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VOL.23, ISSUE 12
SPECIAL MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHY ISSUE
In this issue, we take a look at (and celebrate) the beautiful and powerful world of music photography. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of amazing live shots, still life collages, reflections on the craft, inside info on maximizing your band’s photo shoots and Instagram accounts, plus tips from the pros on their most essential gear. We hope you enjoy, and are perhaps inspired to pick up a camera yourself…
D E PA R T M E N T S 5 Lou Reed: In Memoriam 36 Top Picks: The Best in New Music 46 Smartphone Music App Roundup 47 Legal Pad: Start Your Own Publishing Co.
52 Studio Diary: Repeater 54 Gear Reviews: Yamaha; D’Addario; Griffin;
Cover photo and this page by Kelly Embry
56 Flashback: 1969 Polaroid 360 Land Camera
48 Euro Touring & Marketing Strategies 50 My Favorite Gear: Jason Travis 51 Recording: Drums & Percussion pt. 1 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 3
FROM THE TOP Howdy, y’all! That handsome devil on the cover is none other than the talented Nick Magliochetti of Atlanta’s killer rock band, The Howling Tongues. While the Tongues aren’t technically featured in this issue, we thought, “What the hell. What better way to celebrate our special photography issue than by putting one of our favorite artists on the cover, encircled by tons of photography-related odds-and-ends?” Big thanks to Kelly Embry for conducting the wonderful shoot for us (see more of her work throughout this issue) and to Nick, of course, for being such a good sport. Do I see a modeling career in your future, good sir?
issue, which was devoted to the visual art of indie musicians. We received such an overwhelming response to that issue that we couldn’t say no to this natural follow up. After digging through hundreds of submissions and weeping over the amazing photographs we couldn’t fit into the issue, we ended up with what you now hold in your hands.
Benjamin Ricci - firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you enjoy it, and that you hire one of the fantastic photogs you see in the pages ahead!
Joe LoVasco - email@example.com
Volume 23, Issue 12 PUBLISHER
William House Phone: 617-627-9200 firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR
DESIGN AND ART DIRECTION
Glenn Skulls email@example.com
Anyway, as if you hadn’t guessed by now, this issue is our loving tribute to the art of music photography, an off-shoot of our special August
Cheers, -Benjamin Ricci, Editor
P.S. – if you have any ideas for more special issues you’d like to see in the future, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or good old-fashioned email. We’re always listening…except from 2:00-4:30 pm on Wednesdays. That time’s reserved for our weekly office screening of The Notebook.
Adam Barnosky, Amanda Macchia, Ben Marazzi, Benjamin Ricci, Brent Godin, Candace McDuffie, Chris Davidson, Chris Devine, Christopher Petro, Ellen Eldridge, Eric Wolff, Gail Fountain, Garrett Frierson, Hannah Lowry, James Hester, Jason Travis, Jennifer Stalvey, Jillian Dennis-Skillings, Kris Gruen, Lesley Daunt, Lucy Fernandes, Michael St. James, Pamela Gouveia, Sam Skinner, Taylor Haag, Vanessa Bennett, Vincent Scarpa, Zac Cataldo CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Performer Magazine, a nationally distributed musician’s trade publication, focuses on independent musicians, those unsigned and on small labels, and their success in a DIY environment. We’re dedicated to promoting lesser-known talent and being the first to introduce you to artists you should know about.
Did we make a heinous blunder, factual error or just spell your name wrong? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know, cuz we’re big enough to say, “Baby, I was wrong.”
MUSIC SUBMISSIONS We listen to everything that comes into the office. We prefer physical CDs, cassettes and vinyl over downloads. If you do not have a physical copy, send download links to email@example.com.No attachments, please. Send CDs to: Performer Magazine Attn: Reviews PO BOX 348 Somerville, MA 02143
4 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE
EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS In the words of our esteemed forefathers at CREEM: “NOBODY WHO WRITES FOR THIS RAG’S GOT ANYTHING YOU AIN’T GOT, at least in the way of credentials. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be sending us your stuff: reviews, features, photos, recording tips, DIY advice or whatever else you have in mind that might be interesting to our readers: independent and DIY musicians. Who else do ya know who’ll publish you? We really will... ask any of our dozens of satisfied customers. Just bop it along to us to firstname.lastname@example.org and see what comes back your way. If you have eyes to be in print, this just might be the place. Whaddya got to lose? Whaddya got?”
Aisha Singleton, Amanda Macchia, Angela Holtzen, Anna Larina, Bob Gruen, Candace McDuffie, Cathy Henson, Chris M Junior, Chris Reimers, Dan Watkins, Daniel Kielman, Deborah Wong, Doria Roberts, Elizabeth Stewart, Garrett Frierson, Gina Clyne, Greg Jacobs, Jason Travis, Jenna Hughes, Jim Donnelly, John McNicholas, Kelly Embry, Kenny Schick, Matt Koroulis, Matt Lambert, Merissa Blitz, Natalia da Silva, Pedro Paredes-Haz, Pete Weiss, Rick Carroll, Ryan Snyder, Sam Skinner, Sarah Cass, Shervin Lainez, Tara Parker, Tarina Doolittle, Terence Rushin, Theodore J. Maider, Ty Kinsey ADVERTISING SALES
Kathleen Mackay - email@example.com Deborah Rice - firstname.lastname@example.org PO BOX 348 Somerville, MA 02143 Phone: 617-627-9200 - Fax: 617-627-9930 2013 by Performer Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any method whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher. The magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited recordings, manuscripts, artwork or photographs and will not return such materials unless requested and accompanied by a SASE. Annual Subscription Rate is $30 in the U.S.; $45 outside the U.S.
LOU REED (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013)
by Benjamin Ricci, Editor
Shortly before we went into production on this issue, my inbox was flooded with the news of Lou Reed’s passing. While the reports did not surprise me (Reed had, after all, undergone liver transplant surgery in the spring, and was in his early 70s), they still hit me hard. Harder than most. As a journalist, Reed represented the enemy; he was an enigmatic antagonist who hardly ever gave interviewers an easy time (not that they were entitled to it, of course), or sufficient answers to their questions. He was, shall we say, a difficult assignment. And yet, part of me loved him even more for that. It was so rock and roll, especially in a post rock star world. That was Lou being Lou. One of my favorite quotes about Reed comes from Cameron Crowe’s screenplay for Almost Famous, in which William Miller is discussing Reed’s latest LP with famed rock journalist Lester Bangs: BANGS You like Lou Reed? WILLIAM The early stuff. In the new stuff, he’s trying to be Bowie. He should just be himself. BANGS Yeah, but if Bowie’s doing Lou, and Lou’s doing Bowie, Lou’s still doing Lou. WILLIAM If you like Lou. The real reason his death impacted me so
much, though, was far more personal. I was about 17 or 18 when I first got turned on to Lou Reed, by way of a mislabeled cassette that simply said “The Velvets” in someone’s handwritten Sharpie. It held a permanent spot in the tape deck of my freshman dorm and likely drove my roommate out of his skull with the amount of repeated plays. Fuck him; the prick listened to nothing but O.A.R. and would only watch Full Metal Jacket with the sound off. Anyway…quite fortuitously, it was a Sunday morning when I first played the cassette and the first track that came on was, naturally, “Sunday Morning.” Opening with lush production and that angelic celesta, I was hooked. The dreamy opening number bled into more songs about drugs, atonal sting freak-outs and a seven-minute breakdown about the joys of heroin addiction. Of course there were more tapes to come (by now I had discovered the actual name of the band and its mysterious leader), followed by my journey through Reed’s up-and-down solo LPs (at which point I had made the switch to vinyl years before it became hip again). My most treasured memory of Reed’s music, however, is much more recent. Before his death, I put on an old copy of his 1977 “best of” LP, Walk on the Wild Side, and danced with my newborn daughter around her freshly painted nursery. Until the day I die, I’ll never forget the wide-eyed look and smile she gave me as we spun and laughed to the live version of “Sweet Jane.” Perhaps the best person to sum up Reed’s life and final days, though, would be his widow, the
brilliant performance artist Laurie Anderson. After his passing, she released this statement to the public: “To our neighbors: What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us. Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we’re city people this is our spiritual home. Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it! Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air. Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us. — Laurie Anderson his loving wife and eternal friend” We’ll miss you, Lou. Here’s hoping you’re up in rock and roll heaven telling all the journalists there to go screw. DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 5
I’ll keep this brief and let the photos speak for themselves. This issue is all about celebrating the visual medium of music photography. Over the next 20 pages or so, you’ll be introduced to works that will make you think, make you laugh, and perhaps inspire you to pick up a camera. We’ve also got a few helpful articles on photo shoots and Instagram, as well as some ‘snapshots’ of our favorite photographers. Enjoy! -Benjamin Ricci, Editor
WELCO M E TO PER FOR
MER’S S P E C I A L
Photo by Kelly Embry
DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 7
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OWNER & INTERVIEW SUBJECT Doria Roberts MAKE & MODEL Polaroid Land Camera Model 160 YEARS MANUFACTURED 1962-1965 SPECIAL FEATURES It has a distinctive, old-school accordion lens. I’ve always wanted to put it on a tripod and throw a cape over my head like they did back in the day and have someone take a picture of that. MODERN-DAY APPLICATIONS It’s completely impractical! I will most certainly have to give it up in the case of a zombie apocalypse; it’s just decoration. ADDITIONAL INFO I’m a songwriter and I’ve written a lot of songs with picture metaphors. I honestly think it’s because of all of my cameras. I’ve always been partial to Kodaks and I’ve secretly (not-sosecretly) wanted to have my song “Perfect” used for one of their campaigns. Even though I’m known for being uber-indie, I finally confessed that I wanted to sell my song to them on my CD Alive + Well. The opening track is stage banter called “Kodak Moments.”
DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 9
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by Jen Stalvey
Get The Most Out of Your Band’s Instagram
Above: Georgia rock band Baby Baby shows off their nutty side on Instagram
You’ve just rolled into town to play a gig. You see fall leaves, the sun setting against a city skyline. You scribble your band name, the venue and time you play on a piece of paper and hold it up to the sky and take a photo. You upload it to Instagram, choose your favorite filter, and post this “inthe-moment” photo to your feed. You tag it #nashville #musiccity #thebasement #livemusic #blues #funk, and hit Share. In just five minutes you’ve reached hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Instagram—or IG—is a simple to use photography-based social media app. Musicians use IG to promote themselves, create a collection of visual experiences, and gain access to an unlimited number of followers. IG’s culture is based on the authentic. IGers
are visually driven, and may not be as active on Facebook and Twitter. They want to experience the best of life and a certain aesthetic. They want to see where you’re playing, who your fans are, what performing life is like behind the scenes. They want what’s real, if not beautiful, and to feel like they’re getting a sneak peek into you. How do you reach people on IG? One way to connect is through hashtags, which group photos around a theme or topic. Search #artwatchers, #makeportraits, or #showercap and you’ll see what I mean. Hashtag a city you’re playing, or the venue, and anyone checking out this hashtag will see your photo. If your photo is cool, they will like you, and perhaps follow you. They may even come to your show. And there you have a new fan. What types of photos do IGers like? Interesting, sexy, candid photos are favorites. Make it a good photograph on top of that, and you’re set. @jesseboykins3rd not only posts his own interesting photographs, he also posts incredible portraits of himself taken by other photographers. I followed him immediately, and will definitely see him when he comes to Nashville. @thejoshuablackwilkens and @humminghouse (band member Leslie Rodriguez) are talented photographers as well as musicians. It’s
a pleasure to see anything they post. @elliegoulding and @zzward work their asses off on the road. Their style, fans, and venues are frequent features as they take us into their lives and we love them for it. @mattnathanson loves selfies with his energetic, packed audiences. And @brettdennen posts the best #tbt photos of himself as a wild child, which just happens to be the name of a featured song on his new release (#brilliant). What if you’re not a great photographer? Still working on your brand? Take a photo of what is interesting to you. (Instagram makes everyone a better photographer.) Try using one or two consistent filters in IG (like Hudson or Nashville) or another app, such as VSCO CAM or Afterlight, to create a visual style. Want better photos? Snap some photos on the road and text them to a photographer like me to edit. If you’re still not convinced IG rocks, don’t worry. We 150 million IGers will keep posting photos and videos of performers we love, naming the venues we’re at, and hashtagging your name— like #esperanzaspaulding—because we love you. Questions, or say hi @jenstalvey. DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 11
A Childhood Study of Music Photography: Rock & Roll Moments Of The ’70s & ’80s members pushing a song toward the ecstatic by anticipating one another’s attack, my dad played along, anticipating the movements of the music, of the room with his camera - for all intents and purpose, his camera was an intricate and complex percussion instrument clicking and cranking out a visual story in its metal cage.
