Archive for February, 2011

ULTRAs DESIGNER DRUGS Tour

Monday, February 21st, 2011

NEW YORK CITY’S
DESIGNER DRUGS
RELEASE “THROUGH THE PRISM” REMIXES BY DADA LIFE, TOM DELUXX
AND PLS DNT STP
DROP THE LIME REMIX AVAILABLE AS A FREE DOWNLOAD

DEBUT ALBUM
‘HARDCORE/SOFTCORE’ OUT FEBRUARY 22 ON ULTRA MUSIC

MAJOR NORTH AMERICAN TOUR INCLUDING APPEARANCES AT SXSW,
ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL AND MORE CONFIRMED FOR THIS SPRING

New York City production/DJ duo DESIGNER DRUGS has officially released a stellar batch of remixes for current single “Through The Prism” via Ultra Music featuring reworked versions of the track from  Swedish electro house duo Dada Life, Brooklyn producer and Trouble and Bass label head Drop The Lime, Philadelphia production team PLS DNT STP and French producer Tom Deluxx. The Drop The Lime version is available as a free download via http://soundcloud.com/ultrarecords/designerdrugs-throughtheprism-dropthelimeremix with the other songs available digitally for purchase through all online outlets.

“Through the Prism” is the first single off DESIGNER DRUGS’ hotly anticipated studio debut album HARDCORE/SOFTCORE set for release February 22 (Ultra Music).  With its visually psychedelic video (http://www.youtube.com/user/UltraRecords?feature=mhum#p/a/u/2/uFf_XL5jQYM) that features DESIGNER DRUGSMichael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Paul Nelson along with the “triple swagger” of vocalist Brooklyn rapper Cerebral Vortex, the original version of “Through The Prism” is a quintessential new electro gem with the Chemical Jump blog calling it “…definitely one of their best originals” (10/27/10).

Currently on a North American tour in support of HARDCORE/SOFTCORE, DESIGNER DRUGS have confirmed several upcoming performances this spring which will include their debut at this year’s SXSW conference in Austin—where they will perform Thursday, March 17 at The Phoenix as part of the Ultra Music Showcase—and Ultra Music Festival in Miami, both held in March.  The tour will take DESIGNER DRUGS across the U.S., including performances in San Diego and Los Angeles, as well as Chicago, Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Richmond.  The trek will also take them across the border into Canada for dates in Kingston and Montreal.

Widely known across the electronic/dance realm for their wild remixes, which have included nearly 50 reworked tracks for Mariah Carey, Annie, Thieves Like Us, Little Boots, Fischerspooner and more, DESIGNER DRUGS conjures up a darker, edgier vibe—think the throbbing, industrial-heavy opening club scene in The Doom Generation—yet still retains a melodic center on many of the tracks on HARDCORE/SOFTCORE.  The grinding, pounding beat of club bangers “Face Melter” and “The Terror” provide contrast to the pop vocals of Norwegian singer Annie on “Crazy For You” and fist-pumping up-tempo anthem “Into The Light.” Elsewhere, the classic electro-funk of “Leather Gang” sits comfortably against the Italo-shoegaze of “For All We Know.” The video for the album’s next single—the punishing electro-industrial punk track—“Dead Meat” will make its debut on March 22 via Prefix.com.

While it does mark their debut album, HARDCORE/SOFTCORE functions as much as a culmination of a decade’s work as it does the next stage in a bourgeoning career. As the electro scene started to flourish in the early 2000s, Patrick and Nelson built a studio in Philadelphia and christened themselves DESIGNER DRUGS, balancing an in-demand DJing schedule with near-constant demand for track remixes.  Now with Nelson currently in medical school on his way to become a bona fide doctor and Patrick recently relocated to NYC’s Lower East Side, the duo has still found a way to keep up their busy musical careers.

