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Turtle Recall

1/23/18 - Special Guest: Turtle Recall

Thanks to Erin and Guido of Turtle Recall for hanging out with us in the studio this week!

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  1. The Motions, by FeelFree (Reggae, Alternative Rock)

  2. DC Tour Company, by Turtle Recall (Rock/Punk)

  3. Time Bomb, by Bells and Hunters (Rock, Blues Rock)

  4. Fort Worth Lady, by Human Country Jukebox (Country)

  5. Vision Hazy, by Matt Tarka (Rock)

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-


Are you a parent?  Have a young niece/nephew/cousin?  Did you know DC’s local music scene has kid-targeted family friendly music?  We caught Rocknoceros at The National Theatre in DC on Sat Jan 20.  Picture kids everywhere dancing, mom’s dancing with babies, and even a few dads showing their moves!  Everyone was smiling and laughing, it was hard to believe we were in the middle of dc with demonstrations and a government shutdown surrounding us within 2 blocks.  Songs we caught included: What Is Your Favorite Animal,  I Wish We Used The Metric System, Harry Elephante, and The United States Of America (they named all 50 states). We have a profile for these guys in our DC Artist Database so you can catch them around, they play regularly in the area.  We hope you’ll bring the kids and check them out

Our Instagram, @dcmusicrocks, started 6 months later than our facebook, but just surpassed 1000 followers and is about to overtake our facebook presence!  On instagram each week, we post pictures of the artists we share on the show and include interesting facts about them.  We also share concert shots of artists we’ve featured on the show when we’re at their shows.  We’ll keep the good content comin!  If you don’t follow us already, we hope you’ll come join the fun!  Thanks for making us a part of your instagram!



Jonny Grave - Fever

Ras Slick New Mini Documentary

Our ‘DC Artists Official Music Videos’ Youtube Playlist:


Check the calendar, linked below, for the full list!

Fri Jan 26
-Exnations, My French Roommate, Mystery Friends @ Rock N Roll Hotel on H St in NE
-Justin Trawick Album Release Show @ Pearl Street Warehouse in SW at the Wharf

Sat Jan 27
-Elikeh @ Gypsy Sally’s & Scott Thorn @ Gypsy Sally’s Vinyl Lounge in Georgetown

Sun Jan 28
-Venn @ DC9 Nightclub by U St

Tues Jan 30
-Tomato Dodgers @ DC9 Nightclub by U St


Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
--Daniel Warren Hill    --David Mohl    --Eli Lev

Turtle Recall


Turtle Recall's Bio:

turtle recall pic.jpg

Turtle Recall is pop/folk/rock that does mashups and medleys of Top 40, Rock, 90s, oldies, and country. No backing tracks here tho it’s 100% live music and we bring the energy and the party to every show. We have two albums of original music including our own happy birthday song so we never get stuck playing that dirge. Featuring vocal harmonies and electric fiddle atop punk-inspired rhythms is sure to bring the hype.

Housy (john currie’s house) has had so many parties it has it’s own Facebook page and our new drummer Clayton hosts an annual open jam front yard party called Farmaroo that is attended by so many musicians it’s like having a legit cover band playing all day. Farmaroo IX is in May 2018. We are playing Clarendon Grill on New Year’s Eve!


Turtle Recall pic.jpg
turtle recall pic.jpg


Brian:     So, on DC Music Rocks, we're shedding a spotlight on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. Turtle Recall is a pope ... A pope. It's a pope. No, it's definitely not a pope.

Erin:     Could be.

Guido:     A religious band.

Brian:     Wrong. It is a pop/folk/rock ...

Erin:     All the above.

Brian:     ... band that does mashups and medleys of top 40 rock, 90s, oldies, and country. There's no backing tracks. It's 100% live music, and they bring so much energy with every party that they do. They've got two albums of original music, including their own Happy Birthday song, which I want to hear one day. I haven't heard that one yet. They feature vocal harmonies, electric fiddle, atop punk-inspired rhythms, which bring some serious hype to every show. I've seen them live, I've seen them do this, and it's phenomenal.