photo by Bob Gruen
My name is Kris Gruen. I’m a singer/songwriter living in the sacred green mountains of Vermont. My father is the renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen, who lives in the same part of New York City I came home to from New York Hospital when I was born in 1974. I started frequenting NYC nightclubs when I was a toddler in 1976/77. My father was still in the beginning of his career. Spending weekends with him meant racing from gig to gig all afternoon and evening, dressed to kill in unreleased plastic and denim fashions from around the world. Going out in those scenes was hard work as a kid. Each night was a little different, but allin-all, my dad would eventually lead us through a viable cross-section of the hot, throbbing, claustrophobic canals of punk rock and pop iconoclast culture. Back then it would still be the road less traveled by, so for a three-year-old, the rooms 12 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE
were the dens of nightmare; often smashed and unhygienic, wild-dark alternately punched out by siren bright strobes, gapping faces appearing out of nowhere in throngs, all washing out into the sick yellow subway tunnels and streets of the East Village, the Bowery and stadium parking lots at 3 am. Rock and roll childhood was a black balloon with a white skull and cross bones. Babysitters were pirate runaways, dangerously sexy, looking to regain some of the sophistication of their childhood innocence by caring for a child, if they could keep from nodding off before their shift ended. I had to trust my dad and keep up. He was always bright, even when he was sick, or distracted, and I always felt safe enough to get by. All that in balance with the explosive symphony of new rock and roll - the legions crying for more humanity over the lung-crushing bombast of drums and guitars maxing their channels. My father’s camera was a supple organ in his hands, his lens - malleable, like an eardrum - could capture the smell and grit in the air off the stages he shot. Whatever was alive in his frame the moment he snapped the shutter would become immortal, not because photography immortalizes as a rule, but because some photographers can find the essence of life force in their subjects. Like band
Like a football player looking to retire his bruised, aching frame, I was happy to let my rock and roll childhood slip away as I neared my teens. My mom took us to the country. I went to high school in Woodstock and fell in love with nature. The city and the energy of the music I was exposed to in the late seventies, early eighties, became memory. It wasn’t easy to explain the good and bad of it to my friends, so it remained an internal influence until I went to Goddard College in Vermont. It was at Goddard that I resurrected the specters of my rock youth with a photograph my father sent me in the mail, Chuck Berry, licking the neck of his guitar. It was signed to me, something my dad had been holding onto for years, and when I hung it on the wall, my ears filled with enormous swollen echoes of Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s - the haunted, residual notes of a Stones sound check at the Garden, or Giants Stadium. The internal influence now started a decade long transition to wellspring, and the music I’d been fed - both as an audience member, but also through my dad’s images strung along the walls of every home I’ve known throughout my life - became an undeniable resource for my own creativity. I chose my own path, diving deep into world music and electronica. But though I loved the music, there was little in those genres in the way of personality. Everyone of my father’s subjects have had something to say, and so I gravitated toward the artist who had a way with writing, style, speaking to the room and performing like they meant it. I’ve developed my own songwriting practice now, performing regularly, and am on a small label in NYC (Mother West). I live in the hills, but work in the cities. I move through the same legendary spaces I did as a child, but now in the shoes of the subjects my father and I would press the clock to catch, to hear, to see, to learn from. My father’s pictures have given me a family connection to personalities that discovered modes of self-expression for millions. The demystification is a profound gift. We all resonate with the desire to communicate what moves us, and by moving us, bring us closer together. I’ve had the experience of seeing and hearing it all my life. For more, visit ww.krisgruen.com
Steve Aoki shot by Jim Donnelly
CHUCK THE BAD ADVICE
Recently, at a panel discussion featuring several members of the Boston-area music press, a local musician asked, “What do I need to have in order for local press to cover my band?” One panelist, the editor of a weekly paper, told the crowd that they must have a photo. He said he didn’t care if it was just the band standing in front of a brick wall, taken by their friend, as long as there was a photo. His advice was dangerous, and indie artists should be cautioned against it. If you simply send any old picture to a publication, regardless of the quality, you are wasting a press opportunity. Musicians must face an obvious, if unfortunate, truth: people are visual creatures. If your band photo makes you look second-rate, that is exactly what consumers will think you are. No matter how glowing the review, some number of readers will disregard your band if you look like a bunch of amateurs. When you have an opportunity to be featured in press, it’s your responsibility to take advantage of that opportunity by putting your best foot forward – using a poor quality photo that doesn’t represent the spirit of your band is not making the most of the press you are receiving. As photographer Hayley Young of Hayley
Young Photography in Seattle, WA, puts it, “Photographs, if successfully executed, have the power to engage your fans (and those who may become fans) beyond the listening experience.” The right photo can spark a reader’s interest to learn more about you and your music. There is a lot that goes into a great press photo. First, you need to make some decisions about who you are as an artist, and make sure that your photos convey that message. Start by defining your band (brand) with a good biography. This is the first step to understanding the tone and attributes that you want people to walk away with after seeing or hearing you. Work with a publicist to craft a biography that not only tells your story, but also leaves the reader with the right feeling. For example, if you are defining yourself as the girl-next-door with a lot more sass, your bio should have that same vibe, and it should paint that portrait of you for the reader.
FIND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
Once you have a great bio and have defined your image, start thinking about how a photograph can convey that message. Choosing the right photographer is the most important factor in the success of your photo shoot. Photographers have their own styles, and are artists in their own right. Make sure you select a photographer whose
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Pamela Ricci is an artist manager and consumer marketing manager in the Boston area.
Prepare for The Perfect Photo Shot Get Inside Tips from Professional Photogs
photographic style complements your goals. Keep in mind that the person behind the lens has as much control as you do in the success of the shoot. Hayley suggests that artists look for more than just a good quality camera: “Successful images come from photographers that have both a solid grasp of their photographic style and the skill to execute that style consistently. There are thousands of people with cameras. Your neighbor’s digital camera will not produce the same quality image as an experienced professional.” Make sure the photographer you choose understands the image that you want the photos to convey. Give the photographer a copy of your bio beforehand, and send them examples of photos where you like the lighting, angles, and poses. It’s also helpful to let the photographer know what the photos will be used for, so that they can frame the shots in a suitable manner. Photographer Brittany Marshall of BRM Imaging in Seattle, WA, offers this advice: “Know beforehand what you are going to use the photos for, and tell the photographer so they know how to compose your shots. For example, if you are taking a photo for a CD cover and need room for copy, tell the photographer what your layout will look like so they can take the photo correctly.” Likewise, if you hope to score a magazine cover, remember that vertical shots are essential. Generally speaking, studio photos are usually the best option for press shots. It is extremely important that there are no issues with shadows or glaring sunlight in your photos. You should be the absolute focus, and the studio setting allows for the most controlled and flattering lighting environment. Finding a studio photographer can be tricky, especially in suburban or rural areas, so one suggestion is to look into modeling studios. It might be a surprising concept, but a modeling studio knows how to make you look good, and that is what you want. Try to avoid photographers that spend most of their time shooting high school portraits, as it is easy to end up with something that looks more like a Sears family portrait than a musician’s headshot. Brittany Marshall suggests meeting the photographer beforehand to determine their passion for the project. “It’s never good to set up an important shoot with a photographer who has either lost their passion, or is so busy that they crank out photo sessions like a production line. They won’t be giving you 100%, and it won’t be a good experience.” DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 13
In order to capture that perfect image for your photo shoot, photographers must use the right tools. We’ve asked around, and here are two of our photographers’ favorite lenses, and the reasons why they trust them to make you look killer.
Theodore J. Maider
Lens Make & Model: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Zoom Lens Why You Love It: The Canon is a great, rugged multi-use lens. Gets incredible details from a far distance and opens up to a really nice f-stop. It’s a little bulky but I never do concert photography without it; it’s a must and never lets me down. Why It’s Special: I’ve used this lens at festivals for the close-up shots from far away but also in small club settings because it handles dark lights so well, a photographer’s enemy but something that CAN be tamed. It allows some great photos to be taken without having to push your way to the front at the smaller shows and still get rich close photos. Parting Thoughts: The lens is pricey but well worth it; it’s hard not to go back once I started using this. www.dwkielman.com L @test_patterns
Lens Make & Model: Bower 8mm Fisheye f/3.5 Why You Love It: The colors! It makes every color pop in such a way that going back into Photoshop seems pointless. Why It’s Special: It’s able to capture everything around you. Literally, EVERYTHING. Parting Thoughts: Great for getting skateboarders blasting down stairs. www.theodoremakesmovies.com L @punkrockskatenerd @punkrockskatenerd
If you choose to shoot on location, make sure to select a photographer who is capable of working with the lighting available. According to photographer Danin Drahos of Ocean Springs, MS, “Lighting can drastically affect the outcome of the photo, but a knowledgeable photographer should be able to conduct the shoot in a manner that uses the lighting to his or her benefit. I tend to work in the early mornings or late afternoons to achieve a soft natural light that can be mixed with my studio lights.”
Another important factor when choosing a photographer is understanding how they handle the copyrights to your photos. Photographers vary on their approach to copyright, with some requiring that you purchase the copyrights outright if you want to use them without permission, some allowing you to purchase individual per-use licenses while they retain the copyrights, and others treating it as a work-forhire situation where you retain all copyrights. It is extremely important that you understand what rights you will have to the photos before you finalize your decision. Hayley, Brittany and Danin all suggest that you get agreements in writing before the shoot, to avoid any future confusion. The most beneficial arrangement for artists is to enter into a 14 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE
work-for-hire agreement with the photographer. This allows the artist complete control over the use of their photographs, and eliminates red tape and hurdles for publications trying to clear photos for print. If a magazine has to wait for the photographer to give permission to use your photos, it’s just one more step that can hold up the process, especially if the photographer is also requesting additional payments from the publication for use of your press shots. A work-for-hire agreement makes things easier on all fronts, and allows the publication to run with your photos quickly, and worry-free. Be aware that as artists themselves, some photographers may not be comfortable with this arrangement. If you aren’t able to secure complete copyright ownership over your photos, you should at least work out a written agreement with the photographer stating that you are free to distribute the photos to press at will and upon request. Most professional photographers understand the purpose of press shots, so this request is typically not an issue. Do be sure to always provide photo credits to press outlets, no matter what arrangement you have agreed upon.
WARDROBE & MAKEUP CONSIDERATIONS
When choosing what to wear for the shoot, remember that details matter: think about
clothing, hairstyles, accessories and props. Work with a stylist to be sure that you are conveying the image that you want in your photos. Keep in mind that your clothing and accessories need to translate well on camera. Drahos advises, “Unless pertinent to the idea or theme of the photo, I always suggest that the musician should avoid wearing distracting clothing patterns or too many accessories.“ Your stylist should understand how to choose wardrobe for photos, while being able to capture the right look for your image. Give the stylist a copy of your bio, and work together to find pieces of clothing and accessories that fit that image. Have at least two looks for your photo shoot. Start preparing for your photo shoot about a month in advance. Make sure to pay attention to the little things – get a manicure (ladies), make sure you step up your skin care routine (if possible, get a facial from a professional aesthetician), and most importantly, drink a lot of water and get enough sleep during the weeks leading up to your shoot. Another recommendation, even though you may feel ridiculous doing it, is to practice posing. Pose in front of a mirror and get a feeling for the way your face feels when it is in a flattering position. Get to know what poses look good on your body. Do a full dress rehearsal for all your looks, making sure that everything (including hair and
PRO TIPS makeup) goes together the way you want it to. All these elements make a difference in the overall picture. The more prepared you are when you arrive for your shoot, the more usable pictures you are going to get from it. Even for male artists, it is important to make sure that you are well groomed and put together. Don’t disregard the importance of good hygiene, regardless of gender. You (typically) want to look clean and well-groomed in your press photos. You may want to preserve the indie rock vibe of your band, but that doesn’t mean looking dirty and unkempt. For example, look at photos of Zach Galifianakis - his beard is trimmed, his hair may be long and is often purposely disorderly, but it is not matted, frizzy or greasy, and his eyebrows are trimmed and brushed (yes, that matters). These are factors that make the difference between looking like an indie rocker, and looking like a homeless person. Rock and roll should look sexy, not smelly. Make the extra effort and it will pay off in the photos.
SENDING TO PRESS OUTLETS
When you are ready to begin sending your photos to press, keep in mind that you want to send the image in a manner that will display well, whether that be for print or online. You should always send high resolution (hi-res) images for print publications. A hi-res photo
means more than just 300dpi (dots per inch) – resolution refers to how many pixels the image contains, and is actually a better gauge for potential print quality than dpi. For example, a 600-pixel by 600-pixel image at 300dpi will print at 2 inches by 2 inches – this is hardly big enough for the average press use, even though your image editing software is correct in telling you that it’s 300dpi. For general online and print usage, best practice is to send images that print to 4”x6”, which is at least 1200x1800 pixels. For a print feature or cover, get the image specs from the publication’s art director or editor beforehand to ensure that you are sending an appropriate file. Generally you’ll need something larger than 8”x10”, which would be at least 2400x3000 pixels, in vertical orientation. And finally, JPEGs are fine for the web, but be prepared with uncompressed TIFF files for print. They’ll typically print sharper, especially at larger sizes, than a compressed JPEG. [Editor’s note – please don’t send horizontal images as cover options. Make sure you have vertical shots available.] Remember - every press opportunity is a chance to reach new fans, so use your photos to make the most of it.
