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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.

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)

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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.

December 13, 2016 - Special Guest: Daniel Schwartz

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

MUSIC

  1. LanternFish - LanternFish (Folk/Americana)
  2. Stripmall Ballads - What Would You Say To The Woman With The Black Eye (Folk/Lo-Fi)
  3. Little Fox - Justin Jones (Rock/Folk)
  4. Remember Me - Robbie Schaefer (Folk/Indie)
  5. A Better Lie - The Cowards Choir (Rock/Folk)
  6. Unsung Hero - allthebestkids (Hip Hop/Rock)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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DANIEL (Danny) SCHWARTZ

VIDEO - BIO - PHOTOS - TRANSCRIPT

BIO

DANNY SCHWARTZ DC MUSIC ROCKS

Danny Schwartz is a DC native. He works as Production Manager at The Hamilton Live a block from the White House. He is also a professional musician playing around town with a number of artists and as a children’s performer. 

He is also a producer with BandHouse Gigs a local production company presenting shows over the last twelve years featuring hundreds of area musicians at the best venues throughout the area. 

http://www.dannyschwartzplays.com/
http://live.thehamiltondc.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thehamiltondc
http://www.twitter.com/thehamiltondc
http://instagram.com/thehamiltondc

DANNY SCHWARTZ DC MUSIC ROCKS
dan2.jpg

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     Daniel Schwartz is a D.C. native. He works as the production manager at The Hamilton Live which is one block from the White House. He's also a professional musician. He's played around town with a number of the artists in town and also as a children's performer. He's also a producer with Band House Gigs which is a local promotion production company presenting shows over the last twelve years featuring hundreds of area musicians at some of the best venues in town and throughout the D.C. area. Listen as a I first ran into this guy when I was seeing a show at The Hamilton and the artist was like, "Hey. You got to come meet Daniel, or Danny as he goes by. Got to come meet Danny." I got to meet him and just, he's one of those you meet him and he's just one cool dude. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Daniel Schwartz, known as Danny from The Hamilton. Say hi to everybody and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Danny:  Hey. How's it going?

Brian:     Hey there. Tell us about Hamilton and your role at The Hamilton and what that is.

Danny:  I'm very fortunate to be working for the Clyde's Restaurant Group. I love these guys. I have some of the coolest bosses in the world. I, as a senior in high school, when I went to school, I grew up in Bethesda. I opened Clyde's restaurant in 2002 called Tower Oaks Lodge out in Rockville up in the woods.

Brian:     Wow.

Danny:  I was a server and the GM there when I got the job with Clyde's as the production manager, ten years later, said, "Danny is one of the greatest guys I've ever met, one of the worst servers I've ever worked with."

Brian:     I appreciate your honesty. This is good. All right. Okay. Not a good server.

Danny:  Not a great server. I was very quick to change into nice clothes and start being a host so I could walk older people to their table. I really enjoyed schmoozing with the customers and making sure they were happy. When it would be down time I would jump in and be sort of a manager and bus tables and make sure everybody was having a good time and really get to the heart of what Clyde's customer service is all about.

Brian:     Right. I've heard amazing things.

Danny:  This year I'm celebrating my eleventh year on the corner of 14th and F. For the five years prior to Hamilton opening, I worked for The National Press Club as a freelance audio engineer up on the thirteenth floor of the press building caddy corner from us.

Brian:     Sure.

Danny:  I was watching. I used to go into the Boarders that used to occupy our 37,000 square foot space and as I saw it coming together and there was a great article in the Washington Post interviewing our owner, our president Tom Meyer and he was talking about what he saw as the vision of this music venue and who he saw being down there I was like, man, I have to be involved. I have to do this. These are my heroes. I've taken so many of the lessons they taught me and invested in me as a server and a host, and all the jobs I've had between I've been like this is how in the best possible scenario how Clyde's would do it.

                  I happened to be working one day at The Press Club in a small conference room, maybe this size or double this size, fit 75 people comfortably, and a 125, 150 people showed up. The audio end of it, putting up a couple table mics and making sure they were on was pretty simple so I was running around turning down the AC, getting water, getting extra chairs, doing everything I could to be hospitable, and the young woman who was running it said, "You know really you were incredible today. You went above and beyond. It was so impressive. Where did you get that from?" I said, you know, I was an actor when I was a child. I feel like it makes me personable. It makes me unafraid to approach people and all that but that really I spend a lot of time in the hospitality industry mostly working for Clyde's for a number of years.