The current tour dates for DESIGNER DRUGS are as follows:

DATE CITY VENUE
Wed 2/23 San Diego, CA Voyeur
Fri 2/25 Los Angeles, CA Avalon
Sat 2/26 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
Thu 3/3 Cambridge, MA Middle East Downstairs
Fri 3/4 New York, NY Webster Hall
Sat 3/5 Madison, WI Majestic Theater
Wed 3/9 Kingston, ON Stages Nightclub
Thu 3/10 Richmond, VA The Hat Factory
Fri 3/11 San Francisco, CA DNA Lounge
Sat 3/12 Montreal, QC SAT
Sun 3/13 Baltimore, MD Bourbon Street
Tue 3/15 Lake Havasu, AZ SWAT Spring Break 2011 Nautical
Thu 3/17 Austin, TX SXSW @ Ultra Music Showcase at The Phoenix
Thu 3/24 Englewood, CO Gothic Theatre
Fri 3/25 Miami, FL Ultra Music Festival @ Bicentennial Park

www.designer-drugs.net
www.myspace.com/designerdrugsclubmusic
www.facebook.com/designerdrugs
www.twitter.com/designerdrugs


www.ultrarecords.com

Wolfgang Gartner North American Tour

Monday, February 21st, 2011

WOLFGANG GARTNER
LAUNCHES NORTH AMERICAN SPRING TOUR

INCLUDING APPEARANCES AT SXSW AND ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL

As he prepares to release his highly anticipated debut studio album later this spring on Ultra Music, Grammy®-nominated electronic music producer and DJ WOLFGANG GARTNER has announced details for an extensive North American tour.  It will launch with a high-profile performance at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, FL, Sunday, March 27, where WOLFGANG returns to the event’s main stage for what’s guaranteed to be one of the most eagerly awaited sets.   The remainder of the tour will take WOLFGANG across the U.S., with performances in Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago and several other major U.S. cities; it will also include numerous Canadian shows in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and more. Prior to the tour, WOLFGANG will perform at this year’s SXSW conference Thursday, March 17 at The Phoenix in Austin as part of the Ultra Music Showcase.

One of the world’s fastest rising stars in dance music, WOLFGANG was recently nominated for a Grammy® Award in this year’s ceremony in the “Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical” category for his reworked version of house music producer Andy Caldwell’s “Funk Nasty” featuring Gram’ma Funk (Uno Recordings), marking GARTNER’s first-ever Grammy nomination. He celebrated the nomination with a sold-out show in Los Angeles’ exclusive Roxbury nightclub last weekend, where he performed tunes from his forthcoming album to hundreds of wildly enthusiastic fans. Check out live photo coverage on URB.COM here: http://www.urb.com/photos/album/72157625928457639/.

In other recent news, GARTNER has teamed with will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame on a brand new single for the album. Titled “Forever,” the song is currently in treatment for a video that will serve as WOLFGANG’s visual follow-up to his current single “Illmerica.” Directed by Ryan McNamara (A Gentle Man, Stuntditch), the “Illmerica” video captures our country’s torrid 300-year history in clip art style animation, from the American Revolution, the Underground Railroad, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Hiroshima and the Gulf War. View the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_rQ6Av0gMY.

In addition, GARTNER has received two nominations in the 26th Annual International Dance Music Awards (IDMA)—happening March 8-11, 2011, in Miami, FL, as part of the Winter Music Conference—including “Best Electro/Tech House Track” for “Animal Rights,” his collaboration with Ultra Music label mate deadmau5, and “Best Break-Through DJ.” Voting ends Friday, February 18th, 2011. View the ballot link here:  http://www.wintermusicconference.com/idmaballot/finalballot/.


WOLFGANG GARTNER
’s spring North American tour dates are as follows:

