small group of people. If you're not a part of that small group of people, if you're not in connection with somebody that's part of that small group of people, there's really no way for you to promote yourself and promote your art. A lot of the venues down there also don't ... They don't give preference to original acts. Most of the bars down there basically prefer to have cover bands at their shows, [crosstalk 00:08:11] because it gets more people in and it's more money for them.

Brian:     That's probably true. That's true of many cities, and DC is evolving in that way, because there's more and more great original music played around town, but there's still a cover scene here. Cover bands are still ... They're coming into town. Now you're playing guitar for Black Dog Prowl. You said there were other bands, and now you're playing for Black Dog Prowl? How did that transition happen?

Pablo:     Well, after I did Flashband with my Flashband buddies, Jen and Zach, we started an original band called Hundredth Nomad that we had for around a year and a half. With that band, we started growing, and we started having more local shows. We started getting to be a little bit known and spread the word around. Then unfortunately, that band broke up about a week ago. No, sorry, about a year ago.

Brian:     A week ago.

Pablo:     No, no, not a week ago, not a week ago. It broke up in June.

Brian:     Okay.

Pablo:     Last June. Then when we broke up, a couple of months later, Josh from Black Dog Prowl approached me and told me that they had a show lined up in Hoboken, New Jersey, and that they needed a guitar player to fill for them. I said, "Yes, I'm not doing anything, so that'd be a great idea. I'll do it. I'll learn the songs." I was already a Black Dog Prowl fan. I met them two years before then at a show at DC9. I went to see a show by one of my favorite bands that's called The Answer, which is a rock band from Northern Ireland. They were playing with DC9 on a Tuesday night.

Brian:     Wow.

Pablo:     The place, it didn't have a lot of people there. I think we were like maybe 15 or 20 people in the audience, but then ... So Black Dog Prowl opened for The Answer at that show, and they really ...

Brian:     Wow.

Pablo:     They blew my socks off, like after that ... I really didn't even enjoy The Answer after that. After seeing them, I was like, "Okay, I'm done. I'm going to go have a beer. This is too much." I became a fan ever since. I approached the guys at the end, and I became friends with them. Things just naturally evolved from there.

Brian:     Wow. That's really cool. It's always fun to hear the stories about how this music community is so ... It's so vibrant, and there's a lot of movement that happens, like you have been in multiple bands. The more you get connected with the scene, the more you start to see the different musicians and how they jump, and they have different generations of bands and stuff come through. It's pretty incredible. Now, one of the things I always like to ask on these interviews is, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Pablo:     To who?

Brian:     The question is open-ended, and it's up to you, sir.

Pablo:     Say no to drugs.

Brian:     Say no to drugs.

Pablo:     I don't know, like [crosstalk 00:10:56].

Brian:     Okay, [crosstalk 00:10:56] have experience with that?

Pablo:     No, no, no, that's not what I meant. Nevermind. I was trying to tell a joke.

Brian:     Okay. Say no to drugs. That's a positive public service announcement from Pablo. Excellent.

Pablo:     Oh, if you mean advice as a musician in DC, I've actually given this advice to people. All of the time, I'm just meeting people that are here for bureaucratic jobs. Then when I tell them that I'm in a band, they're like, "Oh, dude, I used to have a band when I was back in high school or back in college. Those were the days. I haven't played in a while though. I really miss it." My advice is just get out there and do it. If you were ever a musician, or if you are a musician, then you have the same illness that I have, which is that if I'm not playing music, I'm not complete. I don't feel completely happy and fulfilled.

      If you have that same craving that musicians like me have, then you should definitely do something about it. The great thing about a city like DC is that there's multiple options for you to explore. If you want something that is low commitment or high commitment, and be in a band and tour, there's a wide spectrum of things that you can do. The lowest one, which would be Flashband, you should reach out and open a profile on Flashband. That's the way to get started.

Brian:     Awesome. If folks want to find out more about you and Black Dog Prowl, where is the best place to ... Where do they find you? Where do they go?

Pablo:     We have all of the typical social media accounts, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. They're all @blackdogprowl. We also have a website where you can go to see all of our videos and stuff, which is www.blackdogprowl.com.

April 4, 2017 - Special Guest: Don Zientara, Producer & Recording Engineer, Inner Ear Studio

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Popular Russians by Braddock Station Garrison (Rock/Power-Pop)
  2. Ophelia by Karen Jonas (Country/Americana)
  3. Meet Me in the Middle by Peter Maybarduk (Indie/Alternative)
  4. No Easy Way Out by Staunton (Rock/Folk)
  5. Tuesday Morning by Hayley Fahey (Rock/Indie Rock)
  6. Alien Drugs by Jackie and the Treehorns (Rock/Alternative Rock)
  7. In Retrospect by Lisa Said (Folk/Alternative)

NEWS & LINKS

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DON ZIENTARA

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Bio from Don:

Grew up in Rochester, NY.  Had several friends in school who knew quite a bit about electronics and taught me to build/design/repair that sort of equipment.

Had old tape recorders all my life.  Also wired them so that it was a sound reinforcement system.  Experimented with electronic design and function.

Studied art at Syracuse University.  BFA in 1970.

Attended graduate school at West Virginia University, majoring in painting and printmaking.  Studied paper construction and restoration.

Was drafted into the Army in 1971.  Lottery.  Number one.

don.jpg

Signed up for electronics training.  After basic training finished, was told there was a surplus of electronic trainees, but would I want to draw and paint portraits for the Army Recruiting Support Center (Cameron Station, Alexandria)?

Accepted the invitation to work there.

Applied for, and received a CO (Conscientious Objector) in 1973.

Went to work for the National Gallery of Art as an exhibits framer and paper conservator.

After about 5 years, became the NGA's audio engineer

Stayed there for another 4 years, then went on to work as studio manager, then on my own.  Have been running Inner Ear Studio ever since.

Have 2 daughters, 5 grandkids, and 1 great-grandkid.  I surf, cook, perform music, and speak to groups (this sounds like a singles ad!!!)

Thanks!  That's all, folks!

 

 Links:

http://innerearstudio.com

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:    Don Zientara grew up in Rochester, New York. He studied at Syracuse University. In grad school at West Virginia, he majored in painting and printmaking. Don drafted into the Army in 1971. He signed up for electronics training, but after basic training finished, he was told there was a surplus of electronic trainees so instead, he was offered a position to draw and paint portraits for the Army recruiting support center, which he accepted. His career moved on to the National Gallery of Art as an exhibits framer and paper conservator, and then becoming an audio engineer, which is an amazing transition to me, and he then moved on to work as a recording studio manager, and then eventually, branching out on his own where Inner Ear Studios was born, which has been around for decades at this point.

Don Z:    Yeah.

Brian:    He's got two daughters, five grandkids, and one great-grandkid, and he also surfs, cooks, performs music, and excels in public speaking, which listeners, I got to work with Don because Fellowcraft, my band, recorded our album at Inner Ear Studios, and it was such an honor to work with him in hallowed ground with all those musicians. It's with great pleasure that I introduce Don Zientara.

Don Z:    Aren't there some trumpets somewhere that need to [crosstalk 01:13]?

Brian:    Oh, the proper introduction for you, right?

Don Z:    Exactly.

Brian:    Yes, I need to look at a sound file for some trumpets or something. That would be a great-

Don Z:    Yeah, those English horns, right?

Brian:    Exactly. Now, the first thing right off the bat, as I introduced you, it talked about how you went from the exhibits framer and paper conservator to audio engineer.

Don Z:    Yeah.

Brian:    How did that happen? Can you share that?

Don Z:    Sure. Let me back up a little bit. First of all, just to get in some of the history behind it all. I started off playing guitar because my parents wanted me to study some musical instrument.

Brian:    Nice.

Don Z:    I grew up in a Polish community and in the Polish community, there basically is one sacred instrument, which is the accordion.

Brian:    I guess that makes sense.

Don Z:    Of course.

Brian:    Polish music is kind of known for that.

Don Z:    Absolutely.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    Yeah, get out and polka.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    Luckily, I was born at a time when Elvis was coming into vogue.

Brian:    Got it.

Don Z:    I was 10 years old. They actually offered guitar lessons at the place I was at so I bailed on the accordion and I went into guitar.

Brian:    Guitar, got it, which that was more appealing?

Don Z:    Come on.

Brian:    If you're in a Polish community, it seems like accordion would be the hot thing to do.

Don Z:    You look at all the ladies and who do they flock around? The accordion player? No.

Brian:    I'd like to say the accordion player, but no, you're definitely right, it's the guitarist always. It's always the guitarist.

Don Z:    Yeah, or at least you'd like to think so, at least you'd like to think so.

Brian:    Yeah, right, exactly. Got it.

Don Z:    From there, basically, everybody joins a band if you play guitar, but we had no money for amplifiers or anything like that and so, we'd scrounge around on trash day going through and finding all these Magnavox consoles that were thrown out by the people at the time and we made speaker cabinets, a buddy of mine this is, and I had a tape recorder, a Webcor tape recorder-

Brian:    Where was this?

Don Z:    Yeah. This is in Rochester.

Brian:    You're talking about-

Don Z:    Rochester, New York.

Brian:    Rochester, New York.

Don Z:    That we turned into an actual amplifier.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    We played guitars through this tape recorder amplifier and sang through it. One little, probably about 2 watts, and coming out of these speakers from this cabinet we built out from these Magnavox consoles and it was exciting. We put all these things together and it was real interesting doing this. I had in electronics sort of, kind of dabbling in it to that degree.

      What happened was somehow I went into art school at Syracuse University. I don't know why because I was a mediocre artist, but I figured I was a mediocre artist, but I was failing in English, Math, Science, Chemistry, Biology so we'll take mediocre.

Brian:    It's the one you weren't failing in, is that-

Don Z:    Yeah, it was the one I wasn't failing in.

Brian:    Got it.

Don Z:    Then graduate there, went to West Virginia University like you said and then, I was caught up in the draft lottery.

Brian:    Oh, which was-

Don Z:    You don't remember that? You're too young.

Brian:    Full disclosure, I was not around for the draft lottery at that point, but what I'm curious about is, from everything I've heard, that's a hot topic at the time?

Don Z:    Yeah.

Brian:    That was a contested thing. When you got caught up in that, was it incredibly traumatic? Did you just accept it? What ...

Don Z:    This is the Vietnam War going on and there were a lot of deferments and what was happening was because of all these deferments, some of the people in Congress were saying, "This is not fair. The inequality is all over the place. What we're going to do is we're just going to pick birth dates out of a container like a lottery and we're going to pick number one, number two, number ... " and I was number one in the whole thing.

Brian:    Oh, you were the big winner.

Don Z:    I was the big winner in the thing.

Brian:    Got it.

Don Z:    I was definitely going to go in and I checked upon it and they had some programs going on. I figured I'd keep that in the back of my mind, but I was drafted. I was selected for the draft and when you're selected for the draft, you basically have to have a physical. Everybody knows that, you have an army physical.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    I went to West Virginia University that year. I said, "I can't take a physical. I'm at West Virginia. I'm in Morgantown, West Virginia." They scrambled and they got things together and moved the physical around to Morgantown. I was back for Christmas vacation in Rochester. I said, "I can't take it. I'm in Rochester, New York." They scrambled around and they fixed it up for Rochester. I was back at West Virginia University again. Come summer time, they got me.

     I figured why don't I get some formal training in electronics? I went into that program, they guaranteed training electronics, went through basic training, went to the place where the school was and waited and then waited some more and waited some more and waited some more. Eventually, I was called into maybe the front office there and they said, "You have a guarantee and we will honor it for this electronic training, but at the moment, there's too many people doing it. We just happen to have a position open in Alexandria, Virginia for people to draw and paint. Would you want to do that?" I figured for about two seconds, would I want to draw and paint rather than shoot people with a gun?

Brian:    The answer was yes, clearly.

Don Z:    The answer was yes, yeah. I took a moment to think about that and so, I came to Alexandria, Virginia, like you said with the recruiting support center there. I got to work on exhibits. That gave me my first taste into presentations as a whole.

Brian:    Oh.

Don Z:    Whether it's audio or visual, I was into presentations and I loved it.

Brian:    Got it.

Don Z:    I went through that thing. As it was, I got out on a CO. I applied for a CO and got out. This was about 1973. Then, I went to the National Gallery of Art.

Don Z:    Worked there matting and framing and doing a little bit of conservation work for getting exhibits ready. Once again, we're in exhibits, we're into presentation.

Don Z:    Eventually, after about five years there, they were giving a tour around to some of the places in the gallery and they were building a recording studio and we toured that. They were hooking things up and wiring things up [inaudible 07:56]. They had problems with the power supply there. I said, "All you have to do is connect it up like this."

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    They said, "Hey, do you want to run this place?"

Brian:    Do you want do this? Yeah.

Don Z:    Yeah, exactly.

Brian:    That's how it happened?

Don Z:    That's how it happened.

Brian:    Just because you fixed ...

Don Z:    Yeah.

Brian:    I love it. Wait, then fast-forward then, so that was how long? You were there for how long?

Don Z:    I was there five years in prints and drawings.

Brian:    Five years.

Don Z:    Then, I was there for about another four or five years in the electronics section, the audio recording section.

Brian:    How did that then become Inner Ear Studios? Was that ...

Don Z:    I went from there to managing a studio, which didn't work out because I couldn't get my hands dirty.

Brian:    Uh-oh, because you were fixing and you were recording-

Don Z:    Yeah, I was pushing papers all the time, administering it, manager.

Brian:    Right.

Don Z:    I didn't like that so, I just started doing stuff totally on my ... Now, I had been recording all this time already.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    Because I record a lot of the early, Teen Idles, Minor Threat, all that stuff.

Brian:    Yeah, at that time, was that in your basement?

Don Z:    Yes.

Brian:    Was it at the location now?

Don Z:    In my basement.

Brian:    How did you get linked up with them? Just the underground network, they heard of you or how did that happen?

Don Z:    That's a every interesting thing. There's parallel universes going on. I was playing in bands all these times and one of the bands I was in had Robert Goldstein for a guitarist and he has since passed away, but he-

Brian:    For those who don't know, who's Robert Goldstein?

Don Z:    Robert Goldstein was the music librarian towards the end of his life for NPR.

Brian:    Oh. Got it.

Don Z:    He was also a very progressive guitarist and we were like a folk rock band. We played a lot of covers and stuff like that, but he had more talent than I think I had for sure.

Brian:    Right.

Don Z:    Eventually, the band broke up. He went into a band that was more to his taste and called me to record one time when they're playing at I think it was American University. Playing on the same bill were The Slickee Boys so they said, "Hey, you got an extra roll of tape?" I did so I recorded them. Their manager at the time was Skip Groff who was Yesterday and Today Records and he knew all the punk people. I didn't even know punk was around.

Brian:    Right.

Don Z:    I didn't know anything about it, but he came in and worked with the Slickee Boys to mix their tapes and everything and said, "I'd like to bring over some people. These guys, Teen Idles, they might have something to do here." So he came over with them and this, the relationship with a lot of the guys in that band and a little later on he said, "You know, there's a black punk band that I'd like to bring over there. Would you work with them if you don't mind?" I said, "Yeah, sure, sure."

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    They sound good and that was the Bad Brains.

Brian:    Wow.

Don Z:    I was immersed into all this because of just serendipity a lot, very much.

Brian:    I know people are curious because I know I'm curious, too, how did that evolve into ... There's an HBO special at your place, the Foo Fighters recorded at Inner Ear Studios. Did that network continue or how did you get linked up with Dave?

Don Z:    It continued. No, it continued and Scream and Dain Bramage, I did not record Dain Bramage, but I recorded Scream and they were ... Punk was evolving.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    Punk was evolving more towards the ... It had a little bit of a pop feel to it. Kingface, there were some groups like that and Scream was one of them that had ... They could sing well and they put a really good melody behind songs.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    Kingface was the same way. A lot of the punk groups were doing that. Basically, I recorded them so I knew Dave from back then.

Brian:    I see.

Don Z:    Then when he broke up ... Didn't break up with Nirvana. Nirvana sort of broke up.

Brian:    Dissolved, yeah.

Don Z:    Dissolved, right, that's a good word.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    Yes. He came over and he said, "We've got these demos I want to record. Do you want to record these things?" I recorded the demos for him and I actually asked him, "What's the band going to be called?" He said, "The Foo Fighters." I said, "That's a stupid name," yeah.

Brian:    You told him it was stupid?

Don Z:    Yeah.

Brian:    What did he say? [Crosstalk 12:37]

Don Z:    I have struck out on names for bands. The Dismemberment Plan, I took Jason Caddell aside one time and said, "Jason, you've got to change the name of the band. Dismemberment Plan, no one's going to remember that. Come on. Let's get real. Let's get something in there."

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    I have not had a good track record with names of bands. They just haven't worked out with me.

Brian:    Man. Some of these are big personalities that are in the studio. What do you do? You were talking earlier about the conflict between people or we joked marital problems or stuff, when that stuff happens, do you get involved? Do you purposely not get involved?

Don Z:    First of all, usually, people will act on a professional basis and these could be local people, too.

Brian:    Yeah.

Don Z:    They know how to focus pretty well. They don't get involved in a lot of stuff. A lot of the times, it's the people who are, and I'll use the term loosely, amateurs that want to be all over the place. They want to pick their own microphones out. They want to pick the position of the [mount 13:41] in front of the amplifier and, "Why are you using this and why don't we use this? I've seen this being used on YouTube. We should try that," and all that.

     As an engineer I try different things at different points, but as a musician, you should ... I'm speaking for myself, you should not concern yourself with that in a way. You should concern yourself with the way it sounds. You are there to look at the sound of things and making sure that your instrument, whether it's a voice, a guitar amplifier or a base amplifier or a drum set sounds the way you want it to sound. At that point, you can say, "We need more snap in the snare or we need more bottom end to the kick drum."

Brian:    I see.

Don Z:    Not, "We need to use an AKG112 for the kick drum because I've heard that Def Leppard uses that when they record."

Brian:    I got it. Now, I'm with you. All right, and one more question because I want to make sure we place more of the music in here about your work with some of these other artists, but the one question that I love to offer that I'd love to know from you is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don Z:    Focus.

Brian:    Focus.

Don Z:    Focus, rehearse. Focus on what you're doing. Focus on your job and what you're doing and be critical. Be critical. Make sure that everything is turning out the way you want it to turn out, but you need to remember that you have a certain job that you could do 100%. Everybody has their own job and everybody wears a different hat and we should keep it that way.

Brian:    Yeah. Got it. Profound. Now, for those folks who are interested in finding out more about you and what you've got going on, is there a website or where should they go to find that out?

Don Z:    I don't know. Wikipedia?

Brian:    You're just out there doing it. Look up Don Zientara on Wikipedia. That is one way to do it.

Don Z:    Yeah.

Brian:    Innerearstudio.com, check out the website.

Don Z:    Inner Ear Studio has some stuff, but I don't have a website myself. I just call and talk-

Brian:    Got it.

Don Z:    Hey, if anybody wants to call me, call the studio. I talk to them. If anybody's got ideas or wants answers to questions, I love talking about recording, microphones, tape recorders, anything along that line.

Brian:    Got it. All right. Give him a call.

March 28, 2017 - Special Guest: Daniel Hill of YellowTieGuy

^^Episode Audio/Video/Post Is Live - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if you have any issues)^^

National Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice

FROM TODAY'S SHOW

Music

  1. Unhappy by Billy Winn (Pop. Dance, Electronic)
  2. First Move by YellowTieGuy (Rock)
  3. Surely Late by Matt Tarka (Rock)
  4. Summer Job by A Shrewdness of Apes (Hard Rock, Progressive)
  5. Spring Hill by Jason Mendelson (Rock)
  6. Good Enough by Alex Vans (Rock/Blues)

 

NEWS & LINKS

  • April 7th, Lionize, Drop Electric, Of Tomorrow - at Hellbender Brewery where all the money goes to AYUDA / ACLU to provide lawyers for immigrants in DC/MD/VA.  Tickets almost sold out.

  • Yellowtieguy hosts the Tuesday Night Open Mic Night at Villian and Saints in Bethesda.  Check him out every Tuesday

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



Daniel Hill of YellowTieGuy

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

Bio:

Daniel Hill DC Music Rocks

Yellow Tie Guy is the DC area's premier Alternative/Rock band with performers hailing from Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. YTG released their second full length album "Play On Words", featuring singles "Anthem" and "First Move" on November 25, 2016 before taking a short break for the holidays. With plans to tour and expand their national reach in 2017, the band has already started securing dates through November of 2017, and will release singles with special guest artists throughout the year.