Above: Mother Feather shot by Shervin Lainez
TIPS FROM THE PROS
Straight talk from the photographers interviewed in this article. HERE ARE SOME COMMON MISTAKES THAT YOU CAN AVOID: •uncomfortable clothing (if you are completely uncomfortable in your outfit it will show in your photos and they will be awkward); •being on a tight schedule (make sure you have set aside the entire day for your shoot and that you don’t have to stress about finishing at a certain time); •shooting in extreme sun; •shooting in rough terrain without appropriate walking shoes to move around the location; •wearing distracting clothing patterns or too many accessories.
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GALLERY Angela Holtzen www.angelaholtzen.com
Why You Love This Photo: The moment was magical, first time I ever photographed him and he was so friendly. It was a secret show with perfect light. Why You Love Photography: The first time I ever shot a band was back in 2009 for The Airborne Toxic Event at San Diego HOB. It was when they just started being on the radio and tickets were
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$12. I had my camera and saw Mikel outside the doors. I got a photo with him. He commented on my camera and asked if I wanted a photo pass and proceeded to give me one. I was the only photographer in the building capturing moments. I had that “ah-ha” moment shooting the band, amid the crowd, where clarity hit me and I knew in that moment this was my job, my life, the path I was supposed to take.
Artist: Dave Grohl (2013) Location: Costa Mesa, CA Gear Used: Canon 7D 2.8 24-70mm
Artist: Jeff Beck (2010) Location: Borgata Casino’s Music Box Theater - Atlantic City, NJ Gear Used: Nikon D60 Camera, Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Lens
Chris M. Junior chrismjunior.exposuremanager.com L @GoldmineSXSW
Why You Love This Photo: This concert shot is one of my favorites because it could also pass for a strategically lighted studio portrait. Beck stood still just long enough and in a perfect spot for me to catch the silhouette of his head against the blue background and a bit of light reflecting from his sunglasses. Why You Love Photography: When shooting concerts, I get the most satisfaction whenever I catch an expression, a move and other defining details about performers that otherwise go by in a flash during the course of a show.
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Artist: Nate Ruess, lead vocalist for fun. (2013) Location: Orpheum Theatre - Boston, MA Gear Used: Canon EOS 550 D (or Europea EOS Rebel T2i)
Deborah Wong www.debwongphotography.com L@deb_wong_
Why You Love This Photo: I was able to get up close and showcase Nate Ruess’s passion in his performance. Why You Love Photography: I love to capture artists when they’re in their moments. I want to show the viewers what I believe makes their performance special through capturing those special moments.
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GALLERY Artist: Amel Larrieux (2011) Location: Highline Ballroom in New York City Gear Used: Canon 7D Camera and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Aisha Singleton www.aishasingleton.com L@aishasingleton
Why You Love This Photo: I love this photo of Amel because it captures her essence as a commanding songstress. Her voice is enchanting and her lyrics resonate with a cutting truth that can both be uplifting and sorrowful. Why You Love Photography: Music photography is exhilarating! There’s a certain magical energy that envelops a performance.
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Jenna Hughes www.huesimages.com
Why You Love This Photo: I feel like this is a very emotional photo and the two performers are deeply invested in their music and the moment. Why You Love Photography: I love being able to capture that very moment when a performer is doing what they love.
Artist: The Soldier Thread (2011) Location: Center Stage - Atlanta, GA Gear Used: Nikon d80 Body, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens
Why You Love This Photo: This is a photo that documents part of my tape collection. Thereâ€™s all sorts of tapes represented here. Tapes that belonged to my father, tapes I made, tapes that I bought, tapes that my grandfather made for me, tapes my cousin made for me, tapes my friends made for me, tapes recorded from the radio, VHS tapes, vinyl, and CD. Mixtapes, live concerts, local bands, my demos, and more. Tapes I had as a kid, and tapes I made as a teenager. Many brands, many colors, and many sounds over the years. Some of these are embarrassing, some have been played hundreds of times, some have my voice recorded as a toddler. All of them hold incredible memories for me.
Why You Love Photography: As a photographer and musician (I play in Atlanta band Sealions) Iâ€™m always analyzing moments. I love capturing an instant on stage that represents an entire performance. Something that makes you feel what the performer feels. And with photo shoots or sessions with bands, I love the quirky or unique instances that happen. the unpredictable shots that come from experimenting and getting familiar with the musicians as people.
Subject: 100 Cassette Tapes Location: Atlanta, GA Gear Used: Canon 5D Mark II / 40mm
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Elizabeth Stewart www.libberding.com
Why You Love This Photo: I photograph for the SXSW festival when I’m able. I often get metal shows as part of my assignments. While I’m not always a metal fan, these guys were great, and they loved interacting with their audience. I grabbed this shot fairly early in the set, before things in the pit got too rowdy. Why You Love Photography: I love getting to know a band, and becoming a superfan by supporting them through my work. When I lived in Boston, there were a few bands that I followed around and got to know pretty well. McAlister Drive, Living Syndication, Endway - they’re all great folks who are putting out great music. I ran into Christoph [lead singer/guitar of McAlister Drive] at their show at SXSW this year, and I’ll admit to fangirling a little because I got a hug and his full attention for a while as we caught up. In another life I was a musician myself, so I know what I’m looking for in a performance. I’m looking for a deep connection to the music and interaction with the audience. I love capturing moments like that.
Artist: Goatwhore (2013) Location: SXSW 2013 Showcase at Dirty Dog Bar - Austin, TX Gear Used: Canon T2i, 50mm
Stage Series All Hercules. More bang for your buck.
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Daniel Kielman L@test_patterns
Why You Love This Photo: Grimes was difficult at first to shoot because she has such an incredible light show that makes getting your shot right all the more difficult, one second of delay or shutter change could ruin a shot. This one grabs me by her expression and the lighting is hitting her just right and all around her as she does a very Grimes-like pose with her instruments; it lasted just a moment but sums up her show perfectly. Why You Love Photography: Music photography offers a chance to sum up a band or artist’s performance in one frame, capturing the energy and intensity of a moment on stage.
Artist: Grimes (2013) Location: Gorge Amphitheater - Quincy, WA, USA (Sasquatch! Music Festival) Gear Used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm IS USM Zoom Lens
Greg Jacobs www.ribshots.wordpress.com
Why You Love This Photo: Unique point of view - taken from stage, behind the band, capturing the action and showing the crowd and the festival grounds Why You Love Photography: I love the challenge of shooting in such a fluid environment. There are so many factors that can affect the image, so it’s exciting when you get a good one…and its fun to share with the band and friends.
Artist: Superchunk (2013) Location: Riot Fest Music Festival at May Farms - Byers, CO Gear Used: Olympus OM-D, Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Lens, Lance Camera Strap
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Matt Lambert www.flickr.com/trebmal L@TrebmalM
Why You Love This Photo: It’s a really fun action shot between the lead singer and bass player. Why You Love Photography: Capturing moments and memories of music, enjoying the show up close and personal. Getting the chance to tell a story with a still photograph and sharing the experience.
Artist: August Burns Red (2013) Location: Vans Warped Tour at The Comcast Center - Mansfield, MA Gear Used: Canon Rebel XSi, Canon Lens 28mm f/2.5
Tara Parker www.photographyxtara.com L@PhotosxTara
Why You Love This Photo: This was one of the first shots I took in my new home studio. Peter is an easy-going and fun guy but he’s incredibly serious about his music. I think this photo reflects that as he holds two of his saxophones on his shoulders. Why You Love Photography: First, I love music and I love independent artists. Music photography often allows me to enjoy the music and support the artist.
Artist: Peter Handy (2013) Location: Boston, MA Gear Used: Nikon D90; 18-105 mm Lens
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Artist: Io Echo (2013) Location: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA Gear Used: Canon 5D Mark II / Canon Lens 24-70mm f/2.8 LII
Why You Love This Photo: Because it captures the fragility/grace of Io Echo’s singer, Ioanna Gika, and the rawness that Leopold Ross brings to the table. The dark and the light. Angel and human. Why You Love Photography: I am still figuring it out, since I only started doing this five months ago. I guess it is the thrill you feel before a show, the possibility to capture the energy of the show in just a single shot. .
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Ty Kinsey www.facebook.com/dvspix
Why You Love This Photo: Because of the silhouette being mixed in with the urban outdoor setting. It adds a level of mystery, yet has a level of rugged city excitement of an outdoor performance. I can almost hear her voice bouncing off the buildings. Why You Love Photography: Being in the middle of the chemistry and electricity of the performerâ€™s energy that is being fueled by the crowd. I have yet to find anything that compares to this moment.
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Artist: Kelli Jones of Belles & Whistles (2013) Location: 13th & N Streets - Lincoln, NE Gear Used: Sony a65, Vivitar 85mm f/1.4 lens With Manual Focus
Why You Love This Photo: Capturing Flea giving life to the dark rhythms that echoed through the thick fog over the island was simply a magical experience. Atoms for Peace was one of the best live collaborations I had the pleasure of photographing, not only because I appreciate their music so much, but also because I was reminded that I am happiest when photographing live music.
Natália da Silva
Why You Love Photography: The ability of freezing time and documenting history as it happens. The opportunity to create work with artists I admire as well as the opportunity to support the music culture by sharing the experience with those who could not be there.
Artist: Flea with Atoms for Peace (2013) Location: Treasure Island Music Festival - San Francisco, CA Gear Used: Canon 5D Mark II with Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L
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Artist: Nick Magliochetti, The Howling Tongues Date: September 30, 2013 Location: White Salon in Atlanta, GA Gear Used: Canon 5d, Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, off camera Canon 430exll flash diffused with an umbrella and triggered with PocketWizard Plus III.
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Kelly Embry www.kellyembryphoto.com L@kellyembryphoto
Why You Love Photography: I really just love the movement and the atmosphere of it all. Even the most tranquil of musicians will display a certain presence about them while they are on stage, giving way to some amazing moments to photograph. When shooting for publicity images, I find that musicians have a tendency to bring a lot of additional creativity to a session, which makes for some fantastic collaborations.Â Special Notes: Nick was great to work with and the mood throughout the shoot was really laid back and fun. It was really interesting for me to find a balance between music and photography without feeling as though I was overwhelming the composition of the final image.Â
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@ The Drunken Unicorn December 7 feat. Red Fang The Shrine and Indian Handcrafts Doors at 9:00 pm $15 - 18+
SAN FRANCISCO @ Slim's December 7 feat. The Mowgli's Slow Magic and Hunter Hunter Doors at 7:00 pm $16 - ALL AGES
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
Why You Love This Photo: I’ve watched Finish Ticket grow up from being teenagers with braces playing underground clubs and high schools, and this show was a momentous occasion in their lives, with so many people cheering them on.
Why You Love Photography: I love that it allows me to make art that documents evenings that are sometimes important events in the musicians’ lives: first sold-out show, first show at a legendary venue, etc.
Artist: Finish Ticket (2013) Location: Great American Music Hall San Francisco, CA Gear Used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 35mm f/1.4L
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GALLERY Artist: letlive (2013) Location: Bottom of the Hill - San Francisco, CA Gear Used: Canon T2i, Bower 8mm Fisheye Lens
Theodore J. Maider www.theodoremakesmovies.com L@punkrockskatenerd
Why You Love This Photo: The action! Photography to me is about capturing a moment, and this seems to summarize the chaos and fun of a letlive show. Why You Love Photography: Being that close and being able to capture the bands that changed my life. The bigger bands I shoot, the more I know I am making my 8-year-old self happy.
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Ryan Snyder www.yesweekly.com L@YESRyan
About The Image: As difficult of a craft as live music photography is to master, shooting drummers tends to be its most tedious aspect while also providing the lowest payoff. Then there are those rare subjects who breathe life into an image by virtue of a presence that is sui generis. See the mic to his left? He was growling “Po’ Black Maddie” into it just a moment before diving into this breakdown. Why You Love Photography: It’s a simple answer: It puts me closer to something I dearly love and as a writer, it gives me an outlet to craft pieces that are truly my own.
Artist: Cedric Burnside (2013) Location: High Rock Outfitters - Lexington, NC Gear Used: Canon 5D MK II and 70-200 2.8II (no flash)
Terence Rushin www.instagram.com/t_rushphoto LCS_Rushin
Why you love this photo: I went into shooting the Shaky Knees Music festival with all odds against me, pouring rain, an crowded venue, wet equipment, but was able to put all of that aside and capture an amazing moment in action, one of high energy capturing the essence of the music. What you love most about photography: I love being able to completely emerge myself within the moment and capture emotion and action of every artist I encounter.
Artist: Jim James, 2013 Location it was taken: Masquerade, Atlanta, GA Gear used to take it: Canon 5D Mark II, 24-70mm Canon Lens
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Years Active: 13 Specialties: Live photography and musician promo shots. Artistic Approach: Just because it’s the digital age don’t be a shutter bug; wait for the shot, shoot in manual to adjust to changing lights, and do postproduction effects in Photoshop. Fave Gear: Canon 7D and 2.8 24-70mm lens. Fave Subjects: I shoot local bands and rising stars. I like to get on a level where they trust me to go back stage and catch behind-the-scenes documentary moments. Pro Tip: Always introduce yourself to the band. Start out working for a respectable blog to build a portfolio; once you’re established don’t work for free. Photography is a craft, the photographer’s talent and time need to be respected.