DATE CITY VENUE
Thu 3/17 Austin, TX SXSW @ Ultra Music Showcase at The Phoenix
Sun 3/27 Miami, FL Ultra Music Festival @ Bicentennial Park
Thu 3/31 San Diego, CA House of Blues
Fri 4/1 Los Angeles, CA Avalon
Sat 4/2 Phoenix, AZ Marquee Theatre
Sun 4/3 Tuscon, AZ Rialto Theater
Tue 4/5 San Luis Obispo, CA The Graduate
Thu 4/7 San Francisco, CA Ruby Skye
Fri 4/8 Seattle, WA King Kat Theatre
Sat 4/9 Vancouver, BC Commodore
Sun 4/10 Victoria, BC Sugar
Thu 4/14 Winnipeg, MB Republic
Fri 4/15 Minneapolis, MN Karma
Sat 4/16 Chicago, IL The Mid
Tue 4/19 Ann Arbor, MI Necto
Wed 4/20 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theatre
Thu 4/21 Toronto, ON Ricoh Coliseum
Fri 4/22 Buffalo, NY Pure
Sat 4/23 Montreal, QC Club Soda
Sun 4/24 Quebec City, QC Mega Complex Opera
Mon 4/25 Boston, MA Middle East
Wed 4/27 Baltimore, MD Bourbon St
Thu 4/28 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Fri 4/29 Philadelphia, PA Starlight Room
Sat 4/30 Washington DC Glow @ Fur
Mon 5/2 Richmond, VA Canal Club
Wed 5/4 Nashville, TN Limelight
Thu 5/5 Knoxville, TN Valarium
Fri 5/6 Atlanta, GA Quad
Sat 5/7 New Orleans, LA CAC Warehouse
Sun 5/8 San Antonio, TX Bar Rio
Wed 5/11 St Louis, MO Club Europe
Thu 5/12 Kansas City, MO Conspiracy Room
Fri 5/13 Denver, CO Ogden Theater
Sat 5/14 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex

For more information, please visit:

www.wolfganggartner.com
www.myspace.com/djwolfganggartner

GigsWiz da Golden Ticket

Monday, February 14th, 2011

GigsWiz da Golden Ticket

Contributing Writer : Rashon A. Massey

This past December 2010, I had the opportunity to Skype with Kevin Hartz, CEO and co-founder of Eventbrite, a new, rapidly growing ticketing service [http://therfw.com/#/2010/12/the-wiz-how-kevin-hartz-builds-success/ ].  The video chat came on the heels of our meeting at a Las Vegas conference that not only showcased Eventrbrite, but several other emerging ticketing solutions offering 3rd party assistance to live music promotion and events.

That said, I thought I had witnessed just about every surfacing technology in the ticketing field.  There were booths from Ticket Derby, IN-TICKETING, Ticket Fly, Brown Paper Tickets…I mean…a plethora of options; however, with the New Music Seminar coming up and taking place February 14 – 16 at the Universal Sheraton in Los Angeles, I learned yet another ticketing company would be putting their stub into the collection.

Thus we have GigsWiz.

In conjunction with our coverage of the New Music Seminar, I took time to have a Skype chat with co-founder Joonas Pekkanen at 9 a.m. EST (lucky for him, it was 4:00 p.m. in Finland).  Joonas is a collegiate graduate with a Finance major, but became disillusioned with that scene relatively soon after completing his coursework.  He has dabbled in startups for the last five years, and just over a year ago, started working on the concept for GigsWiz in the spring before last summer.  Joonas, Juuso Vermasheinä and a tight-knit team who developed the company, all come from a social media and tech perspective and found people in the music business to aid in their understanding of how to better the flawed ticketing system by which the music industry is currently utilizing.

Here is my conversation with Joonas Pekkanen:

Where did GigsWiz come from?

We got an initial pre-seed investment which allowed us to quit our jobs and start working on the business idea early on.  The idea came from marketing and how until now there has been no real innovations in how to effectively use social media to promote live gigs, and then we decided to position ourselves as the first and only artist friendly ticketing service.  All of them out there have been on the side of promoters and venues, but to be able to effectively use social media between artists and fans, you have to be working with the artists.  That is where we saw opportunity.

Can you explain more about this chasm between ticketing services and artists?

Promoters and event organizers are having a hard time reaching the fans.  They have little tools to reach audiences – outdoor ads, radio or tv commercials, and still struggling to reach audiences through social media.  Early last summer, we [developing team for GigsWiz] made a quick tool/widget for musicians to start collecting requests from fans of where they should be playing live, simultaneously focusing a business plan towards something more artists friendly.  That took about a week or two.

Promoters can use us for ticket entry management, then GigsWiz eliminates, as much as possible, the work promoters have to do.  The service allows them to post to different gig sites, while also giving tools to the artists those promoters work with.

So you are launching GigsWiz in America at the New Music Seminar in L.A. on February 14, correct?

Yes.  We’re launching publicly in the States at NMS, and two weeks ago we launched in Europe.  Everyone seems to be excited about the concept.  It is something that builds value for the promoter and the artists.  We’re co-sponsoring the seminar and really hoping to reach the independent promoters and musicians.