 

Daniel Warren Hill is the lead songwriter and vocalist for Yellow Tie Guy, and wears a number of other hats (and ties) as well. Daniel is owner of community based record label, Alchemical Records, which is working to grow more community with an online magazine and radio station. Daniel works with his father, Jim, to hand build custom tube guitar amps at VVT Amplifiers, is the host of the weekly open mic every Tuesday at Villain & Saint in Bethesda, MD, and is also a Sound Engineer and Producer with over 17 years of personal experience in the industry.

Daniel Hill DC Music Rocks

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:    Daniel Warren Hill is the lead singer and lead song-writer and vocalist for Yellow Tie Guy. The group has members from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and released their second full-length album "Play on Words" this past November. Daniel also wears a number of other hats as well. He is the owner of community-based record label Alchemical Records. He manages an online magazine and an online radio station. He works with his father Jim to hand-build custom two guitar amps at VVT Amplifiers. He hosts the weekly open mic night you heard about earlier, every Tuesday at Villain and Saint in Bethesda Maryland. He is also a sound engineer and producer with over 17 years of personal experience in the industry.

     I first saw Yellow Tie Guy and heard about them through the Capital City showcase. Shout-out to [Christian Hunt 00:53] at the Capital City Showcase because he does some cool things. He's been an artist on there and I saw this guy on stage with the Capital City showcase. Just cool sounds, as you heard from that sound. Listeners, it's with great pleasure that I introduce Daniel Hill.

Daniel:    Thank you. It's always humbling when somebody talks about you. I don't know how you feel when somebody does it for you but when somebody does it for me, I just want to crawl under a rock somewhere and then cover myself up with a blanket.

Brian:    Well, thank you for tolerating me there while I did that, because I want to set the stage for them. Now ell us, how did you get started in this music thing? Where did that come from?

Daniel:    The long story short is going to be that I've been singing my whole life and I've always had a passion for music and different instruments as I was growing up. I got into music as an opportunity for ... I guess you could say a career choice. I made a career choice when I found out I was going to be a dad. She inspired me to pursue my dreams and set a goal for her that whatever it is that she was interested in doing, that she could also find a way to make that successful and happen for her.

Brian:    Wow. What is her name?

Daniel:    Her name is Madison.

Brian:    Wow.

Daniel:    She's seven.

Brian:    Oh, Madison if you hear this, shout-out to you Madison.

Daniel:    She runs the playlist in the car when we're driving. She gets to pick the songs.

Brian:    Oh, yeah?

Daniel:    Yeah.

Brian:    Oh, that's awesome.

Daniel:    We're singing Ring of Fire together, that's a song we're learning to sing together. Also If I Had a Million Dollars, trying to get some two part things going on.

Brian:    Very cool, this is what happens when you're a seven year old in a family with musicians. I love it, that is cool. Well, now ... There's a lot of things going on. I listed a lot of things in that introduction, so why don't you ... Where did Yellow Tie Guy from and the idea for the Yellow Tie? Talk about.

Daniel:    When I was 11 I was visiting a camp, like a youth group thing in North Carolina at a pretty big church down there. They had brought up some of the young preacher speaker boys to come up on stage and I was one of those guys that came up, but the Pastor couldn't remember my name when he invited me up to actually come onto the stage. He goes, "You, the guy with the yellow tie. Come on up here." I'm 11 years old, and I go up and do my thing. Three years later I'm in Virginia visiting a church and they recognized me as the guy with the yellow tie, "Oh you were the guy with the yellow tie down in North Carolina." I was like, how do you remember that? I don't even remember what color tie I was wearing that day. Then it just kind of stuck with me that this was something that was memorable, and when I started playing solo shows ... When I started playing solo shows ... Oh, that's something for my school. Too many smart objects. Wrong button.

Brian:    So wait a minute, so Yellow Tie Guy actually come ... that is amazing. Somebody called you out as being the guy with the yellow tie and it stuck, all those years?

Daniel:    It stuck. I didn't make it up, somebody else made it up and-

Brian:    I love it. Oh my god.

Daniel:    When I started playing solo acoustic shows as a teenager it was just kind of a gimmick, "Oh, I'll just be the Yellow Tie Guy." Then as time went by ... the band, when I started playing with a band and we were going to record a record, it was like, "Well, do you want to be a different band name, because I'm totally cool with it." I was just using Yellow Tie Guy for funsies by myself, but I don't assume that it represents a group of people, per say. They were like, "No." I was like, "Okay, well you're just telling me you're too lazy to come up with a unique band name and so we're just going to run with this then and that will be fine."

Brian:    I'd like to think of it as they loved the idea so much that they wanted to do that one too. I don't know.

Daniel:    I just think everybody was skeptical about the project at first and so ... it'll be like, 30 years from now it will be like Kid Rock, "I wish we could have called ourselves something different."

Brian:    No, I hope that happens. Daniel, I hope we're talking about this 30 years from now, and I can talk about the fact that you were on the show and I found out that you wore a yellow tie to church and that's where the name came from.

Daniel:    That's right.

Brian:    I really hope that that happens. That would be amazing.

Daniel:    It stuck.

Brian:    Then you also ... Alchemical Records, what is that? Talk about that.

Daniel:    When we put out our first record Alchemical Records was already existing as kind of an email chain where people would just kind of hit me up and they would ask me for advice or ask me for a contact and I would go, "Well I don't have the answer to this, or I don't know how to do this for you, so let me forward you on to this person, maybe they can help you out." It was just kind of a long chain-mail email newsletter type situation. Nothing official.

       When we put out the first record we used Alchemical Records as a name to stick on the back of it. It was right at the height of DIY and do it all yourself. I was like, "I'll just put that out under my own label. All these other people are putting their music out on their own label, so I'll do it too." Then once people had listened to it and had seen the album art and things like that, everybody was really impressed and I started getting some interest in, "Well how do I get on the label? What does the label do?". It just kind of developed from there. It's still very community-based in that everybody we talk to is somebody we just have a genuine relationship with at some point, or run into and meet. It continues to grow but there's no specific set rate. It's really just about trying to help ... working with the artist individually. The artists that are on the label, they get the help that I can best provide for them based on their needs.

Brian:    Wow.

Daniel:    We mostly try to focus on providing marketing distribution. Anybody can distribute themselves, but marketing is something that you really have to work through from start to finish and it has to be a long-term goal for artists. Artist development is really what we specialize in.

Brian:    Got it. When you say artist development, does that mean helping them refine their sound or come up with/finish an album, or finish a piece of work? Say more on that.

Daniel:    I mean, from an engineering standpoint I might visit a show and then make recommendations to improve their stage sound from their perspective, not necessarily from what an engineer does. Then from a marketing perspective we might try to figure out how we can get them to supply me with tracks and artwork significantly before their set release date, so that way we can try to get some buzz built out about it, even if it's just from the underground or from those people that I can individually email, or share something with specifically and try to just grow it out that way.

      There's a lot of time ... it takes a long time to properly market and promote. I'm not saying we're always guilty of properly marketing or providing anything, but it takes a long time, and longer than people think. They go and they spend all this money or time recording a record and then when it's time to release it it's like, tomorrow, "Here you go guys, we just finished it, and here you go." There's not necessarily a lot of forethought to-

Brian:    Yeah, I heard it's a stat the other day that you should spend as much time and money on the PR for the release as you do on making the record.

Daniel:    Sure.

Brian:    That was a eye-opening ratio, because I thought it was more all about making the good music and then ... if you build it they will come does not work with music releases.

Daniel:    You have to tell people.

Brian:    Getting the word out there, you've got to tell people about it.

Daniel:    One way or another.

Brian:    Now then the VVT Amplifiers is the other thing we talked about in the intro. Talk about that.

Daniel:    Well, when I was a teenager and playing in a band with my brother we got what was called a real amp, a tube amp at the time. My dad had heard it and was like, "I think I could build something like that or better." He took my mom's cutting board and brown pan and took it in the basement and cut holes in it and bolting things together and put transformers and tubs into it and he made a little 5 watt amplifier out of a cookie sheet-

Brian:    Stop it. Out of a cookie sheet?

Daniel:    Out of a cutting board ... a cookie sheet and cutting board.

Brian:    Wow!

Daniel:    It wasn't as good. That amp was not as good as the amp that we owned at the time, but things improved and that's where the company developed. As I was continuing to just play music for funsies, my dad was building amplifiers. Then as things got more serious for me, things were becoming more serious for him and we started collaborating. I do not have his engineering wisdom. I've got a lot of catching up to do I come from a business mind and a marketing mind and also just trying to build that one fan at a time approach. I try to focus on web development, business development, and just working with artists, working with our continuing to outreach and find more artists locally to work with, and studios to work with.

Brian:    Why would they ... there's a lot of amplifier companies out there, so what makes VVT special?

Daniel:    Well I truly believe that we don't build anything ... none of our models of amplifiers are things that we are regurgitating. If you want a Marshall amplifier, you can call us and we can absolutely build you what would be a 1970-whatever vintage-hand Marshall, whatever. But those companies are already making great products that sound good that a lot of people love. We're not here to poo-poo on anybody's product. We're here to try to build something that's unique and original and really helps bring out the unique characteristic of the guitar player, rather than to try to focus on what we sound like as an amplifier company. Each amplifier meets a different need for a different style of player, and you're talking to the two guys that build the amps in their garage, literally. We've done our own R&D. We spent our money on R&D, we spend a lot of time before we release new products to work with artists to try to get it better. We've got a lot of talented players using our stuff.

       I think that the only thing I hope for is that we'll have more diversity in our artists, because I think that tube amps in general appeal to an older player. I also think that it appeals to sometimes certain styles of music. We'd like to expand the artists that we're working with as far as genres, but I think as far as quality and that unique, "Hey, I can drive to the place where I'm going to have my amp built or worked on and meet the people ..."

Brian:    Right, so you can actually see it in production, and see it in the DC area.

Daniel:    If you make us, yeah, you can come watch us build it if you make us-

Brian:    You can bring your own cutting board and then watch it become and amplifier.

Daniel:    I am tempted. I am tempted to try to put together some workshops where I would teach people how to build an amplifier like we did the first time, but I can't imagine what kind of legal concerns we might have to address or safety concerns.

Brian:    Probably, there's probably something. That might be a little complicated, you're right.

Daniel:    We're afraid to tell people how to do it on their own.

Brian:    I love that. All right, now tell us about you outside of ... we've got all these projects that you're working on, and then you as a guy outside of that. What do you do for fun? What's outside?

Daniel:    Aside from music, I really like to be outdoors. I like sunshine, I like hiking, camping. I'm actually a really country-bumpkin guy. Get me away from the city ...

Brian:    Country-bumpkin guy.

Daniel:    Country-bumpkin, yeah.

Brian:    Excellent, so that means what?

Daniel:    The further away from the city I am, the more comfortable I feel in my element. Like I'm an earth ... I wear earth tones, I just happen to be that reflection of my personality where I really do enjoy nature and the atmosphere. I'm actually a bit ... I'm a recluse by nature, because I believe that the work ethic that I have means that I have to kind of keep going, keep going, keep going and I work and work and work from home until I pass out, or until I just can't stand it anymore. People have to put up with me from that end, but personality-wise I like to go hiking and camping and skiing and paint-balling and laser-tagging. I try to stay active.

Brian:    Get out and do fun things-

Daniel:    That's right.

Brian:    -and away from the city, when you can.

Daniel:    Right. The city is more of the opportunity that I see to be able to share the music with more people in a condensed area. Or like, we go to visit a lot of small cities and try to perform to a specific audience that's very open-minded to what we're about to play. As far as like, living conditions, I think I'm more much at home getting eggs out of a chicken coop than I am having my butcher be my next door neighbor, per say. If that makes sense.

Brian:    Yeah, absolutely. Now, what do you have in your music collection that might surprise us?

Daniel:    Gosh, well it might surprise people to learn that ... the influences that I have aside from gospel growing up in church, I think that my music is influenced from everybody ranging from Frank Sinatra to Metallica or heavier ... Living Sacrifice or a band like that. We had recently opened up for a kind of big, kind of Christian circle band called Project 86, and that's a reflection of stuff that we were into growing up, and Living Sacrifice. There's another ... the Pennsylvania metal band that was young, we were really in to. I can't think of their name right now.

Brian:    Nice. All right, so some of that stuff. What about ... your earliest memory with music, where does that go?

Daniel:    I was on stage singing, I mean at four years old. I'm dressed up in suspenders and a bow tie, matching-the-person-standing-next-to-me kind of thing.

Brian:    Okay.

Daniel:    That's probably what I remember, is being young and in a barbershop quartet type situation at a young age, and wishing I stuck with that, because barbershop quartet is still one of the coolest things ever.

Brian:    I totally agree man. It really ... it's amazing what they're able to do with just four voices.

Daniel:    There's a certain integrity, like a pure authentic quality to having four people that have just found a way to be that cohesive. It's really intimidating.

Brian:    Yeah, intimidating and really impressive. I love it.

 All right, so if there's one piece of advice that you could offer, what would it be?

Daniel:    As far as a musician, maybe ...?

Brian:    In general. However you chose to answer the question. I love to ask it open-ended.

Daniel:    Relax. Take a deep breath and just relax, because we are so busy in this area. I feel like my work ethic comes from living in the area where there's high expectations set to achieve or to accomplish things. It's great to be driven like that, but at the same time there's so many people that are in such a hurry and they don't realize that ... whether it's by being an overly-aggressive driver or by cutting somebody off for that job opportunity to try to get ahead a little faster than somebody else, it really is nonsense because we're all on the same similar path as one another, and we're all headed to similar destinations. We all are just going to get there when we get there.

Brian:    Got it, so relax.

Daniel:    Relax, take a deep breath.

Brian:    All right. Chill out, you'll get there. You will get there.

Daniel:    That's right. All things in good time.

Brian:    Now if people are really interested in learning more about you and Yellow Tie Guy, where can they go online to find you?

Daniel:    Well, there's a website that is YellowTieGuy.com, or it used to be just ".us", ".U-S", but we got the ".com" from a life insurance agent that was formerly selling and sharing about himself under YellowTieGuy.com.

Brian:    Another Yellow Tie Guy? Dang it!

Daniel:    There was another Yellow Tie Guy.

Brian:    The scandal!

Daniel:    That's right. We managed to get that URL, and then we're also on pretty much any social media outlet that you can think of. I'm probably personally most active on Instagram because I take the picture and share it through Instagram and it goes to these other outlets automatically. I'm actively seeing things that are going on in Instagram and things like Facebook and Twitter are harder for me because there's so much information going on there at ... so much information for me to try to retain.

Brian:    Yeah.

Daniel:    I get a little overwhelmed.

Brian:    Got it. All right, so Instagram is a great place.

Daniel:    Instagram is great to stay in direct touch. Or send me a message through the website.

Brian:    Absolutely, yeah, definitely check out the website. It's really cool what you've been able to do and especially all- these projects too. Check out Alchemical Records, cool things they got going on over there, and the radio station, the streaming radio station. Just really cool stuff Daniel's got going on. Definitely do check him out online.

March 21, 2017 - Special Guest: Rachel Levitin

^^Episode Is Live Now - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if issue)^^

National Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice

FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Rabbit Hole by the Woodshedders (Indie/Americano)
  2. Lucky Penny Blues by Rachel Levitin (Pop/Rock)
  3. Tell Everyone by Derek Evry (Rock/Pop)
  4. Turn Away by Paul Santori's Random Opponent (Rock)
  5. As You See It by Taylor Carson (Indie/Pop)
  6. Lighter bones and eyes that see for miles by Ms. Fridrich (Rock/Indie-Pop)
  7. Art Acord by Zia Hassan (Folk)

NEWS & LINKS

  • Arlington's IOTA Club and Cafe is at risk of being redeveloped. The developer, Regency Centers, is holding public meetings to present their plans.  Join the facebook group to stay up to date and find out how you can support this local music icon.
    www.facebook.com/SaveIOTA/
  • Moral Hangover's 2nd Annual Latin Rock Tribute at Tropicalia
    2nd Annual Latin Rock show on Friday, March 31st, featuring local band Moral Hangover, Indigo, and Latin Velvet @ Tropicalia. 100% of the money we collect will be used to help fund a Startup in South America that will help get out-of-school children back to formal education, by teaching them math through music.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1859104074345477/
  • DCMusicRocks.com has been updated so now one full page is dedicated to the DC Artists Database.  The incredible music and video playlists are broken out on their own page now.  Continuing to make DC's Music easier than ever to find and follow.
  • It's Rachel Levitin's Birthday!  Her Birthday party is Thursday 3/23 at Tortoise and Hare in Arlington, VA.  
    Ladies Night on Stage Presents: Rachel's Birthday Show
    https://www.facebook.com/events/207466589720255/

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



Rachel Levitin

Video - Bio - Links - Transcript

Bio:

"Rachel Levitin embodies passion," or so its been said of her. 

Levitin's performance career started in middle school with chorus and expanded with school plays, school music festivals, and talent shows before picking up guitar and trumpet at the age of nine. 

A few years later, while home alone on a Saturday with her just her dog by her side, Rachel took her first stab at a original songwriting after finding inspiration while watching a Backstreet Boys special on ABC Family Channel at age twelve.

Solo performances of her original music started at age fourteen and she hasn't looked back since.

Known for her high-energy performances, thoughtful lyrics, and positive storytelling, Levitin released her debut EP "Nearly Broken" with great support. The five-song EP even reached number one on Amazon Music's Adult Alternative New Releases Charts in October 2015.

Levitin's most recent release -- "Get Back Up" -- made its world premiere on WERA 96.7 FM's DC Music Rocks and is the song that kicks off her next chain of events. Her hope is to have a new EP of motivational, feel-good songs ready for a release around this time next year.


INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     Rachel Levitin's performance career started in middle school with chorus. Solo performances of her original music started at age 14, and she hasn't looked back since. She's known for her high-energy performances, her thoughtful lyrics, and positive storytelling, which I can vouch for personally because I have seen her on stage many times. She released her debut EP Nearly Broken, which reached number one on Amazon's music adult alternative new releases chart in October of 2015. Then her most recent release, "Get Back Up," we actually did the world premiere here on DC Music Rocks. My favorite memory about that is that Rachel was, you were in an Uber-

Rachel:   I was.

Brian:     And she took video or Instagram Live or whatever it was.

Rachel:   Whatever it was.

Brian:     She did video. I got to see video of her sitting in the car with her Uber driver listening to her world premiere on the show, which was, as a host, that was one of my favorite memories that I have so far is seeing that. That was amazing. Thank you for sharing that and for letting me do the world premiere because that song, check out "Get Back Up" by Rachel Levitin because it's awesome. Now I've talked too much. Listeners, it's with great pleasure that I introduce Rachel Levitin.

Rachel:   Yes.

Brian:     Thank you for being here.

Rachel:   My pleasure.

Brian:     Tell us about now, the music started, there's trumpet and guitar, we talked about that. But I just said that it started with chorus.

Rachel:   Yes.

Brian:     How did the revolution happen to where you are now from then.

Rachel:   Basically, I was lucky I went to a bunch of good schools growing up. When I was in middle school, I went to the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago, Illinois. It wasn't the biggest school, but they had a really good supportive community of teachers. I was into the arts, and in fourth grade, that was the year that you could sign up and start doing chorus or band, so I decided to join both, although band was my preferred choice just because I really enjoyed playing trumpet. What happened was, you know how when you're in school, you get to pick your instruments?

Brian:     Yeah.

Rachel:   I was trying out things. I tried the flute, couldn't get a peep out of it. Then I was trying to decide "Do I want to play drums or trumpet?" Looking back on it now, either one was going to be equally loud. Either one.

Brian:     It's so true. In different ways, yes.

Rachel:   In my mind, I decided "Oh, no, trumpet would be the better choice." So I tried that one, and I could play it right away. That, plus the other afterschool activities was the guitar class, and I just started within a few weeks of each other, and I've just been playing them ever since. I was nine then.

Brian:     Now do you still play trumpet often?

Rachel:   I do.

Brian:     Or guitar more frequently now?

Rachel:   Yes, guitar much more frequently. But from ages nine to eighteen, trumpet was really more my primary ... I started songwriting at 12, so high school was kind of like peak songwriting time, I guess. But trumpet was my big thing for middle school, high school, and did some in college at AU, American University, but really, my trumpeting days were more of a high school thing. I loved it, and now I get to ... You'll hear some trumpeting on a track we'll play later on in the show.

Brian:     Yeah, we got a sneak peek coming. You get to hear Rachel play trumpet on another artist's song, which is really cool. Tell us about you outside of the music then. Are you a homebody? Do you hang out a lot? What's life like for you out there?

