Thanks Joe Lapan and Alisha Edmonson - co founders of Songbyrd Media House - for coming by the studio this week!
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FROM TODAY'S SHOW
- Tell Me Why, by Hayley Fahey (Rock/Indie Rock)
- War, by G.U.M.P (Hip Hop/Alternative Rock)
- Hannah, by Handsome Hound (Folk/Folk Rock)
- Climax: Moonshine, by Names (Rock/Psychedlic Rock)
- Locked, by Thaylobleu (Hard Rock/Punk Rock)
- Son of Larry, by Aaron Abernathy (R&B/Soul)
We’re hosting a show at the 9:30 Club on Saturday 9/2! Ever since our humble beginnings, we’ve dreamed of sharing the incredible music from the DC local region in a venue that is fitting for the incredible talent these musicians have. Please come! If you know someone who would be interested in this, would you share it with them too? Or share it with them in general? If we draw a good crowd, the 9:30 Club has said they’ll let us make this a regular thing, and we’d love to get more great local artists on that caliber of stage. We really appreciate your help! We love supporting this DC local music scene!
930club facebook event:
930club ticket website:
Playlist of the great artists which will be featured at the show!
THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE
There's so many! Visit our Local Music Calendar to see the full list! These are just the few we discussed on the show to get you started.
Fri Aug 25
Vintage#18 @ Blackwall Hitch in Alexandria, VA
The Woodshedders @ Hill Country BBQ in Chinatown in NW DC
Sat Aug 26
Christos DC @ Jammin Java in Vienna, VA
The Cowards Choir @ Iota Club and Cafe in Clarendon in Arlington, VA
Handsome Hound @ Black Cat on 14th&U in NW DC
Sun Aug 27
Sol Roots @ JoJo Bar on U St in NW DC
Wed Aug 30
Ms Fridrich, Beanstalk Library, Rachel Levitin @ DC9 on U St in NW DC
Joe & Alisha, Songbyrd Music House Co-Founders
VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT
Joe Lapan is a real estate attorney and professional by background, but always had a passion for music and its power to connect and unify people and to provide the perfect entry point for exploration of culture and history. Joe had always been the guy who made mix tapes, camped out for new album releases and hosted informal "listening parties" with his friends. Joe also has a passion for small business in the District of Columbia. Around 2010, Joe began writing a business plan for a place that might bring these experiences into the "commercial" world as a sort of music comparable to the sports bar, or a "re-imagined" record store. Joe primarily runs business affairs, marketing and what he likes to call "alternative events" for Songbyrd. Alternative events encompass all those things that aren't live music shows, such as label partnerships, listeningparties, in-store events etc. Joe is the Washington DC point man for Classic Album Sundays, a worldwide album celebration platform, and has appeared on numerous podcasts and other media outlets to discuss music.
Alisha Edmonson is a trained architect, designer and bar/restaurant operations manager and has 10+ years of relevant experience. She has an interdisciplinary background in construction, finance and architecture/design, as well as years of experience as a bartender and manager. Alisha began her career in the field of design and construction but she was raised around small business, with her family owning and running a coffee
roaster in Oregon. While attending graduate school in DC she begin bartending at L Enfant Café in Adams Morgan and quickly become one of the
managers. She eventually moved on to bigger places including H Street Country Club and Right Proper Brewery. In each of these places she both
worked on the floor and managed. In addition to working in the bar/restaurant industry she has been doing contract work as a event designer and
manager for large events in both Arizona and Oregon, most notably, What The Festival in Duffer Oregon, an event consisting of roughly 5,000 people
and numerous DJs and other acts. Ms. Edmonson is the Managing Member of the Songbyrd ownership and also the General Manager and is backed
by an investment team with substantial business and creative experience
Website: : www.songbyrddc.com
Twitter & Instagram: @songbyrddc
Brian: On DC Music Rocks, We're shining a spotlight on the great songs and incredible people, like Joe and Alisha from Songbyrd, here in the DC regions' local music scene. Alisha is a trained architect, designer, and bar restaurant operations manager. She has an interdisciplinary background in construction, finance, and architecture design, as well as years of experience as a bartender and a manager. She is the managing member of Songbyrd on the ownership team and is also the general manager of the venue, so this is Alisha.