I was just at a conference that featured several ticketing solutions aiming to stake claim in the music industry.  From Brown Paper Tickets to Ticket Derby.  I was able to chat with Kevin Hartz, co-founder of Eventbrite, a steadily rising service becoming wildly popular.  How will GigsWiz position itself as a service different and unique from the others?

Our initial position is for the medium and independent artist’s category.  Obviously Ticketmaster and the big ticketing companies have a strong situation with big venues, owning a lot of those venues, and that is obviously not something we are trying to enter right away.  Festival promoters are one of the positioning segments we are interested in.  A festival with 20 bands, each with 5,000 Facebook followers, well, that is already a direct reach to push the festival itself.  At the same time, we are working with medium sized promoters.

Eventbrite is doing a great job, and they are the only ones doing a good job on the social media side.  They are also doing a great job monetizing ticketing.  It is really easy to set it up and not a real heavy investment.  It’s the data, marketing tools, and the artists being the most important parties according to our philosophy, and we realize them [artists] and management really they need the data most ticketing companies don’t share or offer.

In terms of where we want to be, we want to be a global company in the next few years, getting a sizeable market share in the live music markets.

As a man of technology, are you already thinking about the next ‘thing’?  What will come after GigsWiz becomes a global brand?

We’re so new that right now I think I am just trying to do this to the best of my ability.  There is so much that can be done to really start leveraging social media for ticketing, artists and promoters and I want to make sure GigsWiz is offering the best before I move on.

Thanks for the chat!  Can’t wait to catch up with your colleagues at NewMusic Seminar!

Same to you.  Cheers!

Tom Silverman Interview

Monday, February 7th, 2011

TOM SILVERMAN INTERVIEW

Contributing Writer : Rashon A. Massey

Since TheRFW began, I have had the esteemed pleasure of being able to communicate, learn and grow from many of the key players from both the music and technology industries.

One crucial turning point in the structuring and building of TheRFW came when I attended the 2009 New Music Seminar in New York City, NY.  Co-founded by Tom Siverman, the New Music Seminar became the breeding ground and breaking point for bands and brands such as Nirvana, Dave Matthews Band, SXSW, CMJ and many more.  From 1982 – 1994, the New Music Seminar grew to become the largest intensive music conference in the world, and this all happened simultaneously as a little known community named hip-hop exploded and took over the world.  This is greatly attributed to both the seminar and Silverman’s Tommy Boy Records playing an active roll in discovering and launching the careers of Queen Latifah, Afrika Bambaataa, Naughty by Nature and several other well-known music influencers of today.

“So many great artists are out there that aren’t getting through for some reason.  I was […and been] racking my brain, why aren’t they getting through?  Is it because people are overwhelmed with choices? Has music become too active and not passive?  There isn’t a broadcast medium like radio driving traffic anymore,” spoke Silverman in an afternoon phone chat.  “So that’s what we [New Music Seminar] work on is to try to help artists break through and give tools to help that.”

The seminar took a hiatus from 1995 to 2009 simply because Silverman felt as if the gathering was becoming redundant.  The music industry had reached a leveling point, and there was not much of a reason to continue without being able to change the conversation that was occurring between industry experts and attendees.  Then, at the change of the century, the global community saw the rise of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing services such as Napster, Kazaa and LimeWire, and in the couple years following, we witnessed a decade that would usher in social networking.  With such tools surfacing, by the end of the 2000s, an undeniable impact and conversation needed to take place in music.

Today, iTunes has surpassed WalMart as the highest selling distributor of recorded music, and people are still blaming the fall of record labels on illegal downloading.

“Single sells out sold album sales 3.6 to 1 last year.  In the digital world, digital tracks are out selling album sales 15 to 1.  15 tracks that sell for every album that sales,” shared Silverman.  “The single business is a huge business that artists need to look at.  They need to find a way to break a single, a song that defines them and then try to cut an album.”

“If you can have a comfortable life supporting yourself playing your music, how great is that?  You may not be making 100k a year, but you are doing what you want, and that should be enough,” Silverman goes on to share, and that is the foundation of the modern New Music Seminar.