                  I'd come back from college every year and go back to work as a host. They'd give me shifts and I really appreciated them for that. I really got a lot from them. She said, "Yeah my husband works for Clyde's." I sort of said, well that's interesting but it's big corporation. Everybody's husband works for Clyde's in some round about way. She said, "but my husband Dave Moran is the GM of the Old Ebbitt Grill and he's going to be running The Hamilton." I was like, oh my god. Hi. It's nice to meet you. I gave her my card and all I wanted to do was be a sound engineer there, be another feather in my cap and a place that I could call a freelance home as an engineer. It took eight months but finally I got a call to be interviewed as the production manager. It turned out I knew a lot of people.

Brian:     What does it mean to be a production manager for those who don't know?

Danny:  As long as you don't want to have any relationships or too much. For the first five years, plan on not seeing a significant other and it's a commitment. It's 100 hours plus a week really just wrapping your head around all these details, keeping a cool head about when they change.

Brian:     So you're dealing with the logistics when a band's coming in?

Danny:  Right. We book a show. I luckily don't have to do too much in that regard. First we were booked out of Austin by a group called C3 Presents. That was a big organization that gave us a lot of clout and let us totally get big acts that shouldn't have been coming to our room as a new room, but they said if C3's repping you, then we'll give you the benefit of the doubt and they loved it. The crowd loved it. We really got a really auspicious start for five years in as a restaurant and a music venue.

                  I would get the advance. I would get the contract. I'd reach out to their advance person. I'd tell them all about what we do and how it was going to be an amazing experience, that they were going to get world class food. They were going to get a world class sound system and lighting system and really positive can do attitude from my staff. That was important to me was to build a staff that was Clyde's customer service. I'm really proud of the staff I put together and it's a small, tight knit one, and we work really hard. I keep the gear running. I keep the staff scheduled. I get them paid. I make sure that we-

Brian:     You're basically running the venue and the logistics with the bands and the staff from the time the band knows they're coming in, to the time that they're there and they do their show and then wrapping up at the end of the night, that's Danny.

Danny:  That's me.

Brian:     And the team.

Danny:  Unlike a lot of production managers I came from an audio background so I wanted to be hands on. I wanted to be running the show. If they didn't have an engineer, I wanted to be the engineer. I wanted to mix them so that meant that every day at a certain time I had to drop my office work and jump into the show, push their gear in, set it up, work with them to make the show as good as possible, and see them through all the way until they're pulling away from the dock at the end of the night.

Brian:     Now with 100 hours a week, so what's life like for you outside of The Hamilton?

Danny:  I sleep.

Brian:     Okay.

Danny:  I watch some television and I keep only snacks in the house. I get fed there twice a day and it's unbelievable food and it's delicious but it's also restaurant food that comes with all the fixings of a delicious and not necessarily nutritious diet. It's all over the map. I try to have different things just to keep me interested in the menu.

Brian:     Sure.

Danny:  I put on weight that first couple years and I couldn't find enough time in my 14 hours on my feet every day to want to go to the gym and work it off. It was a lot of work. I'd come home and just collapse. For a little while I was dating somebody and living with them and they'd be asleep when I got home. I'd try to get myself out of bed just to spend a few minutes with them before they'd leave in the morning. It was tough. It was very challenging.

Brian:     You're looking trim so have you figured out the gym thing?

Danny:  Trying to-

Brian:     The eating thing.

Danny:  Yeah it's just about managing your time and your diet and sticking to the healthy items on the menu and stuff like that.

Brian:     What about the funniest moment that comes to mind when you think about The Hamilton since you started there?

Danny:  Man, some of them have been just rolling around with my bosses who are great, great guys who love music, who take me to concerts, who hang with me. They really are buddies and they love. I get texts and calls at all hours of the day and night, being like hey man did you hear about this? This is so exciting. I really love those moments. I don't know funny maybe. I don't have time to stop and laugh at things because when I do stop I'm just sort of blown away by what I'm getting a chance to do.

                  I feel very, very privileged and we've had unbelievable artists through and we've unfortunately, not to go on a complete other direction, but in this year, this awful 2016 of losing artists, we've lost this year and last some great, great artists who came through my doors and played my stage and made me feel like I was the coolest guy in the world for getting to have them and interact with them. Leon Russel, Alan Toussaint, Michael Burks. There's some really, really great musicians who played the stage and came multiple times and are no longer with us and I cherish the experience.

Brian:     You've talked about these big names so then what about a biggest success moment that comes to mind?

Danny:  Biggest success moment in the last two months I feel truly privileged and I'm getting away from D.C. musicians here but in the last two months we've had private events and public events come through the room and surprisingly not have those artists carry a front of house engineer, meaning they were leaving it up to us to put whoever we thought best on the board. I've mixed Emmylou Harris, The English Beat, Hot Tuna which is Jorma and Jack from Jefferson Airplane. Those are D.C. cats. They grew up, born and raised here. This past week was Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. the couple that fronted The Fifth Dimension, sang Age of Aquarius and all those songs. Who's the last one? Dave Matthews, I should mention.