Rachel:   I'm a definite extrovert, but I need time to sleep and recharge those batteries. I think it was a couple weeks ago I was either playing a show, going to a show, or helping with a show every single day in one week. I've learned that I can't do that. I got very tired, but I made it out okay. Extroverted definitely. Outside of music, I would say I'm a music fan, so I go to a lot of shows. You can find me at Jammin Java, or IOTA, or 9:30 Club, or DC9, or wherever more often than not.

Brian:     Which is, I can say, I have seen ... One of the great things about the DC music community is you start going to shows, and then you start seeing people you know. There's so many times where I've gone to shows, and I didn't know Rachel was going to be there, and there she is, and now I got another friend who's at the show. I love it. She is definitely a music connoisseur and an awesome support artist. By the way, she kills it on the trambo ... Tramboline, that's a trampoline and a tambourine together if you didn't know, it's called a tramboline.

Rachel:   Very fun.

Brian:     She actually played the tambourine, although you know we should have you play the tramboline.

Rachel:   Tramboline.

Brian:     Bring a trampoline on stage, that would be-

Rachel:   Let's do it.

Brian:     Anyway, I've spent enough time on that. All right. Tell us about a funniest moment that comes to mind from your performing memories that you've got.

Rachel:   Funniest moment. Well, this is pretty funny. In April a few years back, I forget what year, it's kind of irrelevant to the story, I saw a post on Facebook. One of my friends posted that her friend was organizing a pop-up chorus to sing with Damien Rice at the Lincoln Theatre as part of his sold out show.

Brian:     Whoa.

Rachel:   And we were the surprise to end the concert, to do his, what's it called, the encore. He surprised everyone with this chorus at the end of that specific tour. So me and my friend Jason Mendelson of the MetroSongs-

Brian:     Yes, he's been a guest on here, too. He's awesome, yup.

Rachel:   Yes, yes, yes. We ended up in that chorus together, but a day before I was supposed to do that, I was transported to the ER because I had a kidney stone.

Brian:     Oh my gosh.

Rachel:   I'm pretty young, so-

Brian:     Right.

Rachel:   Stress, it happens, folks. Hydrate. It's the most important thing you can do for yourself. When you're stressed and drink coffee like I do. Drink water. Don't Gilmore Girls it. Drink water.

Brian:     Public service announcement by Rachel Levitin.

Rachel:   Yes.

Brian:     Drink water. Okay, got it.

Rachel:   I drank a lot of water after that, but I did sing on stage with Damien Rice with a kidney stone in my body at a sold out show on a Friday night at D.C.'s historic Lincoln Theatre.

Brian:     That is amazing and hysterical at the same time. Wow.

Rachel:   And painful.

Brian:     There you go. Yeah, I can only imagine. I drink a lot of water, so I'm hoping-

Rachel:   Good man.

Brian:     I can't ever relate to that story actually, but we'll see what happens. All right. Tell us about what's something in your music collection that might surprise us.

Rachel:   Oh, I'm a big dixieland and big band jazz fan.

Brian:     Really?

Rachel:   Yes.

Brian:     Like what?

Rachel:   Benny Goodman, all that old school, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, anything that you would hear on the street in New Orleans with those marching bands for the weddings, that kind of stuff. The first reason I fell in love with trumpet was Louis Armstrong.

Brian:     Well, there we go. Yeah, and boy, he's got ... That's, wow, cool stuff. All right. So she's kind of a pop indie amazing performer herself, and yet, there's big band, dixieland jazz. I love it. All right. Your earliest memory with music, what comes to mind?

Rachel:   Oh, that's easy. My dad was a singer-songwriter and guitar player, although I don't think I ever heard any of his songs, so I don't know if he actually did that when we was an adult, but when he was younger. When I was a little kid, we had this tiny, mini red guitar that my grandma got me. I thought it was a real guitar. I thought I was playing it when I really wasn't. My dad would play guitar, and then we would write songs about like farm animals or something. I remember one was called Pink Flamingo. I don't remember how it went, but I remember that it happened. So I have that memory. So it goes back as far as my memory actually takes me.

Brian:     Wow. The Pink Flamingo memory with your dad. That is cool. I love it. All right. What about the first memory performing? What comes to mind?

Rachel:   Oh boy. Well, the first time I performed an original song, I don't remember where it was because there's a few different examples I can think of, but I know that my legs ... I'm pretty confident. Now, you would never know that I would ever be nervous. Every once in a while, I get a little stage excitement, I wouldn't call it stage fright, but excitement like-

Brian:     Stage excitement. I love it.

Rachel:   You're a little bit buzzed, all naturally and everything. But my legs used to shake underneath me. Mentally, I was good to go, but my body was saying "no, no, no." They would start tremble beneath me, and I had to learn how to push through that. The first few times, I definitely almost like fell to the ground because my legs were not going to hold out underneath me.

Brian:     Wow. Do you have like a tactic or something that you use to work through it? Or you just learned over time to work through it?

Rachel:   I just learned that I have nothing to worry about.

Brian:     Got it. That is pretty cool. Wow. What about a funniest moment on stage? What comes to mind?

Rachel:   Oh boy. I should've thought about it. I should've done my homework on this one. Funniest moment on stage? That's tough. I think recently, well, I don't know if it was funny, but my band and I have a good time. We only just formed this July, and every time we end up taking on-the-stage selfies or things like that. It's not exactly funny, so that's kind of not an A-game story, but we have a good time. We're a bunch of jokesters.

Brian:     Taking selfies on stage.

Rachel:   It's fun.

Brian:     I love it. Yeah.

Rachel:   I don't have a selfie stick or anything like that, but you know what, we like to goof off.

Brian:     There's still a chance. You can still make that happen, you know.

Rachel:   Well, I called them a bunch of goofs because you should see the Facebook message group that we have. It's basically just a bunch of emojis that we keep sending back and forth to each other. Shout out to Graham, Kendall, and Alex. You guys are hilarious.

Brian:     Oh my god. Have you stepped into the GIF game yet?

Rachel:   I feel like I need to, but we haven't gone that far. We've added some bitmoji to our game.

Brian:     I'm going to tell you a secret. If it's a Facebook group, there's a button that says GIF.

Rachel:   Oh, there is?

Brian:     Go in there. Try it.

Rachel:   I've just never pressed it. Oh boy.

Brian:     Your group will just one-up on the GIF situation.

Rachel:   Oh, they're going to love it.

Brian:     It's going to be amazing.

Rachel:   Get ready, fellas.

Brian:     Tell us about a time you tried and failed?

Rachel:   Tried and failed. Well, let's see. Good question. I feel like I'm using dead air. Tried and failed. I remember I really wanted to be a first chair trumpet at the jazz band. I went to Interlochen for two summers in Traverse City, Michigan to study jazz. Looking back on it now, yeah, did I want to want first chair or whatever? Yeah, I did, but I wasn't like the rest of the kids there. I was, but I wasn't. Whereas they all planned on being professional instrumentalists when they grew up, which I'm not opposed to it, I just at that point in my life wasn't so sure about my route in life. And being there as a trumpet major instead of a songwriting major, it kind of changed the game for me. But I love jazz. I auditioned, and I ended up, I think, getting fourth chair. At first, I was disappointed, but then I realized "You're not practicing. That's your fault. If you want to be a higher chair, you should probably practice."

Brian:     Yes, this is good.

Rachel:   So here I am at a world-renowned camp for instrumentalists, and I wasn't practicing. So, yeah, of course I would get fourth chair. Then I started practicing. That was just the ... I went back for two summers, so that was just the start of the first summer. Then I practiced it, and I think I got up to third chair, and maybe even sat in on some second at that point. But you have to remember, these are kids from all over the country, all over the world who-

Brian:     Right, in a really competitive thing.

Rachel:   This is what they want to do.

Brian:     [crosstalk 00:11:37] you're a fairly gifted trumpet player, too. We hear you on guitar on stage a lot, but you with a trumpet is also a really good thing it sounds like.

Rachel:   Yeah, I got to get my chops back, but I have a few concertos in my bedroom that I can probably still play if I practiced.

Brian:     I feel like that's a "That's what she said" thing. I don't know.

Rachel:   Right, work it in.

Brian:     Anyway. Concertos in the bedroom. I love it. Anyway.

Rachel:   Ba-dum-bum.

Brian:     All right. One of my favorite last questions to ask is what's one piece of advice that you would offer?

Rachel:   Just don't compromise yourself, and don't be afraid.

Brian:     Say more on that. Don't compromise yourself.

Rachel:   Know what you're capable of, and don't sell yourself short. Confidence is hard to come by. I know a lot of people who struggle with it, but I know a lot of people who don't, and I really just comes down to knowing that ... When I sing, I know that I'm supposed to be doing that, and it feels good to me. So if you're doing something that feels good to you, do it, and don't let anyone inside your head and make you think that you shouldn't be doing it or you're not good at it. Just do it.

Brian:     If folks want to follow or find out more about you or follow you, where are the best places for them to go?

Rachel:   Best place to go is I love Instagram the most just because I'm a, I would like to say, a novice photographer or something of that nature.

Brian:     Nice.

Rachel:   I do like to take photos of animals and concerts. So if you like cute animals or music, follow my Instagram. It's R-H-L-E-V-I-T-I-N. I'm also on Twitter, and I have a Facebook page for my music, and then just rachellevitin.com.

Brian:     Rachellevitin.com, that's the magic spot. You had mentioned earlier, and I want you to share with the listeners about Tony Lucca and the story that you were saying.

Rachel:   Oh, Tony Lucca. Yes.

Brian:     Yeah, talk about that real quick.

Rachel:   Tony Lucca. We go way back now. I became a fan of Tony Lucca in 1999 when the Disney Channel was airing a Mickey Mouse Club marathon because that was peak NSYNC years. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, Ryan Gosling, they were all on the show, but so was Tony Lucca, who was also on The Voice season two. I've been a big fan of his music for a long time. I first saw him open for NSYNC back in, I think it was 2001. We met back then. I have an autograph and picture from then. Fast forward to 2010, got to interview him for a website I was writing for at the time called We Love DC. Fast forward a few years, there was a chunk of time I think I saw him more throughout a year than I saw my own family just because he would come here for concerts, and I wouldn't go home that much. We just go way back, and he became a good influence on me.

                  This past weekend, I flew home to Chicago to celebrate my birthday, a milestone birthday, with my immediate family. We had Tony come, and we played a little house concert for everyone, then went out to dinner. For the first time, I got to play two original songs with someone who had a really big influence on me. I'll never forget it, and I'm really grateful. Tony's back here on April 9th, I believe, yes.

Brian:     Well, Tony, shout out to you. I love that story. That's amazing.

MARCH 14, 2017 - All-Music Episode

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Color to Your Gray by Albino Rhino (Funk/Rock)
  2. Folks on Medicine by Wanted Man (Rock/Blues)
  3. Bayhouse by Wylder (Indie/Indie Folk)
  4. Stand Alone by Native Deen (Hip Hop/R&B)
  5. Planes by Bells and Hunters (Rock/Blues Rock)
  6. Do you Know What Time It Is? by Rare Essence (R&B/GoGo)
  7. LTLA by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues Rock)
  8. Cumbia by Empresarios (Latin/Rap)
  9. Drunk On a Sunday by Cruzie Beaux (Rock/Post-Funk)
  10. Black Cat by Lionize (Rock/Blues Rock)
  11. The Margins by Shooting Down Asteroids (Hard Rock/Indie Rock)
  12. Travelling Minus Zero by Lisa Said (Folk/Rock)

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March 7, 2017 - Special Guests: Andy Cerutti & Steve Raskin of Fort Knox Recordings

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Andy Cerutti & Steve Raskin

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

BIO

Fort Knox Five and Fort Knox Recordings were launched in 2003 by Steve Raskin, Roby Myers, Sid Barcelona and john Horvath. These guys met together as part of Thunderball, the first artist signed to Thievery Corporation's label ESL music back in the mid-1990s, and decided to start their own label, a new group focused on funk for the dancefloor. The label has gone on to drop over 100 releases and widen the list of artiststo include See-I, Nappy Ridem, Ursula 1000, Qdup, Omegaman, Empresarios and Thunderball. With the tragic passing of John Horvath in the summer of 2015, Steve Raskin has carried the torch as the leading DJ of Fort Knox Five and regularly tours across the US and Canada. In addition to all the great music they released and shows played around the world, Fort Knox Five and Fort Knox Recordings have licensed a lot of music to movies, video games and more - including the 2010 Oscar Winning Best Documentary "The Cove", Fox TV's "The Fringe" and countless EA Sports and Disney video games. Andy Cerutti joined the team in 2008, and in addition to serving as Label Manager, he also manages the various bands and artists on the label.  

John Shore2.jpg
Andy Cerutti.jpg

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Fort Knox Five and Fort Knox Recordings were launched in 2003 by Steve Raskin, Rob Myers, Sid Barcelona, and Jon Horvath. Now these guys, their focus was funk for the dance floor. The label's gone on to drop over a hundred releases and many more artists, including some of D.C.'s greats. In addition to all the great music they have released and shows played around the world, Fort Knox Five and Fort Knox Recordings have licensed a lot of music to movies, video games, and other places as well, so it's really branched out. Andy joined the team in 2008 and in addition to serving as Label Manager, he also manages the various bands and artists on the label as well.

                  I first came across these guys' music when I was first starting the show. I think it was Black Masala, was the first band where I ended up connecting with Andy and now it's such a treat, listeners, for me to be able to introduce these guys to you and have them here. So guys, thanks so much for being here.

Steve Raskin:      Thanks for having us.

Andy Cerutti:     Yeah, thanks a lot.

Brian:     This is really cool. Let's start with the track that we just played now. That was Fort Knox Five. Tell us about Fort Knox Five.

Steve Raskin:      Well, I think one of the interesting things you actually mentioned, Fort Knox Five has always been about funk at the root of it all. That track in particular was a collaboration that was destined to happen. We always celebrate D.C. music. We're very much supportive of the whole D.C. music scene. For us to be able to collaborate with a D.C. legend like Sir Joe Quarterman, who paved the way for what we're doing, really, right now, which is representing D.C. with some funky dance music. Actually, that was a great story. We actually got to meet ... I'm a long time fan of Sir Joe Quarterman. He did a project called the Free Soul back in the 70s and had a song called, "I Got So Much Trouble On My Mind." A fantastic funk song, one of those old school kind of funk 45 things. Actually, through Andy's connection with the Funk Parade, we had the privilege of actually getting introduced to Mr. Joe Quarterman.

Andy Cerutti:     Yeah, it was really cool to meet him. I mean, he's a D.C. legend and I go to the Funk Parade meetings and there's Joe Quarterman. We just kind of approached him and said, "Hey, are you interested in making some new music together?" The next thing you know, he comes into the studio and these guys made this great track, which is an instant classic, really.

Brian:     I love how those stories come together and how you just suddenly, magically end up with magical tracks like that.

Steve Raskin:      Absolutely.

Brian:     And the connections. It's getting to know folks around town. I love that. I'm dying to know the story behind the name. Fort Knox? Tell me. Tell me the story.

Steve Raskin:      Well, it's like all good stories. It starts with more of a legend than anything else. No. Fort Knox Five was always kind of an inside joke between us. Like you mentioned before with Rob Myers, Sid Barcelona, and Jon Horvath and myself, the four of us together were doing this project and I kept calling it the Fort Knox Five even though there was no fifth member, because none of us are really vocalists. The fifth member really became everyone that we collaborated with. From the get go, we always joked about how all our favorite bands came in fives. It was the Fort Knox Five just like Jurassic 5 and the MC5 and ...

Andy Cerutti:     Jackson 5.

Steve Raskin:      ... Jackson 5. I mean, there are so many. All the bands came in five. It was like, "Name a four band." There's no fours. The Fantastic Four, the Funky 4, there were very few. They were all in fives, and the five kind of really encapsulated what we wanted to do with music in general, which was about collaboration. As instrumentalists, the whole point of us doing Fort Knox Recordings as an extension of Fort Knox Five was to really celebrate the D.C. music scene. That's been, really, our ethos from the beginning. Fort Knox Five is the five is the four.

Brian:     That's amazing. Four of you guys together with a fifth member is the Fort Knox Five. I love it.

Steve Raskin:      It really completes the sound.

Brian:     Fort Knox Recordings then, was that just an extension of Fort Knox Five? Now it's going to be recordings, too?

Steve Raskin:      Yeah, well, no, and actually the Fort Knox Five, the name itself came as a joke. We used to call our recording studio just Fort Knox, because all we had was the music. The music was our gold. Fort Knox was sort of a tongue-in-cheek when our studio was in the hood. You were like, "Yeah, we got nothing to steal here except the music."

Brian:     Except the music, I get it now. Fort Knox, holding tight the music.

Steve Raskin:      Exactly.

Brian:     Oh, I love that. That's cool.

Andy Cerutti:     The classical ... The label compilation The New Gold Standard kind of sets that also apart. It's like the gold in Fort Knox ...

Steve Raskin:      ... is really just the tunes.

Brian:     There you go. So the name of the label that you guys have is ...

Steve Raskin:      I mean, the label is Fort Knox Recordings, too. Like you had mentioned in the intro, we launched the label and the group at the exact same time. The label was a vehicle for us to be able to do a collaboration with the idea of making funky dance music really celebrating D.C.

Brian:     That's amazing. Andy, how did you get linked up with these guys? What's the story there?

Andy Cerutti:     I've known a bunch of them since way back in the 90s from the music scene, and especially the co-founder Jon Horvath. Him and I were real tight. In the mid-2000s, when they were ready to sort of take the label to the next level, start releasing a bunch of other artists, Empresarios, See-I, Nappy Riddem, they were interested in bringing on somebody who could help them build the foundation and build the platform larger. That's where I came in. That's when we started really fleshing out the full identity and bringing in all these different artists and releasing so many great projects, which we continue to do.

Brian:     Holy smokes. I've featured a lot of those artists you just mentioned. They've got profiles on the site. Phenomenal music coming from those guys. Some of my favorite jams are from some of those guys.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely.

Brian:     It is really cool to see what you guys have built here. That's amazing. Now go ahead, I want you to clarify, if someone comes to see a Fort Knox Five show, what can they expect to see?

Steve Raskin:      Actually, that's interesting that you say that, too, because given the name Fort Knox Five and the sort of mythical confusion behind it ... Are we a band? Is it a DJ? We make the dance music, inherently, but we've done so many different incarnations of it. We've done the full live band where we had horn sections, live drums, bass, all of us playing live instrumentation. But that's been few and far between. More often than not, Fort Knox Five has been I've been traveling representing Fort Knox Five playing eclectic DJ sets and mixing originals, instrumentals, remixes, collaborators, all into the sets. From the five becomes a single DJ set, and then as an extension of that, Jon and I ... the original founding member, Jon ... we've been doing a four turntable or a four deck set where we were doing live ... Everything that we were doing in the studio, this sort of mash-up kind of culture, but we were doing it live. We'd play instrumentals and acapellas and take our acapella and put it on top of a Biggie song, or taking all these things and sort of interchanging these things.

                  That's something that we've been doing really as a festival thing. The Fort Knox Five four deck set now includes our collaborator Jason, Qdup, who we're putting out his new single, and the two of us go out and do that same kind of four deck set.

Brian:     That's cool.

Steve Raskin:      It's Fort Knox Five solo, the four deck set, and then occasionally the live band.

Brian:     For listeners who don't know what a four deck set means, what is that?

Steve Raskin:      It's, like I was sort of saying, four turntables that we're syncing up live, not as a preplanned set. Almost as jamming, as a live mash-up, where we can take our songs and use other people's vocals on top of it or our instrumentals. It's sort of a jigsaw puzzle of live music.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Steve Raskin:      It's not just sequencing songs as a DJ set. It's creating the actual songs that are created on the spot.

Brian:     Got it. For you guys outside of the music scene now, do you have other hobbies? If they were to meet you outside of this stuff, what might they see you doing?

Steve Raskin:      Well, Andy? I don't know.

Andy Cerutti:     I'm a history professor.

Brian:     Really?

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. I'm an adjunct professor out at NOVA Annandale.

Brian:     Wow. Shout out to the NOVA kids who might be listening. All right.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. Absolutely.

Steve Raskin:      You may have had Professor Cerutti.

Brian:     Cool. I love it. All right, also adjunct professor. I like that. Okay, what else you got?