Taking place in Los Angeles from February 14 – 16, the New Music Seminar returns in 2011 stronger than before.  With five movements, intensive workshops, panel discussions, three artist showcases and a plethora of who’s-who of the music industry, this is the place to be whether you are a new artist or established act looking to take their career to the next level, utilizing tools by yourself without the backing of a record label.

“The New NMS has adapted the symphonic model to get across concepts, borrowing from the Ted Conference to teach intensive lectures.  We’ve added a songwriter workshop with Tom Jackson who will select a band, work with them and improve their show.  We’re doing the Artist On The Verge.  These are artists with a fan base with momentum and have some velocity, so they qualify to make a Top 3 to win 50k and all kinds of industry prizes.,” Silverman went on to exclaim with excitement about the 2011 L.A. conference.

“Now is a better time than any to be a musician, and personally, I am always looking for what’s the next thing?  How do we get there?  I get bored with stuff easily, and I get satisfaction in seeing stuff someone else might miss and showing people such as hip-hop or pioneering the new music seminar.  Seeing hundreds of the people come through the seminar and grow to be the leaders of the music business for the next twenty years gives me great joy.”

For more information on the New Music Seminar, visit NewMusicSeminar.biz

February 3, 2011 – New York, NY – New Music Seminar (NMS) announces the exclusive “After Grammy Jammy”, NMS Opening Night Party at The Music Box in Los Angeles, CA on Monday, February 14, 2011, the night following the 53rd annual Grammy Awards.

NMS Opening Night Rock ‘n’ Roll red carpet celebration will kick off with a cocktail reception from 6:00-8:00pm featuring MTV America’s Best Dance Crew DJ, DJ MIA from 7:00-8:00pm. The night will feature all-star performances by Sean Garrett, The Little Death, Blaqstarr, Of Verona, Jessie and The Toy Boys and Ben Hunter from 8:00pm-midnight.

Producer, songwriter, and rapper, Sean Garrett has 17 #1 hits and has worked with today’s biggest stars including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Usher, Fergie, Ciara, Enrique Iglesias, Mario, Ludacris and recently announced he is working on Justin Bieber’s next album. Focusing on his own music, Garrett has recently release his single, “Feel Love” featuring J. Cole on Columbia Records.

Rock/soul/blues band, The Little Death, features Laura Dawn (lead vocals), Moby (bass, guitar), Daron Murphy (guitar, bass, & harmonica) and Aaron A. Brooks (drums.) The band recently released their self-titled debut album to rave reviews from critics: “…incomparably soulful debut album…The Little Death’s sound is unmistakably inspired by classic blues. Voluptuous melodies and evocative lyrics are laced with a robust rock-and-roll edge.” And “One of New York’s best-kept sultry secrets….top notch players and volcanic generosity…singer Laura Dawn’s staging and rocket-fuel is punk…and her powerhouse voice channels blues and gospel…she’s a riveting performer, her own blend of Tina Turner and Janis Joplin…”

Hip-hop artist and DJ Blaqstarr has worked with M.I.A., Diplo’s Made Decent family, and fellow Baltimore MC, Rye Rye whom he discovered. Blaqstarr is releasing Divine EP, his first release for Neet Records, M.I.A.’s label through Interscope.

Los Angeles based Of Verona have been named MSN Music & Clear Channel Online “One To Watch” Artists and Yahoo! Music has names them one of their “Who’s Next” Artists. The four-piece rock-pop-electronic band has garnered positive buzz for their live performances.

Dance/electronica sensation, Jessie and The Toy Boys, who’s recently release single, “Push It” — produced by Jimmy Harry (RuPaul‘s “Supermodel) and No Doubt‘s Tony Kanal is garnering favorable comparisons to Gwen Stefani and Kylie Minogue, among others.

New Orleans singer-songwriter, Ben Hunter, combines elements of jazz, folk, rock, Mardi Gras Indian chants and Caribbean rhythms to create a unique and unforgettable sound. Hunter is gearing up for the release of his new album, “Delta Dub,” recorded at the famed Jack Ruby studios in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

DJ MIA has worked with the Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.de.Ap, whose Jeepney Music release DJ MIA’s first mix tape, as well as appeared in videos for Eminem, Nelly, Blink 182, System of a Down, Hoobastank, Black Eyed Peas and JC Chasez. She was also a featured DJ on MTV’s Celebrity Rap Superstar and Nick Cannon’s MTV Wild’n Out.