Years Active: 5 Specialty: Portraits, with clients spanning fashion and food industries in addition to music. Artistic Approach: I pay attention to color, light, composition and focus to elevate the photo to something more creative than just a snapshot. I prefer bold, punchy colors and stylized lighting to the natural, washed-out look that’s popular lately. Fave Gear: I keep it simple with prime lenses and one-light setups. If I could only use one light modifier it would be the Photek Softlighter. Fave Subjects: Anyone who comes to a shoot psyched and ready to collaborate! Subjects who stand there looking bored will always end up with the least exciting photos. Pro Tip: Achieve as much as possible in-camera and not rely on Photoshop for everything.
Years Active: 7 Specialties: Portrait, Editorial, Product, Wedding, and just about anything else that comes along. Artistic Approach: I want to create an image worthy of hanging in a museum. Something that is captivating and enduring. I want to experiment, and defy my expectations. Fave Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark II; Nikon L35AF; the iPhone. Fave Subjects: Musicians who have energy and are free-thinking. Musicians who are willing to flourish and evolve. Pro Tip: Engage your subjects. Ask questions. Have fun.
Years Active: I’ve been shooting regularly for a few years, but I’ve had a camera in my hands for a long time before that. Specialties: Live music and events. Artistic Approach: With live music performances I try to capture a special moment that the musician is having with the audience. Fave Gear: Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens. Fave Subjects: I love to shoot indie bands in smaller clubs; I find the energy is more intense and there are more moments to capture. Pro Tip: Have a camera with you at all times and shoot, shoot, shoot.
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Kenny Schick www.basement3productions.com/photography L@Kenny _ Schick
Years Active: I graduated from San Jose State University in 1988, majoring in photography after dropping out of music. I continued with my love of photography but I got renewed inspiration in 2006 when I traveled to Australia. Specialties: I specialize in ‘beauty of decay’ - making what others see decaying or ugly into something beautiful. I like to get up close to the things I photograph, man-made objects and also mannequins. I also really like portraits. Artistic Approach: Composition, lighting, subject matter. Fave Gear: Canon EOS 60D and my iPhone :) Fave Subjects: Active ones; the same stance all evening can be kinda boring but I make the most of it. Pro Tip: Focus on composition, lighting and subject matter! Not everything that looks good in ‘real life’ looks good in a photo.
Sarah Cass www.sarahcass.com L@sarahcass Years Active: I started college in 2003 working towards a BA in Photography, and have been taking pictures of bands ever since. Specialties: Portraiture, mainly of musicians, families, and people in general. Artistic Approach: I keep things incredibly simple with my setup so I can focus on talking to the [subject] I’m photographing. Since things are so portable on my end, it’s easy to pile everyone into the car and hop from location to location, trying different looks and locations out. Fave Gear: Hand-me-down Nikon D90. Fave Subjects: I love all musicians equally; every time I photograph someone new, it makes me love their music even more. Pro Tip: Get to know who you’re photographing while you’re doing it, and have fun.
FLIckr.com/photos/truth _ in _ noise
Years Active: I started photographing bands in March of 2007. Specialties: Live photography in dive bars and small venues using black and white film. Artistic Approach: Get as close as I can and try to create an image that looks like the band’s music sounds. Fave Gear: My main camera is a Pentax ZX-60. My favorite film to shoot with is Kodak TMAX 400 35mm. Fave Subjects: Loud, abrasive bands with a lot of energy. Pro Tip: Get out there and do it. Your photos are the ones you didn’t take because you were sitting at home doing something else.
Years Active: 6. Specialties: I do music photography only - promo photos for bands and album art. Artistic Approach: The most important thing is that the photo matches the music; I always collaborate with the bands to make sure the image is consistent with the message they want to send as artists. Fave Gear: Nikon D800 and ProLight Strobes. Fave Subjects: I love shooting independent musicians. They have the most ambition and drive; they are willing to try strange ideas and allow me to experiment. Pro Tip: Don’t compromise. It’s a lie that you have to do ‘every’ type of photography in order to make a living; do what you are best at.
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THE POLISH AMBASSADOR & WILDLIGHT
October 24, 2013 The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
review and photo by Amanda Macchia
Subatomic groove music that will have you moving in your sleep.
PHILOSOPHY ON REVIEWS 36 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE
Even with the Red Sox at Fenway for Game 2 of the World Series, The Polish Ambassador managed to fill The Sinclair up in just the right way - the perfect number of eager fans in onesies and jumpsuits, with just the right amount of room to get down. Not to mention no lines at the bar! It was a treat for true TPA lovers. The producer’s tour has been selling out at venues across the country. His subatomic approach to groove music - funk, soul, sweat, and hip-hop - would have you moving in your sleep. The Polish Ambassador cuts the lights in the house for his set. Visual wizard Liminius deploys a chromatic army of intergalactic robots, stellar spacescapes, and other odds and ends that
he projects onto looming arches that take up the entire stage. Throughout the night, the room was full of colors and visions. [editor’s note - …and dugs, probably some very awesome drugs] Opening act Wildlight’s Ayla Nereo and David Sugalski (The Polish Ambassador himself) danced amongst the stars (literally). Nereo’s soft, soulful voice floated around Sugalski’s waves of groove and echoing stabs. The crowd was practically begging for more by the time their set had ended. But the night had just begun. The Polish Ambassador was up next, and things were about to get weird…
OUR REVIEW SECTION IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. We don’t use a numbered scale or star system,
new releases that we’re really enjoying, and that we recommend you check out. We also mix in a few of our favorite
and we don’t feature music we don’t like. Instead, think of this as our top picks of the month. These are the
live shows, as well as books and videos from time to time. Listen to the music featured at performermag.com
I Will Rise Teesside, UK (Toasty Records)
“Soft yet strong sounds from a UK family band” Cattle & Cane, the pop/folk band from the UK, released their four-track EP I Will Rise this past year and it is nothing short of creative excellence. Each song serves as an escape with its harmonious vocals and uplifting guitar riffs. Musical talent runs deep within the Hammill family, and this EP certainly proves it. The EP’s first single (and title track) “ I Will Rise” is three minutes of utter bliss. Just when you think you’ve reached the climax, it builds into a higher crescendo of intricate sounds. The highlight has to be halfway through the song as the electric guitar wails in competition with the strong harmonies between brother/sister duo, Joe and Helen Hammill. The second track, “Red,” begins with simply a man and his guitar. Slowly, haunting background vocals drape over those of Joe Hammill and once again, the song builds into an uplifting gathering of an array of instruments, ranging from the electric guitar to the pounding drums. The EP closes with two live versions of songs recorded in 2012. These tracks are in their purest form and showcase the band’s raw musical talent. It can be a challenge to find a balance between delicacy and power, but it makes for a memorable sound if executed well. Cattle & Cane find the balance in the finest of ways, which only makes us anticipate future music from the band. Produced by Lance Thomas
churning, surprising ways. From the electro-fuzz guitar of “Time Takes a Toll” to the psychedelic chord progressions of “The Hippie Song,” each number is its own unique musical painting. “Salt of the Earth” showcases Cecili’s unique vocal tone as she sings “iridescent thoughts vibrate the light of day,” conveying her message that the world still exists in spite of all the evil, because there are groups of people on the earth radiating true goodness. “Shakedown” emits shades of Janelle Monae and James Bond. It’s a love song disguised as a Quentin Tarantino-type Western with a Pam Grier-style lead, so to speak. Even the brief interlude “Nword/Inward” is powerful with its message that “words are seeds, why plant haphazardly?” With a soulful voice similar to the great India. Arie and Erykah Badu, it’s Cecili’s soulful heart that shines on Valuables. Cecili seeks out methods for which a misplaced soul can evolve into a greater friend, sister, lover and most significantly, a greater self.
Cattle & Cane
Produced by Cecili, Christopher Ian Brooker and Chris Irvin Mastered by Christopher Ian Brooker at Echidna Sound Studios www.cecilimusic.com -Lesley Daunt
Cloud Control Dream Cave Blue Mountains, Australia (Votiv Records)
“More hooks than a tackle box”
Mixed by Tristan Ivemy www.cattleandcane.co.uk -Jillian Dennis-Skillings
Cecili Valuables Atlanta, GA (We’re Dough/CeciliMusic Inc.)
“Distills electro-pop, R&B, acoustic rock & folk in surprising ways” One listen to Atlanta’s Cecili and it becomes apparent that she defies the laws of musical genres. Having just unveiled her first LP, Valuables, Cecili crafts songs that prevail outside the borders of specific eras, distilling electropop, R&B, acoustic rock and folk in a constantly
Cloud Control is the catchy and intrepid Australian four-piece working in the traditional indie rock framework (vocals, bass, drums and guitar). “Dojo Rising,” the first single from their sophomore release Dream Cave, is an undeniable candidate for a top-five 2013 song. Avoiding woozy, unapproachable distortion-heavy psychedelic rock, the band aims to Wolf Parade territory through youthful candidness chartered by singer Alister Wright. With more hooks than a tackle box, the chorus simmers with synths, surf guitar noodling, splashy cymbals and Wright’s carefree attitude: “Give it to me easy / Give me to me hard / Just want to get lit [...] Should have told you from the start / But I’m lazy.” Wright is boldly matter-of-fact, fitting well in the pack of mid-’90s indie rock heavyweights: Pavement and Built to Spill. A bold comparison, but Dream Cave’s strength is positioned in the songwritcontinued ing: masterfully layered, cool, on 38
DRUM LESSONS with DEAN JOHNSTON 617.388.5395 email@example.com CALL OR WRITE FOR A FREE EVALUATION BOSTON, MA
DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 37
Cloud Control (cont’d)
unpredictable. Dream Cave stuns with volatility, each song uncharacteristic of the preceding. Some swagger with danceable rhythm (“Island Living” and “The Smoke, The Feeling”) while others diverge into the wider pop venue (“Scar”). With as much emphasis on vocal hooks as instrumentation, the union marks Dream Cave in an understated and critically praiseworthy class. Engineered and Produced by Barny Barnicott
The Harmed Brothers Better Days Eugene, OR (Fluff & Gravy Records)
“Grab a glass of warm cider and settle in; this album is an instant love”
Mastered at Sterling Sound by Greg Calbi www.cloudcontrolband.com -Christopher Petro
FIGHTs Music For Villains Lafayette, LA (Self-Released)
“Indie-Pop rhumba party” In solving for the slope of Music For Villains, one must use the equation: “rise over fun.” With brisk bass lines on the double drumbeats and magnetic melodies, the album’s fleet-of-foot pace is bound to make dancing shoes buoyant as quick as a wink. A buffet of upbeat musical textures, including sly synthesizers, frantic fiddles and a fetching rhythm section, this nine song LP is a brightly colored room where compassion and dance collide. Whether it’s in the breakneck verses of “Lowdown Dirty Orphan,” the swift sing-along choruses of “Real Life” or the punk jungle drums of “In Spades,” Music For Villains’ zippy and introspective approach is nothing but hotfoot joy and tenderness. The album’s closer, “Out There (Part Two),” a cosmically lonely discothèque, concludes the record’s loose “day in the life” concept using call-and-response, echoed vocals and extraterrestrial keys to capture a sense of blissful isolation. Bound by nothing but a good time, Music For Villains is nothing short of dynamic amusement and a musical merrymaker that has the power to move you. Recorded at Dockside Studio, Maurice, LA www.formalinstitute.com -Taylor Haag
LISTEN TO MUSIC FROM THIS ISSUE at PERFORMERMAG.COM 38 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE
Fans of the Avett Brothers will instantly fall in love with this album and have a new favorite group. The Harmed Brothers, hailing from Oregon, have produced Better Days just in time for the fall weather. Better Days is an impressive work that showcases the different talents of the four-member band. Featuring multiple textures, such as banjo, guitar and drums, layered under fantastic vocals and attractive lyrics, every track on the LP is one that you would expect to hear echoing around the home in autumn. The Harmed Brothers have their own unique sound, but Better Days would fit perfectly into a playlist with bands like Mumford & Sons. The diverse list of tracks on Better Days also means that there is a song to match any mood. So go get pumpkins from the patch, heat up some warm apple cider, throw a log on the fireplace and spend the afternoon listening to Better Days. Engineered & Mixed by David Beeman Mastered by Mike Vizcarra www.theharmedbrothers.com - Hannah Lowry
Jus Post Bellum Oh July Brooklyn, NY (Self-released)
“A record that espouses Civil War imagery and authentic Americana songcraft” Brooklyn represents the highest tier of indie Meccas right now with bands popping up in droves in the city lofts. Walk a few blocks and one can hear the next big thing refining its sound and gaining a steady audience who will gladly boast: “I saw them when...” Jus Post Bellum is strongly making its way into this category by offering its own take on the tried-and-true indie folk formula with a sophomore record that speaks to the listener’s soul in the quietest moments and shouts at them in the most joyful. The musicianship runs the gamut with a finely mastered selection of acoustic guitars,
horns, percussion and the sweetest of forlorn vocal harmonies supplied by primary songwriters Geoffrey Wilson and Hannah Jensen. Modern staples like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver stand tall as influences though folk troubadours such as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie reconcile their place at the head of the table many times throughout the album. The descriptive lyrics paint evocative pictures of war (showcased brilliantly on “Call to My Jesus”) that would make the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy beam with approval. Conflict never sounded so beautiful. Recorded & Mixed by Brent Sigmeth at LittleBig Studios in Cannon Falls, MN Mastered by David S. Gardner at Magneto Mastering, Minneapolis www.juspostbellummusic.com -Chris K. Davidson
Lissie Back to Forever Ojai, CA (Fat Possum)
“Sepia-toned female fronted rock with sweet, alt-country vocal arches” Back to Forever positions Lissie, the Ojai, California-via-Illinois songwriter, within slick golden rhythms, precisely honed melodies, occasional freewheeling and Lissie’s characteristic dirtied, sun-baked tone. Comparison with Bella Donna-era Stevie Nicks defies criticism. Her hard-wrought songwriting brings out Lissie’s life on the road, tending the edge and the unsympathetic truth, blistered beneath the polished veneer. Lissie could be the modern woman country music desperately needs, holding her ground in the banal wash of long-tall dudes singing about beer-thirty and “girls.” Her jubilant, take-no-shit untamable voice soars like Patsy Cline, ringing true to good ol’ American swagger. Songs like “The Habit” and “I Don’t Want To Go To Work” feature Lissie’s bold temperamental octaves, arching over rambling acoustic strums, thumping percussion and harmonized choruses. Harvesting more genres than her previous, Catching a Tiger, an inarguable alt-country release, Back to Forever taps the ’80s vein with “Can’t Take it Back,” “Sleepwalking” and “Further Away,” the latter stirring a midnight heartthrob rhythm, flat danceable beat, chirping electric guitars and calland-response harmonies. Her seeming departure to the solely alt-country genre may aliencontinued ate fans expecting more songs like on 44
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Dresden Dolls Bad Plus Girls Guns & Glory String Cheese Incident Esperanza Spalding Medeski Martin & Wood Steve Winwood Gov't Mule 311 Janis Ian Jim's Big Ego Stanley Clarke Umphrey's McGee Gretchen Parlato Miss Tess Mike Stern Soulive Maceo Parker PUBLICITY AND TOUR SUPPORT (print press and viral)
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October 18-19, 2013 Various Venues – New York, NY review and photography by Garrett Frierson
MUSIC MARATHON 2013 Knucklewagon
Impromptu scrapyard rock parties in Bushwick.