Steve Raskin:      I'm actually a graphic designer by trade. When I first started in the D.C. music scene, even way back in, going back to the 90s, the punk rock days, I used to design a lot of album packaging for ... specializing in D.C. local music from ... I used to do from Jawbox to Girls Against Boys, a lot of the old D.C. punk stuff. Then from that I started doing national bands like Bad Religion. I designed some of their record covers. Then through that I actually met the Thievery Corporation guys and started designing their records. In terms of a little history ...

Brian:     Oh, okay. That's a lot of design, yeah.

Steve Raskin:      Design has sort of [crosstalk 00:09:35].

Brian:     Okay, that's design. Tell me, how did music come into both of your lives? What's the story there?

Steve Raskin:      For me, music has always been an integral part of it. I think as a visual artist and as a musical artist, I think they kind of go hand in hand. Watching old spy chase movies and Blaxploitation movies really, that inspired me more to make music than the actual music of the time, because it's more of a feeling. I tend to be more inspired creatively by visual things that put in ideas as opposed to sort of like imitating or emulating kind of things. But I think they go hand in hand.

Brian:     Hence the graphic designer thing you were talking about.

Steve Raskin:      Hence the graphic designer thing.

Brian:     But you also play an instrument. What instrument?

Steve Raskin:      I play bass guitar, keyboards. In the live setting I play bass, but in the studio it's one of the things that I love about making modern electronic music, or electronic bass music, is that as a multi-instrumentalist I can sit there and do this orchestration that I could never have done before. If I want a string section or a horn section I can kind of concoct it and structure it and we have such amazingly talented musicians here in D.C. that to be able to get Frank Mitchell or some of the other horn guys to come in and be able to do a horn section and replay these ideas that you can kind of get into your mind is one of the most amazing things about our collective group of friends.

Brian:     That's cool. Andy, what about you? How did music come into ... That's totally different from history professor.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, it's actually pretty easy for me to explain it because in 1994 I started working at Tower Records.

Brian:     Oh, Tower Records. I remember those guys.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I still have a lot of friends from Tower.

Brian:     Nice.

Andy Cerutti:     It's still a big part of my life. I worked there for several years and I became a singles buyer. I got an office in the back. I'm dealing with the representatives and the sales charts and data and really, that's where it really began for me on the business side. I'm not a musician, so I do business and management side.

Brian:     I see.

Andy Cerutti:     Around that same time I linked up with a DJ, DJ Slant, from here in Washington, D.C. We formed a company, 2Tuff Productions. We threw countless events and concerts and tours and special shows promoting drum and bass music, which in a roundabout way is how I became linked up with these guys.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Andy Cerutti:     It's a true D.C. story through and through.

Steve Raskin:      Exactly.

Brian:     For both of you guys, one of the questions I love to ask is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Steve Raskin:      I would always say when people ask me that kind of question, there's so many different things to say, but the truth of the matter is if you really want to do something just don't give up. Don't rely on someone else to do it. I think part of that is the D.C. ethos of growing up in the punk scene, which is if you wanted to do a show, put a show together. If you want to put out a record, you want to do a recording, go and do it. There's nothing really stopping you.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. I'd say longevity, perseverance, you know?

Steve Raskin:      Yeah, don't give up.

Andy Cerutti:     Right when you think that it's time to quit, that's just when you're getting started. You got to stick in it. If you're not prepared for decades of commitment, you're not in the right field.

Brian:     Wow, okay. Stick with it. God, great messages, guys. I dig it. One other fun question. What's one thing in your music collection that might surprise us? Come on, Steve. Don't hold out on us, now. Andy started laughing because there's something there. What do you got?

Steve Raskin:      Well, yeah, in the same way that I like 60s and 70s car chases, I also like really cheesy music from the 60s and 70s, too. It's what would be considered light and fluffy, maybe like bossa nova light, more of the cha-cha kind of stuff.

Brian:     Okay. Really? So are we talking like "Girl From Ipanema," like the classic?

Steve Raskin:      Oh, yeah. "Girl From Ipanema," sure.

Brian:     Really?

Steve Raskin:      Yeah.

Brian:     Wow. Well, I guess that also makes sense because like Fort Knox Five ...

Steve Raskin:      It makes a little sense. Yeah, sure.

Brian:     It's still the big band and actual instruments and it's not just electronic. Not too much of a stretch, I've got you. What about you, Andy?

Andy Cerutti:     I've had so many musical phases it's hard to pinpoint one. I had a phase where I went through the Grateful Dead and some jam music, which is not something that's a big part of my life now, but I feel like it played a role in sort of shaping my musical development.

Brian:     That's amazing, guys. If listeners want to find out more about you guys or follow you guys online where do they go to find out more about you?

Andy Cerutti:     FortKnoxRecordings.com is an absolutely great spot. FortKnoxFive.com, because we have so much going on that we kind of have to parcel it out between the label and the artist.

Brian:     Sure. Right, which is great problems to have.

Steve Raskin:      Sure. Exactly.

Brian:     So much cool stuff happening. I love it.

Steve Raskin:      Find us on ... Especially, we have tons and tons of mixes. Go to SoundCloud.com, Fort Knox Five. We do a series called Funk the World, which is basically what it says, inspired funk from across the globe. Different types of genres, hours and hours and hours to be entertained too.

Andy Cerutti:     I mean, every platform. SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Twitter, you name it, you'll find us there. Fort Knox or Fort Knox Five.

February 28, 2017 - Special Guest: Chris Naoum of Listen Local First

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

New Workout Music Playlist!  Visit our Find-Browse Music Page!

Washington City Paper’s “Best of DC” poll close this week!  Go vote for your favorite local original band.

Funk Parade Kick Off Party!  3/16, Tropicalia Lounge on U St, 7-10pm

MUSIC

  1. On and On - Run Come See (Folk/Americana) 
  2. Ctrl - My French Roommate (Indie/Dance-Punk)
  3. Untitled - Julie Outrage (Rock/Psychedelic Soul)
  4. Batonebo - Odetta Hartman (Indie/Folk)
  5. DC Touring Company - Turtle Recall (Rock)
  6. I See You - Aaron Abernathy (R&B/Soul)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Chris Naoum

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

Bio

DC Music Rocks Chris Naoum (3)

Chris Naoum is the Founder of Listen Local First. Listen Local First DC (LLF) is a local music initiative devoted to building awareness and creating opportunities for local musicians to raise the profile of DC’s local music scene. LLF was born out of a collaboration with Think Local First DC and seeks to partner with local musicians, arts organizations, venues, businesses and local government to create new avenues for local music exploration. LLF co organizes two of the district’s largest all local music festivals, Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival and Funk Parade.  LLF plans to launch the Fair Trade Music DC initiative in 2017 and has been working with a number of local government agencies and officials to establish a permanent DC Local Music Taskforce to advocate for musician specific interests within the broader Creative Economy. 

DC Music Rocks Chris Naoum (2)

Chris Naoum is a telecom attorney with background in copyright and media law and policy.  Chris has advocated on behalf of the independent music community for the past 7 years focusing on artist development and policy reform that benefits the local creative economy. 

 

Links

Listen Local First

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ListenLocalFirst/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/listenlocaldc

Funk Parade

Official Website: https://www.funkparade.com/

Facebook: ttps://www.facebook.com/thefunkparade/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FunkParade

DC Music Rocks Chris Naoum
 

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Chris Naoum is the founder of Listen Local First, it's a local music initiative devoted to building awareness and creating opportunities for local musicians to raise the profile of D.C.'s local music scene. I agree with this motivation so much. Apparently, Listen Local First was born out of a collaboration with Think Local First D.C., and it seeks to partner with local musicians, art organizations, venues, businesses, and local government to create new avenues for local music exploration. Listen Local First, it co-organizes to of the district's largest all music, all local music festivals, which you heard about both of these in the intro.

                  We've got Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival and the Funk Parade, which, by the way, if you're in D.C., I hope you've attended both of these, and if you haven't, put it on your bucket list, your D.C. bucket list. Incredible examples of awesome D.C. music. Listen Local First has been working with a number of local government agencies and officials to establish a permanent D.C. local music taskforce to advocate for musicians' specific interests within the broader creative economy. Chris Naoum, himself, is a telecom attorney with a background in copyright and media law and policy. He's advocated on behalf of the independent music community for the past seven years, focusing on artist development and policy reform that benefits the local creative economy. Having said all that, Chris, it's such a treat having you here, man. Thanks for being here.

Chris:     Thank you. I should've given you a shorter blurb.

Brian:     Why? It was such a good blurb, I didn't want to leave anything out. It's so good. Tell us about Listen Local First. How did this come about? What's that story?

Chris:     I was actually thinking about this on the way over here and it's something I rarely say is Listen Local First came out of the fact that I was new to D.C., nine years ago, and I loved sharing new experiences, sharing new music with people, with friends, and sort of, I guess, it really comes out of my need and interest to share. I had been working for an organization called the Future of Music Coalition, doing a lot of music policy work, a lot of advocacy on behalf of the independent music community and got to know so many D.C. artists and I knew about all their shows, I know about when they were playing, where they were playing, all sorts of genres of musicians.

                  I thought that if there's a way I can help get that word out or help create the connections that can help these artists make new fans, then I can do something to help out the local music community. I had all these young professionals and people in the city I knew at the time that were all potential fans that I felt that needed to know about these bands. Really, it was just the simple wanting to share, and then it's grown over the past five years.

Brian:     Wow, and I love what it's grown into, because I first heard about you, it was back in, I think, 2014, somebody was saying, "I became a part of the local music scene as a musician" and they were saying, "God, Listen Local First, this is where you find it all." Your name's definitely gotten out there in the community and it's a treat to have you here, especially with all the stuff you've been doing for the scene. Now, tell us about how did you ... Have you just always been a music fan? Are you a musician as well? What's your music connection in your life?

Chris:     Yeah, I've been a music fan. I love music. I had a brief stint one year when I sang acapella in high school, but don't hold that against me.

Brian:     An acapella? You heard it here first, guys. Acapella singer, I love it.

Chris:     That's the only musical thing I've ever done. I think I took piano lessons, I did take piano lessons as a little kid, but I wasn't very good. This was, it was my finding out ... It's really the joy that music brings to me, and love music was something that was so great and it's something that I feel you have all these amazing local artists here and I just wanted to get to know them, I wanted to know about their work, I wanted to know their story, I wanted to see their music, I wanted to see like the journey they took on their musical career. It's all this interesting story and I love hearing and learning stories and every band has their story and it's a business and it's just ...

Brian:     In the intro I talked about how you were getting into policy and stuff now, where did it go from really loving local music and connecting people to local music, where did it turn into the policy and working with the government, all that stuff? How did that happen?

Chris:     Right, so at the beginning what we were doing with Listen Local First, we were creating playlists, featuring artists each month or every two months, eight to 10 artists and new bands, new albums that were being released, and we were partnering with local businesses and creating playlists and signing waivers and having the business pay fees and we were basically operating as our own performance rights organization and sort of paying out artists from what these local businesses that were playing the music streams. We were doing something called Local Music Wednesdays, where all those businesses would stream those albums on those days and so we were doing that and having showcases every month and it was very, very time consuming. That lasted for about, at that pace, for about a year and a half and then I started working on larger festivals and larger events, because as a time commitment that was something that I can put more time in, I work after work, I can do that and I can do at night or on the weekends.

                  Then when festival season was off, I felt that the way, the right thing to fill the time was working on ways to help the local music community. What are the issues? I understand policy, I understand the different parts of the local government, how can I take that knowledge and help connect artists with the people that can make a change, that can make a difference? I met so many people that have done great work here in D.C. and across the country advocating for their local music community that I felt that this was something that if I can help and if I can give information and get people together to give them this information so they can make changes for themselves, that's something I wanted to do, when I had the free time.

Brian:     It's incredible what you've been able to accomplish in what seems like such a short time too. Now, when you think of accomplishments then, like the biggest success moment, what comes to mind?

Chris:     There are a lot of accomplishments that we still need to take, especially in the policy world. I'd say, personally, for me it's pulling off a funk parade.

Brian:     Talk about that actually. Pulling off a funk parade, say more on that.

Chris:     I worked for a couple large events and festivals and I started working with the Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival and helping book the bands, reach out to sponsors, bring in vendors, sort of working on the production side. I was approached by my co-founder, Justin Rood, and he said, "Hey, I have this dream, U Street is such a historic corridor, there's so much music, there's so much history, there's so much sound. I love to dance. I love all these bands, these local bands. I had this vision of this parade, with horns and George Clinton in front roaring down U Street. Then I woke up and I decided why is there not a funk parade?" Of course, he somehow got in touch with me and I said, "Oh yeah. Yeah, we can do a festival. Let's do a funk parade," and no one had any clue what a funk parade, and this is Justin's story too, the best thing about funk parade-

Brian:     I love that this came out of a dream, really?

Chris:     It totally came out of a dream.

Brian:     Oh man, I love it.

Chris:     No one had any clue and Justin says this all the time, the best thing about funk parade is no one knew what funk parade was, so we could've done anything.

Brian:     This sounds like something out of the Fight Club. The only rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club. Well, the only thing about funk parade is that nobody knows what funk parade is.

Chris:     No one knew what a funk parade was. I think that's the best line that Justin shares, and that's kind of what we need to keep on doing every year is as it, we're now in our fourth year and so people expect certain things, but kind of our goal is to just mix everything up, mess it all up, throw it up and try to do something that where they show up the day of it'll be different. I don't want them to expect this is going to happen here, this going to be here. Even though there's something to that when you do it over and over again, but how can we add more spectacle? What can we add that's new that people don't expect this year?

Brian:     The only thing that's in common is the funk? Everything else [crosstalk 00:09:24].

Chris:     It now has a structure, but, yes, there's new music, new activations, new themes every year, so, yeah.

Brian:     Well, now what about you outside of this stuff? We've got funk parade and you've got this Listen Local First Thing, so when you're not doing that stuff who's Chris? What does he do?

Chris:     I think it's all the same now. I don't know if there is a me outside of that. No, I have a day job. I work as a telecom attorney for a small telecom company. I do FCC regulatory work and spectrum management, which, is really, I mean to most of you that's extremely boring, but this is I've just been lucky and I've been blessed with the work that I do with my business and they allow me to work on these projects. I have flexible schedule. I mean I can work, take the evenings and thanks to my wife, too, obviously, she is the-

Brian:     All right, shout out to the amazing woman in your life by the way. To your wife, thank you for letting him come on the show and let me borrow him for about an hour or two, this is-

Chris:     And letting me work very late nights a couple of times a week to work on sending out emails and making sure lineups are set. Yeah, so this time of a year my life is the festivals, really, and specifically funk parade. I like to take long trips and travel and just, I don't know, relax, play tennis, who knows outside of that?

Brian:     Relax and play ... I love that. I love that collection: travel, relax, and play tennis. That's a great [crosstalk 00:10:56], it goes together.

Chris:     That makes me sound way too D.C. I haven't actually played tennis in two years, so if anyone out there wants to play.

Brian:     Traveling, are you like foreign travel, domestic travel? What does travel mean?

Chris:     Yeah, we took an awesome trip this past year. My whole family, I'm Romanian, and so we went with my brother and his wife and my wife and my parents and we took a trip to the motherland. Took a two week trip.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Chris:     It was our one year wedding anniversary. I slammed my wife in a van with her whole family and said, "Here you go, here's your anniversary. It's our one year wedding anniversary, let's go spend two weeks in a van with your in-laws."

Brian:     Is that what they do with the Romania heritage? Is that what it is? On your anniversary you get to lock her in the van with everybody.

Chris:     Yeah.

Brian:     Oh my God, Chris, I love it. That's amazing. I realize with all the music you do, what's something in your music collection that might surprise us?

Chris:     To my closest friends it's not a surprise, but I'm a kid that grew up on The Beatles and my parents' Beatles records, and I have all of their original records at my place. Obviously, I went through the period where I listened to all of the pop music growing up and it was the Nirvana and the Green Day at the time, which was what everyone was listening to throughout middle school, but then I had this realization about the Grateful Dead and the Grateful Dead was my gateway into music.

Brian:     Wow, the Grateful Dead.

Chris:     Yeah.

Brian:     All right.

Chris:     What they had done, and I'd listened to some from dad and through friends and so that was really such a big moment for me in getting into music and what they were able to do with their music. I hadn't heard anything like it at the time.

Brian:     Wow. All right. Well, I got two more for you, two more questions I'm curious about. One is you'd mentioned like music policy and the D.C. cultural plan, can you talk a little bit about that?

Chris:     Sure. What's going on right now is the city has been in the process of collecting data from the music community on how they're going to spend money and how they're going to direct policies over the next couple of year toward growing the cultural community. What we did, we had a conference back in October, and you were at that conference, the whole idea was to bring people from the music community together to talk in a one day panel or a one day conference focused on different aspects of music policy, everything from housing to media outlets and issues with different genres of music being lost and jazz and go-go and sort of how the city is addressing these different genres. The cultural plan is happening now. It's still happening, they're still collecting data.

                  My biggest interest, and what Listen Local First is trying to do, is find a way to sort of communicate to these different agencies. We want to put together this taskforce, like you mentioned before, it's a way for artists to go to get centralized information about the government to address concerns with different aspects of the government and how we can get all these different facets of the government communicating about music the correct way. The other day someone from some organization made some comment and it was published where it said D.C. used to be a sleepy music town and now we've got these amazing acts performing, these big headline festivals or headline these big festivals, and D.C. was never a sleepy music town.

Brian:     Thank you for correcting that.

Chris:     Yeah, and it's just communicating that to people within the different agencies. Let's say the Office of Planning, obviously, Arts and Humanities, getting the mayor's office onboard, talking to everyone from police to traffic, when they're working, when they're giving out permits for events, like how are we thinking about our music scene, because how we think about it is sort of what we project upon it. That's really a big part of the work I'm doing right now that's outside of the festival planning.

Brian:     Wow, and it's so good. It's encouraging for me, as a musician, to hear that there's folks in their advocating for this, because often times when you think about the government meetings there's a total void from actually listening to the community, even though I know that's not true and they allow comment and stuff, but it's reassuring to me that you're there, so thanks for doing what you're doing on that front.

Chris:     Well and it's not even me, it's you. It's bringing together the people that want to have a voice and that have a strong voice to give, to explain to these people. I had a number of events this summer where I brought people over to my house, from now on you're going on that list, you're going to be invited to all those.

Brian:     We'll keep in touch. Thank you, sir.

Chris:     It's really getting the musicians themselves and organizing them to sort of meet with the correct people, so if I'm that middleman then I'll take that.

Brian:     That's awesome. All right. If folks are interested in finding out more about you and Listen Local First, what are the resources, where do they go to find out what you're doing and what's going on with Listen Local First?

Chris:     You can think of Listen Local First as an umbrella. I mean I like to share stuff that's going on. On our Facebook page you can check out Listen Local First, on Facebook. You can check out Listen Local D.C. on Twitter, Listen Local D.C. on Instagram. Really, we're not doing regular shows as Listen Local First, we're not doing regular events or playlists, but we are posting about advocacy, we have a list there, we're trying to send information and distribute information to people. You can find out about the festivals by going to, you can go to funkparade.com, Funk Parade on Facebook, Funk Parade on Twitter, and I think it's D.C. Funk Parade on Instagram. That's really the main festival I work on now. I was working on the bluegrass festival, I'm not currently with them, though I did help book that festival and I think the festival's going to be awesome, so you guys should check it out. It's kingmanislandbluegrass.com, I think that's the website. Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival, you can Google that.

February 21, 2017 - Special Guests: Geoff Browning and Jon Modell from “Of Tomorrow”

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

Washington City Paper's Best of DC Poll is out.  Go vote for your favorite local original band.  We've got 170+ Profiles of deserving bands on our Find-Browse Music page

MUSIC

  1. Live By The Sword - Lanternfish (Rock/Noise Rock) Album Release Show 2/25 @ DC9!  
  2. Drunk On The Power - Holly Montgomery (Rock/Adult Contemporary)
  3. The March - Of Tomorrow (Rock/Funk)
  4. That's Love - Oddisee (Hip Hop/Rap)
  5. Insight - Fort Knox Five, Asheru (Funk)
  6. I Love You Madly - Black Masala (Funk/Brass)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



Of Tomorrow

Geoff Browning & Jon Modell

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

Bio

DC Music Rocks Of Tomorrow

At the core, Of Tomorrow’s music is authentic, technical and diverse – touching on the sounds of funk, Latin jazz, festival rock, samba, neo-soul, and hip-hop. Formed in late 2015, the band is comprised of core members Nick Soderstrom (bass), Jon Modell (drums) and Geoff Browning (guitar / vocals)--fixtures on the DC music scene who have toured extensively, performing at sold-out venues including DC's 9:30 Club and the All Good Music Festival. Together, these three form the rich backbeat, melodies and lyrical structure for other players to texture, improvise and compose over.