The world’s first DJ/Guitarist/Producer Dan Morrell, has opened for acts such as Kanye West, Diddy, Justin Timberlake, Black Eyed Peas, LMFAO, Kelly Clarkson, Akon, T-Pain, Akon, Rhianna, Shakira, Run DMC, Sean Paul, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, and Missy Elliott, and more. Dan Morrell will close the night out with a set starting at midnight.

Indie 103.1 on-air personalities, Wayne Jobson, Liz Warner and Tedd Roman will be the MCs throughout the evening.

For the full line-up and schedule go to www.newmusicseminar.com

The Music Box is located at 6126 Hollywood Blvd Hollywood, CA.

Registration for the New Music Seminar will be open from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. **You must be registered to attend the NMS Conference for entrance to the NMS Opening Night Party.

NMS Conference Tickets are currently on sale for $295 and available at www.newmusicseminar.com.

See Final Schedule & Speakers here: http://www.newmusicseminar.com/blog/event-details/schedule/

About the New Music Seminar

From the co-founder and director of the original legendary New Music Seminar comes a conference with a mission; to create a just, sustainable and profitable music business and to help artists break through the growing glut of artists and releases to success. Artists have never had so much power to control their own careers and build their success. This affordable event gives music business executives, technologists, and artists the knowledge, tools and connections to step into the tomorrow’s music business today.

The two-day, three-night conference includes a symphony of five “movements” (focused discussions) over the course of two days, eighteen18-minute Intensives (presentations) from key industry leaders, 25 mentoring sessions, 3 nights of music showcases, High-Level Industry Summit Meetings as well as the NMS creative workshops focused on Live Performances, Vocal Performances, Producing and Songwriting, with ongoing networking opportunities throughout.

The New Music Seminar is the must-attend conference for the emerging new music industry.  The Seminar will address both the artists’ dilemma of breaking out from the ever-growing glut of music releases and the development of a new business model for a sustainable music business.

YOU GOT TO BE THERE… JOIN THE REVOLUTION!

Long Way To Climb | Interview with The Bridge

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Long Way To Climb – The Bridge

Contributing Writer – Garret K. Woodward

www.TheBridgeMusic.com

Few and far between one crosses paths with an album that immediately provokes an honest reflection and blissful sentiment.

These are records the listener cannot run fast enough to share with the nearest human being, manically shouting and waving their hands into a frenzy, begging the anonymous stranger to take a glimpse at what splendor their ears can become easily acquainted with.

It is these exact symptoms that occur while perusing National Bohemian, the latest from The Bridge- a rock n’ roll entity quickly becoming a sought-after institution.

Molding southern rock, honky-tonk blues, freewheelin’ jazz, and moonshine bluegrass into a fortress of melodic potency, the sextet only seems to get stronger with each trip into the studio and subsequent trek across the country.

While Cris Jacobs (guitar) and Dave Markowitz (bass) split vocal duties throughout, it is also the solid foundation of Kenny Liner (mandolin/beatbox), Patrick Rainey (saxophone), Mike Gambone (drums), and Mark Brown (keyboard) that justifies the stop-you-in-your-tracks presence of a band thirsty for the industry respect they rightfully will garner as this year unfolds.

Garret K. Woodward: What is The Bridge?

Cris Jacobs: The Bridge is a little band from Baltimore, Maryland.

GKW: How would you describe the sound? Who are the influences?

CJ: I’d say rock and roll with a heavy dose of soul and Americana music. Kenny and I originally found our common musical ground with American roots music, bluegrass and folk stuff like Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Norman Blake, and Hank Williams. We also share a love for classic rock bands like the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, and Little Feat. Personally, I love soul music and blues, people like Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Bobby Bland, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddie King. But when we put it all together, we just like to write soulful songs and rock out.

GKW: What was the approach towards this record, compared to your last release?

CJ: The main approach we took was to record the band playing live as much as possible. In the past we’ve basically worked without time constraints and produced ourselves. We used to think that recording piecemeal style, one guy at a time, was the best way to capture performances because we had complete control and analysis. On the contrary, it actually just led to us overanalyzing and scrutinizing and not considering the synergy of the band as being the most crucial element.