I also have Joe, who is a real estate attorney by background but always has a passion for music and a power to connect and unify people. Joe's always been the guy who made mix tapes, camped out for new album releases, and hosted informal listening parties with his friends. Around 2010, he began to write a business plan for a place that might bring these kind of experiences into the commercial world. Songbyrd, which is like a sports bar for music or a re-imagined music store, is what he created. Joe primarily runs business affairs, marketing, and what he likes to call alternative or non-musical events for Songbyrd.
I first ran into these folks at some of the conferences around town for local music, and I've been to the venue I can't even count on fingers and toes the number of times. It's such a great place. It is a treat to have you here. Thanks for being here, you guys.
Alisha: Thanks for inviting us.
Brian: Tell us about ... We baited them earlier with it, but tell us about the name "Songbyrd." Where does that come from?
Alisha: Well, we originally had some other names for this place, but when we found the space, it was a nightclub and it wasn't what we were looking for, but it had this really amazing music history. It was called The Showboat for years from the '50s to the '70s, and the house band was Charlie Byrd's band, and he and his manager owned and ran it. It just kind of spoke to us when we found out the history of it. Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz played there almost every night doing jazz samba that was just really special.
Brian: That's cool. And so it became in honor of Byrd it was Songbyrd.
Alisha: Yeah, a little homage to DC music history.
Joe: Yeah, and for those who don't know, Charlie Byrd, not to be mistaken with Charlie Parker, who was nicknamed Bird. Charlie Byrd is the famous jazz guitarist originally from Maryland, spent his life and career in Maryland and DC, recorded Jazz Samba, one of the greatest selling and greatest jazz albums of all time, based on a fusion of American jazz and Brazilian samba. He did a lot of democracy work and State Department work with Brazil and recorded that album at the All Souls Church just up the street from us in Adams Morgan.
Brian: So much history there. All right, so that's where Songbyrd ... I've always wondered. Man, that's awesome. Now, what about ... Now it's a lot of work to start a venue. How did you guys meet, and how did Songbyrd the venue come together?
Alisha: Well, I moved here for grad school in 2009, and I started bartending for brunch just for some extra money and to meet people that didn't want to talk about policy, and I met Joe. That's where we met.
Brian: Was he a customer or was he ...
Alisha: He was a customer, yeah.
Brian: And you started talking music?
Alisha: Yeah, we started talking ... Well, eventually we started talking music. We started talking about the loss of listening to music, not listening to your radio or on an mp3, but really listening to an album start to finish with your friends and community.
Brian: I don't think hardly anybody does that anymore, actually. They're not even putting albums out half the time. It's just singles. So that's true.
Joe: Yeah, but I think more and more people are, and I see it, and we see it with some of the stuff we're doing. But yeah, that's definitely one of our focuses, to bring back that experience.
Brian: I've seen ... Does that kind of go into the listening parties? I've seen something that you guys do listening parties, right?
Alisha: We do several different types of listening parties, actually.
Brian: Tell me more.
Joe: So yeah, again, the basic idea being let's get together. You go to see a movie, but why don't you go listen to that album and enjoy it with people, maybe learn something, maybe focus on it in a different kind of way or just make a day out of it, make an experience, make an afternoon out of it. So we host a monthly event through Classic Album Sundays, which is kind of a worldwide listening party platform. In fact, going to those events in other cities kind of helped inspire me as well. But that is very focused. You're going to have presenters talking about the album. We bring in special audio file grade turntables and equipment for that event. We have that at our venue, so it's kind of more quiet and focused.
Then we do other stuff, like you're referring to. On Fridays a lot of times we'll partner with labels based on their new music that's coming out and just throw kind of a fun something different from the regular Friday happy hour where you're going to hear the new music with your friends.
Brian: Wow. So many cool things happening. There's always ... It's a lot of fun to follow your social media, too, because there's always all kinds of, it's like, "Oh, that's different. Oh, okay." I mean, you definitely win the award for making it interesting and exciting. The music world is so interesting and exciting now. I think you guys do a great job with that.