On a mission to energize its fans and empower both core and guest musicians to shine, of Tomorrow has released their self-titled album and continues to write, tour and record. They have performed with John Popper or Blues Traveler and regularly collaborate with Ralph Washington and DJ Unown of Oddisee and Good Compny, the Yellow Dubmarine horns, and a long list of well know, extremely talented regional players. Appearing in dozens of cities and festival venues this Summer, of Tomorrow is not a band you want to miss. Tomorrow is yours.

DC Music Rocks Of Tomorrow (2)
DC Music Rocks Of Tomorrow (3)
 

Interview Transcript

Brian:     That was Of Tomorrow, my guest for today and that was the track The March.

Goeff:         Yes it was.

Brian:     At the core, Of Tomorrow's music is authentic, technical, and diverse, touching on the sounds of funk, Latin, jazz, festival rock, Samba, neo soul, and hip hop. They bring it all together. They were formed in late 2015 and the band's comprised of their core members: Nick, Jon, and Geoff. Together these three formed the rich back beat melodies and lyrical structure for other players to texture, improvise, and compose over. Of Tomorrow's release, their self-titled album and continue to write, tour, and record all around the region.

                  I've known these guys and I've seen these guys around the scene for years and listeners, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Geoff and Jon from Of Tomorrow.

Geoff:         Hello, world.

Brian:     Say hi, fellas.

Jon:         What's up, guys? How's it going?

Brian:     It is such a treat having you hear. Now talk to us about where ... How Of Tomorrow came together. How did that happen?

Geoff:         Well, I played in a band around D.C. for a long. That's where I met Jon. Jon's actually toured pretty extensively and played with a lot of folks. Bands sometimes go the way of the dinosaurs. It's part of the industry, I suppose.

Brian:     True. All right.

Geoff:         I had recently left one project and I ran into Jon at this amazing meeting of the minds jam session out in Virginia and told him the story and he said, "Oh, well, actually that's interesting because I have a new project coming together with this bass player I met who is amazing." And Nick is amazing. He said, "We have a show next Friday. Would you like to play with us?"

                  I said, "Yes," and we practiced for about 30 minutes for a four-hour set and we had so much fun we said, "Wow, we should actually start writing songs and bringing in more people who we know, who are talented in the scene, teaching them the songs, and aggressively booking shows." It came together from there.

Brian:     That's amazing. Jon, I want to switch over to you. Where did music come into your life? Geoff just said that you've been playing for a while. Talk about that a bit.

Jon:         Yeah, I started beating on pots and pans as a baby. My mom really was all about that.

Brian:     Beating on pots and pans?

Jon:         Yeah.

Brian:     Yes!

Jon:         She just encouraged me to hit all kinds of stuff in the house and make sounds.

Brian:     All right.

Jon:         I had a little record player with five or six records. This Fisher-Price thing I'll never forget. I just loved music from the beginning, but I took some Suzuki piano early on. I just really didn't have that much interest in studying music until I saw a couple of local players around my early teen years. Like when I was 14, I saw this great jazz drummer and I went up to her ... Her name was Roberta Washington and asked her to give me lessons. Same with the pianist. Walked up to him and asked him to give me lessons. It came into my life that way.

Brian:     Whoa, so both piano and drums then?

Jon:         Yeah, and at the same time I was going to school at [Maret 00:03:04] in D.C. and me and a couple of guys there formed a punk band. We played a lot of Bad Brains covers and whatever.

Brian:     Nice.

Jon:         We eventually hooked up with a singer. Amanda [Makki 00:03:15] actually. Don Z was just in here. I played around the D.C. punk scene and in a hip hop band called 3LG back in the day. I came into music really playing a lot of different styles.

Brian:     Sure.

Jon:         I didn't really care. I loved hip hop. I loved early rap. I loved early electronic music. I loved jazz and I studied 'em all and have been looking for a band that I could just be me, which means I could do a lot of things, which is the impetus for forming this group for me.

Brian:     Yeah.

Jon:         In its early inception was just to really be a place that music's music and I think people are smart enough and open enough out there now to be able to love just good music.

Brian:     What about you, Geoff? How does music enter your life? What's that story there?

Geoff:         Well, I think everything I ever wanted in a band including things I didn't know I wanted, I've found in this band, but it was a long journey to get there.

Brian:     It sounds like the beginning of a sweet love story. It's such a sweet love story.

Geoff:         It is. It is.

Brian:     Tell us more.

Geoff:         Okay, so my grandfather was a musician. He actually played during World War II in the marine corps band. His band was actually weaponized and turned into a fighting unit. The whole band was shipped to the Pacific. It's a pretty crazy story. There's actually a lot of military history that's been written about it, but ...

Jon:         I was just going to say I really hope that doesn't happen to us.

Geoff:         I hope that doesn't happen to us. Not out of the question in these crazy times, Jon.

Jon:         I'm not looking forward to being weaponized.

Geoff:         Yeah. So he was a musician. My mother was a music teacher so growing up we had a big roomful of random noisemakers to play around with and she ... I always wanted to play guitar. She said that she played guitar. She was a music teacher from when I was negative nine months old all the way through birth so I listened to a lot of guitar in that period. My brain's wired around it.

Brian:     Okay, so guitar's your thing.

Geoff:         Yeah, so I picked that up until I was about 18. Wanted to be a professional musician. Got cold feet. Wandered around for a year. Wasn't sure what to do. Then found political passions and spent the better part of 10 years exclusively pursuing that passion using skillsets that actually aren't overall dissimilar to music in some ways like you and I talked about earlier. Now for the first time as an adult, I'm doing both.

Brian:     Wow, which makes for a pretty busy schedule, I would imagine.

Geoff:         Yeah, it's not good for things like sleep, but it is very good for overall having a balanced life where I do things I'm passionate about. Sometimes it's been very trying. Lately, especially, but the band has really been a great outlet.

Brian:     That's cool. Now you guys had said there was a start ... We just played that song, The March, from a ... There's a video that I'll post with the episode of these guys ... They did a live broadcast from a recording studio and it's just an amazing video and a lot of fun to watch the dynamics of everything that is happening. Tell us about that.

Jon:         Can I actually just tell a little bit about the musical side of it before, Geoff, you tell a little bit about the lyrical side of it?

Geoff:         Oh, please do. Absolutely. Yeah.

Jon:         Because that song represents what you read out of the bio, for me. It started as a formed bass drum/guitar back beat and then we brought two keyboardists and a trumpet player who aren't the core members of our band to come in and compose over it. The result is what I think, when you play that song back to back with others songs, I listen to, I'm really proud that it sounds fresh and it sounds different and it doesn't sound intentionally different because it's not.

                  What it is is just grabbing people from all different areas and saying, "You're not committed to performing some certain genre or certain sound. We've got the bass drums and guitar covered. You be you and we're going to come up with something we have no idea what it's going to be," and that's what The March ... And that's what that recording [crosstalk 00:07:08].

Brian:     And what we heard, was that really ... They had never played that with you before or they knew the basics?

Jon:         No, they've come up with it. They've helped us come up with that song, but not every note is supposed to be plotted out.

Brian:     Yeah.

Geoff:         Essentially the way that things have gone recently is we took a book out of the playbook of Everyone Orchestra who's a band who are good friends of ours from by Matt Butler out of Portland, Oregon. He invites people who he knows who are really talented to come and play with them. Well, Jon, Nick, and I write a lot of the songs and the songs have really ... We would like to think strong structures, lyrical content, things like that, but then we invite keyboard players and horn players and violin and rappers and anyone we want to come in over it. As a result, the result is always really creative and fresh and inspiring, at least to me.

                  With that particular song, the lyrical content's interesting. When we're not touring around, I live on Capitol Hill, about two blocks from the U.S. Capitol. I was walking on the plaza one day and there was this big rally going on behind the Capitol and everyone was singing, "Corporations aren't people." I started walking away and in my head I started thinking like, "[humming]."

                  The first two lyrics there are, "Corporations aren't people," but then the third time I say, "Corporations are made of people," because the thing about it is corporations ... It was interesting to hear that protest say that because they were frustrated with corporate personhood, obviously, but at the end of the day, corporations are made of people. They're just other people who are really good at exercising their political leverage very effectively. I think especially for our friends who care about things like economic fairness and basic rights, I think it's important to maintain that distinction and not see the other side in such monolithic adversarial terms in a way that is exculpatory and satisfying at times.

Brian:     Yeah, Jon, I'm curious now ...

Jon:         Those are big words.

Brian:     I was going to say those are amazingly big beautiful words and you just earn sexy points on the radio when you start talking big words like that.

Jon:         I hope I'm exculpatory at times.

Geoff:         I have the best words. All the best words.

Jon:         I think Exculpatory At Times is a good song title for something coming up. I'll have to find out what it means.

Brian:     Stay tuned for something like that. Jon, it sounds like ... Is it the same ... Clearly Geoff, brings a lot of political perspective and current events and stuff happening on the Hill. What do you bring to Of Tomorrow outside of ... Is it just the music for you or [crosstalk 00:09:39]?

Jon:         So really, when I met Nick at a jam session, I was playing in another local group, Nappy Riddem, great reggae band.

Geoff:         They're awesome.

Jon:         I had been with them for three and a half years, but when I met Nick ... As a drummer, you meet a bass player. His versatility and what it brought out of me made me think, "Wow, as a back beat, as the backbone of a band, we could enable amazing things to happen." I really created this in my mind, what I created, was a place that people could express themselves on top of and with the support of drums and bass that can pretty much do whatever is called for.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Jon:         When Geoff brings this passion and lyrical content to the song, that's exactly what my mission is, is not to control or say, "Hey, you come here and play this guitar or you come here and say these things," but to see him or anyone come in and really be enabled to make something that is really true to them, but also musically technically versatile and beautiful. That for me is the mission. I'm not the singer so I'm not about to tell you what to sing.

Brian:     Right. What about now outside of the music part now? Geoff, it sounds like a lot of your life is captured in political persuasion and such. Outside of work and outside of the work part, what's life like for you guys? Are you homebodies? What do you do in your downtime?

Geoff:         Every single second of downtime I have when I'm not sleeping, I'm generally mustering up all the energy I can to do things that are related to this band and its development.

Jon:         Getting a band to be actually playing out and have shows and get records done and all that ... As anyone out there knows, everyone knows, it takes an immense amount of work and Geoff definitely does an incredible amount of work.

Geoff:         Jon helps a lot. The thing is, you know, in some senses starting any new initiative and getting it off the ground, it can be ... It's sort of like a political campaign in a way. Running a band can be like a political campaign just with no election day, which can be exhausting. One difference is instead of having a VAN database where you have hundreds of thousands of voters and you put together root packets and send volunteers out to talk to them, you have a spreadsheet where you have 200 venues, festivals, and breweries and you basically need to look up contact or hire someone to go through that and look up contact information and do all the outreach.

For us, who's a band who does a lot of that ourselves, we don't quite have the volume yet to get a big production house but we've had a really amazing group of people who've really latched on to what we're doing and contributed their enthusiasm.

                  For anyone who's interested, I would definitely recommend they go to DCMusicRocks.com or to BandOfTomorrow.com and see the videos that we've had. We shot those at this big warehouse party in D.C. at a art space. It was this amazing night and we invested a lot in the video crew and we had Da Vinci Sound and Vision out to record it and [AudioBar 00:12:46] came out and [Pat Chen 00:12:48], [Sean Gokin 00:12:48]. It was great. Everyone walked away really excited, almost feeling like, "This must have been ..." I hear someone walk away and say, "This must have been what it was like to be in Haight-Ashbury in the 60's." That same kind of ... It was two weeks after the election. The whole art scene came together around it. People just had a lot of raw energy and in our song Order of the Red Banner, which is also on our website and social media channels, a lot of that came out in that as well.

Brian:     Check that out. Now what are you guys ... Talk to me about exciting things coming up for Of Tomorrow.

Jon:         Can I speak to that just for a second?

Brian:     By all means. Jump in.

Jon:         Because I think the D.C. music scene has something special, as that we're in D.C. and having grown up here and been in the underground scene and the art scene, there are certain parts of the scene here that are totally disconnected from what people think of Washington monuments, politics, all that. It's just people expressing themselves, making art. There's another part of the scene, which is very, very politically active. That was represented always by a lot of charity shows and Positive Force and groups that combine music with political action.

                  That's what makes this place special, but it's important in and out of the area to recognize, there's always been a part of the scene that's just about the music, just art.

Brian:     And the scene is wonderful for that in terms of being very supportive and I love that about the D.C. music scene, which is one of the reasons I love this show and we do this.

Jon:         We have a really good thing here. It's great. And it's growing too. It's awesome to see it grow.

Brian:     I want you to tell ... Well, first I want you to say if they're interested in finding out more about you guys, where do they find you guys online or to follow you guys?

Geoff:         BandOfTomorrow.com.

Brian:     Got it. It's all there?

Geoff:         Or @bandoftomorrow on Instagram, but BandOfTomorrow.com, actually our new album is up for free, just for an email address.

Brian:     Check it out.

Geoff:         There's also a link there to our very good friends at Void Life Records, who if you are willing to pay $8.88, they will send you a physical copy of the CD with one-of-a-kind drawings on the envelope and handwritten thank you note because they are amazing.

Jon:         Wow, those guys are super cool.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Geoff:         That's all at BandOfTomorrow.com.

Jon:         Talk about grassroots.

Brian:     I want you guys to speak to ... I'm going to put this little clip on because you said there's a DJ Unown. Is that what you said?

Geoff:         Yeah, [crosstalk 00:15:10] good company.

Brian:     Talk about this. Hold on. Let's listen for just a second here. Listen to what's happening in this audio clip here.

Geoff:         From the song we just heard, that sample ...

Brian:     It sounds like noise.

Jon:         Oh, put it back up for a second. He just deconstructs it the beginning and turns it into ...

Geoff:         And turns it into this.

Jon:         A crazy beat.

Geoff:         It's amazing.

Jon:         He did this at the show. He actually made this as we were playing.

Geoff:         It was that warehouse party I was talking about before.

Jon:         It was done when we were done. He just grabbed stuff out of the air and makes art. His name's actually Unown. Not really DJ Unown. He plays with Oddisee. He's their MPC sample player. He's extremely well known around here to anyone in the hip hop scene.

Brian:     Wow.

Geoff:         He basically came and he set up a microphone in the corner of the room and then when we were done, he went down and he plugged into a DI box on stage and he played back remixes of all the songs we had just played, none of which he had ever heard, using only samples that he recorded that night.

Jon:         Live.

Geoff:         He also plays with Oddisee, the rapper from D.C. who is about to go on a nine-month world tour making us all very, very proud and Ralph Real, who's our keyboard player is also going on tour with them.

February 14, 2017 - Special Guest: Miles Ryan of 7DrumCity

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

THAT playlist - you read that right, for those moments when you're together with that someone special, it's THAT playlist!  DC artists have produced incredible music for just those types of love moments, and we're happy to have put them all together for you.  Check it out HERE, or on our Find-Browse Music Page!

MUSIC

  1. All Right - Carolyn Malachi (Jazz/R&B)
  2. Perfection - Kenny Sway (Pop/R&B)
  3. Favorite Girl - Aaron Abernathy (R&B/Soul)
  4. Set You Free - Aztec Sun (Funk/Soul)
  5. Sunflower Eyes - Lookout Gang (Rock/Soul)
  6. Freeze - Prinze George (Indie/Indie Electronic)
  7. You Get The Wiser - Menage a Garage (Punk/Punk Pop)
  8. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



Miles Ryan

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

Bio

DC Music Rocks Miles Ryan

7DrumCity is a music studio on North Capitol Street NW that offers drum lessons band practice space, and community events. The synergy of these things has created a hub and community space for musicians to meet, hang, learn, and even perform in a cozy environment. Our 100 drum students and several dozen core bands that practice here have created a thriving place to grow! 

DC Music Rocks Miles Ryan (3)

 

We just opened our new studio at 1506 North Capitol Street NW featuring 3 floors and a 2-story carriage house in the back. 3800 square feet, 9 rooms, and enough space to host a music festival. We grew from just 2 students in the owner Miles’ living room in 2011 to our beloved music studio on U street for 3 years, and as of January 31st, our new North Cap studio! Come see what it’s all about at our Grand Opening Festival on February 25th from 2-10pm, featuring 22 bands, art display, short films, giveaways, food, and beer. 

 

 

Links

Official Website: http://www.7drumlessons.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/7DrumCity/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/7DrumCity

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/7drumcity

DC Music Rocks Miles Ryan (2)
 

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Miles Ryan is the creator and owner 7DrumCity. 7DrumCity, which opened in 2011, is a music studio on North Capitol Street Northwest that offers drum lessons, band practice space, and community events. It's become a hub for musicians to meet, hang, learn, and even perform in a cozy environment. Hosting more than a hundred drum students and several dozen core bands that practice at 7DrumCity regularly. They just opened their new studio at 1506 North Capitol Street, featuring three floors and a two story carriage house in the back. So it's 3,800 square feet total. Nine rooms in total and enough space to host a music festival.

                  So with that, listeners, I first met Miles through the Flash Band program and 7Drum, his studio ... I went and took lessons there, and I've gotten to know the guy. And I am so excited that I get to introduce him to you because he is such a cool member of the scene that it's a treat to have him on the show. So it's with great pleasure that I introduce Miles Ryan. Say hi man. Thanks for being here.

Miles:    It a treat to be here too. I [crosstalk 00:01:11] love you, just to get that out of the way.

Brian:     (Laughter) It is that special Valentines time of [crosstalk 00:01:15] the year so I love you too, man. Let's keep it going with the love. I love it. And speaking of love, you love drums. So how did 7DrumCity, or 7Drum Lessons ... It's had different names over the time, but how did this whole idea come about? How did it start?

Miles:    Well the idea ... Man, I thought this would be an easy question, but ... I originally just wanted to make some money on the side teaching drum lessons. I used to be in the solar energy industry and I was living in Boston. And I got laid off. And that was in May 2010. Around then I was hanging out with some entrepreneur friends and-

Brian:     Good friends, by the way. Entrepreneur friends are great friends to have.

Miles:    Yeah, good to hang out with those kind of people.

Brian:     Absolutely.

Miles:    But they were pretty influential for me. Also I was dating a woman who lived down here and she's a jazz singer. Another music entrepreneur herself.

Brian:     Awesome.

Miles:    Lena Seikaly(sp?), actually. But you should check out some of her music sometime.

Brian:     Okay.

Miles:    I came down to D.C. and then I basically started a website. Wanted to teach drum lessons. My friend Chris Williams, who went to Babson College, was sort of begging me for lessons. [crosstalk 00:02:43] And I was like, "All right, fine. I'll teach you a lesson." And I was like, "This is actually kind of awesome." I like teaching. I forgot I used to tutor Spanish and Italian in high school and college and that kind of thing.

Brian:     Now where did the name "7Drum" come from?

Miles:    Well, Seven ... It was originally called "7DrumLessons" because I wanted to show up more in the search engines because it was a clear name, drum lessons. [crosstalk 00:03:18] But something identity, maybe, of something ... I've thought a lot about it, but seven is about the chakras, the seven chakras of the human body.

Brian:     Really? No way. It comes from the chakras? [crosstalk 00:03:31] I love it. Miles, I had no idea, man. There you go. It's all about the chakras on Valentine's. But it's also all about the drums. There it is.

Miles:    So for those of you who don't know, there's seven ... The chakra system, which is basically an eastern based thing ... But it's now sort of just different energy centers of the body. They represent different emotions or energy that you can experience. And I though that it was kind of a cool way of categorizing the experience of being human and all that.

Brian:     Seven chakras. Love it. And is that a personal ... Are you big into the chakras or you familiar with it and you-

Miles:    I'm familiar with it. My mom talked to me about it. She's a reiki master which is where you ... I don't know. I don't really get it necessarily. [crosstalk 00:04:29] But you lie down and they clear your chakras of blockages or something. It's really cool. I don't know. Have you ever done that?

Brian:     I haven't tried before, but I've heard a lot of good things about it. So I'm a pretty open minded guy. I'd give it a shot. It sounds awesome. And I love the fact that that somehow stemmed into the name of this great thing. And so now tell us about this new location now. When did you move in? When did it open?