This time around, we had only 10 days to record the whole album, which actually helped, because there was a sense of urgency throughout the process that really elevated everyone and brought out some intense and soulful energy in the performances. We didn’t have time to be perfectionists. Instead, we just had to dig in and take care of business and I believe the end result is much more real and natural sounding. It sounds like a band playing together rather than a bunch of pieces carefully placed together.

This record was also the first time we brought in an outside producer. We worked with Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and really followed his vision for the entire process. Kenny and I sent him a bunch of rough demos of new material we were working on, of which he chose the songs he wanted to include on the record. After that, we had several rounds of discussions with Steve on arrangements and what needed to be developed more. He really challenged us in that way. We had never really had anyone critique or change our songs before. Certain ideas seemed strange or uncomfortable at first even, but in the end all made sense and really brought out the best in the songs. So, from the time we started putting the first ideas together, through the entire recording process, this was a completely different experience for us.

GKW: Who else worked on the project with you? Where was it recorded?

CJ: Pre-production was done at The Bunker Studio in Cockeysville, Maryland with our longtime friend and original sax player Chris Bentley, who has engineered and played on our last three records. We recorded the actual record at Jackpot! Studios in Portland, Oregon with Jeff Stuart Saltzman engineering. Jeff is one of the most talented people I have ever worked with. He has amazing recording know-how that really captured some amazingly different tones than we’ve ever had on record before. Our good friends Vorcan, who are two extremely talented painters that specialize in live music painting, did artwork for the record. They’ve joined us on tour many times, where they start a blank canvas at the beginning of our show and collaboratively finish a painting by the end.

GKW: What is your process when recording? Melody first, then lyrics?

CJ: I often come up with the melody first and then fit the lyrics in. I go for sounds first and foremost. Ideally, the song lyrics will write themselves within the sounds of the vowels and consonants that I hear in my head. Usually I’ll try to know the story or context before writing the lyrics, but sometimes I’ll just work the sounds into words and something will pop through that gives me a good idea for lyrical content.

GKW: How did the band come about? When? Where? Why?

CJ: The band came about very casually. About 10 years ago, I ran into my old buddy Kenny at the grocery store he was working at. We got to talking about what we’d been up to since we last saw each other in high school. He told me he started playing mandolin. I mentioned that I had been playing a lot and had been heavy into bluegrass and knew about a house concert going on that night with guitarist David Grier and mandolinist Matt Flinner. We went to the show together and had our minds blown, then went back to his place and hung out, picking for a few hours. I’m pretty sure neither of us thought we were on the verge of starting a band.

We started getting together casually for a few months and just playing for fun, eventually getting enough tunes between us to hit an “open mic” night. Then, one night, we invited a few buddies who played bass and drums over to the backyard, had a huge crab feast, put our acoustics down, and plugged in some electric instruments, recording an hour or two of impromptu jamming. Somehow it got into several people’s hands and next thing I knew people were telling me they “loved my band”. Soon, we got a gig and a bunch of people came out. Next thing we knew we had a band. At that point Kenny and I realized we had some special chemistry going on. We were having a blast, so we ran with it.

GKW: What are you thoughts on the current music industry? How do you want to be different, or contribute to the evolution?

CJ: I feel like technology and over saturation have had positive and negative effects. Anyone can record on their computer these days and easily distribute it on the Internet, which is positive in that it’s taking the control out of the hands of the big record labels that have ripped artists off for so long. And it’s really creating a buyer’s market because of the abundance of options and resources available to seek out music. The problem the artists face now though is how to actually make money off of their work. People have so many options readily available to them now, and can basically get music for free. So, concert tickets have always been seen as the saving grace for bands to make their money, but concert sales are way down as well. I attribute that to the economy and a change in culture. Concerts are thrown in with a slew of other options now for entertainment, whereas when I was a teenager it was the thing to do.

With all of the options and stimuli out there, attention spans are decreasing. The days of sitting down and putting on an album and listening to the whole thing all the way through, I fear, is over for the next generation. It’s all about iPods and shuffling songs and finding that next stimulus to entertain our instant gratification hungry minds. Engaging people enough to get a fair listen is becoming increasingly difficult. I think artists are going to have to get creative to get people’s attention.