Joe: Thanks, man.
Brian: So that's nice.
Joe: Yeah, it's a whole world, for sure.
Brian: And what is your connections to DC? You came for grad school, Alisha.
Alisha: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Brian: And Joe, have you always been here, or when did you get here?
Joe: Yeah, it's funny, you mentioned that artist from Derwood earlier. I'm from Rockville, Maryland.
Brian: There you go.
Joe: So I grew up in the area, kind of always been in the area.
Brian: Are you actually like a "local" because you've been here your whole life?
Joe: For sure, definitely.
Joe: Red line, inside the Beltway, all that.
Brian: There it is. That breed is almost ... Although I feel like it's getting more common now, but I feel like it used to be really rare to meet somebody who is actually from the area. I don't know, maybe that's just me.
Joe: I mean, we're probably still the minority, but it's funny because I see a lot of people from DC and around DC doing really cool things in DC, I think because we already kind of knew the place. So we had a little bit of a leg-up on newcomers who still have to kind of map it out.
Brian: What about you guys on the personal side, outside of Songbyrd. What are your ... Do you have hobbies? What else is there to life for you guys?
Alisha: I mean, I wish I said I had a lot hobbies.
Brian: I know that's a lot to ask, because you probably put a lot into Songbyrd.
Alisha: I mean, we're just going on our two-year anniversary for the venue. Before the venue, I painted. I love building furniture and just kind of a designer. Anything that has to do with art.
Brian: Wow, so a lot of work with your hands.
Alisha: A lot of, yeah, I love ...
Brian: And now you've totally switched gears. Do you do anymore of that sometimes?
Alisha: Well, we're always redesigning the space just a little bit for other things.
Brian: So you have a living canvas now in Songbyrd. I see.
Alisha: I have a living canvas in Songbyrd. And then I guess we've got a puppy, so that's like kind of living and breathing for this little puppy called Fife dog.
Brian: And what kind of puppy is he?
Alisha: She is a ...
Alisha: Fife's a girl. She is a border collie/miniature schnauzer. She's a rescue puppy.
Brian: Got it. What fun. And what about you, Joe?
Joe: I do have a whole lot of things that I do. I mean, we share our puppy, so Fife keeps us busy for sure. But yeah, man, I'm into music, of course. Go to shows, spend a lot of time keeping up with new music. But I'm into all types of things. I play a lot of different sports. Still play hardball. Still play baseball, hardball, at age 39. It's a local league.
Brian: I'm impressed.
Joe: So I come home with some bruises every once in a while. But yeah, man, just I'm a believer in trying to stay young in the mind, you know?
Brian: Got it. And now one of my favorite questions that I always love to ask is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Joe: Gosh, for the music scene specifically?
Brian: I'll leave that up to you, actually. However you want to answer.
Joe: Well, I'll start that off by saying be careful with giving advice, first of all.
Brian: All right, you got that out of the way. Now give some. Go ahead.
Joe: You know, just follow your passion. Follow your dreams. In DC music, if you're an artist, you're already doing that. But keep doing it and just write, stick to it, but failure to plan is planning to fail, so use that dream as your fuel to get into the details as well, so there's some advice.
Alisha: And my advice would be similar, but make choices and own them.
Brian: Own them. All right. Follow them through. You did it. You made the choice. Now follow it through. Do it. I really like that too. That's a really good one. For those folks who want to know, want to follow what you're doing and find out more about Songbyrd, tell me again, where's the best place to go?
Joe: The best place to go is, I would say, our website, www.songbyrddc.com, Byrd with a Y, because remember Charlie Byrd spelled it with a Y.
Brian: Yes, we know that now. Yes.
Joe: That's right. And yeah, @songbyrddc on socials. So yeah, like you said, we're out there on socials. We try to keep engaged and keep talking about ourselves and keeping people informed.
Alisha: Our website's really comprehensive. All of our records are on there. If you want to know what we have in stock, you can click on a little link and it'll show you everything up to 24 hours in advance, and our menus, our listings, any kind of special event that we have going on, not just local music and stuff, but ...
Brian: Thorough. Really thorough.