Joywave at The Knitting Factory (October 18) Joywave opened up BMI’s CMJ showcase and got the crowd warmed up quickly. Their sound combined synths and sampling with a live rock setup, allowing them to be powerful and excitingly unpredictable. The Rochester quintet showed why many consider them a band to watch as they kept the crowd enraptured through their evolving set, one that alternated between driving rock rhythms and songs that laid back on the beat and pulled on the heart strings, at times channeling the energy of Arctic Monkeys and the yearning spirit of U2. They ended with the dancy single “Tongues,” getting the crowd jumping and upping the energy to keep them moving through the second-to-last night of the festival.
CMJ is unique in the world of music festivals. It encompasses more venues than almost any other festival yet still feels like an insider affair, because New York City is too big to care about a hundred thousand or so more people Knucklewagon in an undisclosed on its streets, hustling from one Bushwick garden (October 19) stage to another; they just blend Sometimes the greatest parts of a music festival aren’t actually a part of it. Such was the in with the crowd. 40 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE
case when Boston’s Knucklewagon came south to play an unofficial DIY CMJ showcase in a backyard tucked between scrapyards and warehouses, deep in the heart of Brooklyn. The setting could not have been better for the intensity and joyous insanity that is a Knucklewagon show. Knucklewagon is a four-piece including a singer, guitarist, trombonist, and drummer, combining traditional sounds in unconventional ways that are incredibly intense and seriously fun. The band was lit by a single strobe light as they launched into set that was as much punk rock as it was circus sideshow. For the last few songs the band invited the crowd to come on stage and feel what it’s like to be a rock star. The crowd happily obliged and, for a few minutes, created a small impromptu community isolated from the madness of the city and the mammoth festival. For that brief moment there were no badges, no train delays, no crowds, no money, or no troubles, only a group of friends jumping to the same furious beat and dancing under the same strobing light. www.cmj.com
review by Lucy Fernandes photo by Rick Carroll
CINCY PUNK FEST October 4-5, 2013 Southgate House Revival Newport, KY
HIGHLIGHT A three-stage punk-rawk
blitzkrieg, all for a good cause. The brainchild of Adam Rosing, who first initiated it as a spin-off from his original CincyPunk website (sadly, no longer in operation), the CincyPunk Fest celebrated its 12th year this October. The annual charity event has raised money for many local causes, this year’s event sponsoring Save our Shelter Dogs Rescue. With well over 30 bands and three stages, the Fest attracted groups from Nashville (Diarrhea Planet); Columbus, OH (The Garrison); Phoenix (Andrew Jackson Jihad); Buffalo, NY (Lemuria); and New Jersey (Mikey Erg); as well as a sizeable slate of local artists. The festival’s name is a little bit of a misnomer, because the music really represented a broader range than “punkfest” might indicate, but by now the moniker has stuck. Friday night’s
lineup included melodic-yet-hard-rocking New Strange, gravelly-voiced punk group Lockland Brakes and the moody, guitar driven, enigmatic Honeyspiders. Later on, prolific punk icon Mikey Erg absolutely killed the crowd during his performance. Pretty much everyone in the room knew all the lyrics, and the performer/audience bond resulted in a spirited shout-along for the entire set. Finishing off the night was the acoustic duo Andrew Jackson Jihad. It was easy to tell that the knowledgeable bunch gathered in the large Sanctuary room was already familiar with their frequently ironic mindset. In addition, their otherwise mild and folksy appearance totally belied the wry subject matter of their tunes. Saturday’s offerings included Diarrhea Planet
(pictured), a Wayne’s World-like conglomeration of four buzz-sawing guitarists in a six piece band. Just a bunch of loud, feedback loving dudes who were having an awful lot of fun onstage, with hair flying as they shredded and rocked their way through the night. Following that blowout, local duo Halvsies spun some sweet-voiced melodies and Lemuria fans enjoyed their indie-pop tunes on the main stage. Despite the chill and rainy weekend weather, this year’s CincyPunk Fest benefit still drew a solid showing of support from the area’s music community and, like its namesake, it’s not going anywhere soon, either. www.cincypunkfest.com DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 41
EARL SWEATSHIRT review and photo by Candace McDuffie
Odd Future MC’s unstoppable flow and makeshift moshpits.
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October 6, 2013 The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
It seems like the last thing you would expect at an Earl Sweatshirt concert is whimsy. His voice is a finely cadenced instrument; his lyrical content is menacing but matter of fact, and the complex arc of his artistry is almost fictional. Perhaps the rave reviews of his first full-length album, Doris, are the cause for such palpable elation that resonated throughout his show. One of Odd Future’s more talented MCs, Earl’s content and delivery of bars is dervish, but could be gruesome if put in the wrong hands. At a sold-out Sinclair, he was practically bouncing off the walls alongside musical cohort Vince Staples as he abrasively performed some cuts off of Doris and a few Odd Future tunes. “OJ” had no problem
placing its playful pulse on the crowd. “Molasses” satisfied some of our more hedonistic impulses. “Whoa” was full of call and response, but the standout performance of the evening was “Chum.” Before jumping into the deeply desolate song, Earl jokingly stated that the energy of the crowd was going to nosedive, going from about a 10 to a 4 and specifically requested blue lighting to place us in the right (solemn) frame of mind. Between the makeshift moshpits and Earl’s unstoppable flow, it’s only a matter of time before he sells out another Boston venue. www.earlsweatshirt.com
review by Benjamin Ricci photo by Gina Clyne Photography
VINYL OF THE MONTH
TERRY MALTS Living With The Human Race b/w Over 21
“Fuzzed-out punk to damage your needle” It’s hard to know whether or not to take Terry Malts (band, not person) seriously. Their official website redirects to a blog about taco stands, but damn if their new 7-inch isn’t compelling. As part of Windian Records’ new vinyl subscription service, the Malts single is bundled with four other 45s in an inaugural box set aimed at the label’s fans/supporters. Listening to the A-Side, “Living With The Human Race,” is like listening to the fuzzy, lo-fi soundtrack to an early Bret Easton Ellis novel.
Perhaps if Camden College truly existed, Sean Bateman would have either vomited or had sex to Terry Malts back in the ’80s. Believe it or not, that’s a compliment. Imagine Hüsker Dü covering The Vaselines, and you’ve pretty much nailed their sound. If that sounds like your thing, then light up a joint, ditch your classes and don’t forget to drop by that party later at Lauren’s dorm…or was it Blair’s…or maybe it was Clay’s house after all?
Size: 7-inch Speed: 45 rpm Color: Black Vinyl Units Pressed: Limited to 200 as part of Windian Records Subscription Box Set terrymalts.bandcamp.com San Francisco, CA (Windian Records)
“Little Lovin’,” an eternal jam, but Lissie continues to adapt and mature.
Recorded at The Garage in Topanga Canyon,
Seahorse Sound Studios, LA and Brotheryn in Ojai by
Sam Bell, Jacknife Lee and Matt Bishop Mixed at Decoy Studio by Cenzo Townshend
“Griffin’s long-lost treasure is finally unearthed”
Produced by Jacknife Lee www.lissie.com -Christopher Petro
Lorde Pure Heroine Auckland, NZ (Universal Music, Republic/Lava)
“Shadowy electro-pop landscape meets introspective, hypnotic verses” Could the classic case of an old soul trapped in a sixteen-year-old body give way to a new pop archetype? Evidenced by her debut full-length, Ella Yelich-O’Connor – better known as Lorde – could very well be the opinionated heroine, bringing authenticity to an overtly manufactured genre while challenging our preconceived notions amid sonics reminiscent of Massive Attack. Most endearing is her ability to transcend generations, even with coolly detached lyrics that focus heavily on coming-of-age tribulations and an “us-against-the-world” mentality (“Team,” “Glory and Gore,” “White Teeth Teens”). Crystalline perfection comes in the form of the globally-recognized, multi-platinum “Royals,” in which she presents a treatise on pop culture while eloquently rebelling against the excessive lifestyle: “It don’t run in our blood / That kind of lux just ain’t for us / We crave a different kind of buzz.” Equally impressive are her introspective bursts of poetry that rival literary giants: “I live in a hologram with you” (“Buzzcut Season”), “Living in ruins of the palace within my dreams” (“Team”), “I’ll see the veins of my city like they do in space” (“Tennis Court”). The standout here is the entrancing and sensual femme fatale of “400 Lux”: “We’re never done with killing time. Can I kill it with you?” she croons on the haunting track. Perceptive, evocative, and unpretentious, Pure Heroine is only the beginning of Lorde’s reign. Produced by Joel Little Mastered by Stuart Hawkes Additional Production by Lorde www.lorde.co.nz -Julia R. DeStefano
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Diehard Patty Griffin fans have had bootlegged copies of Silver Bell for more than a decade, after a merge between A&M and Universal in 2000 found this record shelved, discarded, and unheard. Much sought after ever since, Silver Bell FINALLY gets its official release, and the world is better for it. Often thought of as Griffin’s secret masterpiece, the record has already spawned two hits for the Dixie Chicks, who recorded renditions of “Truth #2” and “Top of the World,” one of Griffin’s finest and, remarkably, most requested songs. But the great gift of this wide release is that dedicated fans of Griffin and those who are new or only slightly familiar with her work can treasure these songs that never deserved to be B-sides. A track like “Little God” which has Griffin at her darkest, her loudest, or a song like “Mother of God” which finds at her most beautiful and meditative - these are songs that belong firmly in Griffin’s repertoire. Silver Bell also stands out as Griffin’s most playful record, wherein she tries on half a dozen styles in the space of an hour, mastering each one and proving that this record will stand out in her catalogue as one of her finest achievements. Produced by Glyn Johns Recorded at Kingsway Studios, New Orleans www.pattygriffin.com -Vincent Scarpa
Posole No Justice San Francisco, CA (Urban Scandal Records)
“Flavorful mariachi surf-rock!” San Francisco indie rockers Posole take their name from a hearty soup that is a staple of Mexican cuisine. Like their namesake, the band is a potent mix of contrasting flavors. They combine the spice of Central American rhythms and horn lines with the cool, smooth personality of bandleader Daniel Martinez’s laidback vocals and guitar work. Hispanic culture is further reflected in the band’s bilingual lyrics. While
their exact meaning is sometimes hard to grasp, themes of struggle, social justice, and existential questions are clear. Comparisons to Sublime come easily, but to make them would ignore the uniquely “San Francisco” vibe that the music exudes. The inspiration that they draw from the city’s fog-soaked streets is audible in yearning rock ballads like “Freedom Fighter,” and the international influences they incorporate in their music reflect San Francisco’s cultural landscape. No Justice is the band’s first release, though at 21 minutes, it’s essentially an extended EP. Luckily, this means that it’s harder miss the last song on the album, “Death March,” which is the strongest effort from the band and the best example of their unique sound. In fact, if you buy the album digitally, try listening to the tracks in reverse order for a very different experience. Mixed by Jonah Strauss Mastered by Shelly Steffens at Chicago Mastering Service www.posolemusic.com -Eric Wolff
Sleepy Kitty Projection Room St. Louis, MO (Euclid Records)
“Sleepy St. Louis pop with a definite garage tinge” Comprised of Paige Brubeck and Evan Sult (formerly of Harvey Danger), Sleepy Kitty is a pop/garage group that (currently) resides in St Louis. Two records into their career, Sleepy Kitty describes their new album as a documentation of their newfound home in St Louis. The band (originally from Chicago) released its debut Infinity City in 2011, but recognizes in a lot of ways that they had yet to hit their stride. The songs on their debut sounded much more like two people learning to play together rather than a cohesive group. On Projection Room, the band not only becomes comfortable with each other, but also sinks into their current Missouri transplantation. Songs like “Hold Yr Ground” paint specific pictures about the band’s current setting (they did indeed get their Dodge Caravan stolen). Sleepy Kitty is a solid pop outfit with a definite garage tinge. With a live show based around the looping of Brubeck’s vocals, likely comparisons are made to The Fall and Pavement. Oftentimes on the band’s newest, they can draw a comparison to Best Coast if you were to replace the surf tinge of the latter with a more ’90s leaning dirge. Definitely something to look out for. Standout tracks include “Batman: The Ride” and “What are You Gonna Do When You Find
Half About Being a Woman
Genre: Indie Pop/Soul
Genre: Progressive Garage
Genre: Electro Geek
Bigfoot?” if for no other reason than identifying their “is this a metaphor, or actually what this songs about” quality.