Guido:     Oh, thanks.

Brian:     So, I've been a fan for a while, and it's freakin' awesome to actually have you guys here. Thanks for doing this.

Erin:     Thank you.

Guido:     Your show's cool.

Brian:     Thanks guys. So now, first, actually let me ... Tell me about the name. Where does Turtle Recall come from?

Guido:     I like turtles.

Erin:     Well, basically, yeah. We like turtles. I think we ... There's been an inside joke between all of us since high school. Most of us went to high school together, South Lakes High School, in fact.

Brian:     Nice, okay.

Erin:     Yeah. We were all in different areas of the art wing.

Guido:     You were, like, chorus.

Erin:     Chorus.

Guido:     I was the band kid.

Erin:     Yeah. Then, Matt was-

Guido:     Orchestra.

Erin:     ... orchestra, yeah. I was also in the fine arts. I did actual, you know, painting.

Guido:     John-Currie's your theater boy.

Erin:     Theater. He's the thespian.

Guido:     The theater.

Erin:     Yeah. So, we all knew each other in different ways, which was really fun.

Brian:     How many of the ... Now, there's six people. Introduce the names and instruments in the band.

Erin:     We have John-Currie-

Guido:     He plays the bass and sings.

Erin:     Yeah. And this was his New Year's resolution, to start this band. So, he gets a lot of credit.

Brian:     When was that? What year was that?

Erin:     I don't know, two-

Guido:     Would've been January 1st, 2009.

Brian:     Wow.

Erin:     But I was not in the band back then though.

Brian:     Got it.

Guido:     Yeah, we didn't pick up Matt and Erin until 2010. That's really when the band started.

Erin:     Yeah, he suckered me into it later.

Brian:     Oh, that's awesome. All right.

Erin:     Yeah, and then we have Guido who also does guitar and vocals. We have Matt who we call the talent. He's on fiddle, but he also does sound, he does lights, he created this crazy light board, and he can stomp on it and change the whole vibe of the show whenever he feels like it. And he also does harmonies, so you can tell why we call him talent.

Brian:     Get out of here. God, talent, yeah, seriously. Okay.

Erin:     We have Sam who does lead guitar.

Guido:     And trying to keep his eyes open.

Erin:     That's another, yeah, another one of his tasks.

Brian:     Okay, we'll stick with guitar then. All right, he's lead guitar, and then there's got to be drums.

Guido:     Clayton.

Erin:     Clayton.

Guido:     We kind of have a running Spinal Tap joke almost with the drummers in this band. We've easily clipped a baker's dozen, but we're really, really happy playing with Clayton right now. He's a great guy.

Brian:     That's awesome. So, Clayton's the current drummer. And then, of course, Erin on lead vocals, and harmonies, and all kinds of magical vocal things, right?

Erin:     Vocals, yep. I clap in one song, so I would like to be known for that.

Brian:     I've seen you with a tambourine. Some tambourine action.

Guido:     She plays a mean tambourine.

Erin:     I've been known to tamb-o.

Brian:     Nice. I love it. Now wait, where was that ... So, for folks who don't know that school that you mentioned, where is that?

Erin:     Reston, Virginia.

Brian:     So, you're all local Reston guys.

Erin:     Yeah.

Brian:     Wow, that's amazing.

Erin:     Yeah. Can never leave.

Brian:     Now, what is it that makes ... If people go see a Turtle show, what makes a Turtle Recall show special from maybe some of the other shows they could catch?

Guido:     I mean, I guess I'd have to go back to sort of what you mentioned in the intro. I really think the fact that we do everything live. It's just six people, we're ebbing and flowing tempo-wise as necessary for the feel, we can go to the next thing, and you can just do things that you can't do when you have piped-in music.

Erin:     We're also constantly rotating music. We mix up old school stuff, like a lot of classic rock, with the newer pop music. So, it kind of hits every crowd, I think, which is really fun.