Miles:    Well let me just explain ... Maybe just get to that point first, I guess. I just started off ... Again I was just gonna do it on the side as I was looking for another job. And then people kept signing up. I realized that there wasn't anything else. So basically I brought my drum kit from high school into my living room. Somebody signed up. That was so amazing. It was like, I got an e-mail that someone signed up. I was like a stranger [crosstalk 00:05:25]

Brian:     That you didn't know. [inaudible 00:05:25] no longer was your friends. It was somebody else.

Miles:    Oh yeah.

Brian:     What a cool thing.

Miles:    Yeah, and he ended up taking lessons like four years, [crosstalk 00:05:32] which is awesome. Anyway, I was in my living room for three years, and then found a space on U Street. Got a three year lease there and that's where everything kind of blossomed. You made it sound like, the way you're describing it, that this is a new studio starting from zero. But we've actually already had about a hundred drum students and all these bands and stuff that preexisted. So our lease was up at the other spot so we moved to this new place. It was kind of tough to leave our beloved, yellow building. [crosstalk 00:06:09] But I--

Brian:     Where about in D.C. is this one located. You said on North Capitol Street.

Miles:    Yeah, North Capitol Street. So if you stand in the middle of North Capitol there is a ... Just watch for the cars, but-

Brian:     Don't stand in the middle of Capitol, for reference.

Miles:    Anyway, if you peak out you can see the Capitol Building It's kind of cool. It's like up on hill and then it's like right where North Capitol hits Florida Ave which goes straight over to U Street.

Brian:     Got it. Which is near ... What metro stop is that near?

Miles:    It's near the NoMa metro stop. So it's one block up from NoMa, basically.

Brian:     That's cool. So what about you outside of drums? We know that you ... We're pretty clear you've drums and you got a drum lesson place that's turned into a drum studio. What about you outside of those things?

Miles:    Well, it is Valentine's Day.

Brian:     Excellent.

Miles:    I'll start with what I should start with which is my amazing girlfriend [inaudible 00:07:08][crosstalk 00:07:09] Just gotta shout it out.

Brian:     Shout out to the love. The lady in his life. Yup, I love it. Okay.

Miles:    Amazing woman.

Brian:     Awesome. Happy Valentine's Day.

Miles:    Spend time with her. That's number one thing.

Brian:     Got it. Okay. Time with her.

Miles:    Check that off the list.

Brian:     Oh no. There's no checking. That one's in there automatically 'cause she's that awesome. So props to the woman in you life, man. Awesome.

Miles:    Thanks to ... I'm just gonna shout out to Bumble. Bumble's awesome.

Brian:     (Laughter) Yes, shout out to Bumble. I love it.

Miles:    It's been-

Brian:     Yes.

Miles:    Five months since that story. So you know, Valentine's Day theme.

Brian:     Okay, I dig it. Absolutely.

Miles:    Miles' personal life.

Brian:     All right, so out side of your life now, is there there more? What else? There's a dog, right?

Miles:    Yeah, there is a dog. You must know me or something.

Brian:     Yeah, I do. It's like I've seen you before. I've been buggin' you. Whatever. So, then, who's the dog? Tell us about the dog.

Miles:    Well my dog, his name is Remo, which is also a brand of drum head.

Brian:     Ah, so that's where the name comes from. A dog named Remo. Remo drum heads. Very good heads, by the way.

Miles:    He's a black lab/pointer mix. And so he's really cute in my biased opinion. He usually can be found at the studio. Very chill, relaxed dog for a three year old.

Brian:     Cool man.

Miles:    Oh no, go ahead.

Brian:     I was just gonna ask, what about the personal life? And I'm just curious. And I'm gonna ask you another question which is biggest success moment that comes to mind when you think about 7Drum. What comes to mind?

Miles:    Well, I mean that first student, was honestly still like a very emotional moment. His name was Mitch. He's awesome.[inaudible 00:09:03]

Brian:     And you got ... This was when you were still in your living room or hadn't even got the drum set yet?

Miles:    Hadn't even moved to D.C. yet. That was in December.

Brian:     Wow.

Miles:    Made the website and everything.

Brian:     Awesome.

Miles:    But anyway, that was cool. And then I guess another big thing was hitting a hundred students. Active enrolled students, which was like I think last fall.

Miles:    I just sort of had that number. It's a nice number. But of course that number is always sort of going up and down if someone's away for the summer. Then you're like, "Well do you count that?"

Brian:     No, we're counting it. A hundred students, [crosstalk 00:09:48] that amazing. That's amazing. I love it. Now, one of my favorite questions to ask is, "If you had one piece of advice to offer, what would it be?"

Miles:    Well, I prepared for this question but it was hard to pick one.

Brian:     All right, we'll start with one. What d'you got?

Miles:    I mean, I'd say visualize what you want.

Brian:     Say more.

Miles:    Spend time-

Brian:     In your head? Is it a vision board?

Miles:    Yeah, in your head. Thinking about what it is that you want to see happen. And it will happen. You have to ... And this is what big thing that helped me get to where we're at is just trying to set goals, you know. Working backwards from where you decide you want to get to.

Brian:     Sure. So are you at your vision? This place on North Capitol? What's your vision like in your head?

Miles:    Well right now I just want to take over the world. But-

Brian:     Got it. Okay.

Miles:    No, no, no. That's exaggeration. But honestly, well right now, you're asking my goals right now?

Brian:     Well you said you have a vision. So what was your vision before you got to here? Were you envisioning where you're at now? Did it look different in your head?

Miles:    No, when I started I didn't start this studio, or community, or business because I was trying to have a big 4,000 square foot studio. I just wanted to ... My vision was I thought people were working too hard in general and too stressed out and not having balanced enough lives. So I wanted to try to help people live more balanced, fulfilling lives.

Brian:     Got it.

Miles:    And I think that music should be like sports. Everyone has some sort of exercise that they like. Everyone should have some kind of music or artistic thing that they like, which I think most people do. But I don't know if it's already unacceptable, or something to be like, "No, I don't do any exercise."

Brian:     Got it.

Miles:    But what about ... We gotta get everyone going on music and feeling those vibes and-

Brian:     I agree. Well all right. So we'll get people going. And now I want to get to the amazing tracks that you brought us, but I do want you to share with folks what's the website. If they want to find out more about 7DrumCity, where do they go?

Miles:    7DrumCity.com

February 07, 2017 - Special Guest: Alex Drewenskus of WAMU's Capital Soundtrack

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

  • Clarendon Grill in Arlington, VA now features DC area original music.  They call it the Thursday Circus, and the evening generally features at least 2 original bands:  Our host, Brian Nelson-Palmer, will be there this Thursday with Fellowcraft, joined by The Forever Agos with Cathy Ditoro and Derek Evry.  Come say hi!  Next week is Pleasure Train and Escaper,  Following that is Olivia Mancini, VA Southpaws, and Nova-tones.  Linked bands we've featured on this show!

  • We're up to 20 videos from DC area talent who've shared their Tiny Desk videos for NPR with us!  Check them all out on the Find-Browse Artists Page!

  • DC Music Resources Page on this website, continuously updated list of: Venues, Festivals, Event Series, Media, Radio, Blogs, Podcasts, Organizations, Facebook Groups, Record Stores, Labels, Management, Studios.

MUSIC

  1. Aaron's Blues - Aaron Myers (Jazz/R&B)
  2. Serious - Roof Beams (Folk/Indie)
  3. Sensory Insensitivity - ShowPony (Indie/Instrumental)
  4. Cairo - Paperhaus (Indie/Alternative)
  5. Ashe - Nitemoves (Techno/Electronic)
  6. Hounds of Thoughts - The Sea Life (Rock/Shoegaze)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Alex Drewenskus

VIDEO-BIO-PHOTOS-LINKS

Bio:

Alex Drewenskus is a broadcast technician at WAMU 88.5, Washington, D.C.'s NPR member station, and currently engineers WAMU's 1A, a daily talk show that takes a deep and unflinching look at America to bring context and insight to stories unfolding across the country and the world. He has previously worked on The Diane Rehm ShowKen Rudin's Political Junkie, and has worked at the famed electronic music venue U Street Music Hall. In mid-2016, Alex helped launch WAMU's Capital Soundtrack project, an initiative that showcases local music on WAMU's airwaves in order to connect the station and its listeners to the music of the region. Since Capital Soundtrack's introduction, WAMU has played nearly 2,000 songs by artists from all over the D.C. area and encourages artists to submit their own music to become a part of the project. Alex graduated from American University with a degree in Audio Technology and is a native of Washington state.

Links:
http://wamu.org/music
http://bandwidth.fm
https://twitter.com/bandwidthDC
https://www.facebook.com/bandwidth.wamu

http://the1a.org
https://twitter.com/1A
https://www.facebook.com/the1ashow

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Alex Drewenskus from WAMU's Capital Soundtrack is a broadcast technician at WAMU 88.5 FM which is Washington DC's NPR member station. Currently engineers WAMU's 1A which is a daily talk show which brings context and insight to stories unfolding across the country and around the world. He previously worked on the Diane Rehm Show.

Alex:      Rehm Show.

Brian:     Rehm Show. Yes, please give me these pronunciations right. I got the Diane Rehm Show, Ken Rudin's Political Junkie, and at the famed electronic music venue, U Street Music Hall. In mid-2016 Alex helped launch WAMU's Capital Soundtrack Project which is an initiative that showcases local music on WAMU's air waves in order to connect the station and its listeners to the music of the DC region. Since Capital Soundtrack's introduction WAMU has played nearly 2,000 songs by artists from the DC region and encourages artists to submit their own music to become a part of the project.

                  I first came across Capital Soundtrack with my band, Fellowcraft. We were looking for ways to spread the ways about Fellowcraft and I heard that on 88.5 they played local music. We came across Capital Soundtrack and they've played Fellowcraft along with, like it said, several thousand songs. Listeners, it's with great pleasure that I introduce Alex.

Alex:      Thank you, Brian.

Brian:     Thanks so much for being here.

Alex:      That was an extensive introduction, thank you for that.

Brian:     Well, I want to give them the background so now you can tell us more. Now, tell us about the Capital Soundtrack, let's start there. Capital Soundtrack. Where did that come from? What's the story behind that?

Alex:      Yeah, so a team of us at WAMU have been working on Capital Soundtrack for about the last eight months, we launched it about six months ago. Essentially, what it is is an initiative that wants to play as much local music as possible so that we can ... Sorry, DC region music as possible so that we can further associate WAMU which is a public media station, it's a public radio station. We want to associate our station with the sound of the region so we don't want WAMU to just be a part of the region, we want it to sound like the region as well.

Brian:     That's ... And I really, I think it does, it's really ... I can't tell you how many times I've seen on Facebook somebody say, "Oh my God, my song was just on 88.5 FM." It really is, it's wonderful that you're making that connection with the region. Thank you guys and thank you WAMU for starting this initiative and for doing this.

Alex:      Well, you're welcome.

Brian:     Now, what's the ... You said it's an NPR affiliate. What's the MPR connection to you guys?

Alex:      Essentially the way NPR works is NPR produces shows and they distribute those shows to NPR member stations which are community radio stations, public radio stations throughout the country. Most major cities have an NPR member station in them. The one for the DC area is WAMU 88.5 FM. If you tune in each station might have different content and they might have shows that they create. Then they might also play the shows that are the flagship programs of MPR. Shows like All Things Considered, Morning Edition. Then, it's up to stations to determine how much of those programs they want to play and what they want to play when those programs are not playing, so they can make their own content.

Brian:     Got it. How much is the ... How much is you guys here locally, and then how much of the ... What's the proportion of, like, NPR and you guys here at 88.5?

Alex:      The majority of our programming is bought from several public media organizations. NPR, American Public Media is another large one, that they abbreviate their name to APM, so you may have heard of their stuff. Then, several other production companies. We pick a lot of shows for the weekend, that we only play an hour of that organization's programming a week because they only make maybe one show a week, that kind of thing. During the weekdays the majority of our programming is bought from NPR. We also have our main programs, the Kojo Nnamdi Show and 1A which is another program that I work on.

Brian:     Capital Soundtrack then, how will people ... Tell more about what that actually means? They're going to hear little clips of music behind what somebody's saying? What are they going to hear if they hear the Capital Soundtrack specifically?

Alex:      Each day we allocate 20 songs, 20 songs that are by DC area musicians. We allow our engineers and hosts to play those songs during our local breaks. During a show like Morning Edition they'll hear content made by NPR. Then during the break which we know comes at certain times, agreed upon times, during that time we have the ability to play that under our host talking. Say if the host wants to, really likes the track or something they can just fade it up and they can play that track for as long as they want.  If it's a one minute long break they might talk for 30 seconds and then you might hear 30 seconds of a local musician.

Brian:     Got it. This is in between the breaks in NPR, this is where you'll hear the Capital Soundtrack stuff.

Alex:      Exactly.

Brian:     During other times of the day too? Is it throughout the day?

Alex:      It's throughout the day. It's 24 hours a day. Even though we go into automation basically we allow our computer system to play our program shows overnight. We have basically programmed it so that it will take snippets of Capital Soundtrack songs and it will insert them into those breaks as well. It's all throughout the day. The Kojo Nnamdi Show, they use that music as their break music. They use it as not only a transition away from their host but the vocal host who's talking during that time might also use that music. It's a lot of different opportunities for people to hear local music, local DC area music.

Brian:     That is so cool. Now, talk about ... On 1A, you're working with that show now. What is 1A? Tell us about that?

Alex:      1A is the successor show to the Diane Rehm Show. Diane Rehm was a staple of public radio for almost four decades. She stepped away from the microphone, she's 80-years-old.

Brian:     Oh my goodness.

Alex:      She's been doing this for a really long time and she's become one of the flagship programs of NPR. She's really widely recognized as one of the greatest female hosts and hosts in general of NPR. 1A is the successor show to that. Our new host, Joshua Johnson, he's about half her age, half of Diane's age.

Brian:     Which makes him an incredibly young and handsome gentleman I'm sure.

Alex:      Yeah. Yeah, he's great. He came from California and he just joined us. We just launched our show on January 2nd of this year. Basically, we're a two hour talk show and we look at the issues of our time, the culture reporting, arts reporting, politics, news events, all different kinds of things. 1A essentially stands for the first amendment. We encourage free speech, free expression, and we want our listeners to engage with us on the show. We really call out for listeners and their input as much as possible.

Brian:     How would they provide their input?

Alex:      Basically, we have Twitter, we have Facebook, we have email. They can call us live. If you want to find us on Twitter we are at 1A. We're just the number 1, the numeral 1 and the letter A. It's just the two letter handle on Twitter, it's pretty rare.

Brian:     That's about as easy as it gets.

Alex:      We're very proud that we got that actually.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Alex:      Yeah. It's many, many different resources. You can go to the1a.org and you can also find more information about the show there.

Brian:     Find it all there, that's so cool. Now, Alex, tell us about you and your story with the DC music scene.

Alex:      I moved here about six years ago and I went to American Union University. I studied Audio Technology, essentially what is Audio Engineering. I was really interested in recorded music, live music, sound design. I found that DC actually had a great live music scene as you know, Brian, as well.

Brian:     It certainly does, good gracious, yeah.

Alex:      It's extensive. There are so many artists in this area and it's not just DC, it's Maryland, it's Virginia. It's up the river, down the river. It's an entire community of people that create what the sound of this area is. Yeah, that's how I got interested in music, I knew there was this big diversity there.

Brian:     You mentioned in your bio about U Street Music Hall. What's the ... There's a connection there? What's the ... ?

Alex:      Yeah. When I was in school I was lucky to get a job at U Street Music Hall. For those who don't know, it's a dance club and concert venue. It's on U Street of course, given the name. It's often voted as one of the greatest sound systems on the entire East Coast. It's a basement venue and it's about ... It can hold over a thousand people in there.

Brian:     Holy smokes.

Alex:      Yeah, it's a great venue.

Brian:     Check out U Street Music Hall, that's amazing. Now, one of my favorite questions that I love to ask is, what's one piece of advice that you would offer?

Alex:      One piece of advice that I would offer is go seek out live music. If you don't like live music go seek out recorded music. Go online. There are plenty of resources throughout the region. If you go to a place like Hometown Sounds they create a great radio show themselves. Shows like yours, DC Music Rocks. We have the DC Music Download. There's an incredible wealth of music and talent out there, you just have to find it. There are websites that aggregate all the venues in the area, all the events that are going on. Every night there's a possibility to see live music if you'd like.

Brian:     That's amazing. I'll check out the scene. Now, for those folks who are interested in finding out more, and I want you to share about the submission process for Capital Soundtrack. Talk about the show and where they find you and how they submit, an artist if they're listening with submit music.

Alex:      Yeah. If you go to wamu.org/music you can find all of our play lists. We post a daily play list of the songs that were heard that day.

Brian:     Oh, so you can find it on the website.

Alex:      Absolutely, yes.

Brian:     Awesome.

Alex:      On that page, wamu.org/music, you can also click our submit a track link. If you create music yourself or even if you've heard a track that you like you can recommend a song. You can submit those songs to us and we'll seek them out. If you provide a link to us that's even easier. We'll listen to it. We're looking for instrumental music or instrumental portions of songs at least 30 seconds in length. That's so that our hosts and our engineers can fade in and out of it, they can talk over it if they need to. It's tough with music with vocals because the vocals of the music can clash with a host talking over it sometimes. It's not the easiest so we look for instrumental music or instrumental portions of songs.

Brian:     So cool. Listener, it doesn't have to be the artist. Listeners, if you know of an amazing band that you love in town then share that with WAMU as well because they're playing that stuff as well. Are you guys, so I heard the1a.org. Wamu.org?

Alex:      Org/music. That'll send you to our bandwidth music site. Bandwidth is our music blog basically. It's our online music destination and it covers local and national music news.

Brian:     That's the bandwidth.fm, I've heard that name before. Okay, so bandwidth.fm, check that one out. You guys, social media? I assume you guys are doing that stuff too?

Alex:      Yes, of course.

January 31, 2017 - Special Guest: Jack Gregori of Human Country Jukebox & NBC's The Voice

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

  • Used the Easy Listening Jams Playlist at a small gathering at my house, was a huge hit!  Shout out to 70+ artists on the playlist for puttin out GREAT music! 

  • We're up to 17 videos from DC area talent who've shared their Tiny Desk videos for NPR with us!  Check them all out on the Find-Browse Artists Page!

MUSIC

  1. Mark Trail - Jelly Roll Mortals (Rock/Classic Country)
  2. Last Rights of a Living Leg End - Cartoon Weapons (Hard Rock/Math Rock)
  3. Cant Write No Songs - Human Country Jukebox (Country/Rock)
  4. You, Me, and the Tennessee Blues - Tom McBride (Country/Folk)
  5. Doing Time in Pennsylvania - The Highballers (Country/Punk)
  6. Prairie Rain - Justin Jones (Rock/Folk)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Jack Gregori

Video-Bio-Photos-Links

Bio

DC Music Rocks Jack Gregori (3)

With over 750 shows under his belt, you might call Jack Gregori the man who brought country music to the buttoned-up bar scene of Washington, DC. And while Jack has now honed a well-deserved reputation for genuine Texas-influenced country and western musical style (and attitude), his musical path began far away from the cradle of country music in Texas and Nashville. 
 
In 2015, Gregori performed on NBC’s "The Voice" to an audience of over 15 million viewers and was selected by the judges to advance on the hit show, eventually ending-up on “Team Adam.” Working alongside the likes of Grammy Award-nominee Ellie Goulding and three-time Grammy Award-winner Adam Levine, Jack’s charismatic baritone put him firmly on the country music map as a rising star to watch. Gregori’s multiple performances on the international hit show resulted in the eventual recording and release of two singles: “Feeling Alright” - the legendary Dave Mason song made most famous by Joe Cocker’s 1969 rendition, as well as, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”, both of which were released in the fall of 2015 through Republic Records (a division of UMG Recording). The national exposure has not swelled the native New Hampshirite's head, however. When not touring, Jack can still be found each week performing at his long-running residency in Washington DC’s favorite local bar, Madam's Organ.

 
DC Music Rocks Jack Gregori
DC Music Rocks Jack Gregori (2)

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Jack Gregori with over 750 shows under his belt, you might call Jack the man who brought country music to the buttoned up bar scene of Washington, D.C. In 2015, Jack performed on NBC's The Voice to an audience of over 15 million viewers and was selected by the judges to advance on the hit show, eventually ending up on Team Adam. Working alongside the likes of Grammy Award nominee Ellie Goulding and three-time Grammy Award winner Adam Levine, Jack's charismatic baritone put him firmly on the country music map as a rising star to watch.