The Whiskey Gentry
Glow & Behold
Produced by Sleepy Kitty Mastered by Jack Petracek at Eagle Rare Studio www.sleepykittymusic.com
“Country meets punk & churns out a righteous bluegrass lovechild”
“Shimmering British pop-rock portrays emotional reflection”
Von Shakes, straight from Dublin, Ireland, recently produced Bohemia, and man, do they kill it on the indie punk stage. Releasing an album that’s heavy in guitar, drums and breakdowns, the band is well on their way to commanding stages around the world. Sporting a messy sound with fantastically timed drops, vocals and riffs, Bohemia is an album that everyone should definitely have on their shelves. Von Shakes does a fantastic job of producing a rough, garage-like sound. They do an even better job of fusing that sound with great lyrics and heavy vocals dropped throughout each track to add effect and layering to their music. When listening to the album, images of the band in a pub or bar in Ireland are conjured up, and they are sure to be absolutely killing their tracks live. Any fan of Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon or the Pixies would regret not having this LP among their favorites.
The Whiskey Gentry is back with their sophomore release, Holly Grove. The six-piece group brings back their penchant for riveting mandolin progressions, blended harmonicas and banjo segments and driving percussion, creating a fantastic punk-infused album. Drawing on the feverish styles of bluegrass, Americana and folk, the record is captivating and bursting with energetic compositions. “Colly Davis” and “One Night in New York” are full-throttle, no-holds-barred in terms of power and intricacy. As Lauren Staley’s vocals croon over each lyric, Price Cannon pounds endlessly on his drum kit and Sam Griffin provides the deep bellowing bass lines that bring it all together. The band’s impressive knack for combining a wealth of genres and playing them with impressive dexterity and flare is evident throughout the LP, with particularly notable moments happening on “Oh Me” and “Dixie.” The blending of genres around folk and bluegrass has become increasingly popular over the last few years and many bands have attempted to create an alternative and rock inspired form. Not so many bands have been successful. Holly Grove is an example of true mastery of the art and understanding of how varying genres can complement each other. The album is pulsating and infectious. It never lets up and shows true talent on the part of these Atlanta natives.
Recorded by Matt Smith
Engineered & Mixed by John Keane in Athens, GA
Despite former bandmate Daniel Blumberg’s departure, Yuck have decided to carry on and create a sophomore album of true merit. Guitarist Max Bloom has taken over the majority of the vocals with help from the group’s female bassist Mariko Doi. Drummer Jonny Rogoff continues to play, and newcomer Ed Hayes has been recruited on secondary guitar. “Sunrise in Maple Shade” sets a mood as an instrumental with twirling guitar lines and sunshiny keyboards, complemented by horns that come in after two minutes. “Out of Time” and “Lose My Breath” bring moodiness with low, main vocals and high, spooky backing vocals. The lead single “Middle Sea” has some of the clearest vocals on the LP matched with fuzzed-out guitars and a driving rhythm fit for dancing or car riding. Keyboards and electronics create wonderful surprises throughout, like pans and beats underneath tracks that aren’t evident until other instruments strip away. “Rebirth” ends with a bouncy keyboard rhythm similar to Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga” underneath heavy drumming. At other times, the album is full of dream popinspired soft singing that alternates with creative instrumentation, such as on “Nothing New,” which starts out keyboard-driven then evolves into Western-style guitar and Mexican-style horns, and “How Does It Feel,” which introduces slide guitar to give the music a nice change of pace.
Produced by J Krawczyk
Mastered by Glenn Schick in Atlanta, GA
Produced and Mixed by Chris Coady
Mastered by John Angelo
Produced by Jason Morrow and John Keane
Mastered by Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound, NYC
Von Shakes Bohemia Dublin, Ireland (Von Records Ltd)
“Dirty indie rock from the other side of the pond”
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5 FIGURE (IOS - $.99) Figure is beautifully simple. It’s great for beginners, and has a really easy way of sliding across the screen pad to create sounds. Loaded with drums, bass and lead synth. You can set loop length, and export files to iTunes cloud, SoundCloud, Twitter, and Facebook.
Fun Stocking Stuffers for Your Smartphone
VOCOLO (IOS - FREE) It’s voice-to-music technology that the makers describe as “turning your phone into a Synth Kazoo.” Vocolo is an app that is “played” like a kazoo, where you hum or sing into the microphone and it creates an instrument. But instead of just one sound, there are multiple instruments; multiple effects settings allow you to jam to backing tracks, too. You sing in a melody and it translates it to a bass or clarinet, or other instruments.
I have fond memories of making do with whatever I had to record tracks and make some music. I was that kid with a two boom boxes - recording, rewinding, then recording while the other one was playing. Then you’d flip that tape into the other one, and do it again. Hell, 4-tracks seemed like voodoo magic when they came out. “You mean it’s backward masking on Side 2? Mind blown!” I 46 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE
SOLO LITE (ANDROID - FREE) Purely for guitar enthusiasts, this app does it flawlessly. If you play guitar, the interface for chord finding is fantastic and the layout for chord structures really helps you visualize exactly which strings are making up the chord. And as far as strum touch apps on Android, I believe this one is the most responsive
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.
MUSYC (IOS - FREE) Musyc falls in to the category of matrix creators. By using planes on the screen matched with tonal or instrumentation settings, you can easily “plot” a song. You do this by “drawing shapes” and then tweaking their sound and attack like a sandbox creation. And with 64 instruments, it’s quite the playground.
had a Tascam, and of course, a Vestax. While they lacked in quality, those methods provided a solid foundation for knowing you could just hit record and get something down. Now, it’s so easy with DAWs and even portable audio recorders to do it at a much higher quality level. 2013 has been the year where music production apps for your phone or tablet have really come of age. The algorithms and processors are now fast enough to handle a whole lot of data. The old standby, GarageBand (iOS $4.99), has improved immensely since the old Mac desktop version. If you have a screaming new tablet, you can really carry a studio with you. Impressive standouts on tablets include FL Studio Mobile (iOS /Android $19.99) and Steinberg Cubase 7 (iOS/Android $9.99).
SONGIFY (IOS - $2.99 /ANDROID - FREE) Another entry into the burgeoning “voice-to-music” category, Songify takes your voice and turns it into a song. They call it “songification” and you don’t even need to be able to sing, just speak. The results can be mixed, but it is fun to burn a few hours with.
But sometimes, it’s nice to get out of sequencing and multi-tracking and get back to just messing around making something cool. I’ve noticed that a lot artists I know feel like they need to create amazing tracks whenever they record. We’ve lost that child-like, playful instinct to just mess around and have fun. With that in mind, here are some cool apps for your smartphone that make music. Some are probably on tablets too, but mostly these are the cheap or free ones for your phone. These aren’t for pro productions, they are meant to be fun and to provide you some inspiration. Most of them have social sharing and saving. Some have more mixing capabilities than others. So, this holiday season, mess around with some apps for making music, get out of your comfort zone, and have some fun.
new avenues of exposure 2. You are considering a record deal and want certain controls over your copyrights 3. You have collaborated with different people and want a central company to administer the copyrights 4. Your manager, lawyer, or accountant is pushing for a more formal approach to your affairs
At its core, a music publisher’s job is to administer the copyrights in songs and license your work to record labels, radio stations, filmmakers, advertisers, etc. A publisher collects license The Role of Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) fees, take a percentage and pay Before you get into the world of publishing, the remaining proceeds to the you should understand the role of Performing Rights Organizations (PRO), who will assist in songwriter(s). The publisher many of the hands-on administrative tasks of controls the song itself (not the your publishing company. A PRO is essentially a middleman between you (the copyright holder recording of the song, which is or your publishing company) and those who want generally owned and controlled to perform their work publicly (i.e. radio stations, jukeboxes, retail stores, and others mentioned by the record label). above). That said, many artists choose to start a publishing company on their own early in their career to get control of their music catalogue. And while it sounds complicated, a publishing company can simply be a simple administrative way to organize your songs and farm the licensing work out to Performing Rights Organizations. This month’s Legal Pad looks at the basics behind starting your own publishing company.
Reasons You May Want to Start a Publishing Company
From administrative, to legal, to vanity, there are many different reasons to set up a publishing company for your compositions. Here are a few: 1. You’ve recorded an album and are looking for
The PRO will license its members’ compositions and collect royalties derived from performance rights. The three major PROs in the United States are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. PROs recruit members who give them the right to license public performances of their compositions. Public performances include: broadcasting (electronic media, radio, television, cable); live performances (clubs, halls, concerts); and background music (bars, jukeboxes, offices, retail stores, etc). Public performance does not include dramatic rights (Broadway, theatre, etc.) or mechanical rights (right to record, manufacture and distribute), so PROs play no role in licensing these rights. One of the biggest duties of a PRO is to keep an accounting of public performances and pay
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Adam Barnosky is a Boston-based attorney and writer. For industry trends, legal updates, or to request an upcoming Legal Pad topic, find him on Twitter @ adambarnosky.
DISCLAIMER The information contained in this column is general legal information only and should not be taken as a comprehensive guide to copyright law. Consult
Start Your Own Publishing Company The Legal Ins & Outs You Need to Know
your attorney for all specific considerations.
copyright holders accordingly. PROs accomplish this by: (1) collecting money for all blanket and per program licenses; and (2) monitoring their members’ music when it is performed on the radio. Television and film performances are accounted for using a more intricate system (where the production’s producer submits an accounting of all works included on the project that are covered by a PRO). The fees paid to the PRO are often paid by the broadcaster and are not the responsibility of the producer. From there, the PRO accounts for all monies owed to members, subtracting amounts owed for operating costs. Each PRO pays royalties differently. Joining a PRO is easy, inexpensive, and can be done quickly online. The general requirement to join is having written or co-written a musical composition that has been: (1) commercially recorded; (2) performed publicly in any venue licensable by a PRO (club, live concert, symphonic concert or recital venue, college or university, etc.); or (3) performed in any audio visual or electronic medium (film, television, radio, Internet, cable, pay-per view, etc.). You can join a PRO online by going to the organization’s website (membership is either free or for a nominal fee).
Basics for Starting Your Publishing Company 1. First, pick a name for your company. Go with
something that is distinctive to your style and brand. 2. Consider setting up an LLC or other corporate entity for legal liability and tax purposes. Contact your Secretary of State Office for more details and, if needed, speak to a lawyer and accountant to get insight on the best entity for you. 3. Sign up with a Performing Rights Organization. Take advantage of the seminars, conferences and educational materials that come with your membership. 4. Make sure that all of the songs in your publishing catalogue are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Go to www.copyright.gov for more details. Also make sure all songs (compositions) are assigned to your publishing company. 5. Find a way to organize and track your company’s catalogue. Consider purchasing software to assist this process. “Songtracker” is a program designed to manage and administer music publishing tasks (www.songtracker.com). DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 47
Europeans Want American Music: How to Sell it There Practical Tips for Promoting & Performing Overseas
The concept of American recording artists promoting their music in Europe is not new. Musicians have been “crossing the pond” for decades, sharing their sounds. However, strategies on how to do so effectively have changed in recent years due to the Internet and other forms of digital technology. With a shaky world economy, particularly in the EU (European Union) and in America, independent musicians have a greater challenge in selling themselves successfully, but with some savvy, hard work, and a bit of luck, it can be done.