Brian:     Nice. I mean, I've seen ... They have a medley they do, which I'm inspired-

Erin:     We have a couple medleys.

Brian:     Well, it's a medley, but it's also, like, 40, 50, 60 minutes, something straight where there's no stopping all the way though.

Erin:     Yeah.

Guido:     I think we're almost up to an hour now, and it probably covers about 30 songs.

Brian:     Holy smokes.

Guido:     So, I'm not trying to encroach on power hour territory here-

Erin:     We're close.

Guido:     ... but if you wanted to drink while we change songs, I wouldn't hold it against you.

Brian:     Please say that next time you do it. That's actually a really fun drinking game.

Erin:     I'm pretty sure Guido did encourage that at the last show.

Brian:     Yeah? Okay. That's amazing. I love that idea. All right, so now, you guys have a lot of fun, and you know each other. So, talk about funniest moment that comes to mind with Turtle.

Erin:     Funniest moment?

Guido:     Yeah, I think I got a good one for this one.

Brian:     Yeah?

Erin:     Go for it, go for it.

Guido:     I believe it was at Level X Lounge. I don't even know if it's called that anymore. That's up on U Street. So, they had a movie on. It was probably a Cinemax movie or something. That movie ended, and they were still projecting that channel on the wall. We were playing, I think it was Magic, you know, that B.o.B song with Rivers on the-

Erin:     (singing)

Brian:     Nice, okay.

Guido:     Well, let's just say, Cinemax turns to other forms of entertainment at that time of night.

Brian:     So, you were playing the soundtrack to a very interesting display on the screen? No way.

Guido:     Particularly, you know, not-

Erin:     Graphic.

Guido:     ... just not the right song for, you know.

Erin:     It definitely changed the vibe of the whole thing.

Guido:     But I didn't even know it was happening at the time. Our friend had a video of us, and he kind of just panned to the left to it.

Brian:     Oh man, that's amazing.

Guido:     I saw it the next day.

Brian:     Little did you know, you guys became a backing band for incredible cinema experience? That's awesome.

Erin:     Yeah, I've always wanted to be famous for something like that, so I feel like we checked it off the list, you know?

Brian:     That's awesome. What about you guys on a personal side? So, outside of this music thing, what do you guys do? Are you hobbies? What do you do outside of that?

Guido:     Can I be, like, super DC right now because this is what I do with all of my free time. This is what I do to have fun. What I do during the day is I work for the Department of Energy.

Erin:     Boo.

Guido:     So, we can be super DC and, "What do you do for a living?"

Brian:     Got it.

Erin:     I think I just fell asleep.

Brian:     Oh, okay. All right. So, there's Department of Energy during the day, and then there's all this music stuff. And speaking of all this music stuff, share the other bands because you're in some other bands now.

Erin:     I think there's seven now? Guido, are there seven?

Brian:     Seven? Stop it, Jesus.

Guido:     You know, I'm kind of getting a lot of flack for this, you know. I may be on the easy side.

Erin:     But we love him the most. So, let that be known.

Brian:     All right. We'll share him then. What do you got?

Guido:     But I'm really excited about a new project I'm starting with Casey, formerly of Tempercrush, called Boayt, B-O-A-Y-T. We don't really have anything up yet, but look out because we've got, like, a discord feel coming.

Brian:     Oh, nice.

Erin:     Look out.

Guido:     It's along the high-energy vibe-

Brian:     Got it.

Guido:     ... again.

Brian:     And then I know there's Bells and Hunters too. We're going to play one of those songs coming up, so you get to taste that.

Guido:     Bells and Hunters is, like, second band family. I mean, I just love everyone, and that band is such a good group of friends.

Brian:     That's awesome.

Erin:     I can vouch for them all too. They're all great.

Brian:     That's amazing. What about you, Erin?