                  His multiple performances on the international hit show resulted in the eventual recording and release of two singles, Feeling All Right, the legendary Dave Mason song made most famous by Joe Cocker's 1969 rendition, as well as Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire. They were both released in the fall of 2015. When not touring, Jack can still be found each week performing with his band Human Country Jukebox at his long-running residency in Washington, D.C.'s favorite local bar, Madam's Organ.

                  I went to Madam's Organ and I have seen Jack play, and it is truly a sight to behold. All the shows are a little different. They're such a laid-back group, but yet they play such fun music and it's different every time. Listeners, it's with great pleasure that I introduce Jack Gregori.

Jack:       Thanks for having me, Brian.

Brian:     Thanks so much for being here, man. Rewind now and tell us how music came into your life. How did that start?

Jack:       It was always there really. From the earliest I can remember, it was all about the music.

Brian:     Does that mean you came out of the womb with a guitar in your hand?

Jack:       Pretty much. It was a difficult birth.

Brian:     Was it always guitar? Has there been more than one? 

Jack:       Now, I actually started playing saxophone when I was a kid.

Brian:     Wow.

Jack:       Yeah, and migrated to piano and played that for a little bit and got tired of that. Really, what happened is I got a car and the piano lessons went right out the window after that.

Brian:     That was it.

Jack:       Yeah, so around the same time I got a guitar, which that was crucial.

Brian:     Okay.

Jack:       That was the way to go. A lot more portable.

Brian:     Exactly. So then you stuck with it all the time? Was it on the side? Did you do it in school?

Jack:       Not really. We played some in school and did it in high school and that kind of thing, but it wasn't the kind of situation where I practiced as much as I should as far as the guitar went.

Brian:     Sure. I got it.

Jack:       But it's been there. Just varying degrees of intensity.

Brian:     Then Human Country Jukebox is the band. How did that come together?

Jack:       That came together fairly organically. A bunch of current friends of mine met at an open mic at Bobby Lou's. It was hosted by the inimitable Silky Dave of Gypsy Sally's fame currently. 

Brian:     Silky Dave. Hi, Silky Dave. 

Jack:       Silky Dave. Hi, Silky. He owns the Gypsy's with his lovely wife, Karen, who I will not fail to mention.

Brian:     Got it. Karen, you are such an important part of that dynamic duo. We appreciate you, too. 

Jack:       Absolutely. We all met doing open mic and it kind of just morphed into this thing. Getting back to the naming conventions here, we had the same experience where you just sit there and try to brainstorm for hours and hours, trying to figure out what's our name going to be. What's it going to be?

                  I have sort of come up with this name for myself as a joke, Human Country Jukebox, because I just love this kind of music and we'd have get togethers or parties or whatever and people would throw out songs and I'd play them and it would just be the thing, so it was the Human Country Jukebox. Then, we just got tired of trying to think of a name, so we just came up with that and then sort of that was the way it was.

Brian:     Human Country Jukebox. At what point, how did The Voice come about?

Jack:       Actually, Silky, on a whim, sent my name into them to see if they wanted to have me on or audition.

Brian:     Oh, sure.

Jack:       I get an email out of the blue, and he didn't tell me he did this, so ... 

Brian:     Oh, boy. Really?

Jack:       Yeah. I get an email out of the blue and I'm like, "All right. This is probably not real. Let me investigate this." I looked at it and it was real, so I sent them back a message and they said, "Hey, do you want to audition for The Voice?" I said, "Do I have to stand in line?" They said, "No," and I said, "Okay. I'm in."

Brian:     Wow.

Jack:       The line was a deal breaker for me.

Brian:     The line? Really?

Jack:       Oh, yeah.

Brian:     Yeah, because it is a pretty long line.

Jack:       I don't like standing in line. That's the thing. Yeah, so anyway, went in and arduous, arduous process. It was fun though and it took a long time.

Brian:     When you say a long time, does that mean it was days? Where was it? This was in D.C.? Was it in L.A.? Where was it?

Jack:       I auditioned here, so we were at Cue.

Brian:     Okay.

Jack:       I went down there and did the audition and then, you know, you have to go through a number of callbacks and it's a whole thing. It's not like you audition and then the next day you're in front of the judges.

Brian:     How long did it take?

Jack:       Oh, months. Yeah, months. Half a year, probably.

Brian:     Okay. Did you get to meet the judges beforehand?

Jack:       No, no.

Brian:     It really is completely blind? You get out there. You've never seen them before. They're in chairs, facing backwards like on the show?

Jack:       Yeah. There's no interaction on our end anyway. Maybe they were watching from afar, but ...

Brian:     Right. Cameras or something. Wow. When you walked out there, what were you thinking? Were you just, "I'm going to nail this song?"

Jack:       I was thinking, "Don't fall down." I'm serious, man.

Brian:     Stop. That's it? Really? Don't fall down?

Jack:       Oh, yeah. Don't fall down. Don't fall down. That was it. Yeah, it is nerve-wracking. You go up there and it's quiet as can be and they start the music and you go. That's it. You have one chance.

Brian:     Online now, you can pick up a copy of the song you did, Ring of Fire, for your audition. Is that actually the live recording that's online or do they bring you in and you record that?

Jack:       No. Yeah, it's separate. You can still watch the audition piece on YouTube or whatever.

Brian:     By the way, if you haven't seen it, check out ... He's got two awesome videos. Check out Jack on the YouTube channel because ... What a cool experience, man.

Jack:       It was a lot of fun.

Brian:     Holy smokes.

Jack:       Definitely.

Brian:     What did you take away from ... When you came back after that whole experience, what was that like? What did you take away from all of that?

Jack:       Oh, it was surreal. I mean you don't get that opportunity very often. Yeah, coming back, I got a lot of from people that I had seen and had seen me play 50, 100 times, that worked in the scene, all of a sudden, like, "Hey, man, you're really good. I had no idea."

Brian:     I've seen you 50 times at the bar and now you know?

Jack:       Sometimes it just takes somebody else telling a person that you're like good to make you good.

Brian:     Oh. Got it.

Jack:       I'll take it.

Brian:     When you got back, you came right back to playing with Human Country Jukebox?

Jack:       Oh, yeah. Yeah. Just got right back into it. That's the whole thing.

Brian:     Was it different afterward?

Jack:       Yeah, it was a pretty big bump right afterward. It was a lot of energy and good energy. Yeah.

Brian:     When you say bump, what is that? Just more people?

Jack:       More people, more energy, just more action. It was great. Yeah.

Brian:     Okay. How long did that last?

Jack:       Oh, maybe three months of solid push. Then, you kind of get back to the routine of getting your shows in and playing. You know, back to the grind.

Brian:     Yeah, so talk about the grind, then, for you. What is that? It's Human Country Jukebox. How many shows a week? What's life like for you now as a musician? 

Jack:       Playing quite a bit still. At one point, we were doing maybe 15 shows a month sometimes. That's pretty intense. That's a pretty intense schedule. Sometimes, we were doing three, four, five nights in a row.

Brian:     Wow.

Jack:       It's fun and you do it and it's good, but that gets tough sometimes. Now, we're probably down to two, three times a week sometimes and depending. I've been intentionally pulling back a bit so I can focus more on writing and rehearsing if possible. 

Brian:     Writing, so writing for a new album? 

Jack:       Writing for a new album. Yep. We're getting some songs together for ... Hopefully, by the end of the year, we'll have something out. That's the goal.

Brian:     Rehearsal, what's rehearsal like for you guys? When I see you live, people call out songs ... 

Jack:       It doesn't happen often.

Brian:     ... and you play them. Is that how it works in rehearsal, too?

Jack:       No, we try and be slightly more focused if we have rehearsals, which is seldom.

Brian:     Which is rare.

Jack:       Yeah, very seldom. That's the good and bad thing about playing so much. The good thing is you keep pretty sharp with each other and you get that rapport with the other musicians and that's ... There's no substitute for that really.

                  The downside is everybody's so tired from gigging that you don't necessarily want to do it on your night off. You don't want to get into a rehearsal space and grind it out for four hours on a Monday night. That's the sort of double-edged sword.

                  For rehearsals, we try and be more focused because if we're going to be trapped together, it's better to have people there to listen.

Brian:     Right, and you've got to find time. In the rehearsals, you've got to find time to do the new songs, too, and put those together.

Jack:       Exactly.

Brian:     That's ... Wow. Now, when you think about you on the personal side, when you're not doing the music thing, what's life like for Jack?

Jack:       Well, you know work. A lot of work. Got the day job that I go to. Fortunately, it's flexible.

Brian:     Got it. Flexible schedule, that'd be handy. 

Jack:       Flexible schedule is good for a musician's life.

Brian:     Sure.

Jack:       You don't get out until three in the morning playing music and then you have to get up the next day and you don't want to get up at eight. Believe me. You know.

Brian:     I believe you. I know actually. Yes, absolutely. It's rough.

Jack:       It is rough. Fortunately, I've got the flexible schedule, but honestly, I try and do the music as much as possible. That's where a large chunk of my energy goes.

Brian:     Are you big into reading or you join a book club? Are you training for a marathon? Are there any other ... Life for you, you're a big foodie? You like going out on the town? What's life like?

Jack:       Oh, sure. Yeah, I mean if I can, I go catch shows. I go catch shows as much as I can in D.C. and sometimes out of D.C. Foodie, sure. The part of D.C. that's great is that the restaurants are amazing around here. I do smoke a lot of barbecue myself in the old backyard there.

Brian:     Excellent.

Jack:       Yeah.

Brian:     All right. A barbecue man, which explains why you love some of the ... Like I've seen, I know Hill Country Barbecue is a play that you play. 

Jack:       Oh, love it.

Brian:     That must be good eating that night.

Jack:       Love it.

Brian:     Shout out to the guys. If you haven't tried Hill Country Barbecue, you need to go try it. Go on a night Jack's playing and it's a combination. It's a heavenly combination of good music and good barbecue. That's everything.

Jack:       That's a great place. They have great artists that come through there as well.

Brian:     When you think back to Human Country Jukebox, what's the funniest moment that comes to mind as you think about the band?

Jack:       Well, we take a lot of risks with that band. Part of that is we're fortunate enough to play so much that we feel comfortable that if we take a risk and it doesn't go so well, we'll be okay.

Brian:     Take a risk meaning try a song and it didn't work out? [crosstalk 00:12:56]

Jack:       Try a song. It doesn't work out. My favorite is when we bring people up on stage and inevitably they insist that they know every word to every song and then we get them up and we say, "Okay, tip us and you can come up and sing it." They'll come up and it's just a train wreck a lot of the time.

Brian:     Is there one particular that try? What comes to mind? What song was it?

Jack:       I don't even remember what song it was, but there was a guy who came up and tried to make our bass player play two bass solos. Not just one. The first one went okay and it was fine. It was dragging on and after the second time, he said, "Bass solo," the bassist, Danny, stepped right in front of the guy and said, "This is over. Get this guy off stage. We're done." 

Brian:     Oh my God. All right.

Jack:       Sometimes you have to do that, but those are the kinds of things that I really like and that was one good example. [crosstalk 00:14:04] He threw some colorful language in there, too.

Brian:     Somebody told me there's a Jukebox story that there's certain songs that you don't want to play, but a good tip you'll do just about anything. Say more on that.

Jack:       That's generally how it works. I mean money talks. That's the bottom line with a bar band like that. Some stuff, we'll play for free and other things. Of course, everybody's down on Wagon Wheel and that's an expensive ... You're looking at 250 for that.

Brian:     Okay. All right.

Jack:       Occasionally, we'll make exceptions. [crosstalk 00:14:33]

Brian:     ... and you'll do it, but all right.

Jack:       Yeah, we'll do it. We won't like it, but we'll do it.

Brian:     Now, what's an example of songs that you do like? What comes to mind? We don't even need a tip. We'd love to play that.

Jack:       Oh, anything by Doug Sahm, who's just amazing, and if you don't know who he is, you're doing yourself a disservice. He's just ...

Brian:     Okay. Doug Sahm, check him out.

Jack:       ... one of those guys that transcends all. Yeah, Doug Sahm. William Jennings. Sure, Johnny Cash and those. Haggard, of course. Anything by The Band or Neil Young. We love that. All that stuff.

Brian:     Got it. 

Jack:       So those are pretty much free. If you're a good patron though, of course.

Brian:     If you come regularly, then you can request. 

Jack:       Yeah, sure, but I mean we don't turn down the tips of course. You want the tips. It's always nice.

Brian:     Yes. That's the [crosstalk 00:15:24] ... Musicians, man. Musicians love a little bit of cash. That's true. It's absolutely true. What do you have in your music collection that might surprise us?

Jack:       Oh, you know, Grease soundtrack probably.

Brian:     For real? The Grease soundtrack? Oh my God.

Jack:       Yeah. I know. You laugh, but they're great musicians playing on that soundtrack for real.

Brian:     Right. That's exactly what I think when I hear that soundtrack is, "Oh, listen to how good those musicians are." No, I'm joking.

Jack:       Right. I know. I know you don't.

Brian:     I'm glad that you do.

Jack:       Yeah. Totally. I like all kinds of stuff. Elton John, I get a lot of surprising looks about that for some reason and I don't understand. The same thing, I mean that ... Amazing artist, great musician.

Brian:     Yeah, he really is.

Jack:       I just ... Top notch. There are a lot of things like that, but I like it all. Judas Priest. 

Brian:     Oh, true. Judas Priest.

Jack:       That's one that I get ...

Brian:     My favorite question to ask ... The last one that I've got is what's one piece of advice that you would offer?

Jack:       Be nice.

Brian:     Be nice? Meaning when you're on stage? Say more.

Jack:       All the above. Well, not necessarily on stage. Part of our shtick when we do the Human Country Jukebox stuff is if you request a song we don't like, we might give you an earful and tell you where you can put that song.

Brian:     Oh, which contradicts the be nice concept.

Jack:       Right, but it's all in good fun. I'm talking about be nice to the people that work there. Be nice to your sound guy. Be nice to other musicians in the scene. Be helpful and be pleasant. That's how you get work to a large extent.

Brian:     Now, for folks who want to find out more about you, where do they find out more about you? Where can they go? 

Jack:       You can go to my website, which is JackGregori.com. That's G-R-E-G-O-R-I, or you can go to the Human Country Jukebox website, or you can go to either of those on Facebook or Twitter, if you like. It's @CountryJukebox or @JackGregori. Any of those ways. We have all the social media that you could ever want.

Brian:     Awesome.

Jack:       You can find it.

January 24, 2017 - Special Guest: Elena Lacayo, of Elena & Los Fulanos

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

  • This is the 30th Episode!  Many more to come, proud to reach this epic milestone!
  • The Easy Listening Jams Playlist of DC artists is up!  Check it out on the Find-Browse Artists page
  • Tiny Desk Videos for NPR.  I'm collecting the ones for local artists for 2017.  Please share/tag me so I can add them!  Playlist will be posted on the Find-Browse Artists Page

MUSIC

  1. Lost Children - Sam Hesh (Indie/Indie Rock)
  2. Himalayan Honey - Tempercrush (Rock)
  3. Amor Migrante - Elena & Los Fulanos (Latin/World)
  4. Step in Line - Letitia VanSant & the Bonafides (Folk/Indie Folk)
  5. Amneshia - Thaylobleu (Hard Rock/Punk Rock)
  6. Allies - Fellow Creatures (Rock/Indie)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Elena Lacayo, of Elena & Los Fulanos

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

Bio

DC Music Rocks Elena & Los Fulanos 2

Elena & Los Fulanos is a bilingual, folk rock band based in Washington, DC. Since 2011, they have been creating music that ranges from twangy, heartbreak-themed, folk Americana, to soothing, introspective, violin-infused, Latin rock. Influenced by front-woman Elena Lacayo’s experience growing up in two cultures (Nicaraguan and American), Elena & Los Fulanos creates a world where language and tradition meld with catchy melodies and inventive chords to enhance appreciation for diversity in an increasingly multi-cultural world. Their debut album, Miel Venenosa, earned a Washington Area Music Association (WAMMIE) nomination for Best Latin Recording in 2014.

 
DC Music Rocks Elena & Los Fulanos 1
 
DC Music Rocks Elena & Los Fulanos (3)

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Elena Lacayo is the lead singer of Elena & Los Fulanos, a bilingual folk rock band based here in Washington DC. Since 2011, they've been creating music that ranges from twangy, heartfelt themed folk Americana to soothing, introspective, violin infused, Latin rock. Elena musical influences draw on her experiences growing up in two cultures, Nicaraguan and American. Elena & Los Fulanos creates a world where language and tradition meld with catch melodies and inventive chords in our increasingly multi-cultural world. Their debut album, help me with the pronunciation here. Debut album was?

Elena:    This one's the harder one, Miel Venensoa.

Brian:     Miel Venensoa earned a Washington Area Music Award or a Wammie nomination for the Best Latin Recording in 2014.

Elena:    Miel Venenosa means poisonous honey, just for the.

Brian:     Poisonous honey. Interesting. We just heard Himalayan Honey earlier from this so wow, we got all kinds of honey on this show today. I love it. I first came across Elena & Los Fulanos when I had, and her name escapes me at this moment when I need it, on the microphone, Maryjo Mateo was on the show. She was doing a show coming up with you guys and she said, "Oh you definitely got to check out Elena." I checked out Elena and my goodness, amazing things. Listeners, it's with great pleasure that I introduce Elena Lacayo.

Elena:    Hey. How's it going everyone?

Brian:     Now tell us about you Elena. How did Elena & Los Fulanos come about? Tell us the quick story.

Elena:    Oh the quick story. You were starting to ask me about me, and I was going to go into that.

Brian:     Oh we'll come back to that, I promise.

Elena:    We'll come back to that because that is a big part of what Elena & Los Fulanos is, but I was working here in DC like so many people on policy. I moved here 10 years ago and I've been doing music and creating original songs. I was playing out and a couple of my friends were like, "Hey. I can play with you." That's kind of how we started it.

Brian:     Nice.

Elena:    We started it kind of informally and I just realized with time that I liked a lot what we were doing and I quit my job and started doing it more seriously. That's where we are now.

Brian:     Wow, so full time musician. Now tell us what you were going to say about how the music came about in your life.

Elena:    It's just that I do bilingual music. You guys only heard a song in Spanish, but there's also songs in English. At this point, I mean basically when I started the project I was a little like, well what am I supposed to do? I have songs in English and I have songs in Spanish. Do I do separate projects? Are they the same thing? Eventually I came to the conclusion that if these two things existed in my own person that they should be able to exist in a music project. That's sort of what the point is, is that people will look at me and they'll think one thing, but I actually grew up in Nicaragua and that's where my parents live. I also grew up in the states. I was born here and then we moved back when I was eight. I really grew up between the US and Nicaragua. Those are both fully parts of me and I'm fully Nicaraguan and fully American. That's kind of what we do with our music. We show that identities are more complex than what meets the eye.

Brian:     Yeah. It definitely comes across that way. The breadth, I love the breadth of your music. It's a very, not every song. It's not the same each time. There's different feelings. There's different emotions. It comes across in the music you make.

Elena:    Yeah. I almost think I'm a little musically schizophrenic. That's how I kind of consider myself, which I've decided is a better place to be than listening to a band and feeling like every song sounds the same. I'd rather be more broad than not. Really, it's interesting. When I'm putting together albums, instead of trying to make things match with each other. It's almost more narrative and it's almost more about showing the diversity of things that we do. Making sure we kind of show. If songs are too similar, we don't put them on the same album.

Brian:     Right.

Elena:    Which is interesting.

Brian:     Smart. Okay.

Elena:    You know what I mean?

Brian:     What about you, so outside of Los Fulanos. What's life like for you? What do you do in your spare time I guess you would say?

Elena:    Oh man. Well, I mean I do a lot of solo shows, which is really fun. I do all kinds of stuff as a solo artist. Now that certain things have happened politically, I'm getting a lot of requests to play movement events. I play a lot of pro-immigrant events. This weekend was kind of crazy for me. I ended up playing planned and unplanned shows. People are really hungry for this kind of music. I also work at a café, a social justice café in DC called The Potter's House, which is awesome. They have a bookstore and I help run it because I'm into books. That's kind of what I studied when I was in undergrad. It's really cool though. I mean they are sort of similar. It's sort of related to be into books and into music, both in the inability to make money off of it unfortunately. Also, just like in the fact that these are things that really shape our culture and our collective consciousness as a people. It's really cool to be in the world of ideas like that.

Brian:     That's cool. You said into books. Does that mean you read a lot of books or you just are comforted by being around them? What do you read?