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Independent American bands would not necessarily find much difference in marketing to European listeners than they might if they were to market themselves domestically, but there are a few differences to consider before trying to share abroad. In 2004, The International Journal of Media Management (JMM) published the article “The Evolution of Business Models and Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry.” Its authors Valerie L. Vaccaro (State University of New York) and Deborah Y. Cohn (Yeshiva University) examined industry trends, made predictions, and offered advice to readers about how to better market and sell music. Vaccaro and Cohn concluded that musicians should: 1.) “Increase choice in regards to where and when consumers can acquire music on and off the Internet.” 2.) “Offer better value and rewards for subscription services. Use customer relationship management. (CRM)” 3.) “Depending on target market preferences, use CRM, permission marketing, and viral marketing.” 4.) “Be customer-oriented in delivering services and products.” In other words, independent American recording artists should find out what listeners want and make every effort to give it to them via the Internet. Musicians should utilize mass electronic communications through social media. Independent American songwriter and
recording artist Helen Walford and her husband Christopher Insley (of the band The Christophers) moved to England from America. They currently perform together under the name Pophysteriavictim. Walford has worked with BBC Radio 2 and has been involved in many projects including Oh Boy. Performer asked her how independent American musicians should approach moving to Europe. She said the best thing is to know your market. “It’s easy enough to research bands and where they’re from, and to get a feel for a scene just from social network sites. Every city has a scene. It doesn’t take long to get to know people once you start gigging.” Walford suggested playing open mics regularly, at first, in the area one moves to. “If moving here to work as a musician you need to have a work visa. Have the proper documents or you’ll get turned back by immigration. I got a phone call once from a musician who got turned away by border control. It was sad and a waste of time and money. Just bear in mind that things are more expensive here. Be aware of the costs of living and eating wherever you choose to land,” she says. Walford continues by saying, “There are different rules in the UK. It’s best to read up on the PRS (Performing Right Society). Visit the website prsformusic.com. It deals with publishing, performance, and royalties and such. Just be sure any original material is protected under copyright
ABOUT THE AUTHOR After having met thousands of musicians and celebrities, James Hester decided to write a book about how life in the entertainment industry was not always glamorous to him. His book, Rock Scars, chronicles his personal journey through entertainment and explores the essentials of being a rock star.
Author James Hester with Linda Gail Lewis, holding a copy of Hester's Rock Scars (2009).
Photo by Cathy Henson
law. There are so many ways to self-promote these days. Social network sites, band websites, blogs, and Twitter are all great ways to get your name out there. Just remember to be respectful and professional because word spreads fast, especially on a small island like the UK.” Legendary American indie diva Linda Gail Lewis echoed Walford’s sentiments about selling music in Europe. Lewis said she has found much success performing in Scandinavian countries, such as Norway, because “while they are large in size land-wise, those countries are less densely populated than America. There are more rural areas and small towns that don’t have as much to offer in ways of entertainment. So, if an American musician, like myself, goes there to perform and does well, you can develop a fan base and a loyal following sometimes easier than you can in the States.” She continues, “My brother [Jerry Lee Lewis] and I have great fans in Europe. We performed there together this summer, and the response was just incredible. It feels good to have so many devoted fans listening to us.” Lewis’ husband Eddie Braddock is the former Director of Promotions for American icon Stax Records in Memphis. He explains, “There are no more brickand-mortar stores. The Internet has made it more of a challenge to sell music. Get an agent in Europe who has an ability to book you. Once you
get there, you’ve got to be able to deliver. You’ve got to be able to play well.” Joe Lamont of Pipeline Entertainment Group has for years managed and marketed Grammywinning, American recording artists Arrested Development in Europe and elsewhere around the world. When we asked him how independent Americans might promote themselves better in Europe, he said it depended on whether or not the artists want to actually go to Europe, or to just simply sell their songs there. He says, “It’s a broad topic. The first thing American artists should do is make a plan. If they’re moving there or even just trying to sell there, they should be preparing ahead of time for success. They should know what they’re going there for.” If American musicians are having trouble succeeding domestically, those artists should consider why they think selling their works in Europe might garner more success. Musicians should consider the exchange rates of their money. An American band might do well if it is paid in euros at a time when the American dollar is not as valuable. “The good thing is that there are so many countries in Europe, and so many festivals to play at. Fans in European countries tend to be very loyal; they’re into musical poets. It’s a troubadour thing really,” Lamont says. When asked to elaborate specifically on how independent musicians
should market themselves in Europe, Lamont recommended that they find an agent or a publicist in Europe to work with, someone who is based there and has a history with the industry. Lastly, he said recording artists should “be on every social networking site on the Internet. Just get the word out and let folks know you exist. Make your presence known. Yes, an agent would be great, but it’s usually not something easy to come by until an artist becomes somewhat know on the circuit. I think indie artists going to Europe need to contact venues and send them their music.” Lastly, audio engineer, educator, and journalist Justin Colletti published an incredibly thorough, 6,000-word article giving independent musicians tips on how not to go broke. In it, he recommends that musicians have little or no debt before pursuing work in the industry. He recommends further that independent recording artists live a modest lifestyle in order to achieve sustained success. His insightful article, and many other helpful tips, can be found on the New York City music site sonicscoop.com. Independent American musicians may find increased success in Europe if they plan their marketing strategies well, utilize the services of established agents there, and make careful considerations of their long-term and short-term goals in music.
DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 49
TALK APP TECH ROUNDUP
with JASON TRAVIS
MAKES & MODELS
Canon 5D Mark II Nikon L35AF Canon 24-70mm lens
WHY I LOVE THEM
I love carrying both digital and analog cameras with me at all times. I also carry my iPhone everywhere. I love Canon, but I started shooting with Nikon. I love the instant gratification of digital, but I also love the unexpected results of analog.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
The lens makes all the difference to me. It determines where I stand and how close I am to my subjects. I usually carry a variety of lenses. 24-70mm, 50mm, 40mm, 85mm, and sometimes a 70-200mm.
Jason Travis has been photographer for nearly a decade, specializing in editorial work and music portraiture. His favorite subjects are “Musicians who have energy and
are free-thinking. Musicians who are willing to flourish and evolve.” Find Jason on Twitter @ SealionsATL or online at www.jasontravisphoto.com.
Got a favorite instrument you’d like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Key to Recording Killer Drums & Percussion
Part 1 of 2 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Zac Cataldo is a musician and owner/ producer at Night Train Studios, a recording studio in Westford, MA. He is also co-owner of Black Cloud Productions, a music publishing company. Reach him at email@example.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Brent Godin is a bassist/guitarist and engineer/producer at Night Train Studios. He is also a talent scout at Black Cloud Productions. Reach him at brent@ blackcloudproductions.com.
photo by Pete Weiss
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!
Capturing drums can be one of the most challenging aspects of the recording process. For one thing, there are so many pieces in the average kit that need to be mic’d. And they take up so much room. And they are so loud. And they have to be performed perfectly. And they are hard to edit if the drummer makes a mistake. Starting to get the picture? Damn drummers!
DEAD OR ALIVE?
So it starts with having the right space to not only comfortably set up the drum kit and all the microphones, but also a room that make the drums sound good as a whole. Drums generally don’t sound that great in unfinished basements and garages – there’s just too much exposed concrete. They need a good mix of absorptive floor, ceiling and wall treatments (e.g. carpets, rugs, gobos, tapestries, etc.) to contain all the sound energy and yet some reflective surfaces, preferably wood, to make them sound natural. Also you need some way to contain all that sound energy from leaking onto other instrument tracks during rhythm tracking. Here at Night Train Studios, we accomplish this by having four iso rooms of varying sizes, with adjustable curtains that allow us to alter the amount of reflection so that we can “tune” the room to the drum kit. But if you’re not in a studio setting
you can still attain some level of separation and absorption by using gobos. Gobos are simply small moveable walls that you can place around an instrument. A poor man’s gobos can be a single mattress and some big couch cushions. Or you can build fairly inexpensive and simple gobos to fit your needs – for instance a band we had in the studio recently had used a few portable garment racks covered with heavy blankets and comforters to help isolate their drummer for less than 40 bucks. Or if your budget is a bit higher ($150 - $400) you can buy pre-made gobos like ClearSonic Sorber series, which are freestanding rigid fiberglass panels encased in heavy-duty carpet and come in a variety of sizes. The reason the drum kit has to sound good in the room is that we usually want to record not only close mic’d drums but we also want to capture the drum kit as a whole with a stereo microphone setup. Drum kits are made up of many individual pieces but it is essentially one instrument, and to make it sound coherent it should live in the mix in its own space. So we start by close mic’ing the snare, kick, hi-hat, and toms. To cut down on space we like to use specialized mic clips, like the Audix D-Vice ($30 retail) which clip onto drum rims and hold the microphone close to the drum head (about 1-2 inches) without the need for awkward mic stands and booms. Shure SM57s are a great choice for the snare, toms and hi-hat if you are on a budget.
For the kick drum, you’ll want a specialized mic, like our favorite the AKG D112 ($199) or the Shure Beta 52A ($189). For this you’ll want to use a small boom mic stand and whenever possible try to get the mic inside the kick drum (about 6 – 10 inches away from the beater head) pointed towards the beater. If your drummer uses a closed outside head, you can try setting up a small “tent” outside the kick drum to help reduce unwanted leakage. This “tent” can be cushions or blankets draped over some small mic stands. If the sound is too “thuddy” or “boomy,” try setting up a second mic on the beater side next to the kick drum’s foot pedal. This can often be difficult to physically fit unless you use a small desktop mic stand. Similarly, if you’re not getting enough “crack” from the snare, you can set up a second mic below the snare drum pointing up to capture the snares. Remember that when simultaneously recording a drum from opposite sides, you’ll want to flip the phase (on your DAW or mixer) of one of the tracks or you will get unwanted phase cancellation. Experiment with mixing these tracks together until you get just the right amount of slap from the kick and crack from the snare, mixed in with the overall tone of each drum. [editor’s note – catch the next issue for Part Two, in which we tackle room mics, dampening, timing, mixing and additional percussion considerations.] DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 51
How to Regroup & Record After Full Band Dissolution IN THE STUDIO WITH REPEATER
interview by Benjamin Ricci photo courtesy of Repeater
“You can be lazy and make all the songs sound the same, or you can challenge yourself to make the songs what you imagine them to be.”
ablum info Band: Repeater Album: TBA Recording Studio: fLoft (Chris Fudurich’s studio) Record Label: DIY Release Date: TBA in 2014 Produced & Engineered by: Chris Fudurich Vocals/Addt’l Instruments: Steve Krolikowski Guitar: Alex Forsythe Drums: Charlie Woodburn Vocals: Tess Shapiro
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PRE-PRODUCTION What was your pre-production like on this project?
Our full band was in dissolution after personal issues and lack of cohesion left us stagnant. With the blessing of retired members, Krolikowski carried on with a solo writing process, which took all of Summer 2012. Fifteen songs were shared with Fudurich and Forsythe, and narrowed down to the strongest ten for the album. As a multi-instrumentalist, Krolikowski was able to put together cohesive demos using a full set of sounds from in and out of the box. Although they are not very present on the final recording, the microKORG and the ZOOM G2 were great tools in the writing stage.
How did you choose the studio?
Repeater worked with Fudurich on a previous album, Iron Flowers. We have been friends and mutual fans for a few years now. His space is a big loft, which [also] functions as a great drum room. There are also options for cabinet and vocal isolation. There are enough vintage and modern gear [options] to record a full band, so the way we did it, there was no problem at all getting great signals for each take. Krolikowski was even able to take on the duties of recording backing vocals at his place.
Mikes & Vocal Plug-Ins -Bock Audio Elux 251 -Soundelux U195 -TC Electronic Intonator Drums -Pork Pie Drums -Gretsch Snare -Rototoms -Moroccan Bongos
FX -Electro-Harmonix Micro POG -Sovtek ElectroHarmonix Small Stone -Sovtek ElectroHarmonix Big Muff Pi -Blackout Effectors Crystal Dagger -Boss RV-3 Digital Delay/Reverb
-Boss DM-2 Delay -MXR Dynacomp -Eventide Eclipse Multi-FX Processor -Roland SVC-350 Vocoder Amps -Vox AC30 AW2X -Kustom Defender 5H -Fender Princeton Reverb
Keys & Synths -microKORG -Korg Delta -Roland Jupiter 6 -Europa Mod -Sequential Circuits Prophet-600 -Sequential Circuits Prophet VS -Nevin Upright Piano -Fender Rhodes Mark 1
Guitars & Strings -Takamine Jasmine Acoustic -Guzheng -1958 Guild T-100 -1977 Gibson Les Paul Special DC -1959 Airline Town & Country -1976 Fender P-Bass -Gibson L6-S
-Danelectro 12SDC -Fender Tele Deluxe
Have a unique studio story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
PRODUCTION What kind of sound were you looking for and how did you achieve it?