Erin:     Oh, I don't do much. No, I have a pretty big family, so I try to prioritize them. They all live back in the area now. I have a couple of nieces.

Brian:     When you say "pretty big family" and "they all", how many people are we talking?

Erin:     I have four siblings, and a mom.

Brian:     Four siblings including you, or that means five kids altogether?

Erin:     No, five total.

Brian:     Wow, okay.

Erin:     We're all musical, so we all like to sing together.

Brian:     Oh, that's adorable.

Erin:     We've been singing together since we were little. But I try to hang out with them as much as I can. I also have a small business of my own doing marketing, and websites, and graphics, and stuff like that. So, it's an aside.

Brian:     Nice, yeah, I know man, it's like-

Erin:     I ride my bike, you know. I'm really cool, so I just want everyone to know.

Brian:     I was going to say, speaking of all this stuff you're sharing, you do sound pretty freakin' cool, I got to say.

Erin:     I'm super cool.

Brian:     I love it. And this marketing thing on the side, if people want to know about that, do you want to share that, or is that-

Erin:     Sure. I guess I've never advertised for it before, it's all been word of mouth, and it's just been really fun for me. I mean, you could go to if you want.


Erin:     I've never said that out loud before, but it's a thing.

Brian:     That's Erin, E-R-I-N, and Girardi is G-I-R-A-

Erin:     A-R-D-I.

Brian:     There it is.

Erin:     Dot com.

Brian: Check it out. Check her out.

Erin:     I'm impressed that you even got most of the way there.

Brian:     I feel cool now, thanks.

Erin:     You are very cool.

Brian:     I appreciate it. All right. Now, what about ... One of my favorite questions to ask on these interviews is, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be? From both of you guys.

Erin:     Oh, man. I know Guido has better advice than I do. Be nice to people. That's my advice.

Brian:     Be nice? Say more on that. Where does that come from?

Erin:     No, it's hard. Are you talking about being in a band? Is that what your advice-

Brian:     It's up to you. You can answer however you like.

Erin:     It's hard. Everyone knows being in a band is hard. Creative people are very emotionally attached to the things they're doing, so it's cool to get a bunch of impassioned people in the same room working on a project, but sometimes, hard conversations have to be had. So, going into it knowing to be open-minded, and listen, and be gentle when you're talking about someone else's art I think is important.

Brian:     God, so true. So true. I like it. All right, be nice. What do you got, Guido?

Guido:     I would ... Maybe preaching to the choir with this audience, but go out and see your friends' shows. Go see strangers' shows. It's always really fun, and it's really inspiring to see what other people are doing. We just had ... I didn't know you were going until I saw you there, but we just saw Juxt last Thursday at Union Stage-

Erin:     True, and they rule.

Guido:     ... and master class in stage performance.

Erin:     Yeah, they were awesome.

Brian:     Nice.

Erin:     There was some rolling around on the ground, I mean.

Brian:     Oh, excellent. Any time it goes all the way to the ground, you know that's just-

Erin:     There was a jumpsuit involved.

Guido:     And you know roXplosion caught it.

Brian:     Of course, there's going to be pictures.

Erin:     And those pictures were pretty awesome.

Brian:     And if you don't know who they're talking about, roXplosion is a photographer in the scene. He takes some of the best photos, and he actually was one of the first DC Music Rocks episodes. So, you can go back in the archives to one of the very first episodes-

Erin:     Aw, Alec.

Guido:     Number one.

Brian:     ... and catch an interview with him because he is an awesome dude.

Erin:     Such a winner.

Brian:     We love roXplosion. That is it. All right, now, last little bit here. If they want to find out more about Turtle Recall and follow what you're doing, and where do they find this information?


Brian:     Nice. And if you're on the social medias, what is it?

Erin:     We are Turtle Recall Music probably on all of them.

Brian:     All of them. Excellent.

Erin:     Yeah.

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

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



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


  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)

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-

Chris Naoum

Video - Bio - Photos - Links


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. 