Elena:    All of the above. Since I work at a bookstore, I buy a bunch of books and then I don't necessarily always have time to get to them. Unfortunately I'm much better at going to shows. I'm much better about going to shows than I am about sitting down and reading books. I'm a bit of an extrovert and music is really my focus. It's really cool to be around the world of books because people always give you their opinions even if you haven't read them, or you learn about people that are important that even if you haven't read them, you know, oh this was a very important person in the Civil Rights movement. Sometimes those people come into the cafes too. Then they'll tell who they are. They're like, "Oh I'm a SNCC leader. I grew up in Mississippi" and she's like 92 or something. It's really cool to be in that world and social justice is kind of my background and so that's a lot of what also informs my music.

Brian:     Yeah. I realize you said SNCC leader, and for those who don't know what that is, what is that?

Elena:    Oh, what is the acronym. Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. They were a big organization. John Lewis belonged to that. If you guys saw the movie, the one about MLK. [Some 00:06:53] I think it was called?

Brian:     Yes.

Elena:    The SNCC leaders are the younger folks who are kind of the ones who are the ones out on the.

Brian:     They come into the café. That's cool.

Elena:    They're pretty hard core, standing up for their rights. It's really cool to meet people who confronted such bigotry and such hatred to their face. You know what I mean? And stood up for it.

Brian:     What about you as an artist? The biggest success moment that comes to mind?

Elena:    Our biggest success, just happened the day after Thanksgiving we had this awesome opportunity to play at the Kennedy Center here. We played the Millennium Stage.

Brian:     Wow.

Elena:    It was something else. It's such a big stage in a lot of ways and nothing quite prepares you to do it until you do it. Then you realize, wow. You feel like the shoes are slightly too big for you to fill but at the end of it.

Brian:     You jump in and you say, "Absolutely. I'll wear them. Let's go."

Elena:    Totally, and it was so cool. I mean one of the things that I didn't expect from it as much is there's a lot of things I knew that would come with it. We had a huge crowd, like 500 people. It was the day after Thanksgiving so everybody was free and stuff. That was just amazing opportunity. They also had this amazing video that they did. They do videos of all of the Millennium Stage shows. They have multiple cameras and so they are-

Brian:     Awesome.

Elena:    A lot of people actually when I got off stage that came around and they were like, "Dude, the cinematography," or whatever you call the camera work, "was really great. You really need to watch it." Of course, as an artist, you take your time getting to watch yourself perform because you're very critical of yourself on stage, especially when you have to hear yourself talk. That was actually one of the coolest parts about the whole thing, is just having this really, super well produced video for your show, for your vision, for your art.

Brian:     Do you have that posted somewhere?

Elena:    Oh yeah. Absolutely.

Brian:     Can people watch that? Kennedy Center website or yours?

Elena:    Yeah. There's the Kennedy Center YouTube. You can also go to our band's website, it's elenalosfulanos.com, E-L-E-N-A-L-O-S-F-U-L-A-N-O-S .com, or if you Google Elena Los Fulanos, it'll be the first one to come up. There's a video part there and you can go to that. You can also see our video for Amor Migrante.

Brian:     Yeah check out the video. I've got those links on dcmusicrocks.com too so you can check them out after the show. Now what about your earliest memory with music?

Elena:    Well, legend has it. I'm the youngest of four.

Brian:     We started with a legend?

Elena:    Yeah a legend. It's because I don't know if to believe my parents on this. You know? I'm the youngest of four so when they talk about things that I did when I was, and we were like refugees. We had just come to the states from Nicaragua and we were fleeing war. I don't really think they remember my first anythings. I kind of feel like they make it up a little bit.

Brian:     Mom, Dad, we want to believe you but we're not sure. Okay.

Elena:    I was like, "Mom, Dad, what was my first word?" They were like, "You didn't speak you just sang." That's what they tell me.

Brian:     That sounds like something a parent would say.

Elena:    I know that my first song was The Blue Danube. That's kind of high brow but it's because my oldest brother is trained in French horn and I guess he probably was rehearsing and stuff. I don't know how I got The Blue Danube. You guys know which one that? La, dum, dum, dum, dump, bum-bum, bum-bum.

Brian:     Oh, and there's words to that?

Elena:    No. I would just hum it.

Brian:     Okay you were humming. Okay.

Elena:    Apparently.

Brian:     You were singing the horn part.

Elena:    They were like, "Oh cool. She's in tune. This one has potential."

Brian:     Real potential, and now look at you. You're here. You're performing the Kennedy Center.

Elena:    I know, well that wasn't. I was very rebellious towards my parents and their desire for me to be a musician. I really never took that role and I didn't really care for music classes. I kind of did it on my own terms, which I'm not sure I recommend because I'm pretty uninformed when it comes to music theory and a lot of the rules but, it hasn't yet effected my ability to write it. I think it more effects my ability to communicate with other musicians.

Brian:     Yeah I could see that.

Elena:    It works out.

Brian:     I was saying, it's working so far. Now, one of my favorite questions to ask is always, what's one piece of advice that you would offer?

Elena:    To other musicians?

Brian:     Sure. However, you want to answer the question.

Elena:    I think, I mean maybe it sounds corny but I think it's being true to one's self and being authentic to the person that you are. Try to figure that out. It's actually much more difficult than you think when you start the exercise.

Brian:     Say more on that.

Elena:    Just in the sense of like, music is an externalization of yourself. Art in general is an externalization of your interior world. You know? The more that you explore yourself and you know yourself the better you will be able to access that so as to bring your vision to other people. There's something about reaching the authentic point of yourself, that connects with other people. It's sort of like you access this universal concept and you put it out there. Other people will access that same thing, but through their own experience. The more authentic that you are, it doesn't really matter what form it takes. That's the thing about music, it's so subjective. There's really no formula to what's great and what's not. I think what clearly comes through is when you're being authentic to yourself and when you're rounded in a vision of what, kind of who you are. It's weird. I mean it's like kind of a [inaudible 00:12:59] to talk about.

                  It's the same idea of you know when people have gone in to buy guitars or to try out guitars at guitar stores. It kind of doesn't matter how much the guitar costs, or what it's made out of or all these other specs, what counts is when yo sit down and play the guitar, do you feel inspired by it? There are some guitars where you feel that and there are some guitars where you're like, eh not really. I don't really want to play that much anymore. It's like this intangible thing.

Brian:     Got it.

Elena:    Yeah.

Brian:     Wow, that's cool. Two questions then, together. One is, if folks want to find out more about you, and the exciting things going on wit Los Fulanos, where do they go for that, and you had mentioned to me before the show that there were some cool things coming up for you. Talk about that.

Elena:    If you want to check us out more, you can go to elenalosfulanos.com or if you want to just Google Elena & Los Fulanos. That has all of our info. It has our videos, also has our music video for Amor Migrante, which you can check out there. We are actually raising money right now through Indiegogo. We have a campaign going on for our next album. If you all are interested in that, you can check that out as well on our website. We have a fundraising show for that on February 9th at Haydee's in Mount Pleasant and you all can come to that and check out what we're planning to do and if you want to go to an actual show, that's open to everybody and mostly about fundraising. This Friday I will be at The Black Cat with the Nine Songwriter Series. That's Friday, January 27th at The Black Cat. I can do this. Oh look at that.

Brian:     There is video of this interview and if you check it out, she's holding up the card here so you can actually see her talking to you on video.

January 17, 2017 - Special Guest: Julianne Brienza of Capital Fringe

^^Episode Is Live Now - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if issue)^^

National Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice


FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

  • The first of our Lifestyle Playlists is now up!  Check out the Easy Listening Jams Playlist, linked from our Find-Browse Artists Page.  Great for while, you're at work, have friends over, or anytime you need good background music.
  • Send me the links to DC Artists Tiny Desk Videos, I'm putting together a youtube playlist of them!  Tag/share them with @dcmusicrocks or send us a note.

MUSIC

  1. Chasing (feat. Matt Beilis) - Tabi Bonney (Pop/Electronic)
  2. Hallelujah (feat. Birds of Chicago) - Domenic Cicala (Rock/Country)
  3. Arroyo (feat. Don Zientara) - Nina Heart (Indie/Slacker)
  4. Free Fall - Will Eastman (Techno)
  5. Impala - Near Northeast (Indie/Folk)
  6. Sweet and Sour - Janel and Anthony (Indie/Avant Jazz)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Julianne Brienza

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

Bio

Julianne is a passionate, inspiring, and unconventional arts leader and community builder. She is a founder of Capital Fringe, leading the award-winning organization since it's inception in 2005. For over a decade, Julianne has guided Capital Fringe’s vision, evolution, and growth, plus community development. In the process, she has grown the organization’s budget from $300,000 to $1.7 million and designed, shaped, and implemented programs that have engaged adventurous audiences, along with local, national, and international exploratory artists.

Under her leadership, Capital Fringe has won numerous awards, including two Mayor’s Awards and the Washington Business Journal’s “Non Profit of the Year.” Julianne is a recipient of the Mayor’s Arts Award for Visionary Leadership.

Prior to founding Capital Fringe, Julianne moved to Washington, DC., in December of 2003 in order to manage Cultural DC’s Flashpoint project. She programmed Flashpoint venues, managed their arts incubator program, recruited participants, and managed the facility. While at Cultural DC, Julianne started the Mead Theatre Lab Program, an intensive mentorship program for the performing arts that is still in existence.

Julianne came to Washington, DC., from Philadelphia, where she created and ran the Greenfield Elementary School artist-in-residency program for Mum Puppettheatre, which is still in existence. She also served as Managing Director of 1812 Productions, a non-profit theatre company, that focuses on comedy. Also, she worked with FringeArts for three years in various capacities from venue manager and box office, to performing in Festival productions. Previously, she was a Professional Apprentice with the Arden Theatre Company. Born and raised in Dillon, Montana, Julianne is a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts-Theatre, and Minors in, Philosophy and Visual Arts, Magna Cum Laude, and The Sandglass Theatre’s Puppet Residency at Marlboro College.

 

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Julianne Brienza is a passionate, inspiring, and unconventional arts leader in, and a community builder. She is a founder of Capital Fringe, and has been leading the award winning organization since it started in 2005. She's guided Capital Fringe's vision, its evolution, its growth, and its community development. Under her leadership Capital Fringe has won numerous awards including two Mayor's Awards and the Washington Business Journal's Nonprofit of the Year. Julianna herself is a recipient of the Mayor's Arts Award for Visionary Leadership.

                  She was born and raised in Dillon, Montana and is a graduate of Viterbo. Am I saying it right, Viterbo University?

Julianne:                It's Viterbo.

Brian:     Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She moved to DC in 2003 and prior to founding Capital Fringe she managed Cultural DC's flash point project. Also, while at Cultural DC, Julianne started the Mean Theatre Lab Program which is an intensive mentorship program for the performing arts that is still in existence today.

                  I came across Julianne at the Building the Music Capital Conference a few months back because Capital Fringe is doing amazing things with the music scene here in town. Listeners it is with great pleasure that I introduce Julianne Brienza.

Julianne:                Hello. All right. We're going to get to some of the DC artists that I've chosen to play. Is that right?

Brian:     I want you to share, but first I want to get to know you.

Julianne:                Oh I'm so sorry.

Brian:     Can we talk to you first? Is that okay.

Julianne:                I was listening to the second thing. I'm so sorry. I was so ready to play the music. Yes.

Brian:     That's cool. We're going to do it.

Julianne:                Yes. Let's talk it out.

Brian:     Talk about you first. Let's get to know you.

Julianne:                Okay.

Brian:     Now, you are, tell us about Capital Fringe and how did you get tied into that and tell us how that began.

Julianne:                Okay. Well, I moved here in December of 2003 to work for Cultural DC and it was really dead. It was a lot of gray suits. I wondered where the young people were with keys on their belt. I had lived in Philadelphia for three years before I came here and they had a fringe festival and it was really a great time where everybody got together, very unofficially to just be a community and know each other. I thought that was what was missing and so a group of us sort of got together and muscles the first Capital Fringe festival in 2006.

Brian:     When you say muscled, what does that mean?

Julianne:                I mean using physical muscles

Brian:     You forced this to happen. You were carrying the load on your back?

Julianne:                It was a pretty big undertaking for all of us that were involved at that time. I mean, right when we started, it takes a lot of money. You have to have money to do this. None of us were really independently wealthy so I think within our first year, our budget was about 300,000 and that was getting grants for something that had not existed before, kind of on a hope and a prayer and making it happen. Then the first year we had 96 groups in the festival.

Brian:     Holy smokes.

Julianne:                You know, we thought it would be awesome if we had 50.

Brian:     Now, this is a film festival, right?

Julianne:                No, no, no. It's a live performance, performing arts festival.

Brian:     Live performing arts, okay.

Julianne:                It's dance. It's puppetry. It's theater. Then really when we got into 2009 is when we really started inserting music through it.

Brian:     How has the music become part of Capital Fringe?

Julianne:                We first started just doing it during the summer festival, the fringe festival in July. We had a tent that we put up at the time and so we'd really just offer free concerts. It was just awesome. It was so great. We'd have the old theater guys being like, "I've never seen anything like this before." I'd be like, "No, because you're not going to the Velvet Lounge or DC9 at midnight on a Tuesday or something." Then it's just really since 2009 we've just continued to sort of increase how we present DC musicians. We really do try to focus on DC musicians. A lot of it is that we pay them or we set up a revenue model that isn't just about bar sales and all of that which is typical in the industry.

Brian:     Wow. How do you guys find, if there's musicians listening or something. How do you find the talent and how does the music side of Capital Fringe work?

Julianne:                It's ever evolving as we continue to sort of flail out into what we will eventually be and then keep evolving. A lot of the way that we do it is we have curators that do a lot of the curating for us. Jim Thompson who's a founding member of Gwar, he does other things too. It was a long time ago, but he's a great guy. He does a lot of music programming for us and Luke Stewart who's also in a lot of different bands does a lot of music curating for us as well.

Brian:     Curating meaning they decide who's going to come and play the venue?

Julianne:                Yeah we kind of do it as a collaborative effort because it can't be something where Capital Fringe just has to eat it. The curator is a paid position and then typically we'll either do tickets and then we'll do some sort of revenue share, or we pay the band a certain amount and it can also be we pay a band a certain amount and it's totally free, or we pay the band a certain amount and we do a ticket and we get to a certain point. If we sold tickets then we go into a revenue sharing there.

Brian:     Got it. Now, for listeners who've never been to Capital Fringe, tell us about the venue. Where is it? What is it like?

Julianne:                We purchased a building at the end of 2014. It was a really big deal, still a big deal. It's the Logan Fringe Art Space. It's at 1358 Florida Avenue North East. We're just one block off H Street. If you've been to the Atlas Performing Arts Center, just come on over one more block.

Brian:     Nice.

Julianne:                We have a little theater. It's called the Trinidad Theater. You can fit in about 200 people in there. We do a variety of things. We got a full service bar that's open and you can drink.

Brian:     Wow. How many nights a week in the music there is?

Julianne:                We have done a lot of different things since we first opened. Right now we're really just kind of an event space. We are going to be doing a big renovation in October. We're going to be closing for a year and doing a huge renovation that will actually get us a really awesome music venue and theater venue and full restaurant kitchen when we're done. Right now, we're really, when we first opened we were open all the time, but we got to build up ourselves a little bit more until we can do that and have proper equipment and all that stuff. We're on the track.

Brian:     Sure.

Julianne:                We're on the track to get there.

Brian:     Now, with everything going on with Capital Fringe, you've got a lot going on, clearly. When yo do get some free time, tell us about that side of Julianne. What do you do with yourself when you're off?

Julianne:                Well, I will just be really honest. I don't really have a lot of free time, which is just, you know, the career things I've chosen to do. I often bite off more than I can chew. I really do love feeling inspired to see the performing arts and so I love going to the 9:30 Club. I love going to U Street Music Hall. I love seeing shows. Theater, I love doing that. I also really love to travel. Actually, I've found that with my current endeavors, it's often just I get out of town, just to really feel like I'm not in my zone of oh I've got to work this angle and this environment so I can get this thing to make something better. Yeah. I don't know. I really love live performance as a way that humans can communicate to each other in a way that you can't really do in any other way. I just really like to take that in. I do that personally and professionally.

Brian:     What about funniest moments in what you've been doing with Capital Fringe? What comes to mind? Funniest moments.

Julianne:                Funniest moments. One that may be funny right now. I guess it was like in May, I don't know. I was sort of stressed out so I dyed my hair. I dye my hair a lot but I totally went like white blond. I didn't really think much of it because I've had my hair that color before, but people really did not recognize me and it was awesome.

Brian:     Say more about that. It was awesome, because why? 

Julianne:                Sometimes when I'm in certain situations, I have to like talk to a lot of people and sometimes you might not want to. I did get in sort of the habit of wearing like sunglasses, but that didn't really work. The hair dye a lot, like even on Sunday night I was at arena stage seeing a show and a guy that I know walked right by me, did not recognize me at all. I was like, wow, this is still going ton.

Brian:     This has been how long now? How long has the hair been blonde? 

Julianne:                It's been since May and I don't know what I'm doing with my hair. It's not really. It's been really funny. I think it's probably for me, to chuckle about it and maybe some of my staff that I get to tell them stories about, oh my god that person just walked by me.

Brian:     What about a time that you tried and failed? What's an example of that one?

Julianne:                Like all the time. I really love failure, which is probably not a normal response. I actually think if you get failure it means that you're getting closer to actually getting to something real. I don't know. I fail all the time. I fail at using my computer. I've been having a lot of issues with my computer that has made my work a little bit slower recently. I apologize if you haven't heard from me. You know, I feel like I don't have a big, like I fell down and I failed but I really do fail all the time. What I'm doing right now, I'm trying to do this huge renovation on our building. It's a lot of money to do it. To do the renovation is going to be about 2.7 million and while I have good stats and all that stuff, and the trajectory seems logical and everything, but it could totally fail. I believe in the DC arts community so I don't think it will totally, but it might.

Brian:     Got it. Yeah. Then, and a time when you succeeded then? Big success moment? You're trying and maybe not trying and failing but so what about succeeding? What comes to mind?

Julianne:                I really feel success when people come to stuff at fringe and they're just hanging out, and it's not fancy. It's all different types of people and they get to talk to each other and they get to see things that they normally wouldn't see. The other night at the space we had, there was that concert at the 9:30 Club for the guy who died from the Urban Verbs. They all came over to the space afterwards to look at Bill Worrell has an art exhibit. Bill Worrell is the founder of DC Space and then a co-founder of the 9:30 Club. He's also a local artist and he has his first visual art show in our space. They all came over. It's a bunch of old dudes living it up, talking about the times and then we got loading in a birthday party for a local theater artist and just watching people kind of exchange looks and like, who are you? Well this is my space. Well what are you doing here now? Then the people coming together. That's a success to me. I like stuff like that.

Brian:     Awesome. I love stories like that too. It's amazing how arts can bring the community together. It really does. Now, what's one piece of advice that you would offer?

Julianne:                To who? About what?

Brian:     To the DC community in general. If you had one piece of, this is my favorite last question for the guest. What's one piece of advice you would offer?

Julianne:                I think you know what? A time where our nation is just really, it's crazy times right? I think it's really important to pay, and I think no matter where you're at, just pay attention to your neighbors. Be kind to your neighbors. Realize that you are in a community and you can make an impact in your community.

           I think to really start, to have that be your start position versus getting overly obsessed with everything that's national all the time. If we really just start working at stuff that we could touch, we could look at our neighbors in the eyes and say something nice to them, and invite them to do something, that's going to really create change. I would really, that's my advice.

 

January 10, 2017 - Special Guest: Stephanie Williams of DC Music Download

^^Episode Is Live Now - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if issue)^^

National Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice

 

FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

MUSIC

  1. Mrs. Piano - Kenny Sway (Pop/R&B)
  2. Orca - Moogatu (Hard Rock/Jam Band)
  3. I'll Walk Away - Stone Driver (Rock/Hard Rock)
  4. Paused Parade - Young Summer (Indie/Alternative)
  5. Silurian Stomp (feat. Rachel Ries) - Fellow Creatures (Rock/Indie)
  6. The Greys - The El Mansouris (Indie)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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STEPHANIE WILLIAMS

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

DC Music Rocks Stephanie Williams

Bio

Stephanie Williams is the founder and chief curator of D.C. Music Download, D.C.'s largest outlet for local music news. An Ohio native, Stephanie moved to D.C. in 2009 and started D.C. Music Download in 2012 to spotlight some of the awesome acts she discovered while living in the city. Five years later, D.C. Music Download has grown from a small blog into a full-fledged media company that includes a flourishing editorial, events, and cinematography division.

Links

http://dcmusicdownload.com/

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