Repeater’s sound has always been marked, and sometimes marred, by complexity in rhythm and deviation from standard song structure, either towards the minimal or progressive ends of the spectrum. With these songs, we tried to keep the rhythms interesting but extremely simple. The song structures are also a little bit closer to the pop standard. Because of the lack of time constraints, we added as many parts, layers, percussion accents, and vocal textures as seemed necessary to make this recording competitive with contemporary indie music that we respect. We used electronic beats to write the songs but then reinforced it with groovy, minimal playing from one of our favorite local drummers. Steve and Tess were extremely careful to sing with restraint and to limit lead vocal melody to the most accessible range. This is a calculated sound, but the songs within are stronger than ever.
How does it compare to your last release in terms of style and the creative process?
Repeater’s last release, Golden Ships EP, was the opposite type of recording. That was done quickly, with full band takes, few overdubs, and was mixed much later with little addition. The record before that, We Walk From Safety, was very elaborate but had a very live process to establish the initial rhythm tracks. This recording is very organic because of its long iterative creation, but it’s not traditional in any way. The style and character of this recording has been shaped by the entire year-long process, and there was no intent of capturing a specific moment or sound.
How did your past experience lead up to this recording?
Repeater as a unit has recorded three EPs and two full-length recordings since they started out. Fudurich did the first full length, Iron Flowers, and Ross Robinson did the second, We Walk
From Safety. By the time we disintegrated as a full band, the wheels were already turning to do another recording with Fudurich. Krolikowski had done a lot of recording, mixing, and writing with and without Repeater, in addition taking on the vocal and lyrical responsibilities for Fear and the Nervous System and finishing Repeater’s Golden Ships EP, recorded by Paul Larson and mixed by Josh One. As a creative machine, the band had become stagnant. The remaining members and Fudurich decided it was worth it to take on a full album project, no matter what form it took at the end.
Did you use any special gear or recording techniques on this one?
We used pretty much every recording technique at our disposal. MIDI arpeggiation and playback through analog gear, and knob turning was the basis for a lot of the rhythm tracks. The drums are all hybrids between programmed and real playing. The mixing stage will employ even more techniques, going in and out of the box, with vocoders and other processors.
What was your philosophy on live, fullband takes versus individual tracking?
For this recording, we didn’t have much of a
choice. The groove has been established by programming, editing, and then playing naturally over the top of that. Everything is an overdub, based on solo demos, so that live band feel is missing. This takes away some of the rock, and makes it more of a pop creation. There are very few fills, few tempo variations, only changes in groove and dynamics. Bass and drums and guitar and percussion were done in fluid full takes whenever possible. Synths were captured as performances as well. The end result will be something more dynamic than a typical rock record. When you make a record this way, you have a lot of freedom. You can be lazy and make all the songs sound the same, or you can challenge yourself to make the songs what you imagine them to be, using every trick and every idea, adding and removing until it sounds right.
What were the toughest challenges you faced?
When you have no specific time limit on the production of a record, it is hard to keep at it when priorities change from week to week. Scheduling different sessions, sharing editing tasks, and continuing to develop the sound throughout the process can make it stretch on too long.
POST-PRODUCTION How will you handle final mixing?
It’s an iterative mixing process that could involve additional editing, drum sounds, and orchestration. Fudurich is a technicallygrounded engineer with a huge catalog and a great ear for every type of sound. Krolikowski has a taste for more aggressive or ambient use of mixing and effects. Forsythe’s critical taste for pop and contemporary indie music will come through the mix, as well. We want as much
dynamic range as possible while still sticking to an album sound.
Will you do a vinyl release?
If we can afford [it] there will be a nice, minimal package with as much care and thought put into it as such a project deserves.
For more visit repeaterband.com
DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 53
Compact, good sound, nice reverb options.
Limited EQ options.
D’ADDARIO NS Micro Clip-On Tuner - $39 (2/pack)
Tuners used to be big and clunky, but everything these days, they’re getting smaller. D’Addario has a new clip-on headstock tuner that lives up to the “bigger isn’t always better” credo. OK, this thing is tiny, but it has five mini buttons that allow quiet silent tuning, as well as a visual metronome. It’s made of a hard plastic, and the display is bright enough under most situations to be easily read. It clips on a headstock, and due to the vibrations, displays the pitch of the string being plucked. It has a range of 410-480Hz, meaning that no matter what reference tone is being used, this should handle it. It works well for pretty much any stringed instrument: electric and acoustic guitars, basses, mandolins, and even ukuleles. Thankfully, due to its small size, it’s very stealthy, and since it uses vibrations, on an electric just turn down the volume and tuning up is a breeze. At a street price of about $15 each, it’s one of those things that should find a home in every guitar case. Make it your primary tuner, or use it as a backup in case your pedalboard tuner dies mid-show. The only downside is the visual metronome; it works, but the click of a real metronome really can’t be beat. That said, considering the price, functionality and size, the NS is still well worth it. -Chris Devine
400W portable PA with full-featured 8-channel mixer
Built-in piezo transducer picks up instrument’s vibration
8” low-frequency driver and 1” high-frequency driver
Improved software for faster response, improved accuracy
2-band EQ on each channel
Tri-color reversible backlit LCD screen
Master 1-knob EQ Built-in feedback suppression
Back in the day, even small PAs were big enough to fill up a tour van or station wagon. Those days are thankfully behind us and Yamaha has a PA system that can fit into a Fiat. The STAGEPAS 400i system contains two speakers and a mixer. The interesting design of the speaker enables the mixer to be placed in the back of either speaker, while the other speaker can act as a storage compartment for speaker and power cables. With the detachable mixer, there are set two screws that allow it to be attached to a mount that fits on a mic stand (not included). The 8” speakers have a decent range overall, and the plastic casing feels very durable. They can be mounted on stands, or angled up as stage monitors. The mixer houses (4) mic/line inputs, two are XLR and the remaining two are universal XLR & 1/4” that let you select the level input for direct instruments or microphones; the remaining channels have 1/4” inputs. The EQ is pretty basic, with just High and Low controls, but each individual channel has its own selectable reverb of hall, plate, room or echo that can be shut off via a footswitch (not included). A built in limiter and feedback suppressor as well as a USB input round things out. There are 1/4” outputs for monitors as well as a subwoofer. Sound-wise, it delivers for most situations, with plenty of volume to handle most small venues. While running a limited number of instruments and vocals it works well, the EQ is a tad limited, but the feedback suppressor helps keep things well under control. For the money, it’s hard to find a PA system that works this well, and is still compact. The STAGEPAS system seems perfectly geared for the performer who needs to set up quickly and just play. If only more equipment was designed in this way! -Chris Devine
YAMAHA STAGEPAS 400i Portable PA - $699
Stealthy, good functionality, great price.
Visual metronome is lacking in concept.
Wide calibration range (410Hz to 480Hz) Visual metronome
High-quality SPX digital reverb
Compact design, low weight
Tunes a variety of stringed instruments
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“The Friendly Ghost in the Machine” casperelectronics.com Casper Electronics is less a company more than it is an ethos encompassing the many ventures of its creator Peter Edwards. Instead of creating a line of many different tools, Casper Electronics has focused on creating an adaptable art tool that facilitates experimentation and creation across varying mediums. The company was born from Edwards’ love of circuit bending and experimenting with electronics. For several years he made and circuit bent custom instruments for clients until he developed his first mass producible machine, the DroneLab. A synth that specialized in creating textured drones, the DroneLab became quickly popular, but Edwards eventually saw too many limitations in his first design to continue production despite a dearth of orders. So he asked his partner to help him redesign it, and from that collaboration came the NovaDrone.
GuitarConnect Cable Premium PROS: Simple, works with most any device with an 1/8” connection. CONS: None.
PROS: Works as an input device for computers, smartphones and tablets.
PROS: Small, provides phantom power.
CONS: Only works for Apple devices.
GRIFFIN TECHNOLOGY GuitarConnect Cable Premium ($29); GuitarConnect Pro ($49); MicConnect ($39)
CONS: Only works for Apple devices.
Portable used to mean sacrificing quality or convenience, but Griffin’s closed the gap with several of their new devices, turning your iOS device into a portable recording station. Their simplest is the GuitarConnect Cable Premium ($29), a braided cable that acts as a simple interface for guitar and headphones connected to a 1/8” headphone jack. It’s a flexible unit, working with pretty much any device, and the ability to play at room volumes, through a stereo, or headphones, is perfect. The next step up is their GuitarConnect Pro ($49). It’s a small wedge design, allowing a 1/4” input to be connected to an iPod or iPad. With only an input volume control on the side, it’s very easy to master. Again, with GarageBand, or any other guitar/music app, it works flawlessly. A big bonus is that it can also be used as an input device to a computer, with the included USB cable, making this a solid inexpensive interface for a portable situation, with a laptop, to a super portable demo station with an iPad. For vocalists and situations requiring XLR connections, their MicConnect ($39) follows the same idea as the GuitarConnect. Connecting via a 1/8” input, this little device is powered by 2 AA batteries, and can supply phantom power to mics that require it, such as condensers. It’s not just for singers; podcasters, or any field recordings would greatly benefit from this. There are a lot of options out there for the portable musician, thankfully it’s pretty simple. Pick your price point, grab one of these Griffin units and go from there! -Chris Devine
Starting at $200 fully assembled and tested; kits starting at $100
Part synth, part lightshow, easily hackable, and completely open source, the NovaDrone is a tinkerer’s dream come true. At first glance, it’s a noise machine with a changing light on top, but take a moment to look deeper and becomes much more. It’s easy to play with the 12 potentiometers and 10 switches to control the six oscillators routed through a 1/4” output to create densely textured drones and change the color of the LED. Next, take out your camera phone and hold it up to the LED; you’ll see the screen turn into a wild mass of disjointed colors revealing the NovaDrone’s hidden second life as a light synthesizer. More hidden talents are revealed when you take the Casper ethos of experimentation to heart and play with the breadboard attached to the bottom of the NovaDrone, or, as its creators call it, the “Adventure Board,” where nine oscillator sync inputs, six frequency modulation inputs, fifteen voltage outputs, and three high current outputs for controlling LEDs are all within reach. “We wanted it to be easily accessible by giving users many points of entry into the circuit,” Edwards says. “We want to see users do things we never imagined.” -Garrett Frierson DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 55
1969 Polaroid 360 Land Camera by Sam Skinner
SPECIAL FEATURES The Polaroid 360 is unique in that it is the only folding pack film camera ever produced with electronic flash. The electronic flash eliminated the use of flash bulbs. It takes perfect flash pictures at about 1/1000th of a second, and has its own automatic charger that operates on ordinary house current. It is a higher-end metal-bodied Polaroid equipped with a Zeiss Ikon viewfinder and timer. PERSONAL CONNECTION I got into collecting vintage Polaroid cameras when my friend and photographer Joe St. Pierre asked me to help him get one of his working again. Ever since then I fell in love with their look and capability to take awesome instant pictures. Without too much frustration, I was able to take
apart the flash unit and replace the batteries (also the shutter and timer batteries). I now use this camera to take pictures of anything special to me so I can remember them forever. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS It still takes amazingly clear and crisp instant pictures. Fujifilm currently manufactures film that can be used for these cameras in both color (FP-100C) and black and white (FP-3000B.) I love Polaroids because itâ€™s instant gratification and you never know how itâ€™s going to come out. My favorite thing to do with them is taking double exposure pictures. Where you take a picture of something, leave the film in and take another picture over it; they almost always come out cool.
56 DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE
THE EVOLVED SRM SOUND Breaking the Price Barrier for Best-in-Show Sound
Strap in and hold on. The all-new Mackie SRM pro-grade wood enclosures are packed with 1600W of class-destroying power and digital features that you can use, including an industry-first feedback destroyer, application-specific speaker modes and an integrated 2-channel mixer. Don’t spend more for far less power when SRMs deliver the breakthrough performance you need to make your own sonic boom.
©2013 LOUD Technologies Inc. All rights reserved. “Mackie.” and the “Running Man” figure are registered trademarks of LOUD Tech Inc. ©2013 LOUD Technologies Inc. All rights reserved. “Mackie.” and the “Running Man” figure are registered trademarks of LOUD Technologies Inc.
PRECISION – DSP with LCD and application/location presets POWER – 1000 W custom-built 2-channel/biamped Class-D amplifier
VISUAL CONTROL & MONITORING
PERFORMANCE – EV-engineered components for superior sound PORTABILITY – Unique hi/lo grip handles and lightweight construction
ZLX is available in 12" and 15" versions. Passive models also available.
PRESENCE – Stunning enclosure design
©2013 Bosch Security Systems, Inc.
New ZLX portable powered loudspeakers stand apart with the most complete, innovative and user-friendly package of features in their class, giving you more control over your sound to ensure your audience connects with your creative moment, whatever your gig. www.electrovoice.com/zlx
The Photo Issue, featuring a mega-sized photo gallery, articles on music photography and tips for bands on photo shoots and Instagram.
Published on Dec 6, 2013
The Photo Issue, featuring a mega-sized photo gallery, articles on music photography and tips for bands on photo shoots and Instagram.