Listen Local First



Funk Parade

Official Website:

Facebook: ttps://


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, 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, I think that's the website. Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival, you can Google that.

October 25, 2016 - Special Guest: Sean Gotkin

^^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




  1. The DMV Musician facebook group - one of the places to find the musicians and those interested in DC music:


  1. The Night Is Ours - Turtle Recall (Rock)
  2. Chasing Highs - Higher Education (Reggae/Punk)
  3. Big River - Oh He Dead (Indie/Indie Soul)
  4. Strawberry Moon - Sean Gotkin (Rock/Indie Rock)
  5. Scorched Earth - Crystal Youth (Rock)
  6. Busted Cars & Broken Fences - Annie Stokes (Indie/Folk)
  7. Looking For Water - Lauren Calve (Folk/Roots Rock)
  8. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Sean Gotkin DC Music Rocks

Sean Gotkin is a Washington D.C. based recording engineer, producer and live sound engineer. He works as FOH lead sound engineer at local, iconic nightclubs the Black Cat and Iota Club and Cafe. As owner and independent operator of Blue Hippo Recordings in Centreville, he has several recorded projects out so far this year, including local rock/R&B group Crystal Youth and singer/songwriter Annie Stokes. Currently he is working on an album with reggae bastions Nappy Riddem. In his live incarnation, Sean has worked with local, regional, and national touring acts, such as Old 97’s, Rogue Wave, Sean Hayes, Kelley Deal (R. Ring), The Peach Kings & Quiet Company. Sean continues to strive to be the best at what he does, his focus and passion constantly trained on the local music scene and the raw talent it has to offer the collective. 



Sean Gotkin DC Music Rocks


Brian:     The track is Strawberry Moon and that was the music of Sean Gotkin. Let me tell you, Sean Gotkin is a fixture in the Washington DC. music scene. He's a Washington DC. based recording engineer, a producer and a live sound engineer. He's lead sound engineer at local and iconic night clubs in DC, The Black Cat and Iota Club and Café. He's the owner and independent operator of Blue Hippo Recordings in Centreville. He has several recorded projects out so far this year including local Rock/R&B group Crystal Youth and singer/song writer Annie Stokes, which we'll hear from a little later. Currently he is working on an album with Reggae Bastians Nappy Riddem, who we've proudly featured on the show, an incredible group. As a musician Sean has also worked local regional and national touring acts such as, Old 97's, Rouge Wave, Sean Hayes, Kelly Deal, The Peach Kings and Quiet Company. Sean continues to strive to be the best at what he does, and his focus and passion are constantly trained on the local music scene. The DC. music scene and the raw talent that it has to offer.

Brian:     The first time I met Sean was running sound at Iota, and he did an incredible job. I've been out to his house, I've seen the amazing things he's done with the recording space, and music is this man's life. It is such an honor and with great pleasure that I introduce to you Sean Gotkin. Say Hi.

Sean:      How you doing man?

Brian:     It is such a treat to have you here man.

Sean:      Thanks for having me here.

Brian:     Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Sean:      I appreciate the invite man. Thank you.

Brian:     That was Strawberry Moon and that was the music. So tell us about Sean Gotkin and the music and tell us about the professional.

Sean:      With Strawberry Moon basically, it's part of an EP I've been currently working on for the past 3 or 4 months. I'll probably be done by early next year and released by the early spring time. This was kind of a fast track single because it was just one of those songs that kind of just came to me very quickly, and there wasn't any waiting around it just kind of flowed out, so I just wanted to get it done and get it out there as fast as possible.

Sean:      As far as professionally, I do music really only part time now because sound pretty much takes up the rest of my free time that I might have.

Brian:     Run us through a week then. If sound takes up most of the time, what does that mean?

Sean:      During the days I'm always in the studio working on something, whether I'm mixing an audio bar, live studio project or one of the bands I'm working with, or just trying to tinker with something or play with sound and see what I can get out of the room. The rest of the time usually 6 sometimes 7 nights a week I'm either at Iota or The Black Cat doing live sound.