At the end of the day though, music still should stand on its own merit and I do believe it will. The challenge is getting people to listen to it amongst all of the chaos. So, we’ll have to keep an awareness of that and really try to come up with creative ways to market our music. Models change faster than ever these days. I think the goal should be to stay ahead of the curve as best we can and hopefully create something that others can look to as an example. I wish I could say I already had the answer. For now, I’ll just try to keep writing good songs and playing a decent guitar.

GKW: How receptive have audiences been to your creation onstage?

CJ: They have been very receptive, especially in our hometown of Baltimore. We’ve been a band for over nine years and the music has evolved tremendously in that time. We sound completely different now than when we started, but still have many of the same fans. They’ve enjoyed the journey and evolution with us and have encouraged us along the way to change it up and keep pushing forward. It’s really the fuel for our fire to go out there and pour our souls out and be received so warmly. It’s what we do it for.

GKW: What do you want the listener to ultimately witness or walk away with when they see you perform?

CJ: Ultimately, I want them to have a good time and feel cleansed or lighter in some way. I’d like them to see us having fun and putting our all into the music. To watch someone put themselves out there like that, whether it be in music or sports or any other kind of art, is inspiring. I’m not up there to tell people what to think or to say, “hey, look at me”, but rather to kind of let them in on the same journey I’m on when I’m playing. I’m striving for that feeling of bliss and connectedness and inspiration and ultimately I’m trying to bring everyone in the room with me.

GKW: How has your stage presence or confidence changed onstage since the last release?

CJ: Obviously we become more confident the more we play. The band has been playing together with the same personnel for quite a while now and we’ve become very confident in one another and in the band’s sound as a whole. We’ve really honed in on our sound much more than ever before, and that brings a swagger and comfort to all of us that really comes through when we hit the stage. We know we’re going to go out there and kill it, even if someone is individually having a bad night. The band has become much greater than the sum of its parts. It’s knowing that which allows us to feed off of the energy as a whole and step out of our own personal insecurities.

GKW: What are your hopes for your music and touring in 2011?

CJ: I hope our new album touches listeners as much as it touched us when we made it. We feel more proud of this record than anything we’ve ever done and we hope people respond to that. Making the record was a huge learning experience for us as a band, as songwriters and as performers, and I hope we continue to feed off the lessons learned from that. And, as always, we hope to continue growing our fan base. We’re going to be getting in the van and traveling all over the country and hope to see more people in every city than were there last time.

Winter 2011 Tour Dates

February 4 | 9:30 Club | Washington, DC (w/ Tea Leaf Green)

February 5 | World Cafe Live | Philadelphia, PA (w/ Tea Leaf Green)

February 8 | Strand Capital Performing Arts Center | York, PA (w/ Tea Leaf Green)

February 9 | Westcott Theater | Syracuse, NY (w/ Tea Leaf Green)

February 10 | Higher Ground | Burlington, VT (w/ Tea Leaf Green)

February 11 | Paradise Rock Club | Boston, MA (w/ Tea Leaf Green)

February 12 | Highline Ballroom | New York, NY (w/ Tea Leaf Green)

February 16 | The Cabooze | Minneapolis, MN (w/ Galactic)

February 17 | Majestic Theatre | Madison, WI (w/ Galactic)

February 18 | Park West | Chicago, IL (w/ Galactic)

February 19 | Beachland Ballroom | Cleveland, OH (w/ Galactic)

February 20 | Mr. Small’s Theater | Pittsburgh, PA (w/ Galactic)

March 3 | Southgate House | Newport, KY

March 4 | Max’s | Bloomington, IN

March 5 | Trouser Mouse | Blue Springs, MO

March 6 | Bourbon Theatre Rye Room | Lincoln, NE

March 11 | Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom | Denver, CO

March 15 | The Canopy Club | Urbana, IL

March 16 | Canal Street | Dayton, OH

March 17 | V Club | Huntington, WV

March 18 | Dante’s | Frostburg, MD

April 16 | Old Settler’s Music Festival | Driftwood, TX

June 4 | Crawfish Fest | Augusta, NJ