Brian:     Wow. Okay. Definitely a name that most of the folks listening definitely know. You've gotten to mix them and be the handler of their show.

Danny:  In fact with Dave, his guy came in, brought their own board, mixed Dave's guitar and vocal and then fed me his main outs into my board so I could mix it in with a band when Dave jammed with this large, five piece Cuban band that he had brought up. It was really, really cool.

Brian:     What a cool thing. Good god.

Danny:  Every day I feel very privileged to be the type of person who stops and steps back from the rush of a day and says, this is really cool. I hope that in 60 years I can remember doing this. This is really cool.

Brian:     With what you're doing, do you have any rules that you always break?

Danny:  Rules I always break? Well, I think there's not just one, but I always come at it from a production standpoint of the show must go on. Where a lot of people want to stand on their principles or on the rules that you've set out as a company, or as a venue, when that's getting in the way of doing good work or keeping an artist happy, I'm like forget it. Just get out of the way. I'll do it myself. Don't worry. I'm an advocate for the artists and I think that's often misunderstood as not caring about the people who I work with or my coworkers. That's not really it. I just-

Brian:     Is this like if the artist wants something, you give it to them?

Danny:  What ever it takes. If we don't have it in house, I'll send my guys out for it. I want the artist to leave with a smile on their face being like, already this is the nicest room with the nicest staff and the nicest gear and the nicest dinner, but they still went out of their way and do us a favor to make it happen for me and I'm going to tell everybody about it. Even the artists who don't draw very well and I'm not sure that we'll be able to have back, I worry I'll never see them again in my room, I treat them extra nicely. I'm like, whatever you guys want, let's do it.

Brian:     Make it an amazing experience. What about you as a musician? I know you also play tunes. Talk a little bit about that.

Danny:  As a musician, unfortunately the beginning of The Hamilton spelled the end of my playing career for the moment. Fridays and Saturdays are not my own, a hundred hours a week, all that stuff. You probably appreciate it as a drummer, I don't know how much franchise your band has let you buy into, but if you're a side man, which a lot of drummers and rhythm players are, you're just a hired gun. Once you're not available, they have to find somebody.

Brian:     You're a drummer and other instruments too? Drummer is your main?

Danny:  Drum is my main. Guitar and bass and piano and ukulele and a little bit of everything else, you know. I love picking up an instrument but I wouldn't call myself anything but a drummer and maybe a little bit of a guitar player.

Brian:     How far back does that go? Where did that start?

Danny:  I started playing piano when I was five, taking music lessons pretty shortly after my dad put some. I think one of your questions was about the first music I ever heard, or my earliest memory.

Brian:     First memory? Yeah tell us.

Danny:  Tie that in. My dad put a mix tape of doo-wop and 50's and that kind of stuff in front of me and when I wore that cassette tape out he gave me one of 60's and rock and roll. When I wore that out he gave me Please Please Me, the very first Beatles record that was released in the states. I used to go to the library at school and look it up in a book. This is for people who are old enough to remember, not using the internet, and I'd come home and I'd be like, "Dad. The next record they made was called The Hard Day's Night." He'd be like all right. He'd go to Circuit City on his way home from teaching at Montgomery College and pick it up and bring it home and by the time I was six I had every Beatles record. That's my musical bed.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Danny:  I think everybody deserves to have the Beatles as their foundation. I know there's a lot of argument of whether the Beatles are as significant as they claim to be, but I believe they are. I really think so.

Brian:     Now the last question that I love to ask is, if you have one piece of advice that you would offer.

Danny:  That I would offer to other people out there?

Brian:     However you want to answer it. That's good. What's one piece of advice that you would offer to the listeners?

Danny:  To the listeners, never close yourself off to new music. Don't think that you live in one genre or that your musical tastes are limited. Let other stuff in. Let it wash over you. Maybe you won't connect with it but like, the fact that lyrically and musically there is so much to be offered in the music scene in D.C. specifically and all over. What I love about D.C. is very few people I know move here to become a musician. You're either from here or you happened here after school or something, but the music scene is very supportive of each other and very inclusive. I played with a ton of artists in D.C. and everybody would show up at each other's gigs at the small clubs, at IOTA, which we're sitting just across the street from that I used to work at. That's where I met a lot of these artists for the first time and where a lot of them said, "Really? You're a drummer?" They hadn't even heard me but they had me out to rehearse and slowly we became friends and band mates.

Brian:     That's cool.

Danny:  It was great.