Brian:     Wow, so 6 or 7 nights a week, and then during the day. My goodness. Did I see on, I believe I saw on Facebook or something that there's a little one on the way too?

Sean:      There's a little baby girl coming in about 2 to 3 weeks. Cassidy Rose, very excited.

Brian:     Congratulations, that's really exciting.

Sean:      Thank you very much. Appreciate that.

Brian:     A new one on the way which means that your time is just going to get even more precious it sounds like.

Sean:      Even more precious, yes.

Brian:     What about you personally? So we got the sound guy, we've got the musician, now we're finding out that your going to be a papa bear. Tell us about ...

Sean:      For the second time.

Brian:     Already a papa bear, gonna add another one to that, which is no small feat. Tell us more, when your not doing those things what else are you doing?

Sean:      Usually hanging out with my kid Fynn, he's a little 5 year old boy, and he's one of the greatest things in my life, and I just love spending time with him, and talking with him. He's really big into music, I think he's going to be a drummer himself one day. We go down and play in the studio or he has his little toy corvette he loves driving down the street, we take that out.

Sean:      Also, I'm going out scoping out bands I love to go to shows and see new talent, see what's going on, keep my finger on the tab of what's happening here in the scene.

Brian:     You're at Iota and your at The Black Cat all the time, so when your going to shows are you going other places too?

Sean:      I am.

Brian:     Where have you found, is there a hidden gem that you found among the travels at all that you've ...?

Sean:      There's always the hidden gems. I definitely have my favorites out of those hidden gems, but I try to get around to the whole area as far as the bigger venues and the smaller venues, kind of see what's happening in both.

Brian:     Got it. Tell me one thing you love about the DC music scene?

Sean:      DC music scene, what isn't there to love about it? It's pretty amazing it really ...

Brian:     I said one thing.

Sean:      That's the problem it's so hard to narrow it down. I've been engrossed in this scene for a very long time and I grew up in an age where the DC. scene was really blowing up in the late 80's early 90's. Fugazi had made there mark on DC., GoGo had come out of here. I remember that explosion, and then it dried up for a long time. Now the well is just pouring out again with all these amazing artists.

Brian:     Every week on the show there's just so many more, it's so exciting to see them all coming out. Tell us about your, either a best show or a success moment that you have? You said you've been in the business for a long time, so talk about a big success. What comes to mind?

Sean:      A big success, probably one of my favorite shows, probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and it came out as close to perfect as possible, was a show that local drummer Ben Tufts put together back in the spring. Itwas an almost tribute show. They were doing two albums back to back and it was 50 interchangeable musicians.

Brian:     50, like 5-0, 50.

Sean:      50, and on top of that a packed sold out room. It was interesting, trying to manage that and get everyone sounding as best as possible and trying to get as faithfully sounding to the records as possible. It was a blast. It flew, flew by.

Brian:     I bet stuff happens really quickly in that kind of scenario, just constantly. That's amazing. Beatles tribute show, amazing one. Tell us about a time that you tried and failed?

Sean:      I've had a few of those moments and through those moments I've found ways to push through and find success. When I first started off I was really hungry, and I was kind of concerned with the amount of people that where in my field and whether I was going to break through. Especially since I started in my mid 30's. I made the mistake that a lot of engineers make at first which taking on way too much at first. Cause you think you can handle it all. Then you kind of realize after awhile, well I'm just a human being and I only have so many hours in the day, it's more important to focus on several bands or one band at a time than it is 5 or 6 bands at a time, and try to manage that with a live career at night.

Brian:     I take it you mean, when you say taking on too much, that means you had 5 or 6 bands that you were trying to record as well as the sound gigs at night.

Sean:      It was a lot. I thought for the longest time, Hey, this is no problem, I got this, and then your just like, okay, I'm kind of letting people down, I'm letting myself down so I need to reevaluate.

Brian:     At what point did you realize this isn't good, this isn't it?

