Tuesday, March 12, 2013

INTERVIEW: All Those Ships

1)      What do you want people to hear most when they hear your music?
I'd like people to hear something slightly out-of-the-ordinary, enough so to catch their attention and make them say, "Hey, what's this?" (as opposed to, "What the f*** is this?" which I assume also happens occasionally). Of course, after that, I'd like people to hear something they like, something they might relate to or put their own personal spin on, something that might resonate on some deep-rooted emotional chord, or whatever the case may be... but overall, I guess what I want most is for people to get a sense of what I'm really putting into these songs, pieces of my life, pieces of other peoples' lives, experiences, conscious and subconscious, ideals, relationships, choices, conflicts, resolutions or lack thereof, mixed together with some kind of aesthetic sensibility which can hopefully be shared and appreciated by whomever is listening as an enjoyable experience on some level, at the very least, if not also original and thought-provoking.
2)      Having music on Band Camp, along with other such platforms in music right now such as Sound Cloud, Spotify and others, do you feel that music is moving into a virtual age?  Personally, I fully support the idea of downloading songs for free from Band Camp and then if I like them buying them on vinyl.
I feel that music has definitely already moved into a virtual age, and has long since unpacked its bags and made itself at home. Sure, people still buy physical versions of things, and Vinyl seems to be seeing a welcome boost in popularity, but it's almost a sub-culture now, to own music as anything but mp3 files, and I don't see how anyone could expect anything otherwise when you can carry your entire music collection around on a microchip, or better still, on a "cloud" server somewhere thousands of miles away, where you can link up instantly from your computer, tablet, music player, phone, toaster, shoe, etc. Even better still still, almost any song you could possibly be in the mood to hear, anytime you like, whether you "own" a copy or not, can be looked up and streamed in a couple blinks of an eye, and maybe in some instances without even knowing or caring who wrote or played the song.

I can only begin to wrap my head around the consequences which have ensued, and what this all means for musicians, music appreciators, and the music industry as a whole, but as it stands, I can definitely appreciate some of the opportunities that this "virtual age" has brought with it, if not its seeming disadvantages. For instance, I can put together an album, on my own or maybe collaborating with some amazing people from countries I've never been to and would've never met otherwise, and, theoretically, I can send the resulting music out to a nearly-limitless worldwide audience. So who cares if they want to pay for it or not? Either way, it's amazing.

 ...Ok, maybe I'm not being entirely genuine, because I have put a lot of time,effort, stress, and a good amount of my own money, into writing recording music... but then, it's not like I don't enjoy the process as a whole; I wouldn't keep at it if I didn't, and I've never actually expected to make music and live off of what people would pay me for it, even before mp3s and file sharing and all that... so at the moment, I am pretty happy just to be able to share what I've made with whomever wants to listen, and if they'd like to donate some of their hard-earned monies to help me increase my musical output, I'm happy to let them. As for putting my music on vinyl... depends on how many of said awesome people would like to help make that happen, I guess.
3)      How important of a factor do you feel that record labels play in music these days when pretty much anyone can put their music on the internet as opposed to having to hand out demo tapes at shows, the distribution record labels can offer, etc.   It just seems like it’s a bit easier these days to succeed as a band- and even build up a strong fan base- before a label possibly comes calling for you.
See, people say that, but it's still pretty damn hard- at least, it has been for me so far, to build up a fan base that is; then again, I kinda have a full-time job to focus on, so I can only really put so much effort into it. It is true that pretty much anyone can put their music on the internet, but that can be a hardship as much as it is a boon; there are that many more musicians and bands out there to compete with for people's ears, and after a point, it just becomes a sea of noise. I worked for a couple years as music director for a college radio station, so I know first hand how hard it is to find that diamond in the rough; I listened to upwards of 50 albums a week some weeks, and usually somewhere around half of those were put into play, if even, after which it was a struggle to get DJs to play much more than the top four or five albums charting in CMJ that month... but I digress.

Due to the "ease" of building a fanbase these days, labels now mostly want you to have the complete package before they'll even consider signing you anyway; it means less work for them, and more chance of a payoff, which, let's face it, is why they're there; they need to make money too, an increasingly difficult task in the aforementioned virtual age. Still, once a band gets on a label, I think the ability of that band to promote their music, and subsequently the amount of people who will listen and maybe buy that music, increases exponentially, depending on the label of course. It doesn't seem like you have any more or less of a chance of making it onto a record label these days than you did back in the "good ol' days," and yes, it is more possible now to "make it" on your own, but I think labels do still play a vital role in getting music out to a wider and more accepting audience. Plus, people are more likely to listen to you and take you seriously if you're on a label they recognize.

4)      If you could tour with any single band or musician who would you pick and why?

That's a very hard question to answer... After some thought, I'm going to say Jeff Mangum, because In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is my favorite album ever.  I think I try to appeal to the same sort of singer-songwriter but not-singer-songwriter aesthetic that he does, and I like to try to touch on similar emotional chords and lyrical oddities as well, though not nearly as well I'm sure. In short, I love his music, and I think I'm not so dissimilar that his fans would wonder why he picked me to open for him. Not that he ever would, but a man can dream.

      Who is your favorite New Kid on the Block?
Justin Timberlake, of course.
6)      Who would win in a musical fight: Jack Black or Jack White?

Well, are they fighting purely by playing music at each other, or is this a physical fight involving the use of musical instruments as weapons? In the first case, I'd say probably Jack White. In the second case, I'd also say probably Jack White, but it'd be a more interesting match.

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