Sean:      It was pretty much the moment that I was brought into the The Black Cat, which was early spring last year and I new that that was going to take up a lot of my time. I kind of quickly reevaluated my situation and ... It's all learning experiences, especially something like this. There's no rule books and you kinda of halve to make it up as you go.

Brian:     Make your way. See how it goes.

Sean:      That's it

Brian:     A lot of tries and fails and experiments and learning it sounds like. You said in there, you mentioned that this was, you started in your 30's. What were you doing before?

Sean:      I've always been into music and sound. My first job doing sound was at The Old Bayou in Georgetown when I was 20 years old. My first night there was Anthrax, Motorhead, and The Deftones playing.

Brian:     That sounds like a night.

Sean:      It was. That's where I got my start and I kind of did it off and on, but then I started doing carpentry for a long time and I owned my own carpentry business. I really just wanted to learn how to build my own house one day or build my own recording studio. After the market collapse I reevaluated that situation and I went back to school to learn Pro tools professionally and that's where I'm at now.

Brian:     That was your late 20's or early 30's?

Sean:      When I owned my construction company it was my mid 20's through my mid 30's and I started picking this up around 30, 35, around when my son was born.

Brian:     Most people are slowing down when there son is born. Look at you go. What do you have in your music collection that might surprise us?

Sean:      That's a great question. I like movie scores, believe it or not.

Brian:     Movie scores, so like tell us a top movie score?

Sean:      For right now I've been listening to a lot of John Byron he was also a masterful producer. He's done Fiona Apple, Kanye West album and Amy Mann. He's done The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack. The things he does is unbelievable with the string sections and the back drops and texture and color that he uses, it's mind blowing.

Brian:     It is incredible, and it's a way to hear, people compose. The music comes after the show not before. They don't design the movies around the music. Music is designed around the movies, so it's amazing to see that creative element too. Do you have any rules, as a sound guy or whatever? Are there any rules that you have? There's some musicians that listen and there's some local music fans too. Any rules as a sound guy?

Sean:      Yeah. Supposing that you have a competent sound guy, which there's a lot if us out there. Try to take our advice about the room that we're working in, that's always an important thing. If we ask you to turn your guitar amp down on stage, if your a musician try not to think about that so much as, hey, we're trying to tell you to turn your guitar amp down, we're trying to control the sound as a whole and trying to get everything for the house. So just as an example.

Brian:     I want to go on record and say that I love that you used guitarists as an example. I'm thinking of a few guitarists of the top of my head who love those loud guitars. Sound men appreciate it when you turn it down, that's ... What other rules?

Sean:      Basically, try to come into the venue and not have any preconceived notions we've all as musicians had experiences with bad sound guys. And we know what's that like or less than favorable venues or sound systems. As an artist you have to go into a venue and make the best of the given situation. If your getting something less than desirable, push through and do the best that you can do. If your working in a good room with a good engineer, work with that engineer. Make sure that your, there's a give and take in the conversation there ... Because it's basically as an artist, it's your night. It's all about you and sounding engineer is just there to assist you.

Brian:     The favorite question I always love to ask is, what's one piece of advice that you have to offer?

Sean:      Work hard.

Brian:     Say more.

Sean:      The reason I've gotten where I've gotten, in kind of a short amount of time, is just because I'm out there and I'm doing it. Really is like you said, it's my life and I make it my life, because that's the only way to really be visible and to make a difference on the scene is to be out there, be doing it, work really really hard. Develop a reputation whether your a sound guy, and artist, whatever you may be. Try to be the best of that and if your really good people will start noticing.

Brian:     As evidence of the amazing career that you've had from your mid 30's on. your making tracks. That's amazing. Tell folks if we want to find out more about you and follow you, where do we go?

Sean:      You can go to, or there's a Facebook page for Blue Hippo Recordings that you can look up or search, or you can find me on Audio Bar on Facebook, which is a podcast that's run out of my studio.